Morning. David Sorn. Lead pastor.
Before we get started, just a heads up to parents in the room…if you do happen to have kids with you this morning: As the video said, we are talking about sex this morning.
So today’s message will be geared at 6th graders on up to adults (which is really true for all of our messages)
If you still want to bring your child back to our amazing Children’s Ministry (which is for infants – 5th graders), you can right now.
Our check-in people are at the table still right now.
We are starting a new series this morning called, “You Asked for It.”
Over the last number of weeks, we’ve polled the people of Renovation and asked them for their hardest and most pressing topics.
And we picked the 5 most requested.
Today’s question is: “Is Sex a Good Thing or Not”
And let me tell you from the start: I expect this message to be challenging at times.
In fact, I expect this SERIES to be pretty challenging
You all asked tough questions.
And so as we start this difficult series, I want you to be open to hearing God’s truth, not just your own.
Can we do that together?
We can not grow if we can not open our minds and allow ourselves to be willing to adapt our lives to God’s truth.
So let’s talk about sex.
And we should talk about it by the way…because surely everyone else is talking about it.
Not too long ago the chaplains at the University of Nebraska took a survey of incoming freshman and asked them this question: “How much influence did your church play on your views of sexuality?
Of the freshman who were surveyed, only 2 percent said that their church had anything to do with their views of sexuality
One freshmen even commented: "People in my church don't believe in sex."
The church doesn’t talk much about sex…and when we do, it’s usually negative.
You can see how that 18-year-old said “people in my church don’t believe in sex…”
Except for his parents apparently
So let’s talk about it: “IS SEX A GOOD THING OR NOT?”
I’ll just answer it right now: Yes. Yes, it is.
In certain contexts.
THERE IS ALWAYS A FRAME AROUND GOODNESS
Before you roll your eyes at me, let’s get philosophical for a second.
Put your thinking caps on.
If we are to call an action “good,”…we can’t just simply give an action the designation of being universally good…in all contexts.
Most things are only good in certain contexts.
In other contexts, they’re often not good.
If you’re not following, let me explain.
Take using super glue for example.
There are some really good uses for super glue.
Putting it in your hair is not one of them.
What about eating?
That’s closer to today’s subject.
It’s a natural/biological function.
You can go to your favorite restaurant…and have your favorite menu item.
Maybe it’s filet mignon.
And it might be delicious…might be an incredible…a GOOD experience.
But what if you tried to eat THREE filet mignons in one sitting?
Not a GOOD thing.
Eating can be good…but it can also be gluttonous.
Like say serving sizes at the movie theater.
So, there is a frame in which it is good, and an area outside the frame in which it is not.
What about sleeping?
Another natural function of your body. Like sex.
If I sleep 7 hours a night is that a good thing?
8? Even better?
What if I sleep 11 every night?
And lay on the couch all day?
& stopped taking care of my family and feeding my kids?
Cuz I’d rather sleep.
Sleeping for me, at that point, would cease to be a “good thing.”
It would now be outside of the the frame of goodness…and we can call it something else: laziness.
And so you can begin to surmise that there is indeed a frame around the area in which we can indeed call sex “a good thing”
So you can say that sex is good, but almost EVERYONE agrees that there are areas in which it is not good.
Can we call sexual incest good?
Can we call sexual child abuse good?
We can not.
They are OUTSIDE the frame of goodness.
DEFINING THE BIBLICAL FRAME
And so, you’re smart, so I think you can see where this is going: What’s the frame for sex?
Because it IS good…It’s really good in fact.
God created sex.
And in His Word he shows us over and over again that it is good.
But where exactly is it good? And within what frame?
“This is probably not going to surprise you, but the Bible says that the frame in which sex is indeed good is within marriage.
How do we know that?
Because that’s the example from the very beginning pages of the Bible as God describes the marriage union of Adam & Eve
(Genesis 2:24) – NIV
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Since men and women are to come together as one at marriage, sex is the obvious symbol and fulfillment (consummation) of a marriage union.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he speaks at length about sex.
(1 Corinthians 7:8-9) – NIV
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
What’s he talking about?
Sex…which is meant for marriage.
In the previous chapter of the same letter, Paul says this:
(1 Corinthians 6:18) - NIV
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.
Paul says flee from sexual immorality.
What does that mean?
The Greek word for immorality is actually porneia.
Which is an all-encompassing word that means every kind of sex outside of (or before) marriage…or other unbiblical or unlawful sex (incest, adultery, anything)
It’s used 26 times in the New Testament
And if there’s anything left to doubt, look at the challenging words of Jesus himself
(Matthew 5:28) – NIV
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
So the Bible very clearly says that we can call sex good when, and only when, it’s in the frame of marriage.
WE WANT TO WRITE OUR OWN FRAME
To our culture…this is really difficult to hear.
Maybe even harder to agree with.
To hear the Bible say that sex is only good within the context of marriage…may really frustrate you…especially if you’re in a committed relationship, but not married.
