“Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage, go together like a horse and carriage.”
The song was written by Sammy Cahn in 1955 and recorded by Frank Sinatra. It was originally used the 1955 television production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town”. Which happens to be the first High School Drama I was in, not the 1955 version. And in 1956 the song went on to win the Emmy for best Musical Contribution.
When I was young I was told that there were three things you never talked about in polite company. Sex, religion and Politics.
I have discovered when it comes to politics that I now find myself in an awkward place where I am too conservative to be a liberal and too liberal to be a conservative.
With the politics out of the way let’s move on to the next two. Wow, the Pastor is actually going to talk about sex in church.
That may or may not make you feel a little uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, through the years the church and Christianity has gotten a reputation for being anti sex. And at times that has probably been a justified view.
However, I don’t think that it necessarily had it roots in the scriptures. Sex was not just something that humanity stumbled into, “Wow this is kind of cool, let’s do it again.”
It was part of creation and it was a part of the plan. It’s things like sex and reproduction that make the case for creation and intelligent design the most intelligent choice. Really if it didn’t work in the first generation then wouldn’t have been a second generation. How would that have evolved?
It all began in the beginning, which when you think about it is a really good place for it to begin. Now I know that some people teach and have been taught that original sin was sex and that was why the first couple was expelled from the Garden of Eden. The theological term for that teaching is “A crock.” Here is the account of creation that was read earlier, Genesis 1:27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
So to start God made boys, boys, and he made girls, girls. And the parts were all in place and they all worked. This happened before original sin and before the fall and yet at that point Adam and Eve were already fully functioning models.
And then God gives them directions as to what to do with all the fiddly bits. We read in Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.” Now listen to what it says at the end of Genesis 1:30 . . . And that is what happened. And the very next verse says Genesis 1:31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
And time and time again throughout the scriptures we are reminded that sex is God’s gift to us. And sometimes that’s a shock because most of us are convinced that our generation created sex or at least discovered sex, especially if you are child of the sixties or seventies. Got news for you, there was only one virgin birth and you weren’t it.
And if we don’t think that our generation created sex, then we think we are the first generation to enjoy it. Wrong again. It has been the way it is since creation, sex didn’t evolve, it hasn’t gotten better.
If anything as we have moved away from creation and that initial intimacy we have moved away the fullest enjoyment of sexual intimacy as well.
So, with that being said Sex is not a sin, however within the scriptures, the word of God, we see the act of sex reserved for marriage. Within the Old Testament there were penalties laid down for both pre-marital and extra marital sex and both were condemned in the New Testament.
And so, while sex is not considered a sin in the bible, sexual activity outside of marriage is in fact a sin that’s why we have scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 5:11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
Or Galatians 5:19-21 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
The word that is translated “Sexual Immorality” in the New Living Translation is translated “fornication” in the Older Translations and word used in the original Greek is the Greek Word “Porneia”, sound familiar? And it means sex out side of marriage and the bible says that is not acceptable behavior for a Christ Follower, wasn’t then and it isn’t now.
So, we should be able to stop at this point. The Bible says that we should avoid sex out side of marriage so as believers we will do what the Bible says.
Some people think the reason the Bible speaks so adamantly against sex outside of marriage is that it tries to ruin all our fun. But there are reasons for those guidelines and that’s what we are looking at today.
So here are a couple of thoughts. Let’s start with 1) The Purpose of Sex within a Marriage
Actually that should be 1) The Purposes of Sex within a Marriage If there is a problem with this point it is that too many people want to take the “s” off of Purposes and they want to reduce the act of sex to a single purpose. And then they want to choose what that purpose is.
So, what are the purposes of sex? A) Procreation. That is to make babies. That goes back to Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply.”
I always marvel at people who end up pregnant and then tell me “I don’t know how it happened.” Seriously? We are told how it happens almost continuously in school, probably from a much earlier age then we need to be told.
And as much as we are told, people just don’t seem to get it.
