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About this series
Love Sex and Lasting Relationships
God's Prescription for Enhancing Your Love Life
Everyone desires to love and be loved. The pursuit of "true love" is everywhere you look! It's romanticized on TV and in the movies we watch. Countless books and songs are written about it and hundreds of online dating websites and relationship seminars abound - all of which are designed to "help" you find that special someone to love. So why is "true love" so elusive? Could it be that the picture of love we see in today's culture is nothing more than an illusion? If so, what does real love look like? In this series, you'll discover God's way for finding love, staying in love, and growing in intimacy for a lifetime.More from this series
Number one, a revolutionary way to think about human sexuality will be required. Okay? If you’re going to answer the call, and be a part of a second sexual revolution, you’ve got to think completely differently about sexuality.
Number one, sex is sacred. It’s not casual. Sex is about knowing, and communication. When the Bible says, “Adam knew Eve,” and then they had offspring, it’s a very interesting Hebrew word. It has to do with knowing, and caring, and connection.
When David sinned with Bathsheba, the word used for sex there is “David laid with Bathsheba.” It was a transaction. She was used.
Sex is sacred. It’s holy! It’s not casual. It was never intended to sell stuff, or get us excited. Sex is sacred, and, like all things sacred, it has mystery. It’s not hooking up. There’s a mystery. It’s not just about bodies coming together. There’s a mystery of knowing.
There’s something that happens in your soul, and your heart, and communication, and growing of a relationship where the culmination of that, and the physical act of sex is, God looks down from heaven and says, This is a life-giving, life-uniting act that typifies what is happening in the hearts and the souls of people, and I bond them together, as a testimony of Christ’s relationship to the Church.
He writes, in Hebrews chapter 13, “Marriage is to be held in high honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled.” In other words, it’s sacred! It’s holy. And then, he adds, “For fornicators and adulterers, God will judge.” See, sex and worship are so closely aligned.
The second is that sex isn’t just sacred – and you need to teach your kids it’s sacred – but it’s serious. It’s not just a little thing on the side, and you’re going to sow your wild oats, and it really doesn’t matter what you think, and it doesn’t matter how you dress. It’s serious!
Listen to what the Scripture says, in 1 Corinthians. He says, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” In other words, you belong to Christ. “Shall I take away the members of Christ and make them members with a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For the Scripture says,” quoting from Genesis, “‘the two shall become one flesh.’ But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one in spirit with Him.”
Application: “Flee immorality! Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man or woman sins against his own body.” And Paul, and he’s speaking to this group in this society that they don’t need the Internet. It’s everywhere. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own; for you have been bought with a price? Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
And so, you know what? That starts with me. Sex is sacred, and sex is serious. And then, as a parent, I teach my kids that, early on.
We had an interesting thing happen at the church, and I don’t know the people; I don’t know the names. And I don’t mean it offensively, but it was ironic to me. I just thought it was so sad, actually.
A lady had been driving by, and on the sign out front, for the series, it said, “Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships.” And she came to the church, and she doesn’t go here, and she doesn’t go to our school, or anything – and just was irate, so upset. She said, “Every time I drive by that, I have elementary school kids, and they’re asking me, ‘What’s sex?’ And this is just so inappropriate!” And she was mad, and, “I have some other mothers, and we’re mad!” and, “What kind of church are you?”
And I thought to myself, I would have paid someone, I would have paid someone fifty bucks to get my four-year-old, five-year-old, seven-year-old, or ten-year-old to ask me, “Hey, Dad, what’s sex?” So that, early on, I could say, “Oh, son” – or daughter – “wow! It’s an amazing thing. It’s sacred, and it’s serious, and it’s holy, and it’s this way where God brings about life. And it’s built of attraction to men, and women. And when you get older, I’m going to explain it all. But it’s one of the most amazing and holy gifts God ever gives. And we’re going to be talking about it a lot more as you get older.” And, by the way, I will tell you, a four-year-old will go, “Thanks, Dad.”
