The 4 Rules of Sex
I imagine the title, “The 4 Rules Of Sex”– raised some eyebrows – and maybe even some temperatures. Some people perhaps stayed away from this post and some perhaps came here because of the tile. But since it’s a topic we hear and read about everywhere else, doesn’t it make sense we hear about it here as well? Since people, especially youth, are being told to equate sexuality with identity and to wear sexuality as a badge of honor, doesn’t it make sense for Godly men to speak up?
Let’s be honest. Most of us were raised with the conviction that there was something wrong if a person had sex outside of marriage, at any age. Today the norm is that there’s something wrong if one has not had sex before or outside of marriage. That is what is promoted in a majority of media that bombards us everyday. Today, children are being sexualized earlier and earlier, in part because they are exposed to sexual material in movies, television, music and other media earlier than ever. With widespread access to the Internet, curious teens may accidentally or intentionally be exposed to millions of pages of material that is uncensored, sexually explicit, often inaccurate and potentially harmful…Children as young as 8 and 9 are coming across sexually explicit material on the Internet and in other media. Although research is just beginning to assess the potential damage, there is reason to believe that early exposure to sexual content may have (numerous) undesirable effects.
Consider this: you can add the total yearly revenues for the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and the National Basketball Association and not equal the revenue for one year of the pornography industry. The latest figures I could find showed an annual revenue for pornography, just in the United States, was 13.33 billion dollars. That means that in the United States alone, $3075.64 is spent every second on pornography. I could give many more statistics but that would be to digress. Suffice it to say we need to decide who will give the message to the current and future generations. We can leave it up to the government, the schools, and/or the media – or we can decide it’s time for Godly men to speak up loudly and clearly.
There is a story about an English teacher who allowed her car to roll through a stop sign. She was immediately pulled over by a young police officer. The officer turned out to be a former student of hers who immediately recognized her. He couldn’t resist saying: “Mrs. Smith, a stop sign is meant to be a period, not a comma!” We need to reinstate the stop signs in our society. Our sexuality is a gift from God. It is to be exercised with discipline. That brings us to the Apostle Paul and his first letter to the church at Corinth.
In 6:12-14 Paul lifts up the Corinthian Christians CURRENT THINKING about sex – which in actuality sounds much like today’s thinking. The first line of thought is that since we are free in Christ – a teaching they had received from Paul – EVERYTHING IS PERMISSIBLE FOR ME. It’s like a free agent athlete who has the power to sign with anyone – what he does is entirely up to him. So, said the Corinthians, since we are not under the law but have great freedom, we can sign on with anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Paul first responds, NOT EVERYTHING IS BENEFICIAL. Paul doesn’t deny their freedom; rather he gives them a principle, a question, to ponder – is it beneficial? Who or how does it benefit? For example, we can build a fire in a fire ring or we can build it in the open field next to our house. I have freedom to do both. The one in the fire ring can be very beneficial. It can radiate warmth, and we can roast hotdogs and marshmallows and make hobo pies over it. But the other in the field will burn wildly and cause great damage. Similarly, Paul points to the fact that sex without boundaries is a wildfire that leads to great damage and brokenness. The Bible makes it clear. The Bible shows severe consequences for abusing sexual freedom. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were removed by God. The incest of Lot with his daughters produced two nations of wicked people who troubled Israel. Revenge on Shechem’s violent relations with Dinah resulted in the murder of every man in the city. The sexual sin of Reuben in Genesis 35:22 is exposed and punished later in 49:3-4. The lust of Potiphar’s wife sent an innocent man to prison and the lust of Samson brought his and his nation’s downfall. David’s adultery led to the death of an innocent man and also of his infant son. Amnon’s violent relations with Tamar prompted Absalom’s murder of Amnon. Solomon’s sexual partners caused him to stray from God and bring judgment on the nation. Do you see this important biblical pattern? Everything is not beneficial.
I WILL NOT BE MASTERED BY ANYTHING.
We are free from the law and the power of sin – so why would we want to let anything overpower us and makes us slaves? Suppose you were a slave in a household for many years and you longed to be free. Finally, one day, you are freed. Would you go next door and submit again to slavery? To let the desire or craving for sex, or our habits, or our feelings, or the prevailing cultural attitudes, or anything else give us orders is to forfeit our freedom. To enter into any thing that could potentially gain mastery over us is to head into a field of quicksand where we will eventually be swallowed up. Yes – we are free, but not everything is beneficial and we should not be mastered by anything.
