[buzzsprout episode=’564165′ player=’true’]
September 10, 2017
Pastor Jeff Struecker
People go all over the globe, all over the internet, trying to get answers to honest questions, and if you’re seriously trying to find some answers to the question of sex, I want to ask you: Where do you go? Do you go to Google to try to get those answers? Do you get on your phone and talk to Siri about those answers? -because that’s about as crazy as going to the Magic Eight Ball and trying to find answers to these questions, because these questions are so profound and so powerful.
I really didn’t want to cover this discussion with you starting today. Let me tell you how this whole thing developed. Back in the spring, I had 4 or 5 topics that I was considering preaching on this fall, and there was a group of people from our church that were meeting together. So, I just asked them, “Hey, of these 4 or 5 topics, which would you like for me to be talking about this fall?” I was planning out my sermons for the entire year, and the group said (kind of the majority opinion in the group was), “We don’t want to hear about any of those topics, Jeff. Here’s what we’d like for you to talk to us about. We want you to talk to us about sex.” And I said, “I have no interest in talking about sex. Here are the 4 or 5 things that I really would like to talk about.” And then somebody in the room made this statement, and this statement is what got my attention. Somebody in the room basically said, “No one has ever talked to me about this in church before, and we would like you to tackle this topic.”
So, I’m just going to do this as a quick survey. I am not going to embarrass you. Please just bear with me for just a second. How many of you in this room were raised in the church, meaning you’ve pretty much a been in church for most of your life? Raise your hand, and raise it up high, and keep it up there. Okay, now keep your hands up in the air. How many of you that were raised in the church most of your life have ever in your entire life heard one entire sermon on sex? I want you to do me a favor and look around the room right now. Almost all of you in the room said, “I was pretty much raised in the church,” and less than 10% of you in the room have said, “Never in my entire life have I ever heard one sermon on sex.
What I started to realize is that the church has been really, really quiet. It’s really been silent on this issue, and by our silence, we’ve kind of conceded this issue to the enemy. There are kind of two ways that the church can go wrong. There are two ways that society can go wrong on the subject of sex. One is to be so silent that you never talk about it all. It’s always given as, “That’s a thing that we do, but we don’t talk about it.” But the opposite side of the coin is to basically make this thing out to be more than it’s supposed to be. Sex becomes so significant that it’s taken on some kind of a perception of its own. Sex becomes sacrilegious when it gets to that point, because sex becomes a thing that you worship when it dominates your mind and your attention.
So, what we’re going to try to do today is work to try to shoot for a healthy middle ground. It’s good for the church to talk about sex. In fact, I’m going to suggest that there something spiritual; There’s something sacred, there’s something holy, about sex, and I can use lots of human examples to back this up.
For millennia, for thousands of years, people all over the planet have practiced temple prostitution. That means you went to a temple, and part of the act of worship in that temple was, you would have sex with a prostitute in that temple, and that was your way of worshiping the god of that temple.
Don’t act like that was something that happened many hundreds of years ago, because still in some cultures in the world today, there is cult prostitution, and when you join the cult, you give your body over to the cult, or you’re expected to have sex with a prostitute as part of this cult worship. It still happens in some places around the world today. They have attached the spiritual to the sexual, and it’s a natural connection.
So, I have 2 goals for us today. The first goal is to reclaim some territory that perhaps the church has given over to the enemy and has basically said by not speaking about this at all, “What you do on Sunday is church business, but what you do in your bedroom on Monday night… That’s not spiritual. There’s nothing sacred about that.” That idea is wrong. In fact, I’m going to do everything I can today to convince you that this was God’s original creation, and God therefore deserves the credit for the act of sex.
But the second goal is that there is no question in my mind, among us in this room, some of you have made some mistakes in this area in the past, and those mistakes have brought great shame and guilt. I’m going to try today to help you go from guilt, to forgiveness and gratitude to God for who He is and what He’s done for His people when it comes to the act of sex.
