September 24, 2017
Pastor Jeff Struecker
Today, if you’re new to church, like today’s your first Sunday ever walking in the doors of the church, what we’re going to talk about for the next few moments is going to seem completely foreign to you. In fact, your whole life, you’ve been inundated with the same message from radio and television, on the internet, and in magazines and billboards. You’ve been hearing the same thing your entire life, and today, what you’re going to hear from us is quite the opposite. It’s going to be very contrary to everything that you’ve heard growing up. In fact, probably, if you’re brand-new to Christianity or just checking church out for the first time in your life, you’re probably going to ask the question, “What planet did these people come from?”
‘Cause, here’s what we’re going to describe today. We’re going to say God created this thing called sex, and God, because it’s his invention, set some rules for sex, and we’re going to look at those boundaries that God created for sex. Now, can I just remind you where we’ve been? -Just for the last couple weeks.
Two weeks ago, we said it was God who came up with this act called sex. He’s the one who made it fit together like it does. He’s the one who made it feel like it does, and God deserves the glory for this beautiful thing we call sex. But last week, we said there’s supposed to be in exchanging of the hearts, not just the mingling of the bodies. And this thing called “exchange of the hearts” is when a husband and wife are romantic to each other. We said last week: Ladies, romance your husband. Guys, provide your wife some romance. It protects them from an affair, and it makes the marriage stronger.
Today, we’re going to see God set some boundaries. Actually, what I’m going to try to do for us in just the second, is to connect 2 dots that have been disconnected in our country for a long time, and unfortunately so. I’m going to give you a real-world example.
Some of you in this room will remember the name of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice by the name of William O. Douglas. ‘Anybody recognize that name? In 1960, Douglas, while he was sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court (‘already been married, already been divorced a couple times), was married as a Supreme Court Justice, and he was accused of having an affair. Because he was already married, divorced, and remarried, when this accusation came out, the nation was shocked and offended by this. -so much so, that the House Judiciary Committee said, “If this is true, we’re going to impeach this Justice of the Supreme Court and remove him from office, because we don’t want somebody governing our land who is morally bankrupt.”
37 years later, while the President of the United States is in the Oval Office and in the role of President of the United States, he admittedly has an affair with Monica Lewinsky. And here’s with the nation said in 1997 about Bill Clinton: “We don’t care what he does in the bedroom. As long as the economy is good, as long as our national security is strong, what he does morally has no impact on what kind of leader that he is.”
‘See, just in 37 years, our country has gone from “There is a connection between who you are and what you do,” to “We don’t care what he does, as long as he makes my life better.” Well, what the many people in our country (unfortunately even in churches) believe, is that what you believe and how you behave have no connection to one another.
Here’s the truth: Plenty of people would say, “Jeff, what difference does it make if a man 2,000 years ago died on a hill in Jerusalem? How on earth can that possibly impact what I do in my bedroom?” And if you have that kind of view today, you believe a lie straight from Hell, because you believe in dualism. -the idea that your body and your soul have no connection to one another. Plenty of people take this opinion. -“I go to church on Sunday, but it has no impact on what I do at work Monday through Friday.” In other words, “My worship and my work are completely separated, and there is no connection between the two.” Or, they believe that “The way that I live my life at home has nothing to do with what I practice or what I believe at church.”
And today, I’m going to try to connect these two dots for us, because they should’ve never been disconnected. What you believe will always impact how you behave, and look up here for just a second. The way that you behave, no matter what comes out of your mouth, the way that you behave is what you believe. So, to set this whole thing up for us today, we’re going to talk about some rules that the Bible gives for sex, and to set the whole thing up, I’m going to use for us Proverbs chapter 5.
Now imagine, before I read this, imagine that you live in the desert thousands of years ago, and your very life depends on water, and water doesn’t flow through the desert very much, so you have to have a well, or else your crops are going to go dry, or else your family is going to die of dehydration. That’s the imagery that Proverbs uses when it comes to sex. Proverbs chapter 5, verse 15 says:
Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife.16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? 17 You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers.
Here’s the language that the Bible is using for us for just the second. A well is the very life-spring in the desert. If I don’t have a well, if I don’t have water, I die; my family dies. But a well is more than just the necessities of life. A well is where you go for a cool, refreshing drink on a hot desert day, and the writer of Proverbs is likening a spring, a well at your house, to your sexual practices. And it’s saying, “Why would you break your well and spill your water everywhere, so that everybody has some of it? Keep that well where it’s supposed to be, and that well is going to be cool and refreshing, and it’s going to bless you, and it’s going to bless your family.
So, in order to connect these 2 dots that should’ve never been disconnected -the dot of your body and the dot of your soul- I want to ask you to write a sentence down. In fact, I want to ask you to memorize this sentence, because here’s what Christians believe when it comes to sexual ethics:
We believe sexual purity demonstrates that Jesus is first in my body and in my soul.