FOOD FOR THE STOMACH AND THE STOMACH FOR FOOD.
Food and stomachs are made for each other; so sex is made for the body and the body for sex. Paul does not deny that the body was made for sex, but he changes the perspective. He says “The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.” GOD DID NOT DESIGN THE BODY FOR SEXUAL IMMORALITY as he did the stomach for food. While food and the stomach will disappear, our bodies will not – they are eternal. They are made for eternity. Therefore their purpose is higher than sexual immorality. I have a beach ball. It’s fun to bounce it around as it sometimes has a mind of its own. I’m free to use it anyway I please. I could use it as a bouncy ball. There’s nothing to stop me from doing it. But it won’t work – in fact, it will spring a leak, or even burst; it will break. It’s not what it was made for. So, says Paul, our bodies are not made primarily for periodic sex but for permanent relationship with Jesus Christ. The truth is that oftentimes what our bodies yearn for is indicative of the deeper yearning of our souls. Think about Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well (Jn. 4). After an interesting dialogue Jesus told her to go and bring her husband – to which she responded she had no husband. Jesus replied that she was right – she had 5 previous husbands and the man she was living with at that time was not her husband. That led to a discussion of the woman’s real thirst – her real desire, which was living water. It was a soul issue. So, says Paul, our bodies are not made primarily for periodic sex but for permanent relationship with Jesus Christ. Sex is not a consumer relationship but a covenant relationship.
CORRECTIVE TEACHING about sex and sexuality – about the importance and sacredness of our bodies. #1. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?” Through our bodies WE ARE PARTNERED WITH JESUS. We are part of Jesus’ body. We are, as someone said, the limbs of Christ. I want to remind you that when God creates bodies He brings them to life by giving them a soul. The body and soul are intricately and inseparably related. “The biblical view is that we are integrated beings – every part of us is connected to every other part. We are physical, emotional, social, mental, sexual, spiritual beings.”(v) Because of this deep connection with Christ, when we touch someone else sexually WE TOUCH MORE THAN THEIR BODY – WE ALSO TOUCH THEIR SOUL.
There is no such thing as a ‘casual sexual encounter.’ As Paul puts it, “Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!” The word rendered take means ‘take away’; the horrible thing about this sin is that the members of Christ are taken away from their proper use (the service of Christ) and made ‘members of a prostitute’. (vi) Doesn’t it grab your heart and stir your anger when you hear a news story about young girls being forcibly taken from their families to be turned into prostitutes? We’re furious! Yet, Paul says, to use the body in an immoral way is to take it from Christ for the purpose of engaging in another relationship.
And it’s not just that God is offended although that should be enough motivation for us to use our bodies wisely. Listen to verse 16: “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” WE ARE BONDED TO JESUS. The word for ‘united’ means, at its root, ‘glued.’ Think for a moment about glue. Ever used a ‘super glue?’ Talk about tough stuff! It permanently bonds quickly – so much so that the next time you try to remove the cap you can’t because the glue has bonded it to the tube! That’s how we are bonded to Jesus; WE ARE GLUED TO HIM. Even science acknowledges that sexual activity has multiple effects on multiple parts of a person. As two obstetrician-gynecologists who have served on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS wrote in their work Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children, “This bonding power of sex is real and almost like the adhesive effect of glue.” (vii) God was right – He was the first to say that the man and woman would ‘become one flesh.’ The sexual act involves the soul and the body. That’s why the Bible often refers to it by saying they ‘knew’ each other – because it reaches a deeper level; people’s souls are glued together. Remember the old song that said “Breaking up is hard to do?” Well, this is why – because in the sexual act people are bonded so when they break up they leave a part of themselves in the other person and take a part of the other person with them. Earlier I glued some papers together. Guess what happens when I try to pull them apart – – – there’s a permanent sticking together; some pieces will never be separated. The science report, by the way, confirmed the same idea of permanency. God is right! No wonder Paul said (18) to FLEE SEXUAL IMMORALITY. Get away from it. Have nothing to do with it. Sex is not a consumer relationship but a covenant responsibility.