Now, in order to paint the picture for this entire sermon and where I’m going today, I have one sentence that I want everybody in this room to write down, either in your mobile app in those personal notes (would you put this sentence in there and then email it to yourself?) or write this down in the worship guide. I’m going to stop talking long enough for all of you to write this down, and then we’re going to dissect the sentence for just a few minutes…
God created sex for His glory and your good.
First, and perhaps the most important, thing you hear in this sentence are those first three words: God created sex… This is God’s territory, and God deserves to have the credit for this thing, but the second part of this sentence explains something to you about our bodies; It explains something to you about the Bible; It explains something to you about God. “God, why did you create this thing called sex?” Well, all of God’s created order is first and always to give Him glory, but secondly, God created this thing for our good as well.
I. God created sex to function like it does
We’re going to kind of unpack this sentence as we go along, and the first way that we’re going to unpack this sentence is (write this down), God created sex to function the way that it does. In other words, God created sex to make babies. In case your parents told you that by eating watermelon seeds, you get a baby, that’s not how babies are made. Perhaps you’re hearing this for the first time. It’s through the act of sex that babies are made, and God created the act of sex for the purpose of making babies, but not only for the purpose of making them. I’m going to go all the way back to the very beginning, to the first chapter of the Bible to describe this for you. God made us sexual beings. Genesis chapter 1, verse 28:
Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
-Meaning, “Have lots of babies. Populate the whole Earth, so that the whole Earth knows that man is the pinnacle of God’s creation.” Now, a couple of weeks ago, I dealt with how this is back in the Garden of Eden. This is before sin has ever entered into the equation. Adam and Eve have this perfect relationship in the garden, and even the next chapter tells us about this perfect relationship. -that the man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. And then sin enters the equation, and the very first thing that sin does, is it impacts humans’ relationship to each other, and then it impacts our relationship to God, which means now, every aspect of the human relationship (including the act of sex) has been impacted by sin.
Sin becomes so rampant, it becomes so prevalent, that it spreads all over the globe, and the Bible tells us that every person is only thinking about sin all the time. God is so disappointed by what sin has done to His creation that in the book of Genesis, God decides, “I’m going to destroy everything that I’ve made. I’m going to send a great, global flood. I’m going to kill everybody except for four men and their wives. -except for Noah, his sons, and their wives. I’m going to hit the reset button on creation. I’m going to wipe every sinful creature off of the planet, and I’m going to start all over again with Noah and his family.” And in Genesis chapter 9, verse 1, God gives Noah and his family the exact same command that he gave Adam and Eve.
Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth.”
God’s plan from the very beginning was that the act of sex would create babies. In fact, if you read it up here on the screens, it’s not just God’s plan for the beginning that a married couple would be having sex regularly, but He commands it! -that y’all are supposed to do this, and it’s something that is going to result in a baby.
Now, I want to make sure that we understand something in here today. God didn’t create the act of sex only for the purpose of making babies. I’m going to deal with that false teaching in just a second. If you have that idea in the back of your mind -that sex is only for the purpose of making babies- then you would have to explain why it is that a woman can only conceive a child a couple of days a month, and the whole rest of the month, she’s unable to conceive. Why did God make her body that way if He only wanted sex to equal babies?
‘See, the truth is, there are some denominations that have a very bad teaching on this subject. They teach you should never, as a married couple, have sex unless you’re planning on having a baby, and if you’re not trying to have a baby, then you should not be having sex, and I want them to know -I would tell them to their face- they’re absolutely dead wrong on the subject. And those churches that teach that, the denominations that have that kind of viewpoint, they typically get really, really militant when it comes to birth control. “You can never use birth control, because sex is always for the purpose of making babies.” And I think those denominations are wrong.
As we’re going along today, I’m going to try to answer some questions that were sent in online before this sermon started, and one of the questions that was sent there was this: “What are your thoughts on birth control, and how long should we wait before having children?”
