I originally posted this under a different title a couple of years ago. Looking for mature, respectable feedback from readers on this post.
This is the notes from a sermon I spoke at a Men’s Breakfast in March, 2016 titled SEX, THE BIBLE, AND THE CHURCH. This sermon is a condensed version of an in-depth study on the topic of human sexuality from a biblical view.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture listed is from New Living Translation
Sex is an example of experience does not equal intelligence. To better understand the complexities of the sexual nature of humans it is helpful to understand what the Bible has to say. If you have not come to a place of accepting that scripture is the infallible word of God you will not readily accept all it has to say. If you believe the Bible to be truth there is much to be learned about the parameters, value, and relational impact of human sexuality. It is my belief that the Church has done a great disservice to the general population by remaining unwilling to address the subject of sex beyond a rule-based structure. Furthermore some people, men in particular, have been held hostage in a prison of guilt without a reasonable escape plan.
It is my intent in this teaching to give a brief overview of biblical parameters, personal comfort zone, and the churches influence on culture. This is not an all-inclusive or how-to teaching rather some healthy points to ponder about the great mystery called human sexuality.
- Biblical parameters
Genesis 1:26-28, Deuteronomy 7:13, 14, Psalm 127:3, 139:13-15
Every creature, including man, was created with a natural sex drive. However from the very beginning humans were created differently, for and with a different purpose, than animals. We were created in the image of God. Why would we look to animals to define acceptable behavior in man’s society? And yet that is a typical argument against biblical principles of human behavior.
Genesis 2:18-24, 4:1
I hold a belief that Adam was the only truly complete human ever. I believe he had the full range of emotions and mental capacity that humans possess. I also believe that when Eve was created a part of Adam was removed and given to her. By doing so God made it so man can never be complete without woman. This is the core reason men and women seek each other’s companionship
- Genesis 4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” (NKJV)
Notice the word used in this verse translated ‘knew’. Other translations use the phrase “had sexual relations” or “made love”… The original word would have been ‘YADA’. Yada is a word that is difficult to translate into a single English word because it implies a deep intimate knowledge of another individual. This is not a just met and got to know each other event. This is a spent some time and studied each other’s characteristics type of knowing. I ponder the fact that there is no recorded offspring of Adam and Eve until quite some time had passed and then scripture says they knew each other. There is no indication of marital celibacy in the account of Adam and Eve just no record of having a child before Cain.
- Think about the word yada when reading Psalm 139. It is clear God wants that intimate relationship of knowledge with us.
3. Recreation and release
Song of Solomon 4:10-12, Proverbs 5:18, 19
- Song of Solomon 4:10-12 Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices. Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride. Honey and milk are under your tongue. Your clothes are scented like the cedars of Lebanon. You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.
- Proverbs 5:18-19 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.
Within the design of the human body is the ability to enjoy sexual relations. A scientific study of human anatomy shows just how perfectly male and female fit together. Humans in particular are perfectly suited to enjoy sex well beyond procreation.
Some guideposts we can glean from scripture are;
- All creatures have a sexual aspect designed in them.
- All creatures were designed to partner as male and female.
- Reproduction and the attempt at it is designed to remain within the species kind.
- Humans are created in the image of God and are set apart from and above animals. This extends into human sexuality without dismissing the aforementioned aspects true of all creatures.
- Humans were designed to be complete as one man and one woman.
- Humans have the God-given ability to truly know their life partner.
- The human body is perfectly designed to enjoy sex physically and emotionally.
Some other guideposts can be learned from scripture are;
Because of the fall of man, sin has led to a distortion of original intent for human sexual behavior.
- Multiple sex partners
When the Bible speaks of men who had multiple wives it is never viewed in the positive. It’s common to find strife as a result of polygamy recorded in scripture. We do not know why God tolerated polygamy as long as he did.
- Embracing a culture of prostitution
Prostitution has been around for a very long time. It is often compared to idol worship in the Bible. Pornography is a form of legal prostitution and it is where we have received many of our myths about sex. Prostitution is a destructive device that has no place in a healthy relationship and is a perversion of God’s design for the human body.
- Sexual relations with animals
Possibly the most frowned upon distortion of sexual expression is involving animals. Some cults throughout man’s history have embraced this practice. This is a clear violation of God’s law and has always had a very severe punishment associated with it. There is a direct scientific link between bestiality and sexually transmitted diseases. I.E. syphilis came from sheep and was spread through prostitution on port cities.
