Seeking Wisdom on Human Sexuality

You know, on the issue of human sexuality, I want to just start by making a couple of remarks regarding how we began last week, as far as wisdom, because we’re seeking wisdom on issues that men struggle with. And then I’ll give you a couple of introductory thoughts before I launch into the talk.

Last week I opened by saying that there is a pattern or fabric to all of reality, and it’s the wisdom that we acquire in this life that enables us to perceive that pattern and live in harmony with it. We also read where Jesus said that our perception of reality can be rooted in falsehood, and if it is, our lives will be full of darkness and incoherence. And therefore, He says, our perspective, our perception of reality can be rooted in truth, and He says, when this happens, our lives will be full of light, and we will have the ability to walk in wisdom because truth illuminates and it allows us to live in harmony with this pattern or fabric that God has designed placed into life. And I think you’ll see; this is particularly true when it comes to human sexuality.

And as I mentioned also last week, the goal is, and I’m not trying to change the way you live your life, my desire is that our perspective will be impacted, the lens through which we see life will be impacted, because that ultimately will determine our priorities and the way we do conduct our lives. Now, there’s something I think very important that we consider when we tackle this issue of sexuality and it’s a principle that applies really to all of life. It’s the double power principle. I think Einstein is the one who first recognized it and articulated it. And it goes like this: the greater a power anything has for good, the greater the power it also correspondingly has for evil. I mean, take like nuclear power, but you could also substitute the words, joy and pain, I think, in that same principle and say the greater a power anything has for joy, the greater the power it also correspondingly has for pain. And I contend one of the most meaningful and powerful sources of joy in this life is our sexuality, particularly in the context in which God designed it. But when it’s abused and misused, I believe, and I have seen, it can be a source of unbelievable pain and guilt.

Now I want to share with you one other thought involving this issue and its connectedness to what we talked about last week as far as money and materialism. This is kind of interesting. Back in the days when Rome was in decline, some of the church fathers had kept a, there was an old letter that was found in one of the churches in Italy and it was written by a guy, a Roman by the name of Diognetus. He was not a Christian, but he made this observation, and in this letter, he has this sentence that says, “in observing the Christians in Rome who live their lives in stark contrast to the Romans,” he says, “they share their table with all but not their bed with all.”

In other words, he noticed that this was in sharp contrast to the pagan Romans who truly, they lived their life, they saw life as being nothing more than living for the here and the now, because in Rome, sex was no longer sacred. It was no big deal. They would share their bed with anyone, but ironically, their money, their wealth was what was so sacred to their lives. Diognetus was observing that the Christian worldview reverses that value. The Christians in Rome were very generous with their money and their wealth, and their sexuality was very sacred. And I think, in essence, what this reveals is that the way we regard our money and material wealth and the way we regard our sexuality says a lot about us and what’s going on in our lives. It says a lot about our culture.

Now this morning, what I want to do is lay out and make a case for the Christian Biblical view of sexuality. And the premise I want to lay out is this, that the healthiest, the most meaningful, the most satisfying and pleasurable sexual experience is found between a man and woman in a, this is crucial, a covenant relationship called marriage. And I like that word. I interject that word covenant because I want to; let me read to you what Richard Foster says that means. “A covenant is a promise, a pledge of love, loyalty, and faithfulness. A covenant involves continuity. The sense of a common future to look forward to and a history to look back on together. A covenant means belonging, a commitment to a rich and growing relationship of love and care.”

Now this is what God designed for our lives. And I contend we function best when we do what we’re designed to do. The problem is when we defy God’s design for our lives, what we will find over time, we malfunction individually and as a culture. And I want to give you two very good secular examples that I think backs this up. Philip Yancey in his book, Finding God in Unexpected Places says this, “While much of the media was buzzing about a new survey on sex in modern America released in 1994, I was thinking about a book, Sex and Culture that had been published in 1934. I discovered it in the windowless warrens of a large university library, and I felt like an archeologist must feel unearthing an artifact from the catacombs. Seeking to test the Freudian notion that civilization is a byproduct of repressed sexuality, the scholar J.D. Unwin studied 86 different societies. His findings startled many scholars. Above all, it startled Unwin himself because all 86 demonstrated a direct tie between absolute monogamy and the expansive energy of civilization. In other words, sexual fidelity was the single most important predictor of society’s ascendancy. And Unwin,” and this is what’s interesting, “Unwin had no religious convictions, and he applied no moral judgment.” He says, and I quote, “I offer no opinion about rightness or wrongness, but nevertheless, he had to conclude in human records, there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial continence. For Roman, Greek, Sumerian, Moorish, Babylonian, and Anglo-Saxon civilizations, Unwin had several hundred years of history to draw on. He found with no exception that these societies flourished culturally and geographically during eras that valued sexual fidelity. Inevitably sexual mores would loosen, and the societies would substantially decline only to rise again when they returned to more rigid sexual standards.” And then this one last sentence; “Unwin seemed at a loss to explain the pattern. He said, ‘if you ask me why this is so, I reply, I don’t know.’”