When I was in grade 11 I remember having an ongoing debate with my math teacher, asking him “How will algebra help me in life?” “When will I ever need to know that a + b = c?” And he would say “trust me you’ll use it.”
With all due respect to any math teachers here, he was wrong. But the “How babies are made” that seemed to be a fairly practical course.
If the human race doesn’t reproduce then the human race will cease to exist and there is an innate need in most of us to reproduce. Whether it is the desire for immortality that we feel that we continue to exist through our children and their children or simply that parental instinct there is in both male and female. That “let’s make a baby” feeling.
Now if you could do a cost benefit analysis and work those things out through a mere balance sheet the human race would come to a complete halt. Changing diapers, sleepless nights, worry, the teenaged years. Boy on a simple scale you would need to have a lot of tangible benefits on the other side to even that thing up. But that’s not what being a parent is about.
And so, the first purpose of sex is making babies. And for some people they would say that is the only purpose. And they are wrong.
- B) the Second Purpose is Pleasure. Throughout the scriptures the act of sex is equated with pleasure in both the New Testament and Old Testament. One entire book, The Song of Solomon or Song of Songs, chronicles with the desire of two lovers for one another. It is a beautiful love song that may make you blush.
We are warned about the dangers of sexual sin in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
And some people think that’s the primary teaching of the bible on sex, and sometimes preachers and churches stop with the warning, but in the very next chapter we read 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.
Did you catch that? There is to be a mutuality in meeting each other’s needs and desires. It’s not simply all about “you” singular it is all about “you” plural.
It wasn’t like God created us and then said “Oops, that wasn’t supposed to feel that good, oh well it’s too late to change it.”
So, sex is there not just for procreation and not even just for pleasure but for our mutual pleasure.
If you are a proponent of evolution then you would believe that we simply evolved so that sex felt good in order to promote reproduction.
But if you believe that we were designed and created by God, then you understand that he created sex for our pleasure, not just to make babies.
- C) There is a Partnership Really wasn’t sure what to call this but tried to stay with a “P” for the alliteration . In the first definition of the marriage relationship shortly after creation we read this Genesis 2:24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. As a matter of fact, that scripture was probably read at your wedding. There is a spiritual aspect of love making that should never be ignored or downplayed.
This is not just a physical act it is a giving of one self to another person and through that a bond is created that is unlike any other bond. In an article on the Ethics and Medics Online website I discovered this article by Dianne S. Vadney ”A study of the human biochemistry associated with sexual intercourse suggests there is nothing casual about human sexuality. The delicate biochemistry of the human person seems to be designed and ordered to respond to intercourse by forming exclusive, intimate, stable pair-bonds that favour permanency. . .“ In other words, two become one.
If you are going to spend a lifetime living with the same person, it will take more then simply liking one another and picking up your socks to keep things together.
Often when people begin to drift apart physically then they begin to drift apart emotionally and spiritually.
In 37 years of pastoral ministry I’ve never had a couple sit across from me for counselling who have said “you know the entire marriage is falling apart but our sex life is great.”
- D) There are the Physical Benefits. The medical profession has been saying for years that a healthy sex life has physical benefits. Benefits ranging from increased immunities, better circulation, pain and stress relief, the release of endorphins makes your feel better about life in general and the release of prolactin helps you sleep better.
One report even suggests that sex balances out the good cholesterol to bad cholesterol ratio, and at the same time reduces the overall cholesterol count in the body. A Queens University study shows a reduction in the chance of stroke or heart attack as another of the physical benefits of sex. So, if you want to keep your spouse alive longer. On the other hand. . .
So, you’re probably thinking, “So what’s the problem?”
2) The Problem of Sex outside of Marriage Actually that should be 2) The Problems of Sex outside of Marriage
The first is A) Procreation Really doesn’t matter if it happens inside or outside of marriage, sex still makes babies, and people are still surprised when it happens.
I don’t think we have to provide a lot of research to discover that in most cases life is better for all involved when a child is conceived in a loving and stable relationship. And I say in most cases not all because I know that all generalizations are wrong.
