The writers of Scripture teach that sexual intimacy is not just simply a physical act, and does not just involve body parts and nerve endings. It’s not simply biology.
When it comes to sex, we’re dealing with something so explosively powerful that deeply involves the human soul. Each of us has holds questions. Are other sexual positions sinful? Is thinking of sex a sin? What are the sensitive parts or what is the pc muscle? God did not create us as souls, and then just wrap us around a disposable bodies. God created Adam’s body and then breathed into it the breath of life. His body was intimately connected with his soul.
This Sunday as we explore why sex is so unspeakably intimate, sensitive, delicate and powerful and how Sex Toys can double the pleasure; why it is as close as any human being can come in this world to touching someone else’s soul.Read More
Money and Sex!
These are fascinating forces that are gifts of God and can do great good, but can also derail our lives when we get messed up with them.
I want to see where we stand as a church.
I’m sure no one here struggles much with money, because we don’t live in an area of the country where the cost of living is an issue.
So that just leaves sex. How many of you would say:
I have much bigger problems with Sex than I do with Money? Raise your hand, would you?
I figured not too many of you would raise your hand on that one.
Because sexuality is an area that involves so much emotion, embarrassment, shame, hiddenness, pretending… we have to be a place of radical honesty.
We have to step into the light here at the very beginning of this message.
So let’s do a mass confession of sexual fallenness. You never thought you’d do this in church.
If you have ever committed a sexual sin of any kind
If you’ve ever looked at something you should not have
If you’ve ever flirted with the wrong person
If you’ve ever look at another person lustfully
If you’ve ever inappropriately tried to attract attention
If you’ve ever withheld yourself sexually to hurt your spouse
If you’ve ever been wounded by feeling unattractive
If you’ve ever failed to talk to your kids helpfully about sexuality
If you’ve ever had a single regret
If you’ve ever felt for a single moment like you could use some help from God about some area of sexuality
If you’ve ever said the word sex… raise your hand.
Just to be clear, on the other hand, how many of you have achieved perfection sexually speaking?
Okay, now I want to start by just making some observations about sexuality.
And for a moment, I want to ask — even though we’re in a church — that we think about these things, not by way of passing judgment on them or evaluating them.
I just want to reflect together for a moment about certain observations and what they have to tell us about the role that sexuality plays in human existence — just some observations about this area of life.
Experiences of sexual feelings — the experience of sexual gratification — are so intense that sexual addictions are the single most prominent behavioral addiction in the world, and nothing else comes close. That’s how strong they are.
And in a room with this many people in it, a lot of you know the pain of that.
You know what it’s like to battle with watching something that your values tell you not to, or to get out of bed at two o’clock in the morning and go to a website, because there’s a habitual pattern in your life that you want to stop, but it feels like you can’t.
Pornography is a one hundred billion-dollar industry!
That’s enough money to feed at least 4.8 billion people a day.
The porn industry makes more money than Major League Baseball, The NFL and The NBA combined.
In a world where there are so many things to think about and learn, there are more Internet sites devoted to sexual stimulation than any other subject matter on earth.
Sexual attractiveness is so desired and admired that it is used to sell every product you can imagine.
Prostitution is so ubiquitous that it’s referred to as the world’s oldest profession. It’s universally present.
Out of all the ways that people get hurt, no violation of a person wounds them quite like sexual violations.
When a child gets sexually molested, when a woman gets raped, a heart gets scarred about as deeply as a human heart can get scarred.
No act causes quite the same damage to a relationship than sexual infidelity does. It’s the ultimate form of betrayal.
It is maybe harder for a relationship to recover from — harder for trust to get rebuilt around that than any other relational wound.
The desire to appear sexually attractive makes people jump through all kinds of hoops.
It makes people buy new and more clothes
It makes people go on more diets and exercise plans
It makes people go through more elective surgery than anything else
It makes young girls in our society, sometimes, starve themselves — sometimes starve themselves to death.
It’s a powerful thing.
The promise of sexual excitement, the prospect of a few moments of sexual gratification has the power to make powerful people — actors, movie producers, politicians, pastors, university presidents, CEOs — trash their reputations, ditch their marriages, capsize their families and lose their careers.