Now what’s interesting is Yancey contends that Unwin’s book rests in the catacombs of some library because the outcome of his study points to a message that nobody really wants to hear. Let me read you one more. This is really startling. This comes from a publication that it came out several years ago. It’s The New Harvard Guide to Psychiatry and in a chapter on the adolescent, the editor of the book who is a Harvard medical school psychiatry professor, detailed the pernicious psychological and health consequences of the sexual revolution of the sixties, seventies, and eighties. And this is a quote from the book.

“Many who have worked closely with adolescents over the past decade have realized that the new sexual freedom has by no means led to greater pleasures, freedom, and openness or more meaningful relationships between the sexes or exhilarating relief from stifling inhibitions. Clinical experience has shown that the new permissiveness has often led to empty relationships, feelings of self-contempt, and worthlessness, an epidemic of venereal disease in a rapid increase in unwanted pregnancies.  Clinicians working with college students began commenting on these effects as early as 20 years ago. They noted that students caught up in this new sexual freedom found it unsatisfying and meaningless. A more recent study of normal college students, at least those not under the care of a psychiatrist, found that although their sexual behavior by and large appeared to be a desperate attempt to overcome a profound sense of loneliness, they described their sexual relationships as less than satisfactory and as providing little of the emotional closeness that they truly desired. They pervasive feelings of guilt and haunting concerns that they were using others and being used as sexual objects.”

Now listen to this. This is fascinating. “The disillusionment of late adolescents from this fear of their lives, as well as with drugs, has contributed to the recent religious preoccupation among youth, especially the trend toward traditional religious faith.” Now this is, again, this is a Harvard psychiatrist writing this. “Although the basic Judeo-Christian morality conflicts strongly with their past behavior and current mores, they find the clear-cut boundaries it imposes less confusing than no boundaries at all, and more helpful in relating to members of the opposite sex as persons rather than sexual objects.”

And yet, it causes me to wonder why don’t we hear more about this? You know, the standard that I will have laid out clearly is the Biblical standard. But the question is, is whether we accept it or reject it, because if we accept it, we are truly going against the cultural perspective. We’re going against the grain. And yet, I would contend this, and I think this article that I just read points this out; if in fact we reject it, where we will end up is with no standard at all.

I remember a number of years ago, talking to a woman about this, she clearly did not agree with the Biblical perspective, the Biblical standard. And so, I challenged her. I said, well, do you have a standard? And I mean, I think she was offended. She said, by all means, I have a standard. I said, well, what is it? And she said, well, you know, I believe if you really, you know, you care about somebody and you know, you’ve been out with them, you know, a period of time, then it’s okay. And I said, well, let me ask you this. How do you define care? I mean, how do you, how do you define, how do you measure it? I mean, when do you know you care enough for that person to step across the line and have sex with them? Well, you know that, well, then she said, what about when you love someone? I mean, you really meet someone and you love them and you, you know, I said, well, the problem with this, the only problem I see with that is, how do you distinguish between love and infatuation? Because when I look back over my life, I can think of a large number of people that at one time I thought I really loved them. But in retrospect, particularly because of my maturity, it was just infatuation. There wasn’t any real love there. And then I asked, I said, and I’m assuming you want to pass this standard that you have down to your daughter. And the question is, what are you going to tell her? What’s the age; where where’s the age cutoff? Is it 13, 15, 17, 19? We went on and on like this until finally it became quite apparent that her standard was very subjective. Her standard was basically, if you boil it down, was, you know, when it feels right, that’s when you do it. And I didn’t, I didn’t say this, I wanted to, but I didn’t. I said, well, really your standard is no different than two animals on The Discovery Channel. And, but I thought it was wise just to say nothing about that.