Maybe even make you mad.
It’s really countercultural.
Around the year 1900, almost 90% of Americans would have disapproved of premarital sex (put it outside the frame)
In 1969, 70% of Americans disapproved of premarital sex
In 2014, only 30% disapprove.
Somewhere between 90-95% of Americans have sex before marriage.
80% of Christians have sex before marriage
So I know, I’m NOT preaching to the choir this morning.
This is probably a difficult message…for a whole lot of people to hear.
And even if you’re part of the group where this is NOT a difficult message for you to hear…
I want you to know that for many of you, because the culture is changing SO fast, this will be a really difficult message for your children to understand in a few years.
And it’s critical that you understand now, so you can explain it in a way that goes beyond “Just Don’t”
And here’s what I want us to understand.
And if at all possible, try and shut off your heart & emotions for a second, and let’s reason.
This is difficult, but has I said in the beginning, unless we’re willing to open our minds and be willing to adapt to God’s truth, we can not grow.
Everyone draws a frame around goodness.
Whether it’s smaller or larger…everyone has a frame.
And so if you draw it bigger and you say, “I think it’s fine to sleep around a little bit before your married…you know find out if you’re sexually compatible (because of course, all there is to marriage is sex J)”
I heard a guy say the other day, “If you really want to test-drive marriage, instead of sleeping over at her place after a romantic date, why don’t you sleep over at her house when she gets the flu”
Or maybe you just want to draw the frame ever-so-slightly bigger and say, “As long as it’s a committed dating relationship…sex is good”
The point is: You’re still drawing a frame for WHERE we call sex good.
We all have places where we say it IS good, and places where we say it isn’t (maybe you say it would be bad for junior high or high school students for example)
And here’s the bigger philosophical question is: Why are you drawing your frame where you’re drawing it?
It is it only because drawing it there makes it convenient?
Can convenience or personal wants ever be a reason for morality?
What actual reasoning do you have for saying that it is good there and not good somewhere else?
And do we have humans have the ability to determine morality like that?
Can I, as 1 out of 7 billion people…a product of 1 of thousands of different cultures (a culture that happens to be rapidly changing its beliefs every day anyway)…can I say that I know what is morally good (or what God thinks is good…and what is not?”
And when I say that the “frame of goodness” is in a different place than where God says it is, aren’t I at the same time saying that I know a better place for it than God?
Paul hits on this exact thing in 1 Thessalonians 4.
He’s writing to new Christians who were living in a Greek city where the frame on where sex was good was extremely large.
(1 Thessalonians 4:3-8) – NEW LIVING TRANSLATION!!!
3 God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— 5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.6 Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. 7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
When we dictate the terms for how big the frame of goodness gets to be…we, as Paul says, we reject God.
We say, “We know better. We’ve got better perspective than him.”
It’s a rejection, because we ask Him to move over so we can make better moral judgments
WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT BEING INSIDE OF GOD’S FRAME?
But if I may, can I try and persuade you to a different path?
Because this isn’t just as simple as churches often try and make it…where we reduce it to, “Don’t do it! It’s bad!”
God puts the frame where he puts it because when you live within that frame…you are GOING to live the best life possible!
Do you believe that?
Within His frame, God will ALWAYS out-pleasure the world.
On everything, and on every subject.
Within his frame, God will always out-pleasure the world.
Why? Because He created the game.
He created sex, and when you use it as intended (just like we said at the beginning about superglue, food, and sleep)…when you use it as intended, it’s an amazing thing.
Do you trust Him?
Because God gave us sex to enjoy.
Unlike most animals, God created humans not just to have sex for procreation, but for pleasure.
And the believe it or not, the Bible itself says this:
(Proverbs 5:18-19) – NIV
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
We’re not reading “50 shades of Grey.” This is straight out of the Bible.
The Bible intends for you to enjoy sex in marriage…to be intoxicated with it.
In fact, I have a reading assignment for you.
Did you know that the Bible has an entire book dedicated to the enjoyment of love and sex within marriage?
It’s called Song of Songs.
The whole book reads something like this:
(Song of Songs 7:11-13) – NIV
11 Come, my love, let us go out to the fields
and spend the night among the wildflowers.[c]
12 Let us get up early and go to the vineyards
to see if the grapevines have budded,
if the blossoms have opened,
and if the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love.
13 There the mandrakes give off their fragrance,
and the finest fruits are at our door,
new delights as well as old,
which I have saved for you, my lover.
So yes, God thinks sex is very, very good.
In His frame.
But let’s ask a harder question: Why???
And why that frame?
Why draw the line where He draws it?
We could just say, “Because that’s what God says…so we should trust Him. And that would be right.”
But it’s deeper than that, and more beautiful than that.
See, sex is actually a symbol of something deeper.
In Ephesians chapter 5, Paul spends much of the chapter giving instructions for marriage.
