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Straight Talk About Sex

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Sermon by Robert Marsh

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. (I Thess. 4:3, 7)

We’ve been engaged in a series of discussions that we’ve entitled, “Straight Talk About Real Life.” As you can see from the graphic on the screen, we’ve had “Straight Talks” about problems, changes, relationships, forgiveness, stress and finances. We’ve had some good talks, haven’t we? Well, today, we’re going to have a discussion that everyone’s going to want to join in on – we’re going to talk about sex! And everyone feels comfortable talking about sex, right?!

It’s really ironic that our society is completely surrounded by sexual images, sexual talk, sexual humor and sexual education, but no one wants to talk about it. And when the church doesn’t talk about it, it’s more than irony; it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous for the church to keep mute about sex because if the church is silent, if God’s input about sexuality is not heard, then we are all left to fumble around on our own. If the church does not talk about sex then all our children are going to hear about it is what they pick up from Hollywood, their schools, and their equally misinformed and screwed up friends.

Sexuality is a critical issue in every life. Last week we talked about money being the number one cause of divorce in marriage – well, sex, with the bad information and twisted thinking that surrounds it in most of our minds, is the number two cause of failure in marriages. And it’s possible that the only thing more misunderstood than sex in our culture is what people think God thinks about sex. We have this idea that to God, sex is sin. It is bad. It is dirty. People think of the church as anti-sex.

Well, today we’re going look at some SURPRISING SCRIPTURAL SEXUAL STATEMENTS.

Surprise #1 – Sex is Good!

Listen to these poetic words:

The sweet, fragrant curves of your body, the soft, spiced contours of your flesh Invite me, and I come. I stay until dawn breathes its light and night slips away. You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless. You’ve captured my heart, dear friend. You looked at me, and I fell in love. One look my way and I was hopelessly in love! How beautiful your love, dear, dear friend – far more pleasing than a fine, rare wine, your fragrance more exotic than select spices. The kisses of your lips are honey, my love, every syllable you speak a delicacy to savor. Your clothes smell like the wild outdoors, the ozone scent of high mountains. Dear lover and friend, you’re a secret garden, a private and pure fountain. Body and soul, you are paradise, a whole orchard of succulent fruits. (From Song of Solomon 4)

Wow! Who wrote such poetry? Keats? Byran? Shakespeare? No – those words of passionate sexuality were written by God! They were inspired by God Himself to be included in His book –the Bible! God does not look on sex as a sin, He looks on is as something good – in fact, God created sex, and proclaimed it good.

Back in Genesis, chapter 1, we read,

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Let’s just stop there for a moment. Those words “male and female” are sexual in nature. Some people have claimed that sex did not enter the picture until after sin entered the picture – some have even said that sex was the “forbidden fruit” that Adam and Eve partook in that caused brought sin on – but these two words show that sexuality was part of the original creative work of God. In fact, that is backed up by God’s first words to his human creation. Read on:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it…”

Last week, I said that the first command God gave human beings was to work – to subdue the earth. But in reality, the first part of that the first command of God was to be fruitful and increase in number. Sexual intimacy was part of the creation from the very beginning. God created sex! And when you drop down to verse 31 you will see something interesting. After each day of creative work in Genesis chapter 1, God saw what he did, and said, “It is good.” But after creating human beings, and after giving this command to be sexual beings, God saw all that He had done and He proclaimed it “very good.”

You want to know what the best sex in all of creation was? It was the sexual relationship that Adam and Eve had when God had just created it and they were enjoying it as He meant it to be. Look over at Genesis chapter 2, the last verse. It says, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” I believe that verse is loaded with meaning. Adam and Eve were able to enjoy their sexual relationship in the way that God originally had in mind for all of us when He created it. The were completely open with one another – there was no deceit, no masks, no hiding, no game-playing. And there was no shame. Their sexuality was not loaded down with the baggage of past sin, previous mistakes, wrong or selfish motives.

In our culture, we can’t even imagine such a condition – sex has been perverted so severely that what God created as a wonderful, incredible amazing gift is almost unrecognizable. And it’s not coincidental – it is a perversion that is intentional and purposeful. Look at Genesis chapter 3. Immediately after describing Adam and Eve in such idyllic terms, we read, “Now the serpent…” Satan entered the picture, and tempted Adam and Eve to sin, and they did. Look at verse 6.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food, and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

It is more than coincidence that the first thing that happened after Adam and Eve sinned was that they realized their nakedness. It’s because the first thing Satan attacked after he got them into his lair, was their intimacy. The first dysfunction in the human race as a result of sin was a dysfunction in the sexual relationship between the husband and his wife! The realized they were naked, and they immediately sewed coverings together. Contrast that with “and they felt no shame” from 2:25. Now they are full of shame – and they began to hide from each other. When sin entered the picture, the intimacy between husband and wife was the first casualty – the coverings they made to hide themselves went far beyond their bodies – we began to hide ourselves emotionally and spiritually from each other and from God.

