May 18, 2008 Series: Redemption
Topic: Gospel Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:3–4:8
May 18, 2008
God Good...Man Bad.
John 17 says that Jesus sends us into a world enslaved in sin to proclaim freedom in Jesus. Our series on Redemption is an attempt to find those things in culture that we can Redeem (free from slavery) and discern how exactly we do that without sinning ourselves. It begins with recognizing that God created a world that was good but man's willful disobedience (sin) has deformed it. Jesus came to set right what man broke, to take those things in creation that we abuse and even worship and TURN them back toward him. There is no such thing as ‘spiritual' and ‘non-spiritual'-all of our lives are spiritual. All that we do, therefore, what we eat, what we drink, our language, our politics, our money, our jobs, our parenting, our past experiences, even our sexuality.
Can you talk about Sex in Church?
We don't typically talk about sex in church. In fact, I've thought about all of the sermons that I have heard about sex...I couldn't think of one which is strange because the Bible speaks about sex A LOT. The only sermons where I ever recall the word sex mentioned was when it was in the context of sin. So, I grew up knowing a lot about how to NOT have sex, what I should be SCARED about having sex, and that I was a good Christian if I AVOIDED sex all together. I imagine that most of you are the same. So, I expect that it doesn't matter too much what I say, the very nature of this subject is going to make you squirm in your seat a bit, which is a good thing. Without question, there are right reasons (equip) and wrong reasons (excite) to talk about sex in church. When speaking about spiritual warfare, C.S. Lewis warned that we cannot become too enamored with the powers of darkness nor can we ignore them. The same is with sex. We cannot speak of sex with unabashed liberty and we cannot be silent.
Why does sex need redemption?
We must talk about it. We must talk about sex in church because the world is talking about it non-stop and they don't know what the #$%* their talking about. The world would lead you to believe that love and sex are synonymous, that sex is a human right (in other words, because you're capable of doing it, then you have the right to), and that it's just a physical act so, as one band sang, "You and me, baby, ain't nothing but mammals, so let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel."
We live in society that is enslaved to sex. Peter Kreeft says that ‘Sex is the effective religion of our culture.' The world has separated itself so far from the Creator that no only does He have no say in sex, but sexuality has a say in determining and directing all other aspects of our life. As a result of separating the creation from its creator, a misguided pursuit of "FREEDOM" results in men and women are in bondage to sexual sin believing that in it they will find identity and validation. Men and women then redefine what the creator already defined, using all sorts of warped sociological and theological justifications for why they choose to be naked instead of choosing Jesus.
God Created Sex
God does have a definite design for our sexuality...Genesis 1.26-27 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, ï»¿ "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Sex was not always separated from God; sex was not a cultural invention...Sex is God's Idea. Sex didn't come as a result of the fall. It was not an accident that Adam and Eve stumbled upon when they were playing around the garden one day---"What in the world is that?" He designed how our bodies would react down to the very details of both men and women. He creates us as image bearers of Him and the first thing he says is NOW GO HAVE SEX.
God Created Sex for Man & Woman
Genesis 2.22-24 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he madeï»¿ into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
" This at last is ï»¿bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was ï»¿taken out of Man." ï»¿
Like a Father of the bride, God brings His daughter and gives her to the groom. Adam is so taken back that he speaks a song as his first words. Before the creation of Eve, Adam had never seen a woman because, until that point Adam one had not been formed by God. All that Adam had seen was bunch of animals and small woodland creatures that God said wouldn't make a proper bride. Eve may or may have not been beautiful by culture's standards, but to Adam she was glorious because she was all he had ever known. Practically, he had no standard of beauty to compare his bride to and so God decreed that the standard for a man would should simply be his bride.[i]
God Created Sex for Marriage
Clearly, God created sex for the marriage. From Genesis to Revelation, God is a God of marriage. In God's design, ALL sexual expression is to occur within the protective parameters that he created. It is here that sex is to be celebrated and enjoyed to the glory of God.
18 Let your ï»¿fountain be blessed,
and ï»¿rejoice in ï»¿the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts ï»¿fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicatedï»¿ always in her love.
In Genesis 2.24, God says 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. The sexual union between a husband and wife is unlike any other relationship man knows. When men and women have sex with one another, something happens that is beyond the physical. They become ONE flesh in a spiritual, emotional, and physical sense. This BOND created in the sexual act is quite possibly the most powerful bonding agent there is-many argue the only comparable reaction is heroin. Like an addiction, sexuality then has the potential for great ugliness, but its designed for beauty as a married couple to stands before one another "naked and unashamed" broken, imperfect, and yet loved-the gospel.
Sin enters the world and our sex
In Genesis 3, however, all that was beautiful, glorious, and God honoring fell. In Genesis 3, our first parents disobey God thereby becoming sinful and separating themselves from God. The Bible says that not only was our relationship with God destroyed, so was our relationship with creation, our relationships with each other, and even ourselves. Just like our first parents, instead of turning to God's word for direction and meaning, we continue to try and figure it out on our own. It's like trying to fix some machine you broke without a manual, without ever using it, when you could just as easily ask the inventor himself. So we search for all kinds of different pleasures BONDING to them instead of our husbands/wives, using people and things fill that loneliness void that God says was are designed for Him. And in our search we walk further and further away from God for all kinds of reasons, but really for the same one. "Everyone who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God." GK Chesterton
Men and Women experience God's Passive Wrath
Romans 1.22-32 Unnatural passions are all sexual expression outside of the parameters that God expressly describes throughout all of Scripture. To argue differently takes the most creative twisting of Scripture that it is nothing short of absurd. The Bible speaks quite clearly about what is dishonorable and disobedient to God's design.
- Fornication: Sex before marriage
- Adultery: Sex outside of marriage
- Homosexuality: Sex outside of marriage with someone of the same gender
- Bestiality: Sex with animals
- Addictive Masturbation: Sex with Self/Homosexuality
- Rape: Sex and Violence
- Prostitution: Selling one's body for sex
- Incest: Sex with someone in the same family
- Lust: Fantasying about any of these things/sex outside of marriage
- o In Matthew 5, Jesus condemns the self righteous who do nothing on the list.
- Paul condemns the self-indulgent who do something not on the list.
- o Sexual Immorality: 1Cor 5.1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. The Greek word for sexual immorality is πορνεÎ¯α (porneia), ας (as), á¼¡ (hÄ“): fornication, sexual immorality, sexual sin of a general kind, that includes many different behaviors. Fornication is sexual expression with someone you're not married to in any form.
Sinful Men and Women Supress Exchange the Truth about Sex & Teach Others
Those who were born in the 50,60,70's are in essence the result of a sexual experiment called the sexual revolution. This movement had a powerful influence on the sexual education of generations.
- 1930-1965 Margaret Sanger "Sex can be rendered effective and valuable only as it meets and satisfies the interests and demands of the pupil himself." (Self-Centered).
- 1943-1950 Kinsey Report [ii] Argued that all sexual behaviors were "natural" including bestiality, pedophilia, homosexuality, sodomy, and sadistic sex. He argued that sex and morality had not connection, that there was nothing inherently wrong with child-adult sex but superstitious taboos, and that the only "wrong sex act" was the one you're not capable of performing.
- 1953-1965 Dr. Mary Calderone became director of National Medical Committee of Planned Parenthood., and later co-founded Sex Information and Education Council of U.S. (SIECUS) a sex-ed provider launched by the Kinsey Institute with seed money provided by Playboy. In 1981 she stated, A new stage of evolution is breaking across the horizon and the task of educators is to prepare children to step into that new world. To do this, they must pry children away from old views and values, especially from biblical and other traditional forms of sexual morality - for religious laws or rules about sex were made on the basis of ignorance. (Calderone & Johnson, The Family Book About Sexuality, 1981)[iii]
Sex and Sin in the 21st Century
Proverbs 27.20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man. With the dawn of the internet age partnered with the separation of sexual expression completely from any form of values, marriage, even relationship-suddenly we could experience sex in any place, any time, any amount, and in any form we want. Consider the following statistics[iv]
Our Leaders & People
- In 1999, the National Council on Sexual Addiction Compulsivity estimated that 6%-8% of Americans are sex addicts. 91% of men raised in Christian homes were exposed to pornography while growing up (compared with 98% of those not raised in Christian home.
