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

 

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