The prospect of a few moments of sexual excitement makes some of the smartest people in the world act like they have a lower IQ than their pets.
And the question is, why?
There are two ways you can take this question.
Why would people pay that kind of price for sexual gratification or excitement or fulfillment?
Why would people run those kinds of risks?
Why do they pursue it with such desperate, unflagging urgency?
The other way you could ask this question is:
Why do we make such a big deal about it?
Why do we talk about it in such loaded terms?
Why do we get so exercised about it?
Why do we speak of betrayal or molestation or abuse or sexual immorality?
Why do we use moral language around it when, physically speaking, it’s just a simple act? It’s just body parts and nerve endings. It only involves the expression of inevitable biological urges.
So why does it have this power over us?
Why does it create longing and desire, foolishness and regret, guilt and shame, hope and joy or remorse like no other activity on earth?
Well, at the front end of this message, I just want to lay my cards out on the table.
Sometimes, even in churches, this discussion gets posed in terms of a number of problems associated with it — sexually transmitted diseases or the presence or absence of emotional scars or unwanted pregnancies or birth apart from marriage or the social impact of single parenthood.
And these are all important things. They are all worth discussing. They are all serious problems.
We’re not going to talk about any of them in this message because, frankly, none of this gets to the core of why the writers of Scripture teach what they do about the expression of human sexuality.
And frankly, if you had the technology, if you could wave a magic wand and make all of those problems disappear, then the heart of the matter still remains, because this is the great dividing line. This is the great choice point when it comes to sexuality.
The writers of Scripture say that sexual intimacy is not just a simple act, and does not just involve body parts and nerve endings.
It’s not what your teacher told you in seventh grade health class. Do you remember that?
“Boys and girls… This is a this and this is a that and you take the this and you do this with that and then you’ve had sex. And safe sex is covering this with that so that that doesn’t happen.”
Sex is not simply biology or a study of anatomy.
Sex is so explosively powerful because we’re dealing with something that deeply involves the human soul.
I want to tell you something that’s very important to spiritual life, and a lot of times is not well understood — sometimes even in churches.
Bodies and souls are much more connected than most people think. They are much more intertwined that a lot of people are aware of.
A writer by the name of Craig Barnes notes that, according the writers of Scripture, God did not create you as a soul, and then just wrap you around a disposable body.
He created Adam’s body, we’re told, and then breathed into it the breath of life. And that means that what goes on with your body is intimately connected with what goes on in your soul. They’re inextricably linked.
Instinctively, we all sense this to be true.
If there is someone that I don’t want to let get close to my soul, to my inner person, one of the ways I experience this is, I don’t really want to let them get real close to my body.
Anthropologists say every culture has rules about this — how close people want to let other people get to them physically before they start to feel like, “Hey, you’re violating my personal space.”
And anthropologists say this varies from one culture to another culture.
Among Italians, you can be, pretty much, nose to nose and it doesn’t bother anyone.
Among the British, it’s like an arm’s-length-away deal.
Among Dutch people, those I grew up with, the preferred spacing is one person per room. If someone is in the same room, it’s a little uncomfortable. You’re getting a little close to my personal space. That’s part of why there’s not a big population boom in the Netherlands.
If someone connects with me spiritually, we talk about it in physical terms. I’ll say, “I was moved by that person.”
Or if someone connects with my soul, I’ll say, “They touched me.”
And we’re careful about who we let touch us… because there is something real deep when someone touches me.
What we do with our bodies matters to our souls. It’s not just body parts and nerve endings.
And this is most profoundly true when it comes to sex.
When bodies become one in that way, it is a picture of something that is spiritually transcendent and very deep and reflects the heart of spiritual reality.
The writers of Scripture say God himself exists as a Trinity — Father, Son and Spirit. Three persons, and yet perfect oneness, perfect community.
And God is so in love with this idea of oneness, the wonder of having three persons, and yet perfect harmony and intimacy, mutual submission, mutual servanthood and delight — God loves this so much that he wants to extend it. And that’s really what creation is about.
And at the climax of creation — probably shouldn’t use that term talking about sex — at the “peak” of creation, God makes human beings.
