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Human Sexuality: The Search for Truth About Sex, Part 2

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Parents! Chip wraps up a talk about human sexuality. The information is direct, straightforward, and at some points, perhaps even shocking. Depending on your children’s ages you may want to preview this message before letting them hear it.

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Transcript

The third myth that most of us have heard is as long as people love each other sex is okay with God. I actually did college ministry for a number of years and I’d have college students say, “I don’t think anywhere in the Bible it really says that sex outside of marriage is wrong. I don’t think it really says that anywhere.”

You’ve probably heard that. And if we really love each other, I mean, why does God care? I mean, what’s a sheet of paper? Marriage. Why can’t we just be committed to one another?

News flash. You’re not committed unless you’re married. You can say you’re committed but anybody can walk out anytime in that relationship and if you’re really committed then get married. Get married.

But listen carefully. This is what the Bible says in terms of the truth. The truth is the Bible actually prohibits all sexual relationship outside of marriage. Exodus 20:14, “You shall not commit adultery.” That’s when people have sex, that are married, with someone else other than their mate.

“Flee from sexual immorality,” I Corinthians 6:18. “We should not commit sexual immorality,” I Corinthians 10:8. “But among you there shouldn’t even be a hint of sexual immorality,” Ephesians 5:3. “And it is God’s will for you that you should avoid sexual immorality.” Six direct commands, twenty-three other inferences in the New Testament.

Now the root word for “immorality,” this is a very broad word. Are you ready? The Greek word is “pornia.” Can you imagine any words that we get from that? Pornia. Okay, what pornia means, it’s a broad word. It means that adultery, fornication, homosexuality, when it says a hint it means fantasizing, thinking, lusting in your mind, pornia, immorality.

It means petting heavily to bring arousal to a person of the opposite sex that can’t be fulfilled righteously in marriage. It says all of that is prohibited and it’s wrong. And it’s a sin.

Now just before you go, “Oh wow. See I knew the Bible was strong. You are right.” Do you ever wonder why? You know why? Because God doesn’t want you to just lie with people. He doesn’t want you just to go into or receive someone. He wants you to know and be known.

The great majority of unbelievers and believers are experiencing desperately second-rate sex. God already knew when these commands came down that He knew about AIDS and gonorrhea and herpes. He knew about emotional scars. He knows about flashbacks when you’re having sex with someone and you’ve had it with four other people. He knows about the emotional scars. He knows about sexual insensitivity.

He knows about all the pain that it brings. He knows that when you’re loose before marriage the probability of an extramarital affair really goes up.

These are the boundaries of the fireplace so God would say, “I want you to get the best. I want to protect you. I want to provide for you. I want to give you the highest and the best because sex matters to Me. It’s not just an action. It matters. It’s important. It’s about who you are. You’re a sexual being.”

In fact, it leads to the next myth. The next myth is simply this: only a cosmic killjoy, totally out of touch with today’s culture and people’s needs, would prohibit all sex outside of marriage.

Have you ever thought that or had someone say that to you? Now this was my testimony. I didn’t come to Christ until I was eighteen. I had never read the Bible. I grew up in a moral home but not a Christian home. And the church that I got to experience was far from God so I rejected church, rejected God. I come to Christ after my senior year and I go away to a college where there are four girls for every guy. You can be ugly and get great dates.

And it’s the early to mid-seventies so everyone’s sleeping with everyone. I mean, it’s like free love. Make love, not war.

And as I start growing and reading my Bible I come across all these crazy commandments. No, no, no, no, no. I’m thinking there’s this great fence and all the good stuff’s on that side of the fence and God says, “No!”

And I’m just thinking, “He is the biggest cosmic killjoy in the world.” I remember telling God, “You know, in school, a seventy out of a hundred is a C. Eighty out of a hundred is a B. Ninety is an A. I think I could do, like, eight out of ten commands. I could be an eighty-percenter. I’d even be willing to be a ninety-percenter, I think! But how in the world can You tell me, with all these girls and everyone make…”

Here’s the truth. God prohibits all immoral behavior outside of marriage because of His desire to protect you.

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life.” Wages. What’s a wage? A wage is, if I do something, if I work so long, that’s what I get for it.

The wages of doing something wrong sexually is death. And in Scripture, death isn’t just physical death. Death is separation. When our first parents sinned, they didn’t fall over dead, they were separated from God.

See God’s heart, here’s what I had to learn, that it’s not a fence. It’s not, I’m over here and all the good stuff’s over there and God is on the fence.

