Marriage ( 7 ) Sex Slides by: Timothy Chan, based on John Piper’s “This Momentary Marriage”& Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage”
Sex According To Our Culture❖ Our culture tells us that sex is important.❖ Both Freud and Maslow says that sex is a need that’s essential to our human ﬂourishing.❖ It’s said that sex was once surrounded by taboos, but now we realize sex is like eating or any unavoidable natural appetite. Forbidding or limiting the satisfaction of any natural appetite is unhealthy.❖ “They tell you sex has become a mess because it was hushed up. But for the last twenty years it has not been. It has been chattered about all day long. Yet, it is still in a mess.” (C. S. Lewis)
Sex According To Our Culture❖ Our culture tells us that sex is a private matter. One person’s sexual behavior is not anyone else’s concern.❖ Because of that, our culture says that there’s no right or wrong sexual behavior, and it encourages us to fulﬁll our sexual desires because sex makes us whole.❖ Using food as an analogy: “There is nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying your food: there would be everything to be ashamed of if half the world made food the main interest of their lives.” (C. S. Lewis)
Sex According To Our Culture❖ “What we do with our bodies, what we do sexually, shapes our persons. ... Because sex forms us, sex is a community matter.” (Lauren Winner)❖ (Gal 5:25-6:1) If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Sex According To Our Culture❖ Ironically, our culture also communicates that sex is meaningless. It is just like any recreational activity.❖ In an episode of “Friends”: Monica: So, we can be friends who sleep together. Richard: Absolutely, this’ll just be something we do, like racquetball.❖ “Great sex, which once was assumed to occur by deﬁnition only in marriage, is now understood as something that’s threatened by marriage” (Lauren Winner)
Sex According To Our Culture❖ (Q) Do you think that sex has become a mess in our culture? Why?
Cookie Jar Theology is Inadequate❖ Much of today’s Christian teaching on sex is “cookie jar theology”: ❖ The cookies are good, but you should wait until after dinner ❖ In other words, sex is good, but don’t do it until you’re married and only do it with your spouse❖ But “True Love Waits” was a failure ❖ Advocates could only tout that virgins who took the pledge were likely to abstain from sex for 18 months longer than those who didn’t. (source)
Cookie Jar Theology is Inadequate❖ The two main problems with “cookie jar theology” are: ❖ Even though the cookie jar is closed, people are still obsessed with the cookies inside of it. ❖ It does not tell us why sex is good, nor what it means to have a healthy view (and practice) of sexuality.❖ (Q) In what way does God intend sex to be good?❖ Unfortunately, many Christian leaders gave misleading answers to why “sex is good”......
Misleading Teachings About Sex❖ Goodness of sex = sexual pleasure? ❖ The book “Intended For Pleasure” equates the goodness of sex with sexual pleasure. ❖ In a controversial chapter entitled “Can We?” in a recent book on sex and marriage, it instructed readers in graphical details to practice a variety of sex acts to satisfy their “sexual needs.” (source) ❖ “The loud arguments within evangelicalism that pleasure is good border on defensive shouting, ‘Hey, we’ve got pleasure too!’ in a world that cares about little else ... [but] we are closer to treating sexual pleasure as an idol” (Matt Lee Anderson)
Misleading Teachings About Sex❖ Goodness of sex = marriage improvement? ❖ The book “His Needs, Her Needs” suggests that a way to prevent extramarital aﬀairs is for the wife to satisfy the husband’s “sexual need.” ❖ A megachurch pastor wrote a book challenging couples to a “sexperiment” of making love for 7 straight days to improve their marriage.❖ A common thread to all of these misleading teaching is that sexual desire is something natural and uncontrollable -- not too diﬀerent from our culture’s message about sex.
Purpose of Sex❖ (Q) Why does God invent sex for marriage? What is the purpose of sex?❖ Just as marriage is a temporary gift, sex is also a temporary gift.❖ And just as earthly marriage points to our future heavenly marriage with God, sex should be meant to point toward something greater.❖ Purposes of Sex: 1. Sex reﬂects a Christ-shaped self-giving love 2. Sex leads to oneness and exclusivity 3. Sex defeats sin and leads to faith and contentment
1. Sex → Christ-shaped Self-giving Love❖ It is love that marks Christian sexuality, and our model of love is Christ’s sacriﬁcial love on the cross. ❖ (1 John 3:16) By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us❖ He laid down His life willingly, not out of duty. ❖ (John 10:18) No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.❖ Sex should be one of our most profound examples of gospel-centered love and service.
