I would suspect that in teaching about sex, most would expect to hear a whole lot of do’s and don’ts, especially don’ts. But the language that says “do not” all the time is the language that is still under the Law and as you might remember from last week, we are now free of the Law and to quote Paul:
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
When we are born again we become a people of hope, people who see all things positively. So where the law says: ‘Do not murder’, freedom says ‘Honour life’; where the law says ‘Don’t steal’ freedom says ‘Respect one another’s property’; where the law says ‘Don’t commit adultery’, freedom says ‘Be faithful’ ... I hope you can see how our freedom sets us free from “do not, do not do not” and creates the possibility of “what would Jesus have me do in this situation” and then asking for the Holy Spirit to empower you to do that. That’s freedom, and
... if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
So I need to say that the best sex education must begin with a deep desire to see the person you wish to educate sexually, born again ... saved! I say this because I don’t believe it is possible to steer a path of sexual purity without the power of the Holy Spirit. It is my experience that even as a born again Christian, I have struggled in this area of my life. Without Him, I wouldn’t be able to stand before you with any integrity on this subject.
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Believe that truth and live by it. Do we need to have lists of do’s and don’ts, must we give our children lists of do’s and don’ts, or can we trust the Holy Spirit? And God have mercy on you if your answer is ... I cannot trust the Holy Spirit to guide my born again, saved child. And of course, once we are saved, we are encouraged to read the Bible and to never stop reading the Bible, which remains the main way (not the only way) that the Holy Spirit guides us.
Where do I start reading the Bible ... at the beginning. And very near the beginning, about 2 pages in you come across the subject of sex. The Lord brings the first woman to the first man and:
The man said,
‘This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called “woman”,
for she was taken out of man.’
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called “woman”,
for she was taken out of man.’
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife (that refers to marriage), and they become one flesh (that refers to sexual union).
A more accurate translation of bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh is WOW! Adam sees Eve and says WOW! Husbands ... when last did you look at your wife and say WOW!
So the first thing we learn about sex is that it is between two people who have become united as husband and wife ... notice how there is no negative or legalistic language involved. But there is more:
This coming together in the act of sexual intercourse is more than just a physical thing ... it is a spiritual event as well. When Jesus spoke on this subject, He quoted Genesis but added to it the spiritual element, that this is meant for those whom God, who is Spirit, brings together:
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.
So, it’s not Anyone for Sex, it is only those whom God brings together who should have sexual relations. Why? Well, notice that they become and are one flesh ... even when they are not physically joined all the time. I will say it again: This coming together in the act of sexual intercourse is more than just a physical thing ... it is a spiritual event as well. The sexual union is also a union of souls.
Chris and I, Gavin and Irene, all of you who are married to each other, are one flesh right now ... the two have become one. It goes deeper than the physical ... it goes down to the soul. When the Bible talks about people being knit together, becoming one flesh it speaks of what today some call soul ties. A soul tie ties two people together at a deeper level than the physical and this is only meant to happen between two people whom God brings together.
This deeper level union forms between every person you have sex with and you remain connected to them at this level long after the act of sexual coming together. This is why there is no such thing as ‘casual sex’ as if it’s the same as meeting someone for tea. Paul speaks more of this in 1 Corinthians 6:16 but what it all means is that when you have many sexual partners, when you become one with several different people you remain joined to them even after the act is finished, and these ties fragment the soul, and are destructive. People who have many past relationships eventually find it very difficult to 'bond' or be joined to anybody, because their soul is so fragmented, joined to so many others. I can’t stress this spiritual element enough but must say, before moving on, that in Christ shattered and divided souls can be made whole again. Back to reading through the Bible for sex education:
Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. 4:1
And then as far as sex goes, it’s pretty much downhill in the rest of Genesis as it literally becomes: Anyone for Sex. In 4:19 we meet Adam and Eve’s great grandchild, Lamech.
Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah.
This is known as polygamy and nowhere in the Scripture is it described as God’s will or God’s command or God’s wish for human sexual relationships. One man, one woman, for life, until death of one or the other, is God’s will. And as we read on through the Bible we see how destructive anything other than one man faithful to one woman and vice versa is.
In Gen 12:14-19 we’ll see Abraham letting Pharaoh have his wife, Sarah; and later (16:1-2) when Sarah can’t have a child she tells Abraham to have her servant, which he does and that disobedience on the part of Abraham gives rise to Islam. If only that great man of faith had been as faithful to Sarah as He was to His God. Then we move on to Gen 19 and a place called Sodom where a man called Lot has two male visitors and the men of the town want to have sex with them. But Lot wants to protect them from this indecency so he offers the men of the town his two virgin daughters. As I said earlier, as one reads Genesis it’s Anyone for Sex, and we see the destruction that this belief, namely that you can have sex with anyone, the destruction it brings.
Some of you have very first-hand experience of that destruction. Still in Genesis we will see incest, sex between parent and child (19:30-36), rape (34), prostitution (38) where Judah (from whom Jesus is descended) feels like a prostitute and ends up paying his own daughter in law for sex; later we get to the story of Joseph who ends up in jail after being falsely accused of rape (39). All of this in black and white for us in the first pages of the Bible ... all of this in black and white daily in our newspapers and on TV ... and it really does look as if it’s Anyone for Sex.
But it isn’t just Anyone for Sex. We’ve seen recently how God partners with us in all areas of life. Last week we saw how He partners with us in the use of our bodies by giving us the Holy Spirit to guide us in the use of each body part; I hope that this week you see that this guidance and freedom extend to our sexuality. We are not on our own in this area of our lives. God has a way and that way is good and that way leads to the greatest freedom you can know in the area of sexuality.
So the question ‘Who can I have sex with’ obviously leads into the subject of marriage. Who do I marry? Well, when you have answered this question:
“Whom can I trust to live my life with, to be faithful to and to be faithful to me?”
... when you’ve answered that question and sensed that God has brought you together, then you’ve found the person to whom you can give yourself in Christian marriage and with whom you can become one flesh.
Now, there is so much more to say, the influence of pornography, masturbation; when dating, how far is too far in a relationship, should I only go out with Christians; how do I forgive those who have sinned sexually against me, can I forgive myself for sinning sexually; can those bonds with all the people I’ve had sex with ever be broken, can I ever get them out of my mind; and so many more, but I need to close, and I’ll do that on what might seem a strange note. I will be taking some of these issues further this evening.
Christian marriage is not the primary goal for all Christians. Paul clearly endorses celibate singleness (1Cor7:7) and so does Jesus in a cryptic way in Mt 19:10-12. The two towering figures of the New Testament, Jesus and Paul, were celibate singles. We need to affirm singles and celebrate celibacy in the church. Too often single folk are made to feel like second class members or that they’re missing out on something by not being married .... Paul and Jesus missed out on nothing and enjoyed life to the full, as have many celibate singles have since. I need to make clear that the Bible makes room for both celibate singleness and faithful marriage as equally legitimate expressions of human sexuality for those who would follow Jesus. In the light of the whole Bible, there is no reason for proclaiming one or the other as the higher way. This, like everything else as we live in partnership with God and each other, is a matter of our personal freedom in Christ.
It’s God desire that each one of us should experience deep joy in our sexuality, whether we choose singleness or marriage. Many of us do experience deep joy in our sexuality, too many of us don’t. Let us pray for God’s Spirit to minister to us.