See, what happens is, we don’t say anything, and when they’re nine, they see something you don’t know about. And when they’re eleven, they’re already talking about stuff that you thought doesn’t happen at eleven. And by the time they’re thirteen, their view of sex is already completely distorted. You have to teach them early, and often.
I was talking to the team that was leading our high school group right now, and in mid-week they asked all the kids, “So, hey, have you talked about this with your folks?” Because they were involved in the same series right now. And over half of our high school kids said, “Yes.”
And then, he said, “Well, how many of you initiated the conversation?” Two of them did. He said, “Wow, way to go!” And the others, he said, “How many did your parents initiate the conversation?” They all said yes.
And then – I love this – he said, “So, well, how did it go? Honestly?” They said, “You know something? It was kind of weird talking about love and sex with my folks. But it was great. It was great.” They long to hear! The revolution is going to occur. And then, there’s application to all of that. It’s not dirty. It’s holy.
And, by the way, if you don’t teach them, and you don’t have boundaries and pre-decisions…I came across a study by the University of Utah, and when a girl starts dating at age twelve, there’s a ninety-one percent predictability that she will be involved sexually before she’s out of high school. If she starts dating at thirteen, it goes down to fifty-six percent. At fourteen, it’s fifty-three percent. At age fifteen, forty percent. At age sixteen, about twenty percent.
Interestingly, also, teens who come from homes that are not very or very strict parents, compared to moderately strict, were the people who were the most sexually active. So, if you’re not strict at all, your kids will be sexually active. Or if you try and control your kids – “Sex! Don’t do that. If you ever do that…” I will tell you what, that’s like, Oh! It must be really something great if you’re that uptight about it. We have to think differently about sex.
Number two: A revolutionary way to attract the opposite sex. So, we have to think differently, but we have to attract them differently. The world says, “Sex appeal, physical attractiveness, seductive dress, focus on bodies ...” We live in a world – and I want to say this in a sanctified way – that all attraction is around breasts and biceps.
And you have kids, and single people, and us, and people who have been divorced and getting back into – we think it’s all about the externals. And saying it’s not, and intellectually saying, “Well, I know that’s really not what the real issues are,” doesn’t bring about any changes.
I was with a guy who did a lot of work in consulting for mergers and acquisitions. And he developed a whole theory that he used with multiple companies about mergers and acquisitions, and what makes for partnerships, and why they fail, and why they don’t.
And he taught me one lesson, and it was really a great one. He said, “Chip, here’s what you need to understand about when people are working with one another, and you’re trying to pass on values, and what’s going to work, and what’s not. Do not listen to their words. Only listen to their behavior. Just listen to their behavior.” He said, “Oh, we’re in this! We’re sold out. Whatever it takes. You do this; we’ll do that.” He goes, “I just completely eliminate people’s words. Listen to their behavior.”
Let me ask you, parents: If I just listened to your behavior about what you’re communicating with your kids by your lifestyle, if I listened to just the behavior of single people in this church – what you’re communicating about how you’re attracting the opposite sex – if I just listened to your behavior of those of you who are widowed or divorced, and you’re back in the game, and where you go, and what you’re doing, and how you’re trying to attract the opposite sex, are you doing it God’s way, or with this defunct model that is, for most of us, the only thing we know?
Listen to God’s way, in 1 Peter chapter 3. It’s addressed to women, but the application is absolutely for both sexes. It’s a group of women who were trying to figure out, How can I get my husband on board? And nagging hasn’t worked.
And so, the apostle Peter writes, “Your adornment must not be merely external – the braiding of the hair, the wearing of gold jewelry, or the putting on of dresses; but let it be with the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of the gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of the Lord.”
And basically what he’s saying, in that day, is – they dressed really, super seductively – oh, in that day. I guess we do that now, too.
And so, are you ready? I want to give you a game plan to attract the opposite sex, and a game plan to teach your children how to attract the opposite sex, so –
And so, it’s IOU. You know what an IOU is, right? You write that out, and you say, “IOU.” You give it to that person, “I owe you.” So, this is an IOU that you owe to God. This is an IOU that you owe to yourself. And this is an IOU that you owe to that person, or that partner, who is going to be the person that you want.