Please put this in that mobile app as a note, and email it to yourself, but underline or circle the word “and”, because what we’re doing here is connecting body and soul and saying, “If Jesus is first in my soul, then He’s naturally first in my body, and if Jesus has first place in my body, of course He’s going to have first place in my soul. If He has first place in one and not the other, we have a problem, and that’s the problem that we’re looking at today.
I’m going to give you three things to think about when we say purity. When I’m talking about some rules for sex, the goal for us today is sexual purity. Sexual purity means sex within the confines of marriage. God’s goal for His people when it comes to sex is white-hot monogamy inside of marriage.
I. Purity is more protective
Here’s what sexual purity looks like from the Bible today. First, purity is protective. Purity is good for you. It protects you. Christian couples are supposed to practice this thing only within the confines of marriage, and here’s what happens in a marriage: First, God changes your soul, and God changes your spouse’s soul, so that Jesus is the center of your lives. Then God brings you two together, and He changes your heart so that now, your heart and their heart (your wife’s heart or your husband’s heart) are knit together. First, the soul has been changed; now the heart has been changed, and it is within marriage and now, you two can come together physically, come together sexually. -because the soul is already one, and the heart is already one, and you’ve got this commitment called marriage that protects what happens in the act of sex. Marriage says, “I’m yours and only yours for the rest of my life.”
I’m going to read a really long passage of the Bible for you, but it’s really, really fascinating how the Bible describes sex outside of this commitment that we call Christian marriage. This is Proverbs chapter 7, and I want you to pay close attention to the language that you’re going to hear in the Bible today.
6 While I was at the window of my house, looking through the curtain, 7 I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. 8 He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. 9 It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. 10 The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart. 11 She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home. 12 She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner. 13 She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, 14 “I’ve just made my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows. 15 You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! 16 My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. 17 I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses, 19 for my husband is not home. He’s away on a long trip. 20 He has taken a wallet full of money with him and won’t return until later this month.” 21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. 22 He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, 23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life. 24 So listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. 25 Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. 26 For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. 27 Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.
Ruin. Victims. Grave. Death. That’s how dangerous sex outside of God’s original plan for it is, and 90 times in the Bible, 90 (nine-zero, not one-nine), 90 times in the Bible, God gives us some warnings about this thing called sex. Almost 45 times, He says, “Don’t have sex before you’re married. It’s dangerous.” About 45 times, He says, “Don’t have sex with anybody after you’re married but your spouse. It’s dangerous.” It’s so dangerous, that this thing made it to God’s top 10 Commandment list. Don’t commit adultery. -because this thing, when it’s done wrong, will hurt you. It will hurt everyone around you. It will do great harm.
I read not long ago a book called Christian Sex Ethics, and it used an illustration, a brilliant illustration, about this that I think we would understand. It’s an illustration about the river, and the guy by the name of Demant who writes this book, he says sex is kind of like a river. Listen, this river is strong, and it’s powerful, but if this river has no boundaries and if this river has no borders, it will flow through your city streets; it will wipe everything in front of it away. It will consume everything.
That’s what happens when sex is not kept within the natural boundaries that God created. But then the author says this (I think he’s a genius with this): He said when the river stays within the boundaries that God created for it, it’s good. He said it’s beautiful. In fact, this is what Demant said: “It’s deeper and it’s much more powerful when that river is flowing within the boundaries that God created for it. When it gets outside those boundaries, it’s destructive. When it stays within those boundaries, it’s deep, and it’s beautiful, and it’s pure. And God’s plan for us is to be happy and to be healthy sexually, and that’s why he set some boundaries; that’s why He asks us to aim for sexual purity.
II. Purity is more than physical
But, I want you to know something. Sexual purity is more than just physical. It’s more than just mingling two bodies together. Sexual purity tells us, “Don’t let anything start to creep up in your heart, because when it starts to creep up in your heart, you may quickly start to act it out in your flesh. In other words, don’t turn up the heat unless you’re in the kitchen and ready to cook, because it’s dangerous.
Here’s how the Bible puts this in Hebrews chapter 13. When sex is pure, when it’s done the way God expects it to be done within a Christian marriage, it’s honorable; it’s something that we should all promote and we should all recognize. Hebrews chapter 13, verse 4:
Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
This word honor that you see on the screens, it says that this Christian act in marriage is special; it’s priceless. It’s the idea that you would have the family china (the fine china from the family), take it out of the cabinet, put it on the floor, and let the children play with it like it’s no big deal. You would be crazy to do that with the fine china. That stuff is priceless; it’s an heirloom. So, I honor that stuff by putting it in its proper place. It’s supposed to be special.