The writer of Genesis puts it like this:
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
“So God created human beings in his own image,” and notice the next two lines—the next two thoughts, “In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
In other words, there is a real close connection between the fact that you were made in God’s image, and that you and I were made male and female — two different persons — Adam and Eve originally, but with the capacity for oneness.
Just as God is three persons — Father, Son and Spirit — but with the capacity for oneness.
God starts by creating just the man — just Adam.
But then — a lot of you know this — even though everything is perfect and Adam hasn’t sinned yet, God says, “It’s not good for a man to be alone.”
So the next thing God does is, God has a whole parade of animals — all the different kinds of animals pass before Adam — but the writer of Scripture says Adam found no suitable companion — none of them is able to take away his sense of aloneness.
And then God created a woman — Eve.
And Adam’s first comments about her are about her body. And he doesn’t say, “I wish she was blonde, or I wish she had longer legs,” or something like that.
He says, “This, now, is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.”
He experiences delight with her body because now this is a person who is like him, and yet different than him.
And, therefore, they’re able to experience oneness, and it can be expressed by their bodies.
It’s a reality of their soul, but it can be expressed with their bodies. It’s a reality of their soul, but it is capable of being expressed, pictured, fleshed out with their bodies.
That’s why the writer says this:
For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
“For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, and be united to his wife,” that’s a soulish connection, “and the two shall become one flesh.”
Now, one flesh was a way the Hebrew writers could speak about sexual intimacy.
In other words, the idea here is that when a man and a woman become sexually intimate, they are enacting with their bodies the deepest and most spiritual longing of their souls.
Something is happening on the soul level, and it is mirrored on the body level.
And it is the ability that we have, because we’re made in God’s image, to transcend our aloneness and experience oneness with another soul, with another person.
That’s what’s happening when the two become one flesh.
In the act of sexual intimacy, they become one. In the act of sexual intimacy, in a sense, you are giving someone a piece of your soul.
This is a teaching of Scripture. It runs quite counter to prevailing wisdom in a lot of our culture.
And you’ll have to decide whether or not you believe it… but the teaching of Scripture is that the longing that your body experiences is not just a biological urge.
It’s not just your DNA programmed to promote the survival of the species for another generation as it continues to evolve.
The longing of your body is an expression of the longing of your soul, and it is deeply rooted in your spiritual existence.
And especially ever since the Fall, when we feel cut off and alone, it is an expression of our desire to not be alone like sin leaves us alone.
There’s an old quote. It’s sometimes attributed to G. K. Chesterton. No one is sure where it came from. It goes like this:
Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is really looking for God. He is really looking for that which can take away his aloneness.
I think an awful lot of people who engage in sex outside of marriage don’t do it because they set out to be promiscuous people.
I think they do it because they’re lonely.
Because there’s a voice inside every one of us that says, “I was made for connection. I was made to be loved.”
And that voice will not be stilled.
And it knows to be unconnected and to be alone is not good. It is to die a little.
And because sex is such an explosively powerful experience, because it is so breathtakingly intense, people mistakenly think that it will take away their aloneness.
And it might for a few minutes. It might distract for a little while.
But don’t be deceived. It’s not just body parts and nerve endings.
You see, in a sense — in a very real sense — when you engage in sexual intimacy, you’re not just touching someone’s body. You come as close as is humanly possible in this world to touching someone’s soul.
That’s why it is so unspeakably intimate and sensitive and delicate and powerful.
It is as close as any human being can come in this world to touching someone else’s soul.
Sex is inevitably a spiritual experience, whether we acknowledge it or not. God designed it that way.
It’s the mingling of two souls to experience a kind of oneness.
And that’s why it’s so powerful.
And that’s why people chase after it with such desperate abandon and pay such a high price.
And that’s why, when people engage in sex outside of God’s design, outside of the permanent, exclusive commitment of marriage, it does something destructive to their souls.
Because now they’re starting to give away a little piece of their soul here and a little piece of their soul there, and they don’t feel whole anymore.
It may feel quite intense and powerful and good in the moment, but it feels kind of empty or hollow eventually.
And there are feelings of guilt or remorse or abandonment or betrayal, because it’s like you’re leaving little pieces of your soul scattered in every bed you ever occupied.