You know, what I’ve realized is that as modern people, and the surveys will tell you this, that modern people believe in a God or some spiritual force out there but unfortunately, in our land, their belief is irrelevant when it comes to the issue of human sexuality. It’s as if they believe that God has nothing to say on whether I should limit my lust or how I should channel my passion and desire. But I want to tell you, when this happens, we will find ourselves on a slippery slope down into the abyss.

This summer I read a fascinating book called The Architects of the Culture of Death. It just talks about how the destructiveness of our culture today and it talks about all the people whose ideas have shaped our culture today. And one of the people they discuss at length is a guy by the name of Alfred Kinsey. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Kinsey. Two years ago, they made a movie on his life that was Liam Neesen played the role and it played in the theaters, but I don’t know many people that saw it, but he is considered today the greatest sexologist to ever live. I mean, people in the media consider him to be the most enlightened and the most well-informed, he studied sexual patterns or whatever, but what stunned me were his ideas. This enlightened man basically had no standards when it came to sexual activity. There were no boundaries in what he believed. In fact, he believed all sexual activity, whatever it was, was good and normal, including pedophilia, sex between children and adults, and bestiality. I mean, here is this enlightened man, you see where this goes. You see where this can lead. And his reasoning was this. We’re all mammals. We’re all mammals. We should have the freedom to experiment and go in any direction we want. And you know, if you think about it, if there is no God who gives us a standard, who tells us what sexuality was meant to be, and the way it’s designed, then we are truly nothing but chemicals that have evolved into sophisticated animals and it’s hard to argue with Kinsey’s logic on that basis.

You know, I think what people failed to realize is that the Bible has a very, very lofty view of marriage and sexuality. In fact, Dr. Tim Keller says, I quote, “Sex should be highly erotic, a joy, and we should celebrate our sexuality in our marriages.” And he quotes and reads from the book of Proverbs. And I share this with men and sometimes they look at me funny and say, that’s in the Bible? Listen to what he says that should be happening in our lives sexually. This is Proverbs 5:15-20. “Drink water.” He refers to it as water. “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares, let them be yours alone, never to be just shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth, a loving doe, a graceful deer, may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love?” The New American says, “may you find it exhilarating.” “Why be captivated by son, by an adulteress or anyone that’s not your wife? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife?”

You know the problem? And I’m, I’m going demonstrate this in a minute. The problem is we are a culture where there is no beauty or wonder left in sex. It’s merely an appetite, a routine, and has become quite trivial. And if I asked you this morning, in your opinion, do you think we as a culture, overvalue sex or undervalue it? I think most of us, our natural response would be is, well, we overvalue it, but in reality, and this is somewhat of a paradox, we really undervalue it.

Now, let me tell you what I mean. In the field of sociology, there is a concept called commodification. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that term, but it’s a process where we reduce our relationships to an economic exchange relationship. It’s like a consumer vendor relationship. You’re there for the product, and you really don’t care about the person. In other words, your needs and wants are more important than the relationship. But see, God didn’t design relationships that way. He designed them to be commitment-based. The relationship is paramount, whether it meets your needs or not. Now, I think we all realize if you’ve been married for any period of time, that this can be costly at times, particularly when you go through and struggle with tough times with your spouse, and you go through tough times in your marriage, where there is little warmth or physical intimacy. But, as you work through that, as you stay committed, it is the most fulfilling life you can possibly experience because a life of consumer relationships is a very lonely life, it’s a very lonely existence because there’s no real intimacy there.

You see, for modern people, more and more of our relationships, whether we realize it or not are consumer-based. We’re in them as long as they meet our needs. If not, we’re out of there. And unfortunately, this is the way people view relationships today with the opposite sex. And this is what’s led to the commodification of sex, where we abstract sex from the person, where God tells us we should never ever give someone our bodies without giving them our whole self. And this is why you get married. You see, sex outside of marriage, you give your body, but you’re not really giving yourself. And think about this, and I know some of you’ve been married a lot longer than I have, but when you get married and you know, you go through the years, one of the things you have to do, and I’m gonna talk about this next time, is you’ve truly accepted your spouse. You’ve accepted all their problems, all their flaws, all their issues, all their baggage, everything. For some of you, when you got married, you didn’t realize it, but you were assuming all their debt. But the fact is, the modern commodification approach is I just want pleasure out of you, but I don’t want you. And therefore, in the Bible, what you see, sex is a radical, unconditional, deeply personal means of giving yourself, a self-donation. You give your entire being to someone. And over time, this is the key. This is the way God designed it.