We are partnered with and bonded to Jesus. Paul raises the stakes even higher. In verse 19 he says WE ARE THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD. Bringing to mind the image of the Old Testament temple as the place where God dwelt, Paul wrote “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” Our bodies are the temples, the shrines in which God lives. That gives dignity to our bodies and our lives. Just as the presence of God gave the temple dignity and importance, so His presence GIVES OUR BODIES DIGNITY AND IMPORTANCE. It was in the temple where God dwelt in all His glory; from the temple He acted in forgiveness and laid the groundwork for redeeming His people. Now He does all that through our bodies, through us. Once we grasp the awesomeness of this it’s much more difficult to involve our bodies in immoral, unholy actions.
Not only are we the dwelling place of God, WE ARE ALSO THE POSSESSION OF GOD. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” We value what we purchase– God values us and our bodies because He paid the highest price possible for us – the life of his Son Jesus. And as our owner, God has rights to us and over us. Stewart Ruch put it simply and clearly: “And this body that is your body is not really your body. It was designed by God. It was given to you as a gift. And although we have sinned with our bodies and engaged our bodies in unholy realities, our bodies are bought back for us with a price on the cross. We cannot say, “This is my body.”
It’s tempting because there are so many things that aren’t ours, so many places in life where you instinctively think, ‘Well, at least I have my body. This is my body, nobody else’s body. I’ll do with my body what I think is best.’”
This means we need to SPEND LESS TIME THINKING ABOUT OUR RIGHTS AND MORE TIME THINKING ABOUT OUR RESPONSIBILITIES. To the Romans Paul wrote (14:7-9 GNT) “We do not live for ourselves only, and we do not die for ourselves only. If we live, it is for the Lord that we live, and if we die, it is for the Lord that we die. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For Christ died and rose to life in order to be the Lord of the living and of the dead.”
Paul concludes his words about the importance and value of our bodies by stating that OUR BODIES, OUR LIVES ARE TO POINT TO GOD. “Therefore honor God with your bodies.” The Greek has the force of a drill sergeant. Do it – now! In Romans 12:1 he put it this way: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” And God helps us do that (Rom. 8:11) “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
So what do we need to know about sex? Our bodies and sex are good, created by God. He, in fact, purchased and now lives in our bodies. As our owner He wants to protect us from harm so we can experience the best of what life as it is meant to be can offer us. So He calls us to use our freedom responsibly, and save sex and our bonding for marriage, the most sacred of all human relationships. And here’s the good news. No matter what someone has done to you or what you’ve done to them . . .No matter what difficult, painful, physical, or sexual experience you have had . . .No matter what you struggle with, what habits you have, who or what your master is . . . No matter what pain or injustice you’ve suffered that you did not deserve . . .No matter how angry, dirty, or guilty you now feel now because of what you have done to someone or because of what someone has sadly done to you… JESUS understands your feelings of shame, anger, pain, filth, hurt, loss, betrayal, and humiliation. You are not alone. He gives you the comfort or strength that you need to make you whole again, regardless of your past.” (ix) Jesus can break any unholy bonding that is holding you captive and set you free.
Many of you recognize and remember actor Dennis Weaver. Far beyond his acting successes, Dennis is an innovative, successful house builder. Rather than gobbling up some of the earth’s precious resources as one would expect from a luxurious two-level home encompassing nearly 10,000 square feet, this self-sustaining, energy-efficient retreat actually helps solve an environmental problem: The walls are made of used automobile tires. Weaver acknowledges that it sounds strange, and that people sometimes picture unsightly treaded black-rubber walls, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Laid in courses of dense “tire bricks”—tires each rammed full of 400 pounds of earth in a labor-intensive process—the finished structure is covered with adobe to create lusciously tactile curvilinear walls two and a half feet thick.
Here’s the point: it’s beautiful because it’s made from materials that could well have been thrown out. But instead they were made into a something brand new. It reminds me that Jesus does the same with all the broken pieces of our lives; He takes all our pain, sorrow, brokenness, and guilt and re-bonds us with Himself to make us something brand new, beautiful and unique. Let’s give Him an opportunity to do that right now.
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