I’ll give you an image of what happens in sex.
When you’re up at Tahoe in the winter, when it’s below 32 degrees, go outside. Get your tongue real wet with saliva. Walk up to a metal pole, like a stop sign or something. Put your tongue on the pole. Hold it there while your tongue freezes, bonds to the metal, and then walk away.
Then you will experience something of what goes on when you’re involved sexually with someone when there’s not this soul/permanent marriage commitment.
Have any of you ever seen the movie about a kid named Ralph called “A Christmas Story”?
Remember there was this scene where a boy named Flick gets triple-dog dared to stick his tongue to a flagpole? Well, just to make sure this image sticks in your mind, I’d like you to see that clip.
This is serving a spiritual purpose.
Video: Christmas Story
First, that moment of casual bravado. “This is nothing.”
And then that moment when the light dawns, and he realizes what’s happened.
And then that moment of horrible aloneness, where he’s just begging, “Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me.”
Because at the end of the scene, Flick knows what’s coming. He knows that when he walks away, he’s going to walk away, but he’s going to leave a little piece of himself attached to that metal flagpole. And that’s going to hurt.
People say, “It’s just sex. It’s just bodies. It’s just an urge. I can hook up with this person, and then just walk away.”
No you can’t. Not without leaving a part of yourself frozen in that bedroom. You can’t.
When you have sexual intimacy with another person, you leave a little piece of your soul with them. You lose a little bit of your wholeness.
In the moment it can feel so good, because it is such a powerful experience because it was designed to be that way.
But then, eventually, the next morning… someday, when you take a really close look in the mirror, you find there’s something kind of empty. There’s something kind of hollow. There is some nagging sense of not being whole, not being right… because there are little pieces of your soul scattered around.
It’s not just about body parts.
That’s why Paul writes this to the church at Corinth. He says:
The body is not meant for sexual immorality
In other words, your body was designed by God, and there’s a close connection, close interaction, between what happens in your body and what happens with your soul.
And that’s part of what makes life and bodies so wonderful. That’s part of what makes sexuality so wonderful… but also makes it so powerfully destructive when it’s misused.
The body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
The body is meant for the Lord — for God’s purposes.
Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”
And then Paul writes these words, which are so often unpopular in our day,
Flee from sexual immorality.
Now, why does God say that?
Is it because God is opposed to pleasure or opposed to sex?
No, because God created pleasure and God created sex.
Have you ever thought about this?
God did not have to create sex as the way to get the reproduction job done. Sometimes, people think that’s all it’s about. God didn’t have to choose sex to be the way to get the reproduction job done. He could have done it a lot of other ways.
He could have chosen a secret handshake.
He could have made a hidden button somewhere, and you just press that button or say the magic word, and out pops a little life.
He didn’t do that. He chose sexuality, sexual expression, sexual intimacy. And that’s such a good thing. I’m so glad that he did.
You think about this — the ultimate sexual fulfillment of a man and a woman having an orgasm was God’s idea. It wasn’t invented by some guy named Bob in the middle ages. It was God’s idea.
Some of you are like, “I can’t believe he just said orgasm in church.” God created it.
God created it and if you think about that for a moment — how could God be trying to ruin all the fun with sex when he created it? He created it to be so pleasurable.
He wants people to have that experience in the boundaries of a committed marriage.
But like any great power, God knows that the damage that sexuality can do when it is misused, just like a fire can be so constructive, but so damaging if it’s misused. It’s the same with sexuality.
Now, people can deny or ignore what the writers of Scripture say about sexuality if they want. A lot of people do. But there will be consequences.
There’s an interesting thing. In our society, we sometimes speak of illegal sexual activity as a victimless crime. But I’m not sure there are many activities that extract a higher toll from everyone affected.
One guy, who had been involved in a real sexually-active life, put it like this. He said:
“I could never look God in the eye. I could never fully worship him because I dreamed of being with other women, and rather enjoyed mentally recalling past sexual exploits. I knew I was a hypocrite. I couldn’t pray. I couldn’t trust. I couldn’t even hope. I was paying the price.
“And my marriage was suffering. I kept having flashbacks of past encounters. Sometimes, in the middle of physical intimacy with my wife, I’d be so overwhelmed by guilt or shame, I’d have to stop. I’d have to leave the room.