But, it’s not only just special; it’s also supposed to be spiritual. In fact, this Christian marriage, the great apostle Paul (perhaps the greatest theologian in the Bible) says, “I don’t even know how to describe the spiritual aspect of a marriage. I don’t even know what language I can use to describe it for you, so I’m just going to use the analogy of Jesus and his Church.” That’s how sacred, that’s how spiritual a Christian marriage is. That’s the kind of language that the Bible uses for sex, all sex. Any sex that’s done inside of God’s rules is pure; it’s beautiful. But sex, when it gets outside of those boundaries, is very dangerous.
III. Purity is more pleasurable
‘See, I’m convinced, what God wants for his people is not to hold us back, not to keep us down. God’s plan for us is to follow the rules, because following the rules makes this act what it was intended to be in the first place. Purity in sex is designed to be more pleasurable. It’s designed to be better when it’s practiced the way God created it to be practiced. And all those hippies out there that are trying to create this free-love, anything goes society, those guys are all morons. -because here’s the truth: That society is Fantasyland. It doesn’t exist; it’s never existed in human history. Go to the most remote tribe on planet Earth, and you will find that every society in all of human history has set some kind of boundaries when it comes to sex. There’s never been such a thing as a culture that has no rules when it comes to sex, because everyone realizes this thing can hurt you really bad, or it can hurt others when it’s not practiced carefully.
Here’s how the Bible describes it. It contrasts two different kinds of women, and it uses the language of sex to describe how radically different these two different kinds of women are. In 1st Timothy chapter 5, verse 5, it talks about this woman who loves Jesus, and verse six talks about a woman who’s just living for herself and living for the flesh. 1st Timothy 5:
1 Timothy 5:5-7
5 Now a true widow, a woman who is truly alone in this world, has placed her hope in God. She prays night and day, asking God for his help. 6 But the widow who lives only for pleasure is spiritually dead even while she lives. 7 Give these instructions to the church so that no one will be open to criticism.
That word pleasure literally means that she lives luxuriously or that she lives lewdly, but it means that she’s living for right now, to satisfy right now, this instant. -She couldn’t care less about Heaven or Hell.
The woman in verse 5, her focus is on what’s waiting for her in Heaven. The woman in verse six: “I want what I want right now, and I couldn’t care less”. And listen to the language of the Bible. She is already, right now, even though she’s alive, spiritually dead. That woman’s soul is dead, and verse 7 says, “Give these instructions to the church, so that no one will be open to criticism.” Two types of people: those that are living to honor God and those that are just taking what they can get right now, because it feels good.
Here’s the truth: Today’s sermon is not only about following the rules. If you’re not careful, you’ll come out here saying, “Well, God is like this harsh father who’s going to spank me if I do wrong, and so I’m following the rules just because I don’t want to be abused by a Father in Heaven.” That’s not who God is. In fact, that’s not why He created the rules in the first place.
In order to drive this point home a little bit, I went downtown this week to shoot a video.
I’m going to be honest with us. Every single person in this room (this is true of me, so I know it’s true of you), every one of us in this room has this thing inside of us that says, “I don’t want somebody telling me what to do. I don’t want anybody putting rules on me about how I can live and how I can’t live. Do you know what that thing is inside of you? It’s called sin. It’s called rebellion. It started at the very beginning of creation. It started with our first parents way back in the Garden of Eden when God made Paradise. God made perfection for his people, and then God said to our first parents, Adam and Eve, “I’ve got one rule for you. You can do anything that you want. I’ve got just one rule for you. Just don’t do this one thing. Sure enough, Adam and Eve broke the only rule that God gave them, and since then, every human being that’s ever lived has done the same thing. -I have; you have. And until Jesus Christ radically changes your heart, you have this rebellious heart that says, “God, you can tell me what to do in church, but you have no authority over what I do in the bedroom.”
It’s only after Jesus cleans up a man’s soul or a woman’s faith, that other things start to fall into place, and pretty soon, you’d gladly, happily submit the things that you do in the bedroom to the lordship of Jesus Christ, because you know He’s a good God. You know He’s a loving Father, and those rules are there to help you and protect you, not to hold you back.
• I want to start a relationship with Jesus today. I turned from my sins and to Jesus for the first time this morning.
– I have asked God to forgive me for the mistakes that I’ve made in the past.
+ I will put passion for Jesus above passion for sex this week.
- Too much of a good thing can be dangerous. Have you had a “good” area of your life that got out of control? If so, what did you do to get it back under control?
- Do you know someone who has been sexually abused in the past? If so, how did that abuse affect them later?
- Read Leviticus 18. Why did God put these laws in the middle of a book about the regulations on how to properly worship him?
- Why did God create laws to restrict Israel’s sexual practices?
- What do these laws teach about the power of sex in a person’s life? What do they teach about God’s view of our sexuality?
- What is God’s definition of sexual purity?
- Pray for purity this week.