The light came on to me when the Spirit of God showed me, through His Word, and then when I watched how it was working out for other people, that instead of a fence it was God over here with His arm around me saying, “Chip, that’s not a fence with all the good stuff there. The good stuff’s there. That’s a guardrail. I just want to keep you inside the guardrail so you get first-rate sex. So it’s not about lying or going into. It’s about knowing.

“I want you to have sex without guilt. I want you to have sex without shame. I don’t want sex with flashbacks. I don’t want sex with scars. I want you to get the highest, best. I want you to have the kind of sex where you know I’m looking down on the marriage bed and I’m rejoicing with you.” That’s biblical.

But here’s a guardrail. It’s to protect you. But it’s also to provide for you. God knows your needs. He created you with the hormones that you have. He knows the longings of your heart. He understands the loneliness that you have.

In Jeremiah 29:11, when it seemed impossible for Israel. They had worshipped idols, they were far from God, and they just felt like there’s no hope, God sent Jeremiah to say, “Look. It may be difficult right now.” You may be single and without dates. You might be hooked on pornography. You might be in the midst of an affair today and you feel like, “I could never break it off.”

You might have all kind of issues. God would say, “Look. You come to Me, I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for good and not for evil to give you a hope and a future.”

God wants to provide spiritual reward in intimacy with Him. Sexual immorality, whether it’s visual, mental, or physical puts a barrier between you and God. It puts a barrier between you and yourself. And it puts a barrier between you and other people.

He says, “I want to give you a spiritual reward. I want to give you emotional peace. I want to protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. I want to reward your life with the very best. I want to give you sexual fulfillment.”

See, there’s a heavenly Father who understands the media in the last forty or fifty years, and the silence of the Church and when you meet other Christians and they’re living together, and he logs on or she logs on, and you know what? What happens is, what do we do? We start looking at other people and we start adopting their practices.

I think God would just say, “Dr. Phil, could you come here for a second?” “Sure, Lord.” “Could you just tell My entire Church, would you ask them the big question that you ask people on your TV show?” “Yes, Lord, I’ll do it. How’s this working for you?”

How did the affair work out in terms of financially? How did it work out for your kids? Well, what’s it feel like to log on and feel like you can’t wait to… you know, you’re at work and you’re just looking for a time and you’re hiding?

What’s it feel like to read romance novels and feel like you’re sexually unfulfilled in your marriage and have dreams and fantasies about people that don’t exist? What’s it feel like to always feel like you got sexual thoughts all the time and you don’t like yourself, and there’s a shame, and there’s a guilt?

Or what’s it like to have a, which happens in many Christian marriages, when you come with a lot of baggage, all of a sudden it was exciting because it was illegal. It was exciting because you had to hide. And now it’s boring.

I think God would say, “How’s that working for you?” Don’t you want better? Don’t you want the best?

See so often when churches talk about sex so much of it is, “Shame on you, don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t do this.” I’ll tell you what, you need to start doing some really good things the really right way.

For many of you today is the first day of a new beginning of your new sexual identity before a good and loving Father where it can be clean, and holy, and wholesome, and fulfilling.

And you’re going to have to break some things. And that, yes, it’s going to be hard and, yes, you’ll need help, and it will take courage, and a lot of faith, and you’ll be swimming upstream, even in the Church. But I will tell you, you will experience the rich quality of life that the Jesus who died for you on the cross, and was risen from the dead, died to pay for.

You’re not, and never will be, loved by anyone more than Jesus. And He’s not embarrassed by sex, He knows where you’ve been, He wants to forgive, cleanse, strengthen.

And help His Church be a model of passionate sexuality in the right place, in the right time, with the right person.

Number five is everyone needs to sow their wild oats and experiment sexually before they settle down in a long-term relationship. I mean, it’s like, I’ve gotten this from people.

“So far, Chip, I get it. I get it. I get it. I get it. I get it. You know? Kind of understand. And I’m going to do that. Like, everything you’ve said so far, believe me, I am really going to do that … in about three years. Ah, make it four. Because, you know, God’s forgiving, right? So He’ll forgive me all that stuff. So I’m going to go out and...

“And then I’ll come back around some day, some way.”

Here’s the truth. Sexual sins have uniquely devastating impact on people’s lives. Listen to that. Sexual sins, unlike any other sin, have uniquely devastating impact on people’s lives because it’s a sin against yourself.

Paul would write to this sexually confused church, the Corinthians, yet again. And almost in astonishment he says, “Do you not know that the man who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her body? For it’s said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites himself for the Lord is one with Him in Spirit.”

Do you see how sexuality and spirituality, they always are so close? Then the application: “Flee from sexual immorality, all other sins a man commits are outside his body but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have received from God? You are not your own. You have been bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”

Listen carefully. This is the part where the stakes get so much higher and so much more important. I’m reading a little book called The Ethic of Eden right now. It’s an overview of all the Old Testament and how God has worked and the professor talks about how really in Eden the whole goal of God, He just wanted to be with His people.

