“. . . (intreat) the younger (women) as sisters, with all purity.” (1 Tim. 5:2b)

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly tolerant of sexual promiscuity. Sexual sins pervade all levels of society. They are committed by the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated. The transgression of the seventh commandment knows no bounds!

Singapore is no different. Recently, there were reports of inappropriate games conducted during a university’s orientation programme. These games involved men humiliating female under-graduates by actions that were sexually suggestive and inappropriate. While some were critical of these activities, many chose to defend these games, with some suggesting that they were necessary elements and traditions of the university’s orientation programme.

In such perilous times, members in the church should all the more be careful to maintain chaste relationships with those of the opposite sex. They ought to guard themselves against transgressing the Seventh Commandment. Sadly, sexual sins continue to pervade the church. Even pastors have succumbed to sexual indiscretions. How often we read of church leaders who fell because of such transgressions! They often start as “counselling” sessions, but end up as an adulterous fling. Everyone, please beware!

The Apostle Paul warned young pastor Timothy of such dangers. As a pastor, it was necessary for Timothy to minister and admonish all members in the church regardless of age and gender. However, with regards to younger women, Paul adds that Timothy should minister “with all purity” (en pasēi hagneiāi). The term “hagneiāi” carries the idea of moral purity and chastity. Thus, the expression is a warning not just against any act of immorality, but also any breach of propriety. Kent rightly notes that “even if immorality is not involved, thoughtlessness or indiscretion will ruin the ministry of any pastor, regardless of his eloquence.” Tragically, the indiscretions of many men have caused them to lose their usefulness when they could have been fruitful in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Every pastor and church leader should thus endeavour to protect the younger women in the church from falling into sexual transgression, as how he would protect his own sister. He should also spare no effort to ensure that there will be no hint or suggestion of impropriety between him and any woman. “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

Here are some things a leader should do to prevent any suggestion of impropriety. Firstly, unless under necessary circumstances, church leaders should not touch any person of the opposite sex. Secondly, he should not be ministering to any woman alone in an enclosed room or residence. Should there be any accusation by the woman, the leader will have no other witnesses to vouch for his innocence. It will be her word against his. Even if no evidence is found of any indiscretion, doubts may remain in the minds of those who know. Who can guarantee that the two will not be tempted when left alone? Therefore, if there is a need to counsel a woman individually, let the leader do so with his wife, or in the witness of other leaders. Church offices should also come installed with clear windows so that others can see clearly what is going on in the office.

As church leaders strive to follow the Biblical injunctions to maintain chaste relationships, fellowship group leaders and congregational members should follow likewise. Firstly, let all men be careful in their conversation with ladies. Hands off the opposite sex! To the young men, flee youthful lusts. To the married men, your dedication must be to the wife of your youth. Be a one-woman man. Guard your conversations over WhatsApp, email or social media. They should not tempt any woman into indiscretion. Do not fetch any woman alone in the car, unless the woman is your mother, wife or daughter. Have another person to accompany you so that there will be no temptation or accusation. If there is no choice, either assist the sister to hail a cab or let the lady sit behind in the car. Be clean and transparent in everything.

Likewise, the ladies should also play their part in maintaining chaste relationships. You have the Christian duty not to lead the men into temptation. Dress modestly. Do not touch the men carelessly. Heed the following Biblical injunctions – “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10) “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (1 Peter 3:1-4)

Dear brethren, let us be careful to maintain chaste relationships. Men, be a true Christian gentleman and protect the chastity of the ladies. Ladies, do not tempt the men but let your life adorn the beauty of Christ. Do not treat the Seventh Commandment lightly. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew