God & Sex: The Conversation that No One Wants to Have

{Welcoming my hubby, Jamus Edwards, as the guest blogger!!!}

God and Sex. Even saying these two words in the same sentence perhaps makes us feel irreverent.  However, in an eight-week sermon series at Pleasant Valley Community Church (PVCC), we are laying a foundation for biblical sexuality.  Yet for many of us, such a conversation is uncomfortable to say the least.

Growing up in the small town of Cadiz, Kentucky there were many things we talked about on a regular basis; one of them was not sex.  Having this conversation in many of our homes would have made us (and our parents) as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  In many cases, our churches took the same approach when it came to the topic of sex – the “silent treatment.” In fact, in a recent survey conducted by PVCC, we learned that over 25 percent of those surveyed had never heard a sermon on biblical sexuality, and over 33 percent had only heard “one or two.”

Because we didn’t learn about sex at home or at church, for many, a large percentage of our “sexual education” has come from a secular culture that is absolutely saturated in sex.  Tragically, our culture’s sexual understanding is by and large entirely antithetical to the Bible.  For countless Christians, the sources that have primarily shaped our views of sex include Hollywood, Madonna, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Miley Cyrus, and conversations in school locker rooms.

As a result of such influences, it should be of no surprise that annual pornography revenues have climbed to more than $90 billion worldwide, and that the average child is initially exposed to pornography at the age of 11.  In a recent Barna study, 4 out of 10 Americans believe that adultery is morally acceptable.  Such sexually promiscuous behavior is only beginning earlier and earlier; the average age for a young person to lose their virginity is now 16.  At least 25 percent of all women and 17 percent of men have been sexually abused.  There are even recent developments among intellectual elites such as Dr. Milton Diamond (professor at the University of Hawaii and Director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society) to push for the normalization of pedophilia.  This kind of thinking seeks to protect pedophiles with the same “sexual rights” as everyone else and even encourages the use of child pornography as a “substitute” for “sex against children.”

Such statements are so utterly unthinkable they should make us nauseous.  However, the church (and by definition, many Christians) has over-corrected and in many cases thrown out the proverbial “baby with the bathwater.”  Instead of redeeming sex – that which God created for His glory and our enjoyment – we have largely rejected it altogether.  For many young Christians, we’ve only been told our whole lives to view one of God’s greatest gifts through the lens of negativity.

Many of us who were “raised in church” can relate to Peggy Fletcher Stack who writes in an article entitled, What They Didn’t Teach you about Sex in Sunday School, “Many people assume the Bible has just one message about sex: Don’t do it!”  However, what we’ve largely failed to communicate is that sex is not the problem. I’m not typically known for quoting well-known nudists, but in this case, Don Schrader is exactly right, “To hear many religious people talk, one would think God created the torso, head, legs and arms, but the devil slapped on the genitals.”   

On the contrary, we know that Satan and Hugh Hefner did not create sex (although granted, Hugh Hefner is about as old as Satan).  Instead, the Bible teaches us that sex is not X-rated; it’s God-created.  God designed sex for the purposes of enjoyment, pro-creation, oneness, protection, and comfort in the context of a marriage between a man and a woman.  Understanding sex as a fundamental aspect to marriage, the Apostle Paul would even go so far as to say that the one-flesh union between a husband and wife ultimately points to the spiritual union between Jesus and His people – the people for whom the Savior shed His blood (Eph. 5:32-33). Thus, when God was finished with all of His creation (including the gift of sex between a husband and wife), He said, “Behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).  I concur with Dr. Danny Akin, President of The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, when he says, “God created sex and I think he was having a really good day when he did it.” 

As a pastor, my challenge to churches and Christian parents is that we seek to take sex back from the world and reclaim it for our joy and the glory of God.  Pastors and parents, if we’re not telling our church members and teenagers about sex, someone else is – and it’s in all likelihood a corrupt source.  Churches and parents should not be afraid to talk about sex, because in the Bible, God’s not afraid to talk about sex.

(Jamus Edwards is the Pastor for Preaching & Vision at Pleasant Valley Community Church. He is currently preaching a sermon series entitled “Let’s Talk About Sex.”  The sermons are archived at www.pleasantvalley.cc

 

Let’s Talk About Sex: I Hate These “Blurred Lines”

Robin Thickes’ Blurred Lines has been topping the charts all summer long and has even been called the “anthem of the summer.”  However, despite the song’s worldwide popularity, it has been banned by the Edinburgh University Student’s Association (EUSA). This organization claims the song trivializes rape and promotes an unhealthy attitude towards sexual consent.   For the EUSA, apparently non-consensual sex is far from a “foggy” issue – I completely agree.

The main chorus from the song includes the lines: “I hate these blurred lines,” “I know you want it,” and “must get nasty.”

Columnist Brendan O’Neil says, “I’m sorry, but if you look to popular music for moral guidance, you’re an idiot. That’s not what it’s for. Its aim should be nothing more than to make you hum, sing, smile, tap your toes, and maybe even swing your pants. Blurred Lines does that in spades and that is the only basis on which it should be judged. Leave it – and our pop and private lives more broadly – alone. ”

O’Neil is at least partially right.  If we are looking to popular music for any kind of guidance whatsoever, indeed, we are idiots.  Nevertheless, the truth is, as we our humming and singing Blurred Lines in our cars, we are preaching a message to ourselves.  In fact, as we turn up the radio, we are actually turning up a sermon.   I would pose this question: is the music we are listening to “blurring the lines” between right and wrong, especially concerning our sexuality?

Billboard Top 100 does not own sex.

MTV does not own sex.

The multi-billion dollar porn industry does not own sex.

Hugh Hefner does not own sex.

Robin Thicke does not own sex.

You (and I) do not own sex.

Sex is God’s.  He created it for His own glory and for our enjoyment (in the context of marriage). He is the “sexpert.”  However, we often think like the nudist, Don Schrader who said, “If you listen to most religious people talk, you would think that God created the head, the arms, the torso and the legs, and then the devil slapped on the genitals.”  For many of us, even the mere thought of putting “God” and “sex” in the same sentence makes us blush.

But, the Scripture teaches that God created man and woman (and the sexual act that made them “one flesh”) and said, “It is good!” God did not have to create men and women in such a way that they would receive pleasure from sex.  He could have made us like bumble bees where we just go around pollinating each other.   Instead, he created sex as a gift to be celebrated and enjoyed in the context of marriage.

We are living in a sex-saturated culture – a culture that has “blurred the lines” between right and wrong.  Rap-star Pittbull tells us to “Grab someone sexy and tell ’em, ‘hey Give me everything tonight, because we might not have tomorrow.’”  It is true; our last breath on this earth could be tomorrow, and as a result we should live with reckless abandonment toward the purpose for which we were created.  Our purpose in life is not to have casual sex with any sweet talker that comes along.   The Bible teaches us that we were created to glorify God through knowing Him and making Him known.   All of us have failed miserably.  Robin Thicke does not have a clue; there is no such thing as a “good girl,” as he claims in his song. In fact, the Bible says we are all bad girls in need of a Savior.   Instead of worshipping God, we have worshipped His creation.   Anytime we love someone (or something) more than God, we are idol worshippers.  Some of us worship popularity, money, religious activities, and yes, sex.  When we worship anything other that God, our hearts will not be satisfied, and we keep having to come back for more.  We become addicts that can never find the right high.  What happens young women when we “give it all tonight,” as Thicke encourages?

What about the next day? What if you have a car accident that mangles your face, or if you gain twenty pounds?  Will he still love you?

How about when you are old and wrinkly and not able to provide for him sexually anymore?

Will he still desire you with the same passion?  How about when he knows all of your ugly secrets and weaknesses – what then?  Will he stay?

God knows you.  He sees your ugly.  He knows your worst sins that you would be embarrassed to reveal.  And yet in spite of all of your flaws and shortcomings, He still chooses to love.  In fact, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Jesus didn’t come to die for us because we were lovely, but He came to die for us to make us lovely.