Why would Satan have attacked human sexuality first? Wasn’t there far greater areas to go for than sex? Couldn’t he have hit Adam with some disease right away, or caused them to face some great financial stress? Couldn’t he have gotten some animal to attack them and cause them physical loss or emotional trauma? Sure he could have, but Satan is amazingly powerful and intelligent. In fact, he was the most powerful and beautiful and intelligent of all the angels of heaven – which is what led to his rebellion. But because he is so intelligent, his first attack on humanity was well thought out – he was going to hit mankind right where he knew it would do the most damage. And precisely where he knew it would hurt God the most. As we are going to see later, our intimacy with God is directly related our intimate relationships with each other as husband and wife.

But all of this perversion doesn’t change the fact that God created sex, and He created it to be GREAT! The Bible is all about redemption. When man fell, we were separated from God by our sins, but God has a plan to redeem us – to recapture us for Himself – it’s through faith in Jesus Christ, and Him alone. And just as God has laid out a plan in His word to reconcile humanity to Himself, He has also laid out a plan for us to redeem sex – to make it GREAT again. God had made the sexual desire very strong in humans, and so in His word, He gave us some guidelines for great sex.

Surprise #2 The Best Sex is with your Spouse!
Hollywood would like to have us believe that the best sex is the passionate, animal-instinct-driven, spur-of-the-moment sex between strangers, co-workers, neighbors, classmates or friends. But study after study shows that the people in life who are most satisfied with their sex life are husbands and wives. Yeah, that’s right – married people! In fact, the highest levels of sexual satisfaction are experienced by married evangelical Christians!

The 1994 University of Chicago study: Sex in America: The Definitive Survey, found that monogamous conservative Christians reported the most physical satisfaction from sex. Several other studies show that married couples who attend church at least once a week are the most sexually contented segment of society. And the last time I checked, the University of Chicago was decidedly NOT a Christian institution.

Why is that? Why is it that sex between married evangelical Christians has the highest level of satisfaction in the country – because they are doing sex God’s way! You see, if God invented sex, then it stands to reason that He is going to give the best advice on sex – not Jocelyn Elders, not the cast of FRIENDS, not even Dr. Phil. The best advice about sex comes from God. In His word the Bible.

Here are a couple of truths God teaches about sex:

Sex with your spouse is supposed to be a regular, enjoyable part of your relationship. Proverbs 5:18 & 19 says, “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth…may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.” Hey, guess what, we are to be satisfied by our lover – we are to rejoice in our wives and husbands, we are to be captivated by their love for our entire lives! That is a Biblical principle!

In I Corinthians 7:4-5, Paul says that husbands and wives have a responsibility to mutually love and satisfy each other’s God given sexual needs. He says, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband, in the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone, but also to his wife.” Sexual harmony is found when each partner recognizes that they are giving and receiving a gift from one another and from God when they are intimate with one another. Sex is never about taking, conquering or coercing. It is about giving and receiving.

Those verses bring up another point. You see where it says our bodies do not belong to us alone, but to our partner? That means that we have no right to be using our bodies for selfish reasons. When we pollute our body or our mind with unhealthy images, practices or give that body to another, we are ignoring God’s directions, and that will weaken our sexual relationship with our spouse.

This series is called “Straight Talk About Real Life” – OK Here’s some straight talk – if you are having sex with a person – any person outside of the bonds of marriage – you are hurting them, you are hurting yourself and your are hurting your relationship with God. There is no room for maneuvering here – sexual intimacy outside of marriage is SIN – and that includes non-physical emotional adultery, sexual fantasy, masturbation, and co-habitation.

There is no such thing as a “victim-less” sexual sin. Every time we engage in a sexual deviation from God’s plan, we hurt ourselves and our partner – even if we don’t have a partner yet. Single men and women here today – teenage boys and girls – listen up – the sexual activity that you participate in NOW will have consequences LATER in your relationship with your future husband or wife. The Bible says, “Do not be fooled, God will not be mocked – whatever you sow, you will reap the consequences.” You need to keep a purity in your dating relationships because any impurity then adds to the baggage you will bring with you into your marriage, and it will bring stress to what should be, and is intended to be a wonderful part of your life together.

Husbands and wives – the sexual activities that you partake in counter to God’s directions will hurt you and your partner. That emotional affair with the person at work; the addiction to pornography on the net or on the television; or even an inappropriate thought life will infect and deteriorate your relationship with your spouse. You may say to me, “I’ve never cheated on my wife!” Oh, really? Jesus said, “whoever looks on a woman with lust after her in his heart has already committed adultery.” You may have never cheated on your spouse, but what have you cheated them out of? Have you cheated them out of your full attention, your full devotion, your full faithfulness? Hebrews 13:4 says “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Surprise #1 – Sex is Good! Surprise #2 – God’s standard is that sex is to be a regular, wonderful, amazing, ecstatic, intimate, exclusive, pure, giving part of every marriage – and only in marriage.