“Sometimes, I would remember. Sometimes, I would compare. Sometimes, I would regret.
“And my wife could tell I wasn’t all there. My wife was paying the price.
“At church, I was empty. I never arrived ready to serve others. I was too desperately empty and needy and guilty myself. I hid. I pretended. I came late. I left early. My church was paying a price.
“I remember listening to one message in which the pastor talked about generational sin, patterns of sin passed on from a parent to a child.
“And I remembered my grandfather had run off from his wife in the middle of the Great Depression, leaving her alone to care for six children.
“My dad left his family to pursue multiple affairs. Now, I was wrestling with the same issue. My children were paying a price — my kids.”
When people violate what the writers of Scripture teach about sex, they leave little pieces of their soul in every bed they’ve occupied.
You come to church, but you don’t want to look at God. You feel a sense of guilt and distance. You try to sing songs about God’s goodness, and they kind of choke in your throat. You feel lonely.
You get married, maybe. But instead of the oneness that you want to find, these past memories are haunting you because there are little pieces of your soul scattered far from your marriage.
It turns out it’s not just body parts and nerve endings.
This is why Jesus taught that sexual intimacy is intended by God to be reserved for a husband and a wife in the bonds of marriage and the context of an exclusive, permanent commitment to one another — period.
God says, “If you’re not married to someone, keep your hands off their soul, because you’re going to do damage.”
Because when you become sexually intimate with someone, a sexual transaction and a spiritual transaction takes place, and souls mingle together.
And in some sense that we don’t fully understand, you become one, and you leave a little piece of your soul.
And it can’t be undone.
It can’t get pulled apart.
It can’t get separated.
You might as well take two rivers that have flowed into one and gone a mile downstream, and then tried to pull apart the water that belonged to one river from the other. It can’t be done.
This means every one of us is confronted with a choice. Will I honor God’s design for sexuality? Will I reserve sexual intimacy for marriage? Will I make whatever changes I need to make to get in harmony with God’s intent?
And I know this stirs up a lot of thoughts, and I want to address a few of them.
There is a comment that I have heard from couples — usually men, more times than I can count.
Someone will say, “Marriage is just a piece of paper. What’s the big deal about waiting until you get married? Why should I reserve sex for marriage? It’s just a piece of paper. We can love each other without a piece of paper. We can be together without a piece of paper. We can have a commitment to each other without a piece of paper. What’s the big deal about a piece of paper?”
I want to talk about that for a moment.
I’ve been thinking about how that argument would go in other contexts.
For example, those of you who are in management, try a little experiment this month. At the end of the month, don’t pay your employees.
And when they come in to complain, tell them, “What’s the big deal about a paycheck? It’s just a piece of paper. We can work together without a piece of paper. We can have a company. We can build things without a piece of paper.”
Those of you in education, wait until Commencement. And then when it happens and people walk across the stage, don’t give anyone a degree. And when they come to whine about it afterwards, say, “What’s the big deal about a diploma? It’s just a piece of paper. We can learn together without a piece of paper. We can have education without a piece of paper.”
How many of you have ever gotten a traffic ticket in your life? Raise your hands real high, will you?
The next time a police officer writes you a ticket, I want you to try a little experiment. Rip it up and throw it back in his face.
And then when he asks you why you’re doing this, say, “What’s the big deal about a ticket? It’s just a piece of paper. We can drive without a piece of paper, can’t we?”
Here’s the problem with the marriage-is-just-a-piece-of-paper argument.
It is unbelievably stupid.
Marriage is not just a piece of paper, and no one who has ever given it about 30 seconds of serious consideration ever thought it was.
Marriage is a promise. Marriage is a vow.
And the vow, when it is authentically offered, is the most solemn act of self-giving that a human being is capable of.
And a promise is what makes oneness possible.
When someone says to another person, “In a shaky, unstable, chaotic world, there is one thing you can count on. You can count on me.”
Do you understand that’s what makes families possible? That’s what makes life for children stable — A promise.
Among citizens, it’s what makes a country possible.
This whole dream that God has of oneness, in our shaky world, rests on the foundation of promises.