Time & Searches
- According to a study by MSNBC, as many as 25 million Americans spend 1-10 hours per week viewing Internet pornography, and as many as 4.7 million spend over 11 hours per week viewing Internet pornography.
- 70% of Internet porn traffic occurs during normal work hours (between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.), with people in the Eastern time zone accounting for 30% of Internet porn use.
- The term "sex" was the most popular term for which people searched on the Internet, consisting of 1 of every 300 terms. In fact, people used this search term more than the following eight terms combined: "games," "music," "travel," "jokes," "cars," "jobs," "weather" and "health." The term "porn" (including the variations "porno" and "pornography") was the 4th most popular search term. Also falling within the top 20 search terms were "nude" (including "nudes"), "xxx," "playboy" and "erotic stories" (including "erotica").*
Film & TV Porn
- There are more outlets for hard-core porn in the United States than McDonald's restaurants.
- During 2002, annual rentals and sales of adult videos and DVDs topped $4 billion, with the industry producing 11,000 titles each year, more than 20 times as many as Hollywood.
- The average kindergartener has already spent nearly 6,000 hours watching television - more time than it takes to obtain a college degree. By the time teens graduate from high school, they will have spent 15,000 hours watching television, compared with 12,000 hours spent in the classroom.
- According to US News and World Report, the pornography industry takes in more than $8 billion a year, which is more than rock and country music, and more than all Broadway productions, theater, ballet, jazz and classical music combined.
- The Adult Video News Media Network, a trade publication, estimates that the industry earns $14 billion annually.
Impact on Children
- 91% of the first exposure by a teen to pornography was during benign activities, such as research for school projects or surfing the Web for other information.
- Some counselors are estimating that due to the Internet usage by children, the average age of a boy exposure to hard core pornography is eight-and-a-half years old, and for girls is eleven years old.
- According to a survey in 2001, 61% of all high school seniors have had sexual intercourse, about 50% are currently sexually active, and 21% have had 4 or more sex partners.
The Next Thing.....
In the Everett Herald just this past Friday, there was an article titled ‘Sexy Espresso" makes people steamed. In it they describe a new wave of sexuality that has cropped up in the Northwest, where coffee stand now use sex to sell coffee. Scantily clad young girls ages 17-early 20's try to avoid third degree burns as they make Americano's in little more than bikinis, and sometime just stickers. One owner employs his own 17 year old daughter, doesn't know what the fuss is all about. --"Carrie Smith, owner of the Mocha Boat in Lynnwood, said she switched themes six months ago after a competing stand hired young women to stand on the corner with pasties and tight shorts...---Business tripled after her employees started wearing more revealing outfits, she said..."We had to close the stand or roll with it," Smith said. "I sold my soul for a dollar.""
The HEART of the problem is Idolotary
Internet, TV, Films, and Magazines are not the problem-our hearts that worship other gods are. Colossians 3.5 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.
With a "New god" comes "New Religion"
We are creatures of worship and Romans 1.25 says we will either worship God or creation. You cannot break any commandment of God without breaking the first commandment to have no other God's before me. I firmly believe that the idol with the most followers today is Sex-that which the most people are trying to find salvation in but, instead, they are becoming enslaved to. Everything you identify as being a "Christian" can also be paralleled in the life of an individual who worships sex. It is much more than behavior, it is an identity with its own doctrines, practices, and community.
