Casual sex between consenting adults is cool and doesn’t hurt anyone is a phrase one hears frequently from those who practice it, but it hurts, at least it has hurt America in a big way, Pastor Greg Laurie said at a mega crusade in Southern California Saturday night.
“Think of what kind of a world we would live in today if this was not committed, think of how many divorces would have been avoided, think of how many families would still be together, think of how many children would still have a daddy to come home to, and in some cases a mom,” Laurie said at the Harvest Crusade at the Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
“I am not speaking from an ivory tower,” the lead pastor at Harvest Church in Riverside, Calif., told the thousands of people who came to listen to him on the second day of the three-day event that began Friday night.
“I was conceived out of wedlock. My mom, married and divorced seven times with lots of boyfriends in between, had a little fling down a long beach and I was conceived. I was not planned. I was, what you call, an illegitimate child.”
Laurie said thankfully his mom did not abort him. “But I was planned… by God, as is every child.” He added that there could be illegitimate parents, but there were no illegitimate children.
Greg Laurie added that due to sexual immorality America had the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world. “Each year, more than one million teens become pregnant and many of these babies never make it to term. One out of every five abortions is performed on a woman under the age of 20. It doesn’t hurt anyone? What about the baby who is aborted? That’s taking an innocent life.”
That’s not all. What about AIDS? “Do you know AIDS is a leading killer of Americans between the ages of 25 and 44?” he asked. “Twenty five percent of all HIV infections are found in people under the age of 22. Twenty percent of those who have HIV in America don’t know it. There are 236,000 people in America who have the disease and don’t know it… and are spreading it.”
Above all, it is sin, that’s what the Bible says. Adultery and fornication are sin, he stressed. “Adultery is having sex with someone besides your wife. Let’s say you are married and you have sex with someone else, that’s adultery… It’s such a serious sin… it’s in the Ten Commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’”
Sex is not evil, Greg Laurie clarified. “God created sex. It was His idea and there’s a right place for sex, and it’s in a relationship between a man and a woman who have committed themselves to one another in marriage.”
Narrating the story of the woman caught in adultery, found in John Chapter 8, the crusade speaker wondered what caused her to commit adultery. Maybe, she was lonely, she was not happy, she though men could give her what she was longing for.
Many strive to bring a lasting change in their lives hoping to fulfill their deepest longings, but in vain, the pastor said.
“Do you think honestly if you were really handsome or strikingly beautiful that would make you happy?” Laurie asked. He cited actress Halle Berry as an example. She is regarded as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, yet she struggled to find a meaningful and lasting relationship. She made this statement in an interview: “Beauty?” said Halle Berry, “Let me tell you something, being thought of as a beautiful woman has spared me nothing in life. No heartache, no trouble. Love has been difficult. Beauty is essentially meaningless and it is always transitory.”
The pastor said seeking change in one’s identity had become a major trend. He quoted a professor of sociology as saying, “The demand for instant identity transformation has never been so pervasive. People want change and they want it instantly… The capacity to reinvent ourselves has become fundamental.”
Laurie said no amount of success or possessions could fulfill a person’s longings. He mentioned Bradley E. Delp, the lead vocalist of the rock band Boston and who sold millions of records. But he committed suicide in March 2007. His suicide note said, “I am a lonely soul.” He couldn’t take it anymore.
Singer Amy Winehouse is another example, Laurie said. She was only 27-years-old when she died recently. Winehouse won five Grammy Awards, but she was an alcoholic and self-destructive. In an interview, Amy said, “Since I was 16, I’ve felt a black cloud hanging over me. Since then I am taking pills for depression.”
In her hit song “Rehab,” Amy Winehouse sings, “They tried to make me go to rehab, and I said, ‘No, no, no’… He’s tried to make me go to rehab, I won’t go, go, go.” Laurie said he was shocked that people would sing this song along as they watched her perform. “Why do we think it’s all a big joke? It wasn’t a joke. She ended up dying.”
Laurie also spoke of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at a well and He told her, “If you drink of this water, you will thirst again, but if you drink of the water that I give you, you will never thirst again.” That is true of all the wells of one’s life, Laurie said. “If you drink from the well of success and possessions, you will thirst again. If you drink from the well of partying and sex and drugs, you will thirst again. If you drink even from the well of religion, you will still be thirsty. Only God can meet the deepest need of your life. That’s what you are longing for.”
The pastor reminded the audience that the woman caught in adultery was forgiven by Jesus. “He did it for the woman. He can do it for you.” Just remember, he said, Jesus told her, “Go and sin no more.” Many in the audience responded. Just as about 3,000 people accepted Jesus into their lives Friday night, thousands did Saturday night.