Childrearing is tough when there are two I can’t even begin to imagine how tough it is for single moms. Education and dreams are put on hold or cancelled. And recent studies show that the probability of eventual marriage drops significantly for single moms.
And for the father, there is a responsibility financially and emotionally. Even if you choose to not marry the mother because it was just a “fling” you will be tied to her through your child.
And that doesn’t even get in to the challenges that your child will face.
- B) Pleasure So what’s the problem here? It becomes pleasure for pleasure sake. When sex takes place outside of the marriage bed its main objective is pleasure. Your pleasure.
And so that becomes the quest. Pleasure becomes your ultimate objective and your god. It’s not about “you” plural it’s about “you” singular.
And it is for the moment, no thought for the future.
We need to realized that sex is not just a physical act. There is a spiritual and emotional dimension to sex. If you leave them out, then you lower it to the level of animals. And then you are guided by the same instincts that guide a tom cat when he heads out at night. Which is why the scripture warns of the consequences of that philosophy, Ephesians 4:19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
- C) There is a Partnership Let’s go back to the two become one concept.
I had a conversation with a young man awhile back and he told me “You have to be careful when you have sex because each time you’re giving the other person a little bit of yourself.” Not a believer mind you and he had it pegged.
Now is time for our object lesson, why should they have all the fun in junior church?
Here we have two containers one pink and one blue, you figure it out. And five times in the scriptures we read about two being united and becoming one. (pour the two containers into the centre one.)
And the one is different, not worse just different.
But what happens when the one becomes two again? (pour the one container back into the two) You are never the same because of what you’ve taken and what you’ve given. And what happens when that is repeated over and over again?
A recent study showed that the average American has 7 sexual partners in their life time. So what happens when you repeat that seven times?
- B) There is the Physical Sex is a physical act, a very intimate physical act, we’re not talking shaking hands here or even a kiss on the cheek.
One of the topics they teach in school, and hear about over and over again, is “Safe sex.” Boy if I had a nickel for every dollar spent on safe sex ads.
Actually, it’s gotten so they don’t teach morals in the sex ed classes what they teach is “We know you can’t be good so be careful”.
Do you want to know the only safe sex? It is when you are in a monogamous relationship with a faithful partner. And that is it.
When we first moved to Australia they had a great ad on television that I have tried without luck to find online. And it shows a couple in bed and the narrator says “When you sleep with someone, you sleep with everyone they have ever slept with”. And the camera pans out and there are couples in beds around the original couple. And the narrator continues “And everyone they have every slept with and everyone they have ever slept with.” And the camera continues to pan out to a football stadium filled with couples in beds.
And every encounter brings the protentional for each partner to pass something on, and some of what is passed along sexually is a nuisance and some is fatal, and you don’t get to choose which it is.
Has anyone ever heard of Dr. Edmond Locard? He was known as the “French Sherlock Holmes” and is famous for developing “Locard’s Exchange Principle”, which has become the keystone of modern forensic science. And “Locard’s Exchange Principle” says “Every contact leaves a trace”.
Here I have a piece of packing tape, and if I walked through the worship centre touching people with the tape, which I won’t do cause it’s kind of creepy, we would discover that even casual contact would pick up trace. But not only that but I would also be leaving trace behind.
So, it’s not that God is out to ruin your fun, he wants to keep you safe, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Here’s a side bar: In the 1994 the University of Chicago did a study that was entitled: Sex, Love, and Health in America: And they discovered that the group with the most satisfying sex life was, believe it or not, conservative Protestants. It went on to state “The high correlation between spiritual commitment and sexual pleasure prompted the researchers to note that the image of Christians as sexually repressed may be a myth.”
So where are you at today? The bible, the word of God says 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5 Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honour— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.
And you are saying, “Hey Denn, thanks for nothing, it’s too late for me.” Nope, not too late at all.
You may not be able to change your past, but God can forgive it and your future is spotless.
Do you remember what Jesus told the woman who was caught in adultery? Yep “Go and sin no more.”
Remember the 3 Rs, Repent, Receive and Refocus. Because the promise for you is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!