I was born to Christian parents and we rarely missed church. Not once during my entire lifetime did either of my parents ever talk to me about sex.
With five boys, I assumed they must have known something about it but they sure weren’t sharing it with me.
I attended the same church from birth through high school graduation. I believe my Sunday School teachers were godly people. Two of our pastors were major influences on my decision to enter the ministry. Yet, as best as I can remember, we never had a class or sermon on the topic of sexuality.
I assume that many of them had read the entire Bible – even the parts that talked about sex. But they weren’t talking about it either.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t talking about it – or thinking about it. But I was doing so without hearing the most important voice in the conversation: God’s.
What was your experience growing up? Was it much different? Perhaps you grew up in a church similar to mine.
Maybe you grew up in a more permissive environment where standards and boundaries weren’t discussed either. Just like me – you were left to figure it out on your own.
When it comes to sex, ignorance isn’t bliss and learning by trial and error isn’t a really great approach.
When we were looking at our sermon planning for this year, we felt it was important to explore what the Bible says about sexuality. On the one hand, there is more information about sex than ever before. On the other hand, very little of it comes from a truly Christian perspective.
You might not agree with God about much but you probably agree with him about this: Sex is a good thing. In fact, God created it to be a blessing.
Let’s start with a passage that doesn’t say a single word about sex:
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. — Isaiah 55:8-9
Part of becoming a mature Christian is about surrendering your ways and your thoughts to Jesus. That’s a decision I must make in every area of life –from finances to sex.
Here are a few passages that give us a glimpse of God’s perspective on sex. And where better to start than in the beginning?
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” 18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 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.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. — Genesis 2:15-24
God didn’t like the idea of Adam being alone. So, rather than add another animal to the mix, he created Eve. But he didn’t create a fishing buddy for Adam; he created a wife. He created them biologically in such a way that they could be united and become one flesh. And that’s not just metaphorically-speaking.
When I was an undergraduate, I had a Bible professor who would ask for volunteers to share a memory verse before starting class. He did the same thing every morning: walked in, stomped down the trash with his foot, and asked for a memory verse.
I can remember Richard Lee, a student from California, volunteering for the memory verse. He stood up and quoted Genesis 2:25 … “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
Dr. Flatt nodded his head and simply said, “That’s in the Bible.”
It is in the Bible and they were naked and they felt no shame. That’s the way God designed it to be. Then something called The Fall happened and sin and its consequences entered the world. It literally changed the way we see ourselves and others.
At the beginning of our marriage, I felt awkward changing in front of Tonya – although we were married. To be honest, I was simply trying to be humble and hide my six-pack abs.
Adam and Eve, however, didn’t feel shame because God was making them feel guilty. They felt shame because sin had distorted the original image God had created.
We see this distortion in the way we talk about sex even today.
Notice this passage just two chapters later:
1 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. — Genesis 4:1-2
When many people in our culture talk about “making love” they are not meaning the same thing God means. When it says that Adam “made love” to Eve, it literally means “Adam knew his wife.” That’s no small implication! (By the way, I don’t remember this passage on flannel graph in Sun School!).
In our culture, when a person talks about “making love” they are almost always referring to just the physical act of intercourse. In the original Hebrew, it was also a spiritual and an emotional act.
Let me put it this way: Ladies – when a guy pursues you because of what he can get from you, he does not care about you. If he wants to “make love” to you and isn’t interested in the spiritual and emotional aspects, he’s NOT making love to you. He is just using you.
Our challenge is to see sex and sexual matters the way that God sees them. Why does that matter?
Because I believe that when you do things God’s way, you will get the results only God can produce.
Let me close by recognizing that some of you have seen the other side of this good gift God has given us. You have been harmed by this distorted and degraded image of sexuality. Here’s the good news: Jesus can take what has been broken and make it whole.