This is the key; to see your marriage and your sex life soar, but as a commodity, and this is what I’m going to point out in a minute, it’s become routine and boring and unsatisfying. Probably one of the most influential sociologists of the last decade was a Frenchman by the name of Jacque Ellul. I’m not sure I pronounce his name correctly. It’s E-l-l-u-l. I read it. I encounter his writings often and he, this guy was a very thoughtful man. And he made this observation about modern sexuality. He says, “Our modern fixation with sex is a symptom of a breakdown in intimacy in human relationships. Ironically, over time, sex becomes less and less satisfying. What we do is we try to fix the problem.” And that’s the way we are men, particularly. You know, we, if something’s not, if something’s wrong, we try to fix the problem and he says, this is why we seek to work on the technique. We see a proliferation of sex studies, sex manuals, sex videos to fix the problem. He says, “But none of these address the root problem.” He says, “Modern people are detaching the physical act of sex from the relationship.” And that is so crucial to understand.

C.S. Lewis talks about this. He says, “We use the most unfortunate idiom when we say we talk of a lustful man prowling the streets, looking for a woman.” He said, “strictly speaking, a woman is just what he does not want. He wants a pleasure for which a woman happens to be the necessary piece of apparatus. How much he cares about the woman as such may be gauged by his attitude to her five minutes after fruition. You know, one does not keep the carton after one has smoked the cigarettes.” He went on to say that “true love makes a man want not a woman, but one particular woman, the beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give.” Now he wrote these words in 1960, not long after he, a confirmed British bachelor, had fallen joyously in love with the American Joy Davidman. For much of his life Lewis, the scholar, had treated romantic love as a purely literary phenomenon. He says, “I know better now. He had to admit, he says, “It’s funny having, at 59, that sort of happiness that most men have in their twenties.” And then it’s like, he looks up to God and says, Lord thou hast kept the good wine until now.

Richard Foster says something about this. To me, I read this to my wife the other night, and this, in my opinion, these three paragraphs are worth you coming this morning. Because he articulates everything I want to say. He says, “One of the great things about sex is the warmth, the love, the indefinable sense of knowing someone in the most intimate way possible. It is no accident that the Hebrew term for the word coitus, which is a refined word that’s used medically also for sexual intercourse.” You know, we use such slang words, but the word coitus comes from the Hebrew word, yada, which means to know, to know someone. “The sexual experience somehow ushers us into the subterranean chambers of each other’s being. No doubt, the experience of self-disclosure and vulnerability that goes hand in hand with sexual intercourse contribute to this mysterious sense of knowing. There is something to the unashamed nakedness, the total giving of oneself that allows a couple to crash through the sound barrier of external niceties and into the inner circle of real nearness. There is a sense in which the physical coupling is indicative of a deeper coupling, a uniting of heart, mind, soul, and spirit. It’s wonderful. It’s good. And even more, it’s fun. It is this aspect of fun, of recreation, that is, in many ways, is the richest experience of all. Sex at its best, at its highest, at its holiest, is play. It is festivity. It is delight.”

You know, this was God’s intent when he designed sex between a man and a woman in a covenant relationship. And yet, so many have turned it into a commodity. There’s no relationship. It’s a physical act.

Now this leads me to a couple of comments that I want to make about pornography. You know, pornography, when you boil it all down, is nothing more than false intimacy. In other words, it allows you to experience a degree of sexual pleasure without having to have any relationship or contact with a real person. It’s the ultimate commodification of sex. This is a magazine that came out two years ago. When you read it, I kind of have to hide it in my office because people think it’s pornographic. But it, this is the New Yorker magazine, which comes out weekly and talks about all the goings on in New York. And they have articles, and this article was on pornography and the title was “Porn is Everywhere Thanks to the Internet: It’s never been less shocking…” but listen to this, “but what is it doing to real relationships?”

And there are two articles in here, both written by fairly liberal authors. One of them, David Amsden, let me read to you a couple of quotes from the article. He says, “A Dr. Ursula Hoffman, a Manhattan sex therapist, says that she’s seen many young men coming into her office. She says, ‘what’s most regrettable is that it can really affect relationships with women. I’ve seen some young men lately who can’t get aroused with women but have no problem interacting with the Internet. I think a big danger is that young men who are constantly exposed to these fake, always willing women start to have unreal expectations from real women, which makes them phobic about having relationships.’” And then he poses the question: “How much is Internet porn messing with the way a generation of young men view women?” This is particularly important to me having a young daughter. He goes on and says, and he quotes again from this sex therapist, Ursula Hoffman. And she says, “The Internet provides such an easy out that you can manage without any real-life contact for a long time.” And then he ends an article with an interview with a young girl who lost her boyfriend, who lost interest in her because he was addicted to pornography. And she says this, “I think it will be really rare, but hopefully it will happen, that I can meet a guy who will be happy with only me.”