Additionally, God made you with cravings that would ultimately lead you to Him.  Stop drinking from empty cups that cannot satisfy and only leave you longing for more.  Rather, find fullness in Christ Jesus, the true “living water.”

In order to see through the grey fog of living the blurred lines, we must look to the Word of God – the authoritative Word that is “living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword, judging the thoughts and actions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).  The Word of God pierces through the lies and blurred lines.  Our sex-saturated culture is humming you a tune about your sexuality, but dear one, your sexuality is not your own.  Neither is your body your own.  Rather, you were purchased; you were bought by the blood of the only Man who was willing to lay down his life for you.  However, lines become blurred when we listen to culture for advice on what to do with our bodies.  God has not given you blurred lines about your sexuality; He has spoken very clearly.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).

If a boy is not willing to “put a ring on it,” he is not worthy of your body.  As my husband says, “Ladies, if he loves YOU as much as he ‘likes’ your body, then he’ll give you his last name.  If he won’t marry you, he’s not committed to you” (listen to this sermon at http://www.pleasantvalley.cc).

Let’s trust the One who created us – and our bodies – for an incredible plan and purpose. God proved His unwavering love for you on the cross where He turned his back on His son, so He would never have to turn His back on you.  Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for you, so that you can turn from your sin that never satisfies and find true satisfaction in Him.  There are no blurred lines concerning His love for you, He died to make it crystal clear.

Guest Blogger: Kimm Crandall author of Christ in the Chaos

The Gospel in My Chaos

School, baseball, horseback riding, baseball, 4-h, bible study, calling the fire department to rescue my four year old, t-ball, public speaking contest, baseball, putting our house on the market and having it sell in five days, major emotional breakdown on the baseball field by my son, prayer meeting, real estate phone calls, baseball, papers to sign and a now a child with a fever.

To say that the past seven days have been chaotic is an understatement.

Where is the gospel when the rubber meets the road and I am stressed to the point of not being able to swallow my food? How does it change all of this chaos?

When I am in the heat of the moment and my four year old is banging on his bedroom door as he awaits his discipline:

or my six year old won’t stop crying and whining about me not buying her a turtle

or when I get that phone call from the school telling me that my son has just tried to run away

or when my eleven year old cracks open an egg from under a hen to see if it’s ready to hatch yet, killing the chick inside again

or…

How does the gospel affect me?

Does it make me kinder? Sometimes, but not usually.

Does it make me more patient? Probably, but I’m not really aware of it.

Does the gospel make me sin less? Well, no I don’t think so.

So what does the gospel do then?

It tells me who I am. It forces me to get over myself, to be real, to call on Christ for help because I understand more fully how incredibly weak and unloving I am. It frees me to desire what is right because I don’t have to have my own way. I have nothing to prove because the gospel has reassured me that I already have it all.

And when I forget the gospel and I stomp around the house trying to prove myself worthy, He’s there. He knows I’m going to botch it up yet He loves me anyways.

What the gospel does in those moments of chaos is that it frees me to believe that I am still loved.

It frees me to believe that there is no condemnation for me because I am in Christ.

It frees me to believe that He is being glorified in that very moment even in my sin because that is what He does.

He will always glorify Himself.

And when I don’t believe that His grace is for me, He believes it. In those moments of chaos He is praying for me when I forget because I’m trying to restrain a screaming child, break up a fight or clean up barf so the dog doesn’t eat it. He’s praying for me when I don’t want to pray because it just seems like another thing on my too long already list.

The Gospel tells me that He loves to love me even when I’m unlovable.

That’s what the gospel does in my chaos. What does it do in yours?

Avatar_KimmCrandall

ABOUT THE WRITER
Kim (@big_kimm) is a mother of four kids (12, 10, 7, and 5) who is never short on examples of how God has flooded her with the excessive grace that the gospel brings. Kimm is the author of Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood and can be found blogging at Christ in the Chaos,  Domestic Kingdom, CBMWDropping Keys  and Faith Life Women.