And a marriage is a promise. It’s not a piece of paper.
It is a vow of commitment and fidelity that I will seek to honor with my body and soul as long as we both shall live.
It is done publicly so that I go on record before God, and the human society of which I’m part, that I will, from this day forward, be accountable for this sacred pledge.
It’s written on a piece of paper because we live in a literate society, so that it’s a tangible, permanent witness. I took a vow. I made an oath. I gave my word.
So this is fair warning. Don’t even start with the piece-of-paper thing. Marriage is not a piece of paper.
Marriage is demanding and costly.
It can be sobering.
It can be joyful.
It can be heart-rending.
It can demand sacrifice.
But it ain’t a piece of paper. It’s a promise.
And community gets built on promises.
Sometimes people will say something along these lines, “Hey, I don’t feel any guilt or shame. I’ve done what you’ve been talking about. We live together. We sleep together. And I don’t feel any shame about it at all. I feel great.”
Bruce Meads wrote a wonderful book called Shame and Grace, and he notes there are only two kinds of people who feel no shame at all.
One of them is someone who is perfect, someone who is whole, who is right. They feel no shame because there is nothing in them to be shamed or guilty about.
The other kind of person who feels no shame is someone who is living in denial — someone who is living an illusion.
Sometimes, people violate God’s intent for sexuality, and not only do they do that, but they don’t experience much pain over it and they’re kind of proud of it, like, “I broke the mold. Those consequences you talked about; they don’t apply to me. I don’t feel anything over it at all.”
It’s like if someone were to say, “Hey, I stuck my tongue on the pole. I walked away. It doesn’t hurt. I didn’t feel a thing.” As they’re bleeding all over the place.
The only way he could not feel the pain is if he is in denial or (and get this) if he somehow destroyed the nerve endings in his tongue.
If you destroy the nerve ending in your tongue, you’re not going to feel the pain.
And if you’ve done that, you’re in more trouble than you thought.
People destroy the nerve endings of their soul — they destroyed the healthy sense of hurt and pain they’re supposed to feel so they don’t do things that hurt them.
It’s possible for people to destroy their sensitivity.
That might happen, but it’s not something to be very happy about.
That’s a pretty dangerous place to be.
I know anytime there is a discussion like the one we’re having today, some people will think something along these lines.
They will say, “You’re telling me I have only one choice — marriage or abstinence? You’re telling me either I’ve got to get married, I’ve got to commit myself to that one person for the rest of my life, or I’m supposed to go without sex altogether? You must be joking. What planet did you come from?
“What world are you living in? Do you not understand this is the 21st century? There is no way. It is too hard. You must be some kind of low-testosterone, libido-challenged, hormone-deprived, inefficient guru.”
Well, first of all, let’s leave my testosterone out of this.
But second of all, it’s not too hard. It has been done by millions of people in every century, in every culture, including this one.
And there are, in this church, hundreds of people — including single people — who, with God’s help, through prayer and devotion and community, are seeking to honor God in their sexual lives.
And I want to say one word here, and I want to be as direct as I know how to be. Don’t you dare try to lure or tempt any one of them to leave that path.
It is too hard. It is too painstaking. It costs too much.
If someone is on that road and they are seeking, with God’s help, to honor him in that way, whatever choice you might make around this issue, if you try to get someone else to abandon their attempt to follow God, you face the most serious kinds of consequences before God that a human being can imagine.
So don’t do that. Not here.
I’ll tell you something else on this one.
I have counseled with a whole lot of people in my life. I have heard a lot of people express a lot of regrets for a lot of things that they have done, and a lot of experiences that they didn’t have.
I have never yet met a human being who got to the end of their life and said, “You know, I wish I would have slept with more people. I wish I had a bigger variety of sexual partners. That’s what I regret. I wish I had a greater smorgasbord of wilder sexual experiences outside of a committed marriage.”
I have heard a lot of regrets in my life. I’ll tell you the truth. I’ve never heard that one, not once. Never.
I’ve never known someone to get to the end of their life and look back on it and wish that they had gone outside of marriage for more and wilder sexual experiences.
Some of you have a choice to make now.
You’re involved in behavior or a relationship that is violating God’s design for your sexuality.