The “I” stands for – you want to attract the opposite sex? – “inward character.” Inward character. You need to be the kind of person that you want to attract. You need to be the kind of person that you want to attract. You are looking for a loving, kind person who keeps their word, who is others-centered, and who is generous. You need to be that kind of person. You need to teach your kids the best way to attract a godly, kind, unselfish, high-integrity, faithful, loving, loyal person is to be a faithful, kind, loving…right?
See, you always get what you advertise for. And we have our little girls, and our not-so-little boys inundated by the world system, inundated by commercials, wearing, and dressing, and acting in ways that attract exactly what they get.
I’m thinking about your daughter. I’m thinking about an eighteen-year-old in the room. I’m thinking about a single person who is twenty-six, and to be sexually pure means you don’t get very many dates.
I’m talking a divorcee who’s fifty-one years old, and you’re lonely, and you’re hurting, and it seems like the only men, Christian or not, say, “Unless we sleep together, I don’t think I want to date you.” And everything in you goes, “Well…”
And, “There’s a way that seems right to a man” – or a woman – “but the end thereof is death.”
So, the way we attract is, first, inward character. The second is outward modesty. Outward modesty.
And you know what? It goes both directions! And how many guys, young guys, are always buying one shirt too small. And how many girls realize that if you wear it low, you get a lot of attention?
People, can you hear me? We’re creating train wrecks inside the Church. And they say, “Why can’t we watch this movie?” or, “Why can’t we go here?” or, “Why can’t we do that?” And you know what? I’ve been a pastor. I have all these grown kids now, and we made some pre-decisions, and they just thought I was terrible.
And when I said, “We’re not doing that here,” or when we got up and left a movie because of some of the images that came on, it was like, “My dad is nuts. All the other kids in the church can do this! And they do that!” And I just said, “You know what? I just love you more than they love their kids.” I’m serious. That’s what I would tell them. They didn’t like it.
But as a parent, here’s the deal: You have to decide whether you want to be popular with your kids, and be their best buddy and friend, and then have all the fallout, or be a dad or a mom who loves them, and gently models and tells them the “why,” and says, “I know it’s difficult.
But we’re going to not start dating until this age, and we’re not going to look at that kind of stuff, and we’re not going to do that. Because guess what? There’s a beauty that you don’t want to miss.” And the way you’re going to attract that kind of person is to have inward character, outward modesty, and then – are you ready for this last one? You’ve got to have upward devotion. You have to be a young man, or a young woman, or a single person, or a mom, or a dad, or a not-so-young person that, you know what? Upward devotion.
This was a journey for me, and I’ve tried to share it along the way, and be honest about it. But when I finally began to walk through the process of what God really wanted, I made a commitment that, number one, I was going to find a girl that, in my relationship with her, that would inspire me to walk with God, that it wasn’t like, “Well, is she a Christian? Well, she’s sort of a Christian,” or, “Yeah, she goes to church,” or, “You know, I think God is sort of a part of her life.”
You want to attract them by being a person of great character. And you want to help your kids become people who dress with modesty. Sharp. I don’t mean old-fashioned. I don’t mean legalistic. I don’t mean weird. I mean modest, and wise. There’s mystery.
And, finally, where there’s an upward devotion, where what you help your children – I’m speaking to parents here, especially – and for you, is that, you know what? If you’re not in God’s Word, if you don’t talk to God, if you’re not in some sort of a small group…No one can do this alone.
And so, the revolution is going to start with thinking differently. It’s attracting differently. And third is relating differently. You have to relate to the opposite sex in a different way. There’s a revolutionary way to relate to the opposite sex, not as an object to capture, or even a person to find, not for romance, or for recreation, but I want to give you three pictures of how to relate to the opposite sex.
Number one, as a friend. Start there. I don’t care if you’re fifty-five, sixty-two, or sixteen. Start with being a friend. Jesus said this, John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that you lay down your life for your friend.”
The moment you make it romantic, the moment you pair-off, the moment you go down that path, now you start posing. Then, it has to be about the externals. The real you doesn’t show up. You be a friend with someone.