And then the second article, which is written by Naomi Wolf, who is a very liberal feminist, but she is stunned at what the Internet and Internet pornography is doing to people’s lives. And she says, “In the end, porn doesn’t whet men’s appetites. It turns them off to the real thing. But the effects is not making men into raving beasts, on the contrary, the onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as porn-worthy. Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.” And then she goes on and says something quite interesting. She talks about what’s happening is “sex is losing its mystery and its sacredness”, which is something you could get almost right out of the Scriptures. And I think she’s right. Ultimately guys, every single time you expose yourself to pornography, you’re eroding and chipping away at your capacity for intimacy with your wife. And if you’re not married, with your future wife, because you cannot be involved and addicted to pornography with impunity. There are truly grave consequences. I wish I had more time to go into this, but it can destroy your relational life and your sexual life.

Now I want to read to you a couple of verses from Scripture. We’ve got a couple of minutes left and then I’m gonna make a comment and then wrap this up. This is Paul’s own words in I Corinthians chapter six and listen to it, this is really interesting and so important to understand. He says, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ Himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute, a woman that’s not my wife. Never. Do you not know that he who unites himself with a woman is one with her in body, for it is said the two will become one flesh, but he who unites himself with the Lord is one with Him in Spirit.” And then he says, “Flee from sexual immorality because all other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually, against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you’ve received from God? You are not your own.” You are, as a Christian, he’s saying, “You are bought at a price, therefore honor God with your body.”

You know, every Bible commentary or every person that I have heard comment on this Scripture seemed to all agree to this, that sexual sin is in a category all of its own. Now let me just say, it’s not that it’s unforgivable, by any means, but we violate the sacredness of our own bodies. And it also, this is what it impacts us spiritually and emotionally, because what it’s saying is that when you sexually unite yourself with someone else, it impacts you relationally. Something happens between you and that person. And that’s the way God designed it. As Andy Stanley says, “Sexual sin, in terms of its outcome, its consequences, are different from all other sins, because it goes underground into your life. Sexual relationships outside of marriage always complicates somebody’s life.” You know what is even worse is that people will sacrifice their security, their honor, their self-respect, and the welfare for the people they love and even obedience to God by giving in to their passions. And you know what, this is interesting, this is why Paul says, he says flee from it. Now you often read, he’ll say, you know, stand firm. Other places he says “resist”. But when it comes to sexual sin, he says, flee, run from it.

Let me wrap this up with a couple of final thoughts. You know, we’ve emphasized the importance of seeing life through the lens of God’s truth, that our perspective be rooted in the truth so that our lives will be full of light. And now, as we wrap this up, I want to share with you what I believe has really happened in our land. And this is quite fascinating. And these words that I’m gonna read to you were written 2,500 years ago by the prophet Isaiah in the fifth chapter, the 20th verse, listen to what he says here (Isaiah 5:20). “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” He says, “Woe to them who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

Isn’t this really kind of what’s happened? You know, we live in a culture now, and obviously it’s fed by the media and Hollywood and those who entertain us, but aren’t we a culture that basically we’ve taken, what God has said is healthy and beautiful and good and made it appear to be antiquated and boring and uninteresting. And yet, on the other hand, we’ve taken what God has said is bad and evil and very unhealthy and made it appear to be exciting, intriguing, and stimulating. I mean, think about when was the last time you saw a movie where you see a married couple with a healthy, loving relationship and a healthy sex life?

And if you go out in the streets today and you ask any young person, whether it’s a teenager in their early twenties, whatever, and ask them, what do they think of the idea of sexual purity? What do you think their response would be? I mean, they’d laugh, but let me read to you what God’s intent was. When you hear that term purity, I think even some of us maybe cringe at that thought but let tell you what it really means. See, that’s the problem. We’ve lost a sense of meaning and understanding. This is what purity is.

“Purity means freedom from contamination, from anything that would spoil the taste, or the pleasure, reduce the power or in any way adulterate, what the thing was meant to be. It means cleanness, clearness, no additives, nothing artificial. In other words, all natural in the sense in which the original designer designed it to be.”