He wanted to be with them in a perfect environment and talk, and share, and be close to them, and bless them. And then sin entered in and then you have the story and then over time you have Moses and the Ten Commandments and then what’s God say? He has him build this tabernacle and the Shekinah glory does what? There’s this outer court, there’s a holy court, then there’s the holy of holies and it can move whenever His…

But He wants to dwell with them. God wants to be with His people. He wants to enjoy their fellowship, He wants to bless them. And then later David raises some money and Solomon builds this temple and the temple was built like the tabernacle and there’s the outer court. Then there’s this holy place. And this holy of holies.

And God in His Shekinah glory fills this place and He wants to be with His people. And today, He lives in the temple made without hands. If you are a follower of Jesus His temple is your physical body.

The holy, pure, awesome, all-knowing, powerful Creator of the universe, in the person of the Holy Spirit dwells inside of every child of God. And so when you decide to have sex it’s like going into the most beautiful church you’ve ever seen with stained glass and taking a hammer and just breaking it all up.

It’s like taking a bright red Ferrari and driving on the road and deciding, “I’m going to go off-road with it like a Jeep. Boom, boom, ba-boom, boom. And just messing it up.

That’s what happens when you have sex. That’s what happens when you fantasize. That’s what happens when you log on to porn. He wants to dwell with you. And He’s holy. And what you do is you cut yourself off from Him.

There’s a reason why some of you, in this room, your prayers don’t get answered. There’s a reason why that certain things that you’re asking God to do, He doesn’t do. There’s a reason why you open and you read the Bible and you just think it’s dead, it doesn’t pop out, there are not promises. You know why? Sexual sin causes God to close His ears.

And He does it out of mercy. He does it with a velvet vice that you would realize this is unacceptable. What scares me today is that sexual immorality, in all of its forms, and whether it’s living together, twenty-five or thirty percent of Christians or whether it’s logging on, or whether it’s an affair, or whether it’s soft porn…

It’s become so acceptable in the Church today we don’t know what we’re missing. There’s a reason why the Church is impotent. You talk, we are spiritually impotent in a decadent culture because we’re not like the culture, we’re worse than the culture.

And you are the beautiful bride of Christ. Your physical body is holy to God. He wants to dwell in it. And He’s not against sex. Some of you are getting such second-rate, lame sex. He cries out today and says, “Stop it. It’s devastating. It’s a sin against your own body, psychologically, physically, and spiritually.”

And not only that it’s a sin whose roots are in spiritual rebellion and idolatry. See at the end of the day there’s part of us that says, “You know what? No one’s going to tell me what to do with… I’ve got these impulses. I’ve got these drives.”

This was me, freshman in college, brand new Christian. And I started reading these verses and I was just, “Hey, you know what? Hey, God, You know what? You can run the universe but You’re not running this part of my life.”

When you say to God, “I’m doing my thing my way,” let me give you a definition for that. Rebellion. And in the Bible when you rebel it’s real serious. Listen to what the apostle Paul says in Ephesians chapter 5. He makes the connection between rebellion, sexual sin, and idolatry.

And this is a sex-saturated, the temple of Diana there, there are prostitutes, these people have come to Christ in a decadent, sexual world. “But among you,” he says, “there mustn’t be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed.” And the word is sexual greed, lustfulness.

“Because these things are improper for God’s holy people.” And he goes from their behavior to even their speech. “Nor should there be any obscenities, or foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place. Rather the giving of thanks. For of this you can be sure:” listen to how serious this gets, “no immoral, impure, or greedy person – such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partakers with them.”

Now I want you to hear very carefully what I’m saying and what I’m not saying. This gets really, really serious. When your sexual practice, in your mind, out of your lips, with your body is opposed to what God says, at the end of the day what he wants you to understand is you’re worshipping you.

It’s using people, viewing things, you are the center, and you are dominated by lust seeking for, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, “Every man who walks into a brothel is taking a first step toward God.” It is a false intimacy; it’s a searching for. But it is, what? It’s worshipping yourself.

And it’s spiritual rebellion. It’s rejecting God. Because spirituality and sexuality are so closely linked.

Then notice what he says, “No immoral, impure, greedy person,” he’s talking about habitually. It doesn’t mean you don’t slip, doesn’t mean you have a problem. But if this is the practice, ongoing of your life, then he says basically the rest of Scripture would say there are two options.

Number one is that you are a genuine, born-again believer of Jesus and over time you’ve compromised, compromised, compromised and you are trapped in sexuality and you need to repent as fast as you can.