Well, those are two really broad questions. I’m going to tackle the birth control thing very quickly and then the second question in just a second. Generally speaking, I don’t have a problem with birth control, except the kind of birth control that destroys the egg. That birth control, I think a Christian couple should never consider, and here’s why: The ethics of human life says at some point, God puts the soul inside that creation, and that creation becomes a living being that will go on forever. I don’t know; No scientist can tell you, exactly the moment that God places the soul inside that egg in a woman’s body, and because nobody can ever tell you the exact moment, any birth control that destroys the egg, I think has the potential of destroying a human being. -a living soul that will go on forever. So, I don’t think it’s ever an acceptable option for a Christian couple to consider that kind of birth control. -the stuff that destroys the egg. But, other forms of birth control may not only be appropriate, but it may be a good idea for some couples for some periods of time.
The person also asked, “How long should we wait before having a child?” I can’t possibly answer that for every couple in this room. I will say this, though: The Bible kind of addresses this. It says that when a Hebrew man marries a wife, he should not go off to war for the first year. Leave him at home while the rest of the army goes off to war. And I think the idea here, is that he should spend a year getting to know his wife and learning to live life together before he has to go away, and that’s probably a good principle to use. Maybe you ought to spend about a year getting to know one another before you introduce a screaming tyrant into the equation called an infant that’s never going to let you have a moment of rest to yourself (just Jeff’s thoughts on that question).
So, the first point that I want you to see is that God created this thing called sex, and it’s His design. Look, we have to give Him credit for this, and by not giving him credit for this, if you’re not careful, you are silently conceding this territory to the enemy, and I refuse to let Satan have any credit for what happens in a Christian marriage in the bedroom.
II. God created sex to fit like it does
The second point that I want you to write down: God created sex to fit the way that it does. In other words, He created the human body to fit together the way that a man and a woman fit together in the act of sex. I’ve been saying publicly for years that we humans are the only creatures that have sex face-to-face. It’s really not true. I did a little bit of research, and really, I think a better way to say this is, we’re the only creatures that have sex eyeball-to-eyeball. -because there are some mammals in the water that have sex belly-to-belly. Whales do. Dolphins do. Sea otters do…Until just recently, we thought we were pretty much the only animals on earth that have sex this way, and the truth is, we are the only animals that regularly have sex this way.
However, there have been some very rarely-reported occasions, even documented occasions, where orangutans and gorillas have sex belly-to-belly, but beyond that, all of the fish in the sea, all of the birds in the air, all of the insects on the ground, all of the animals have sex differently from this, with one exception, and that’s the bonobos monkey. Are y’all ready for this? The bonobos monkey regularly (not always, but regularly) has sex face-to-face (not eyeball-to-eyeball, but face-to-face). Now, in case there are any Darwinist in the room who say, “’See? People came from monkeys.” -I want to remind you that bonobos monkeys have sex every time they meet one another. This is their way of exchanging business cards with one another. Any time they meet one another, it is an act of face-to-face sex, and then after that, they are rarely face-to-face sexual with one another. So, before you take the whole bonobos monkey thing as the proof that people descended from monkeys, you’ve got a little bit of work to do on that one. Why don’t we greet each other that way?
There’s an entire book of the Bible dedicated to the topic of sex, and I want you to pay close attention to one verse in this book of the Bible about how God created the way a man and a woman fit together. Song of Solomon chapter 2 says this: (This is the woman speaking about her lover)
Song of Solomon 2:3-6
Like the finest apple tree in the orchard is my lover among other young men. I sit in his delightful shade and taste his delicious fruit. 4 He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much he loves me. 5 Strengthen me with raisin cakes, refresh me with apples, for I am weak with love. 6 His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.