And he instructs the husbands that they ought to love their wives as they do their own bodies.
Well, because remember how the bible started?
When you come together in marriage, you become one flesh.
In God’s math, one plus one = one. One flesh.
And then Paul says this (the beginning of which is just a quote of Genesis 2, which we read earlier):
(Ephesians 5:31-32) - NIV
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
He says, “I’m talking about husbands and wives, but what I’m really talking about is Christ and the Church…or Christ and Christians”
The Bible says often that Jesus is the groom, and we are his bride.
And when we start a relationship with Him, he says, like a good marriage, He will never leave us.
In Romans 5, Paul says that Jesus is like the new Adam…one who came…and did NOT sin.
And thus, we, are his new Eve.
And so I want you think about sex really symbolizes.
Because this is what Paul is getting at in Ephesians 5.
When you come together in marriage…
In marriage…you can do that in a relationship in which you know that despite that other person knowing all of your flaws…seeing exactly who you really are…they will never leave you nor forsake you.
And so when you give of yourself to that person…to become one flesh…sex is the very symbol of “we are coming together forever…and we will never be apart”
1 + 1 = 1
And in that context: Intimacy within the commitment (and safety) of marriage…is a beautiful thing.
And it’s very, very good.
And it gives God Glory.
And see, therefore, sex is actually a beautiful representation of our union with God.
Because we can come to God vulnerable, and bring who we really are.
And when we come to Him, the Bible says we are IN Christ.
We are bonded to Him in an everlasting relationship
And He will never leave us.
And this is why He gives sex to us, not just to have babies, but as something that helps us better understand the depth of our committed relationship with Him.
But you can see now that when you take this outside of the frame…
When you engage in sex, either before marriage or outside of your marriage, that you’re not just being physically sexual with another person…
you’re emotionally & spiritually connecting via the way that God intended to be the very symbol of an everlasting bond.
And this is why sex outside of the frame loses its goodness.
Because it breaks the bond of one flesh.
Adultery, for example, rips apart the bond
Pre-marital sex brings with it the anxiety of I’m completely giving myself to this person, but I do not fully know if they will ALWAYS give themselves to me.
And in that, it’s not a representation anymore of our relationship with Jesus…so it’s outside the frame.
Pre-marital sex also brings with it guilt and pain…when a person one day marries someone else.
Because they bring with them, into that new marriage the pieces of previous partners.
Because an emotional and spiritual bond occurred with another person.
And it’s something that millions of couples work through in counseling.
Trust and intimacy can become an uphill battle.
This is where we, as a people, need to stop and say: Let us trust, absolutely trust, that we do not know better than our God.
Our God wants you to find life…and joy.
And He’s designed a way…a frame in which you can find incredible pleasure, love, and joy.
But we have to trust Him for it.
And for those of you that are struggling with the pain of having past partners, I want to share a Scripture with you:
(Romans 8:1) – NIV
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
In Jesus Christ, you are forgiven of EVERYTHING you’ve ever done.
You are forgiven.
He knows. He loves you. He’s forgiven you.
If you’re struggling to forgive your spouse for past partners, start talking to God about this.
He can help you to forgive.
Live in the frame now.
The devil wants you to take shame with you into your marriage bed.
He wants you to take your past with you.
Live in the present.
Today…today…in the present…you live in God’s ways
Live in his joy and pleasure.
And if you’re dating right now…and you are sexually active…
You can stop. You can wait.
It is possible.
I’ve worked with couples who’ve done this before.
As Americans, we tend to carry with us some odd moral rationalizations here.
We say, “Well, we’ve already started, so it’s too late now.”
But we don’t usually use that kind of moral reasoning elsewhere.
You don’t say, “Well, I already stole once or lied once, so no point in trying to not to that again”
You can make a choice to live in the present.
To let the past be the past, and as far as today goes, you’re going to trust God’s best for you.
Because I guarantee you…if you stop now, and you wait till marriage…sex will be so much more meaningful to you.
Because you’ll see it as an expression of intimacy within commitment…an expression & symbol of your everlasting bond…like Christ.
And for those of you that are married, I encourage you to begin rethinking how you think of sex in your marriage.
Let it be more than just something physical you do with your spouse
I want you to see it as the symbol that God intended it to be.
1 + 1 = 1
You’re coming together and symbolizing that you will never be apart.
You are one.
And you will never leave each other.
You are thoroughly known and thoroughly loved
It’s a beautiful reflection of how your God feels about you.
And here’s why I think this is really helpful:
This is going to deepen the level of intimacy in your marriage.
Think about this when you come together.
Better yet, talk about it
When you think about sex from God’s perspective… a symbol of the 1 + 1 = 1 “forever bond”…it will bring more meaning, more feeling, more emotion to it.
It’s a powerful thing.
“I am one with this person, and they will never leave me”
Just like your God intensely knows you, and is forever committed to you.
So, yes, in God’s frame, sex is a beautiful…and GOOD thing.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.