But he says the other is that maybe you’ve prayed a prayer, raised a hand, intellectually agree. “Oh, I believe in Jesus, intellectually. I believe He died, rose from the dead, and I prayed a prayer once. I actually come to church.” But when the Holy Spirit comes inside of your moral body it creates a desire for holiness.

And if, habitually, your sexual sin demonstrates no desire for holiness, or for God’s Word, or to move the direction He has told you, then he says, “Examine yourself to see if you’re in the faith.” Because Jesus said, “A tree will be known by its fruit. And if the fruit of your life is progressive, habitual, sexual immorality then you need to really ask yourself, “Does the Holy Spirit live in me?”

And that’s what Paul’s saying.

The final myth is one where I’m imagining some of you are right now. The final myth is in the heart of some that say, “You know what? I’m not sure I should have come today. I’ve been logging on for years, I’m involved in an affair right now. I’m so deep in sexual sin…”

I remember playing basketball one summer with a guy from USC, great athlete, played ball for USC, this was thirty years ago. One of the good looking, surfer-type guy.

And I remember one night, after a game I said, “Tell me, how did you come to Christ?” He said, “You know,” and he looked like some guy that should be on a poster. He said, “I didn’t have sex every day, I had sex multiple times a day, with as many women as possible, in high school and throughout college. And I remember when I got where I got so numb I had sex and I didn’t feel anything and all I knew was I was deathly afraid because I realized the only thing that could give me the buzz was perversion and I looked at perversion and it scared me.”

And he said, “I remember crying out to God and said, ‘I’m a prisoner, will someone please help me?’ But I didn’t think there was any help. And God brought Jesus to my life.”

And for some of you, you think there’s no hope. You think that, “I’m too far gone. You know, I’ve been in this. You have no idea where I’ve been and what I’ve done.” Here’s what I want you to understand. Here’s the truth. Look at it. Read it with me.

“Christ died to pay for the penalty of your sin and break its power in your life.” While you were yet a sinner, while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for you. Before you committed any sins He loves you, He loves you, He loves you.

I hope you hear, yes, the standard is clear, the fire in the fireplace. But there is a heavenly Father who loves you and no one is too far gone. But in order to receive that love, and to be cleansed, and to be forgiven, and to begin to experience the kind of sexuality that God wants, one, you gotta be honest.

Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to those who call upon Him to those who call upon Him in truth.” In truth! If I’m pretty passionate I remember those early years of college, I was stuck, stuck, stuck, stuck in lust. And I would have that, “Oh, God, I’m sorry. I know what I did tonight was really terrible. I’m sorry, sorry, it’s three o’clock in the morning.” And the next day, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Three days later, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

I remember, this went on and on and on. I was trapped. I remember praying and telling God how sorry and how much I really wanted to change. And I heard a strong whisper from the Holy Spirit. “Chip, shut up.” Literally. “Shut up. You like what you’re doing. It’s true. Get honest. If you really want to change, I’ll give you the power. But stop playing games.”

 So how about you? Where are you really at right now? This may be one of the most pivotal moments of your life. You may turn a corner and make a decision at a crossroads in this room right now that will change the course of your life. Are you willing to be honest?

The second step is to repent and confess. Repent just means a change of mind. “This way I’m living, what I’m doing is not good anymore. I’m changing my mind.” And confess means you just agree with God. And the promise is if we agree with God, if we confess our sin, in this case sexual sin of thought, word, or deed, He is faithful to forgive us of our sin. But not just forgive but to cleanse you, cleanse me, from all unrighteousness.

You will have a power in your prayer life. You’ll have a power and a confidence with people. It will be a journey. You’ll have to renew your mind. You’ll probably need to get help. Some of you will need to go to a counselor. Okay. Well, what’s the alternative? Living where you’re living?

And then finally, you need to forsake it. “He who conceals his sin will not prosper,” Proverbs says, “but to the one who makes it known, who forsakes it, the hand of God and the blessing of God.”

That means if you’re having an affair you don’t slide out of it. You tell the person today, “We’re done.” If it’s a porn issue you find another man or another woman and you say, “I need help. I’m going to address it.” And you unplug your computer.

Whatever you need to do be as radical as you need to be. That was what Jesus meant when He said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your hand causes sin, cut it off.” He didn’t mean it literally. You could pluck out this eye and lust with that one.

He said be as drastic as you need to be, to do whatever God calls you to do, because your heavenly Father has a desire and a plan to love you and give you what’s best.

Don’t miss out for you but know that your life is a series of dominos that impact every person in your world. Your mate, your girlfriend, your kids, your friends. And as you go so go many of them.