Principles for Local Church 08 Avoid Sexual Immorality

Joseph was working for Potiphar when Potiphar’s wife started making advances on him. He wisely refused her advances, saying that to accept her offer would be to “sin against God” (Genesis 39.9). You cannot live in this world long without encountering the fact that our world is very sexually immoral. It is filled with lust and fornication and adultery. You will even encounter this in the local church! Christians living together as if there is nothing wrong with this, as if marriage is no longer holy, and is an outdated tradition rather than the purpose and plan of God!

Within church life I have had to deal with people who are into pornography, lust, fornication, adultery, prostitution and all forms of immorality. All of them have the same choice – to be in bondage to this, or to trust Jesus and find a place of freedom.

And you have to make a choice – what will you do about it! Will you be free? The best choice to make is the choice to overcome! To walk in holiness and righteousness. To be pure.

Avoiding sexual immorality is possible through the new birth and the grace that God has given us, and if we ask for wisdom He will give us wisdom to get out of any situation. One of the problems of course is that we are often fighting not just the world but our own bodies lusting after things we cannot have. That is why staying pure can be a great struggle. But we can and must overcome and walk in victory like Joseph did. Joseph would have been a great asset in the local church – because he did not have sex outside of marriage and stayed pure. A lot of the hard work of a pastor is counselling and pastoring people who never made the strong godly choices Joseph did. Churches fail because of people making bad choices in the area of sexual purity!

A second area of wisdom found in this account of Joseph choosing sexual purity is that Joseph also chose not to be provoked by false accusations. After being spurned by Joseph, Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of attempting to rape her. This lie caused Joseph to end up in jail. Satan loves to tempt us into sexual sin, but if he cannot, he loves to accuse of being immoral anyway. He is the accuser of the brethren, and if you are in local church with the brethren, at some point you will be accused of something.

Joseph was falsely accused, but he did not let that define him. I know good people who have been accused of terrible crimes, often the exact opposite of their character. If you want to be in local church, especially if you want to be a leader, you must learn how to deal with being accused and moving forward as if you do not even hear what they are saying about you.

Life is not fair. Joseph going to jail was an injustice – he had an experience that he did not deserve. That provokes strong emotions in people – we want to rise up and challenge injustice. I have experienced injustice many times in my life, and my flesh wants to go out there and somehow prove my innocence, and let people know you cannot do that to me, I will not be cheated. But that is not the way of Jesus. 1 Cor. 6.7 actually says “Why not rather be defrauded?”. There are times i have let myself be defrauded rather than speak up against an injustice against me because I will not attack the church, I will not expose my brother’s nakedness. As you grow in Christ, you will find out there is a need to accept injustice in life and just keep walking with God.

There’s a lot in Genesis 39 about how to be a remarkable disciple of Christ. Why not spend some time meditating on it today.

Published by Tree of Life Church

We are a growing network of growing churches, with services weekly in Dagenham, Guildford, Watford, Croydon, Brentwood and Dorset. We are also planting churches in Cambridge, Suffolk, West Midlands and Hemel. Find out more at, and

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