For many years, there have been pastors and theologians who have tried to explain away the Song of Solomon, and they’ve said, “This isn’t about a man and woman. This is about the church. The woman represents Jesus’ church, and this is about Jesus. The man represents Jesus.” And they’ve turned the entire book of the Song of Solomon into an allegory. By doing this, they’ve done violence to the Scriptures. But they have to work really hard. I believe the book, Song of Solomon, is a book about marriage and love and romance and sex, but if they were to take that allegorical view of church and Jesus, not a man and a woman, they’re going to have to struggle with verses 5 and 6, because in verse 5, raisin cakes were the ancient equivalent of Viagra. They were considered aphrodisiacs, and in verse 6, the imagery is very clear here. He wraps his arm around me. His left arm under my head, and his right arm embraces me. They are face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball.
Look, I think this is really important. Listen to me, y’all. God created human beings so that when we have the act of sex, it’s not just flesh coming together. It’s you looking each other in the face, and it’s hearts coming together. But, I think it’s even more than that. It’s you watching each other’s eyes. It’s her looking deeply into her husband’s eyes. It’s him looking deeply into his wife’s eyes, and it’s two souls coming together during the act of sex. This is something that humans do during sex that no other creature on earth does during sex. It’s a mingling of bodies and hearts and souls together, and I think God created sex to be spectacular, and He and He alone deserves the credit for this thing called sex.
Now, some lady texted in a question -all the questions that come in are totally anonymous, so I have no idea who sent this question in, but some lady asked the question, “Should I have sex with my husband every time he wants it?” Well, I have a question for you (whoever asked this): Does he want it once a year? – because if so, you probably should be having sex with him once. Does he want it twice an hour? -because if it’s twice an hour, that’s probably too much. I don’t know that you can probably get anything done if that’s how often that he wants to have sex together.
The truth is, two human beings, any two human beings, are going to have a different sexual appetite, a different desire for the act of sex than one another. So, for any Christian couple, you’re going to have to come to a compromise. You’re going to have to come to an agreement on how much is enough sex. And one of you is probably not going to have it as often as you’d like to, but you’re having it enough. One of you is probably going to have it more often than you’d like to, but you’re having it enough.
III. God created sex to feel like it does
God made sex to function the way that it does. God made sex to fit together the way that it does. Look, here’s where God really deserves the credit: God made sex to feel like it does. -and parents, please teach your children, this is pretty awesome. This is why everybody talks about it. -because it feels that great. And, our great God created this thing.
In fact, I’m convinced Adam and Eve were having sex in the garden. I don’t think they were hiding in the bushes when they were doing this. I’m convinced that God was sitting up in Heaven, and God said, “Hey Jesus, come on over. ‘You see what those two are doing? I did that. ‘You see how that thing feels together? That’s my creation. High-five. I made that thing that they called sex right there.”
I don’t think that Adam and Eve stumbled across this thing on their own and figured this thing out on their own. Let’s just be honest. It feels good. And as a result, some people have elevated the feeling of sex to the point that that’s all they think about, and when you’ve done that, you’ve turned sex into an object of worship. Sex has become an idol, or a god to you. Titus chapter 2 addresses this for us. Here’s what the Bible says:
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
I want to look at verse 12. Verse 12 admits there’s pleasure that goes along with sin. There’s pleasure that goes along with sex, and if you’re not careful, you’ll let the pleasure that goes along with it become a god in and of itself. Here’s what the pagan, here’s what the hardened atheist experiences: the same degree of pleasure. -because of God’s common grace, God’s common goodness on humankind, the total atheist gets pleasure out of sex, just like the Christian couple in marriage gets pleasure out of sex. But when that pleasure gets out of God’s given boundaries, then that pleasure becomes a perversion.
The common goodness of God says that all people, even the pagan experiences pleasure that goes along with sex. But, I’m convinced God’s people, when we rightly understand the idea -that God created this thing called sex; God created this thing to fit together the way that it fits together and to feel the way that it feels- the pleasure that we feel from sex should be more than just physical. There should be something spiritual about the pleasure that you and I get from sex.