I just want to tell you… it needs to stop. You need to stop it now.
If you’re a couple, and you’ve been involved sexually outside of God’s design, this is going to take character and courage.
Make a decision that it stops today.
Honor God. Honor yourselves. Honor your soul. Care for your soul. Honor your relationship. Honor the marriage that you might one day be in by resolving not to give your bodies to one another until you’re ready to promise a permanent, exclusive commitment to give your soul.
Some of you, I know you’re in a relationship, and there has been sexual activity, but you’re not married yet.
And you know where your deepest values lie. That’s why you’re here.
But the person that you’re involved with is not here. They’re not hearing this message. And that means you’re going to have to have a very difficult conversation.
And I just want to encourage you. Have it. Have it today. Tell them, “I want to do it God’s way. I am going to reserve sexual intimacy for marriage and nothing else.”
And if that’s a problem, maybe you sit down with them and listen to this message together.
And if they still don’t come around, if they’re still trying to pressure you, tell them this.
Tell them, “I want you to go stick your tongue to something metal in the freezer, and then walk away. And after that we’ll talk.”
Some of you are real aware of brokenness in this area of life. And you’ve been thinking, for a long time now, about how there are little pieces of your soul scattered around, and it’s been blocking you off from feeling spiritually whole and right with God and clean and together.
And I just want you to know God is in the business of restoring broken souls.
He made them in the first place.
And he can gather all the hurts and wounds and memories and mistakes that tear you apart and make your soul whole again. God can do that.
Jesus was real clear about that.
And it’s quite remarkable.
Some of the people who were attracted to Jesus the most were people who experienced the deepest levels of hurt and regret and brokenness in this area.
He came to a woman one time. It was noon — the middle of the day — the heat of the day. There was one woman there, and in the course of their conversation, Jesus let her know he knew all about her past.
She had been married five times. She was living with a guy right now that wasn’t her husband. The reason that they were alone at the well in the middle of the day was because no one else went to the well to get water when it was that hot during the day.
But she did because she couldn’t stand the stares anymore.
She couldn’t stand the shame.
She couldn’t stand the mirror that she saw in other people’s eyes.
And Jesus looked at her and loved her, and he said, “I’ve got water to give you. And anyone who drinks from my water will never be thirsty again.”
And she had been real thirsty for a long time.
A group of self-righteous men brought a woman before Jesus one time who had been caught in sexual sin. They all had stones in their hands, and they were going to kill her.
And Jesus said to them, at great risk to himself, knowing that he would pay an enormous price for this — Jesus said, “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.”
And one by one, they all dropped them.
And she looked at Jesus, and finally she saw a man who didn’t want to use her or abuse her or throw stones at her.
And he said, “They don’t condemn you. I don’t condemn you. Go be whole. Sin no more.”
Jesus was real clear. This world is not divided up into people who are perfectly holy, and then people who are messed up.
This church is not divided up that way. Every one of us is broken, and that includes all of our sexuality.
And there is no room for smugness or self-righteousness or judgmentalism on anyone’s part.
And God can bring to every one of us a sense of healing and restoration and mercy and forgiveness and grace and new beginnings and cleansing and freedom and wholeness like you wouldn’t believe.
Just ask him. Tell him where you got off track. Tell him you want to experience forgiveness and newness and freedom. Just give him a chance. He’s a faithful God.
And this is too important — this subject.
This is not about body parts and nerve endings. This is about your soul.
Alright, let’s pray as the band comes to lead us in a closing song.
The writers of Scripture teach that sexual intimacy is not just simply a physical act, and does not just involve body parts and nerve endings. It’s not simply biology.
When it comes to sex, we’re dealing with something so explosively powerful that deeply involves the human soul. God did not create us as souls, and then just wrap us around a disposable bodies. God created Adam’s body and then breathed into it the breath of life. His body was intimately connected with his soul.
Join us this Sunday as we explore why sex is so unspeakably intimate, sensitive, delicate and powerful; why it is as close as any human being can come in this world to touching someone else’s soul.
1 Corinthians 6:13-18
I will honor God’s design for sexuality.
I will reserve sexual intimacy for marriage.
I will make whatever changes I need to make to get in harmony with God’s intent.