And as I read that, I was just struck that, you know, this is obviously what I want for my children, but this is also what I want for myself. You know, I want all the power, all the passion that God intended. And yet we adulterate it, you know, we’ve lost that. C.S. Lewis said also, and this is, it may be part of my application, he says, “If you banish play and laughter from the bed of love, you may let in a false goddess.” In other words, Lewis, in essence, is saying the best way to keep sexual sin and pornography out of your life is to have a strong, vibrant marriage and a healthy sex life.

Listen to what Philip Yancey says. Yancey himself admits to struggling with lust, struggling with things that we all struggle with, but he says this. “I must say though, that when I resist the temptation and pour sexual energy into my marriage, a much more complicated and less selfish transaction, to be sure, the obsessive power of sexuality fades away the air clears. Marriage becomes more of a haven and my life with God yields unexpected rewards.”

So, guys, I would leave you with this thought. If you have any real struggle with sexual lust, with pornography, flee from it, flee from it. As one man told me the other day, he says, he’s advised a couple where the man is struggling with pornography to take the computer out of their house. Then pray. You know, this has been the most helpful thing for me also is, you know, one of the things I pray every day is Lord, I pray that you would give me the grace to live out my marriage vows. I mean, think about the vows you made when you got married. That’s my one desire is that when I die, I would’ve kept my marriage vows. Lord, I pray that you’d give me the grace to carry out my marriage vows. You know, pray for protection. You know, think about the Lord’s Prayer. We take the Lord’s prayer for granted so much; you know the way it ends up? Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Pray for God’s protection over your mind and your heart. And finally, one of the final things I pray is those words I read from Proverbs 5. Lord, give me a real passion for my wife and my wife only, give me eyes for her, and her only. Give me desire for her and her only. Of course, the key would be also, it’d be nice to have her pray the same prayer.

I would also say focus on your marriage, focus on your marriage, work on your marriage. If you’ve got struggles, go to counseling if you need it, but work through it. I’m gonna talk about just the real benefits of that next week. And then you may just need to have somebody to talk to about this. Particularly, if you struggle with pornography, you may need somebody to hold you accountable. I mean, I’ve talked to a number of men who have been addicted to pornography, struggle with pornography and are broken free from it.

I close with this very important thought from Philip Yancey. He says, as we talk about this, he says, “You know, I must say a word of compassion for those who already have failed to meet the design through promiscuity, adultery, whatever, but Jesus set the example for the rest of us by responding with great tenderness to those who had failed sexually. Recognizing the depth of their pain, He offered forgiveness and not judgment. The pain that lingers after sexual failure is oddly an indirect proof of sexuality’s original design. Those who test that design and fail in the process, gain some haunting sense of what we’re missing. We want desperately to connect, to grow in personal intimacy. Even as we progress in sexual intimacy, we want to be fully known and fully loved by someone. When that doesn’t happen or when the fragile link snaps. It simply proves that in sex, as in every other area of life, fallen humanity gets in the way and keeps us from realizing the ideal.

You know, it struck me as I read this, what he was saying is, you know, Jesus, He does, you look at, in John 4, when he encounters the Samaritan woman, who’d been married five times and was living with a man and you don’t see judgment, you see compassion, and He homes in on her spiritual need. But I think Jesus’ compassion on those who fail sexually is because He realized that they’re truly, what they’re really looking for is love and intimacy, but they’re looking in the wrong place. They’re following the wrong path. And this is where wisdom comes in.

And this is, I guess, guys, is the beauty of the Gospel. God’s forgiveness. It’s the greatest blessing in life, God’s mercy. And for those who seek His forgiveness and want His forgiveness and mercy in Christ, you know what it says in Scripture, He takes our failures, and he nails that sin and failure to the cross. And not only does He forgive, but He restores us, and He heals us, and He delivers us from our guilt. But then it’s important, as He does this, just as he told the adulterous woman, and He says, now go and sin no more.

Let me close in prayer. Lord, we do thank You for the wonderful gift of sexuality. We thank You for also the wonderful gift of marriage and family. And yet we realize Father it’s so easy because we’re such visual creatures as men to be led astray by a culture that has no real regard for human sexuality. I pray Father that You would use this and these words powerfully in our lives, that we would be challenged to be men who are truly committed to our wives, to our marriages, and Lord, that you would strengthen and empower us to flee from anything that draws us away from that, that seeks to draw us into sexual sin. We just acknowledge our need for You. And we do thank You in Christ’s name. Amen.


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