In other words, here’s what I’m saying: Christian couples should be having the best sex of anybody in the community, because you and I are doing it in a God- honoring way, and by doing it in a way that honors God, we’re bringing God glory, and by the way, it’s good. -the good gift that God has given us as well.
There was a medieval philosopher, a guy by the name of Nahmanides, and he lived around the mid-1100’s. He thought deeply about a lot of subjects, and he thought deeply about sex. Here’s something that Nahmanides of Spain taught: He said, “I believe God’s people should go home and practice sex on Sunday afternoons and on Sunday evenings.” This was his argument: that God declared everything that He created to be good. God created the act of sex. The act of sex is good, and it would be wrong for us to declare not good what God has declared good. But, Nahmanides took it a step further. He said, “Therefore, use your sense of touch [this is his words, not mine] and the experience of orgasm that goes along with sex as a way of giving God credit for the good gifts that He created.”
He’s saying, “Go home and have sex. Go home and have sex regularly, and have enjoyable sex. And by doing this within a Christian marriage, you are honoring God, because that’s what God created. That’s the institution for which God created the act of sex to take place.” I would agree completely with Nahmanides.
The trouble is when sex happens outside of marriage, it often brings guilt, and it often brings shame. So, I want to talk for just a second to somebody in this room who maybe made some mistakes in your past, and now you’re carrying around those mistakes. Maybe you’re literally caring around the results of those mistakes in your body with a sexually transmitted disease that’s going to last with you forever, and you’re saying, “I regret what I did in the past.”
If that’s you, I want to remind you that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the blood of Jesus, covers every mistake. It covers every failure. It covers every sin, to include this sin. And if you’ll submit to the blood of Jesus Christ, He casts away your sin as far as the east is from the west, and what God no longer holds you accountable for, what God has already forgiven you for, you should be willing to forgive yourself for.
For some of you in this room, perhaps you have been like that many, many people who have been in my off who said to me, “Jeff, if I could go back and undo anything in my life, I’d go back and undo the sex that I had before marriage. I regret that, and if I could, I would go back to being a virgin on my wedding day, but I can’t.” And then they ask me, “How do I undo not just the guilt and shame, how do I undo the thoughts and the memories that I’m carrying with me into my marriage bedroom now, because of the sex that I had before I was married?”
Here’s what I’ll tell them: You can’t unscramble eggs. There’s no way to go back and undo what’s happened in the past. You can’t go back to your virginity. That’s a gift that you gave away before your wedding day, and maybe you’ll not even be able to get those memories out of your mind even while you’re married, but that doesn’t mean that those memories, those thoughts, have to haunt you in the bedroom. They certainly don’t have to hold you back in the bedroom anymore, don’t allow what’s happened to you in the past that God has forgiven you for, to hold you back in the future in this area. It’s just too important and too powerful in a marriage to allow the enemy to have a grasp, or a stronghold, on you.
(Question and Answer Session)
• I realize today that Jesus doesn’t have every area of my heart. I surrender my heart and my life to Jesus for the first time this morning.
– I have made some mistakes in the past. With God’s help, I surrender my sexual practices to the Lord Jesus Christ.
+ I will practice sexual purity in the future.
- Why do the media and advertisers give so much attention to sex in our society?
- A couple that has sex enters into a new level of their relationship. Why does a relationship between two people change so drastically after they’ve had sex?
- What did your parents teach you about sex? If you’re a parent, what do you consider important for your children to know about sex?
- God has specific instructions for sex in the Bible. What does it say about our faith if we practice sex outside of the rules set by the Bible?
- Adultery is a form of idolatry. How would you help someone who has had an affair pick up the pieces of his or her life and get right with God?
- If God didn’t create sex to be mundane, why does the popular media portray unmarried sex as exciting and married sex as boring?
- Pray for our purity this week.