Teach your kids – “Oh, I’m interested,” or, “I like him,” or, “I like her.” Great! Become friends. Hold back the emotions. Hold back the romance. The percentage of people that, when they go steady – this is a Utah study. When they begin and go steady in ninth grade, those who go steady, the sexual rate skyrockets. They’re not ready to pair off. Become friends. Unpopular, but helpful.
Second, not only become friends, become family members. The apostle Paul is writing to a young pastor – and I’m assuming that because he’s a young pastor, he has hormones, like everybody else. And Paul writes to Timothy and says, “Do not sharply rebuke an older man” – he’s talking about family relationships in the church – “but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, and the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.”
Teach your kids, and you act like, become friends, and then treat them like a brother and a sister. And you say, “Well, what does that really mean?” Well, how do you hug your brother and sister? You hug them, don’t you? But there are certain ways you would never hug them, right?
How do you express affection to a brother or a sister? Well, you express affection, and you touch them, don’t you? But there are certain places and certain ways you would never touch your brother and sister, right?
You’re saying, “Well, Chip, these have huge implications.” That’s the point. You don’t defraud; you don’t defile. What would happen if you learned, I’m going to be friends, and then I’m going to treat this person like a brother or sister in Christ, so that what I would realize is that if sex is sacred, and sex is serious – I realize that this may not be the person for me, but their experience with me should prepare them for that right person, instead of me being a bad memory of someone who exploited them?
Third, you attract them as a follower of Christ. Hebrews 10:24, “Consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” So, you’re asking yourself – this is what you want to teach your kids, and this is what we want to do. You’re in a relationship. You’re friends. As you’re friends, you’re family members.
And then, God begins to – there’s a real attraction, and you begin to build the relationship. It may go somewhere, it may not. But your behavior, your speech, and your time together –
when you “break up,” or realize, This isn’t the right person, this girl would say, or this guy would say, “We dated for eighteen months,” or, “My relationship with her in that eighteen months, caused me to grow, spiritually, more than any other relationship, other than maybe with my parents, or in the small group of guys that I’m in.”
And I will tell you what, if you think differently, if you attract the opposite sex differently, and if you relate to them differently, there is a vision; there is a picture. And it is so beautiful. And, by the way, no matter where you’re at, you can stop, and turn, and God will forgive, and He will restore, and He can get you on the right track. But you have to say, “Lord, not now my way. I want to do it Your way.”
I entitled this, Wake Up World! There’s a Better Way to Do Relationships. And I want to close with a story. And then, I want to let you know that when I close with this story, everyone in this room knows, You know what? If I’m going to do it God’s way, there’s probably something I need to stop, something I need to start, and I have to trust Him.
But as I was teaching this material, this is the email that I got. “I accepted the Lord in high school and was on fire for Christ through college, and in my mid-twenties. And then, I fell away, big time. I got involved in three consecutive relationships with women at work, got them pregnant, and went through three abortions. Wouldn’t you know it, all three relationships dissolved soon after.
“Here I am now, greatly blessed in a marriage to a Christ-centered woman. We’ve been unable to have children of our own. It’s been devastating to me, in light of the fact that I paid with my own money to kill three babies that were my own. Was sex fun? No question. Was it worth it? I can’t scream loud enough, ‘No.’ Like you said, the deepest desire in my heart was a committed, lasting relationship, and I didn’t get that through any of the flings at work.
“Thankfully, the Spirit finally interceded and gave me an option” – and he gives his name. I’ll make it up. “‘Bob, you’re at a fork in the road. You can either keep the same path you’re on, to your continued detriment, or you can get your heart right with God. Your choice.’
I ran to God, without ever looking back, and I’ve been in fellowship with the Lord and with believers ever since.” Crossroads. Crossroads. What do you need to do to stop? What do you need to do to start? And it begins with a decision. You don’t slide out of sexual impurity. There’s a little farmhouse, with two people, that gave me a picture that said, “That’s what I want.” God wants something great for you.