- Books, articles, and films focused on normalizing this worldview
- Parades, activities, and events to celebrate their worldview
- Non-Profit Organizations dedicated to promulgating this worldview
- Bumper stickers, clothing styles, jewelry further identifying this worldview
- Clubs at School meeting to talk about their own how to teach their worldview
Where is the CHURCH in all of this?
As a result of abuse, indulgence, and perversion, the church became fearful. In response, they demonized sex just as they had other aspects of God's creation that had been abused and made it something taboo. Theologians surrendered authority in sexuality over to secular counselors who blurred all distinctions between men and women further spiraling sexuality into a bog of confusion. As the church became weaker and more feminine in nature, it became perceived as an organization for women, children, and weak men. Pastors stopped having meaningful conversations about important and often controversial topics except to condemn sinful behavior they themselves were probably enslaved to.
- Churches became irrelevant: Because churches flee to the hills, they quickly become irrelevant regarding sexuality. They are not viewed as authoritative because they either spoke in a language the culture couldn't understand or they looked so much like culture you couldn't tell the difference. They spend their time preaching the truth about what was wrong but not about how to redeem it to make it right.
- Pastors became weak and unapproachable: Pastors then live very private lives, teaching their congregants how to live fruitful, good, moral, Christian lives but not how to have fruitful godly sex lives. So, the pews were full of unsatisfied men and women who turned to perversion to find satisfaction. Men found porn and women discovered emotional affairs.
- Parents became uneducated: Parents learned what to say "NO" to and assumed that this would teach their children what to say "yes" to. They were successful in building "fences" that protected from indulgence, but failed to failed to paint a more beautiful alternative picture of what fruitful Christian sex looks like that would protect us from self-righteousness and ensure joy. (Sex Talk: Mom & Dad)
- Children searched for answers: Children are the real victims. Because their churches did not teach them, and their parents were ignorant, they turned to two things TV and School. We've already learned what that taught them.
How can we Redeem Sex?
Now that I've given you a dark picture, let's talk about the FREEDOM that God offers. We will welcome and treat all people with dignity and respect
SPEAK & ACT RIGHTLY ABOUT SEX
We will repent of our stereotypes and prejudices towards those struggling with sexual sin and we will never single out sexual sin as worse than any other but is sinful. At the same time, we respect the power of sexual sin and the severity of its consequences unlike any other sin. 1Cor 6.18-20 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. God hates sexual immorality. 1Cor 10.8 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.
SPEAK & ACT HUMBLY ABOUT SEX
1Cor 6.9-11 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God We will acknowledge that everyone is capable of every sin. There is no sinful behavior that given the right circumstances my sinful heart will not adopt.
SPEAK & ACT HONESTLY ABOUT SEX
James 5.15-16 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. If you are struggling with sexual sin, healing will not occur hiding away in the darkness. You must bring it to the light-married or not. If you're not satisfied in your marriage relationship, then you must speak boldly and openly.
SPEAK & ACT TRUTHFULLY ABOUT SEX
John 8.31-32 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." If you do not learn the truth, you will be enslaved to lies. Become educated and be open with your spouse and your children. If you are going to speak truthfully then you are going to need to become a student of sex.
Hebrews 13.4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Marriage is ALWAYS the context to speak frankly about sex in. If we speak about sex frankly without speaking about marriage we cannot glorify God. So, we will lift up marriage & we will not be silent but celebrate God's gift sex as we use the Bible, not culture, to teach on sexuality and relationships 1Thessialonians 4.3ff
Conclusion: PROCLAIM GOSPEL FREEDOM vs. SIN MANAGEMENT
- Redeemed from Bondage to Sexual Sin begins with accepting Jesus a choice to deny self
- Redemption from Bondage Sexual Ignorance begins with Jesus a life of self-denial
[iii] http://www.battlefortruth.org/ArticlesDetail.asp?id=274 5/14/08
[iv] All Statistics Found at www.1wayout.org/pages/internet-pornography-statistics.aspx