1. Sex → Christ-shaped Self-giving Love❖ Husbands and wives are commanded to have sex.❖ But the Bible does not say, “Stake your claim! Take your rights!” Rather, “Give your spouse the rights that belong to him/her!” ❖ (1 Cor 7:3-5a) The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another ...
1. Sex → Christ-shaped Self-giving Love❖ “Our joy as Christians is not fundamentally driven by our experience of physical pleasure, but by the self-giving love that unites us together in the bond of peace. And that may mean delaying or forestalling sexual satisfaction in pursuit of the other’s good.” (Matt Lee Anderson)❖ (Q) In what practical ways can you express this self- giving love in the context of marital sex?
2. Sex → Oneness and Exclusivity❖ Did you know? Humans are one of only a handful of mammal species to make love face-to-face.❖ (1 Cor 6:16) Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one ﬂesh.” ❖ Sex with a prostitute is wrong because every sex act is supposed to be a uniting act. ❖ “One ﬂesh” union in the Bible “says don’t unite with someone physically unless you are also willing to unite with the person emotionally, personally, socially, economically, and legally.” (Tim Keller)
2. Sex → Oneness and Exclusivity❖ Therefore, there’s no such thing as casual sex, because sex is so much more than just a physical act. ❖ The Hebrew word dod is used to mean lovemaking, but it also conveys the meaning of “intermingling of souls.” In this sense, making love is not just body-on-body, but also soul-on-soul.
2. Sex → Oneness and Exclusivity❖ Moreover, sex only works in an exclusive marital relationship. ❖ (Prov 5:15-18) Drink water from your own cistern, ﬂowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. ❖ Water = sexuality; Prov 5 says that your sexual passion shouldn’t be let loose outside of your marriage because your spouse is your full delight.
2. Sex → Oneness and Exclusivity❖ “Sex is God’s appointed way for two people to reciprocally say to one another, ‘I belong completely, permanently, and exclusively to you.’” (Tim Keller)
3. Sex → ✗ Sin, ✓ Faith, ✓ Contentment❖ (Heb 13:4-5) Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undeﬁled [by sin], for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ❖ Love of money is also a sinful desire. (Rom 14:23b) Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. ❖ The cure for sinful desires is contentment. ❖ The basis of our contentment is from God, because God says “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb 13:5b)
3. Sex → ✗ Sin, ✓ Faith, ✓ Contentment❖ What is contentment in sex? ❖ It does NOT mean the end of all desires. ❖ (Phil 4:12b) I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. ❖ “If Paul could learn to be content in hunger, then we can learn to be content if God chooses not to give us sexual gratiﬁcation.” (John Piper) ❖ “If gratiﬁcation is not denied us but is oﬀered to us in marriage, we will seek it and enjoy it only in ways that reﬂect our faith.” (John Piper)
3. Sex → ✗ Sin, ✓ Faith, ✓ Contentment❖ (1 Cor 7:5) Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.❖ In other words, you can ward oﬀ Satan with sexual intercourse conducted in faith.❖ “Sexual relations are a God-ordained means of overcoming temptation to sin.” (John Piper)❖ (Q) Why do you think sexual intercourse can be a way to overcome sin and increase faith?
Sex is a Discipline❖ Sex is a discipline that husbands and wives practice.❖ “Sexual intimacy and sexual climax get their ﬁnal meaning from what they point to. They point to ecstasies that are unattainable and inconceivable in this life. Just as the heavens are telling the glory of God’s power and beauty, so sexual climax is telling the glory of immeasurable delights that we will have with Christ in the age to come.” (John Piper)
Summary of Study #7❖ Our culture portrays sex as essential, as a private matter, yet as meaningless as a recreational activity.❖ Some church leaders also gave misleading/ incomplete teachings on sex. Sex should not be primarily about pleasure or marriage improvement.❖ Like marriage, sex is a temporary gift that points toward something greater.❖ Sex reﬂects a Christ-shaped self-giving love.❖ Sex leads to oneness and exclusivity.❖ Sex defeats sin and leads to faith and contentment.
Additional References for Study #7❖ “Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity” by Lauren Winner❖ “Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter To Our Faith” by Matthew Lee Anderson❖ “Sex: A Gospel Analogy” by Ryan Kwan