- Perversion of the marriage bed
Without a doubt the marriage bed was meant as a sacred place. By embracing the cultural lie of sex being acceptable before marriage we defile the marriage bed. Culture says we must have many partners prior to marriage so we can know if we are sexually compatible with our life partner. Physically speaking if you are a man and your partner is a woman then there is sexual compatibility. It does not matter what the color of your skin or the size of your shoes, men and women’s body parts naturally fit together.
- A redefinition of marriage
We have not evolved very far from the time of Sodom and Gomorrah. Plainly stated most civilizations have embraced a redefinition of marriage toward the end of their existence.
Some Levitical laws were specific to the Nation of Israel and those laws were fulfilled by Jesus. Others are still applicable today.
As an example Leviticus 18 is filled with specific sexual sins God warned the Israelites against. These would have been common sins within the Egyptian culture as well as in the land they were being sent to. In other words these were culturally acceptable behaviors that God did not approve of.
Look what God has to say in Leviticus 18:27-30
“All these detestable activities are practiced by the people of the land where I am taking you, and this is how the land has become defiled. So do not defile the land and give it a reason to vomit you out, as it will vomit out the people who live there now. Whoever commits any of these detestable sins will be cut off from the community of Israel. So obey my instructions, and do not defile yourselves by committing any of these detestable practices that were committed by the people who lived in the land before you. I am the Lord your God.”
- Personal comfort zone
Personal comfort zones are shaped by culture, environment, personal history, and education to name a few things. As followers of Christ they MUST fit well within biblical parameters.
Ephesians 5 gives us some clear instruction on godly living and that includes honoring personal comfort levels of our spouse.
- It is clear from scripture that a husband is to care for his wife and protect her from harm both spiritually and physically.
It is a form of deception to think that within marriage the sexual relationship between a man and a woman have no boundaries. The first set of guard rails is God’s word and the second is personal comfort zone. As men it is vital to our relationship with God that we honor His word. That includes protecting our wives from straying outside biblical boundaries.
In order to protect our wives we must also be willing to stay within their personal comfort zone. For instance, it is understood that exhibition is a violation of scripture but your spouse may not even be comfortable having the lights on during intercourse because it makes her feel exposed. As a husband you need to honor that. It is also possible your spouse has an appetite for activity that does not violate scripture that you are uncomfortable with. As a silly example, how would you feel if your wife wanted to paint your toenails as a part of foreplay? No violation of privacy. No physical harm either short or long-term. The guideline becomes If it causes either person emotional harm than it should be avoided.
- The Church and culture
I began this study with the assumption that the church has not had an impact on cultural thinking about the subject of sex. That is not historically accurate.
- Prior to his “conversion experience” Augustine was a serious sex addict. Upon conversion he viewed sex as dirty and vulgar and became a priest. His teaching on sexuality influenced the Catholic Church for several centuries.
- This is an example of the need for mature believers to help guide young believers in Bible study.
- In the Victorian age the Church taught that it was proper to refrain from sexual relations in marriage beyond procreation. It was also culturally acceptable for men to visit brothels in order to keep their wives pure.
- Graham crackers and corn flakes were both invented by religiously fanatic doctors as a cure for masturbation and sexual desire. The concept of “wholesome foods” was believed to alleviate sexual desires and thoughts among young people.
- The sexual revolution was partly a result of a culture rebelling against church-based rules in regards to sex.
There was a time the average person was not literate and few of those who were owned a Bible. In our time there are still a lot more Christians than there are people who read the Bible.
As a culture we have almost completely embraced anything but God’s design for intimacy. The Bible basics of human sex are;
- Keep it between one man and one woman within marriage. No third-party in the marriage bed. That includes pornography.
- Keep the communication lines open. Talk about and respect personal comfort zones.
- Embrace God’s design for the human body. Get educated about the proper design of the human body. Don’t think the locker room jokes are based on reality.
- Teach your sons and daughters godly principles about marriage and sex.
If Christians truly embraced godly principles of sex they would be known for having the healthiest sex life of all religions. The Church holds the power to educate society about the proper design of human sexuality. It will require pastors, teachers, leaders, and fathers that are willing to put aside their own long-held views and educate themselves in order to train others. If the Church does not teach truth, the culture will continue to embrace lies.
Rev. Burt Schwab