Surprise #3 – There is Hope for Us All
There are many here who are carrying a load of sexual baggage already. You listen to me today, and inside, if not outwardly, you are nodding your head in agreement. You wish you could go back and do things differently. Maybe you’re a single young man or woman and you’re sitting their beating yourself up because you’ve made bad choices and you feel like you’ve blown it for your future husband or wife. Maybe you’re married, and you know that there is some real dysfunction in your sexual relationship with your spouse because of the baggage you are carrying. You would love to know that kind of intimacy that God originally had in mind for husbands and wives – but it’s too late. If that is you, then you’ve come to the right place, on the right Sunday morning. Because right now your hanging out with a bunch of people who have blown it. You are sitting next to a sinner, and so is the person next to you!

Remember what I said earlier about this book being all about redemption? God is all about redeeming things that are lost. He wants to redeem His people, and His creation. In fact, here are four steps to redeeming your sex life:

1. Repentant Hearts. What does that mean? It means to change you mind. It means that you agree with God. It means you say, “I was wrong, God, You were right!” It means we come back to him and we commit to changing our behavior. Some relationships are going to have to end. Some hearts are going to be broken. Repentance means that I get myself in line with God’s standards – TODAY! Not next week, not gradually – it’s over today!

2. Receive Forgiveness. God is waiting to forgive you and cleanse you and restore you. You can be released from the shame and guilt from the past failures. Folks, probably the heaviest load any of us carry is the load of guilt over our sins. Let it go! God wants to forgive you – but you need to ask for, and receive His forgiveness. If you ever want to have intimacy with your spouse, you must first have intimacy with God.

3. Refocused Thoughts. This is where it gets really tough. We need to turn our backs on the stuff that invades our minds sexually. We need to get tough on our TV watching, and the movies we watch. Every home in this church with a child or a man living in it should have an internet blocker on it – I don’t care WHO you are! If you are unwilling to put that safety net in place on your computer then you are NOT serious about this issue – period. You are pedophiles access to your children, and you are giving your children access to material that will damage them for life! And let’s not kid ourselves, dad – when you get that filter, let your wife set up the password. We need to refocus our minds on God’s standard – that means purity in our entertainment, in our leisure, and in our thoughts. I Thess. 4:3&7says, For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.

Ephesians 5:3 says, “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.” I recently had to take one of DVD’s that we had and cut it in two with a pair of scicors because it had a scene in it that was luring me into a place I shouldn’t go. We need to be making the tough decisions, and the firm commitments to refocus our thoughts and deeds on God’s standards.

4. Request Help. You might be saying, “that all sounds good, but I don’t think I can do it. I’m just too weak!” Believe me, I understand. We all need the help of a brother or sister who will hold us accountable. My son Andrew is studying at UW Madison. One of his Christian friends asked him a couple of weeks ago things were going. “Oh,” he said, ’I’m really stressed out – between my studies, my fraternity duties and my Navy ROTC program, I’m really behind.” “What are you going to do about it?” His friend asked. “I think I’m going to unplug my TV on Monday through Friday so I don’t watch it.” “OK, When do I come over?” His friend asked. “What do you mean?” “I’m taking your TV from you until you get this figured out!”

We need that kind of friendship and support. Someone who will say “You either get this internet thing fixed, or I’m going to come and pull the wires out of your wall! Or I will stop in some day at dinner time, and your wife and I will go see what we can find!” We NEED that kind of help and support and friendship! Each of us, men with men, and women with women.

I also know that God is here to help. Jesus Christ went to the cross and took your burden of sin and guilt and shame with Him, and He has given us a great promise. “1 Corinthians 10:13 says this, “Remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience [in other words, everybody here in this room has been sexually tempted. Everybody here. The temptations that come into your life, sexual or otherwise, they’re no different than what others experience. They’re all common] and God is faithful. When you are tempted He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” God will never allow you to be tempted in a way that He will not also give you a way out. That does not mean it will be easy – but the way is there.

The truth is, there can never be intimacy between one human being and another unless there is real intimacy with God first. God loves you like you no one else can – He can give you the forgiveness, acceptance and love that you long for, that you need, and that allows you to forgive, accept and love others in a pure and wonderful way – the way He intended it to be when He created you. If your intimacy with God is lacking, or nonexistent, then your intimacy with others will never be what it should. Give yourself completely to Him, only then can you give yourself correctly to another.

©2010 Robert Marsh. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bio:
Bob Marsh is a pastor, church planter, and church planter coach. He and his wife Carol planted and ministered at Gateway Community Church in Mayville, WI for 16 years, before leaving to plant international churches in Germany in December, 2010. They have three grown children and one grandson. More information is available at www.ConvergeDarmstadt.com.