Scripture: Proverbs 5:20-23; 6:6:23-29, 32-33; Romans 1:21-25, 8:19-25; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 18; 2 Peter 1:3-4;
As a young church looking down the road at the long life that we have before us, we are filled with questions and opinions about how to live well, what to do next and why following Jesus matters in it all. We need wisdom for living this life and God graciously gives it to us through his Word.
Our Live. Work. Play. WISDOM. series offers us a chance to look at a few of the things that matter most in life. Starting with the book of Proverbs we’ll look to Scripture for wisdom from God on the everyday matters of life. How are we to follow Jesus in our work, sex, marriage, words, money, friendships and more?
Proverbs and Jesus—the Living Word—lead us to see that wisdom begins with “the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:7), that trusting and leaning on the Lord brings “healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (3:5-8) and that those who arrogantly reject wisdom’s cry will fall victim to their own brokenness (1:29-33). May we be those who walk wise in the fear of the Lord with humility enough to admit, we’ve got a lot to learn!
From this Live. Work. Play. WISDOM. series comes Stonehouse’s second venture into the book of Proverbs as we seek answers to the many questions we have about sex. Our world can't stop talking about sex but what does scripture say about it? Is the Bible just old news regarding this topic? Does believing what God says about sex turn us into judgmental, mean-spirited, prudes? What about singleness, pornography, abuse, marriage, adultery and homosexuality? Does scripture speak to these things? What do sin, redemption and the gospel have to do with sex?
The aim of this series is simple, we want to stop and listen to what God, the creator of sex, says about sex as we seek to live in response to his truth even in our sexuality.
a few items to help take a deeper look this week or share with others:
“Thoughts on Sex” by Scott Sauls
“Gospel Hope in Hookup Culture” by Owen Strachan
week two primer:
When we step into a conversation about sin and brokenness we need to be mindful that for one, we are going against the grain of a culture that by and large does not believe in individual sin, or at least only counts really bad things like murder, rape, and racism to be sinful. Our Bible tells us a very different story in that sin and its affects have touched everything in all of creation. This includes sex and our understanding of sexuality.
While we hold this to be true, that these things aren’t the way God intended them to be, our demeanor and tone are critical in the approach and discussion of sex today. There are culture wars, shame campaigns, angry self-righteous religious people and a number of other ill effects that have arisen to try and “hold the high moral ground” as our culture slips away into an increasingly greater perversion of sexual ethics. We must not be among those who resort to anger. By the grace of God we will seek to be compassionate, understanding, loving and careful as we hold out the truth of God’s word for in it we know the only healing and restoration for sin’s brokenness can be found.
Suggested discovery/discussion questions:
1. When we talk about what God commands and what sin does to break God’s good creation we are confronted with the issue of worldview. “Every worldview is really about identifying what story we live in. Our lives, our hopes, our plans for the future are all rooted in a much bigger story.” (Chris Bruno) What does the Bible tell us about the story we find ourselves in? Can you define a gospel-centered worldview? How is the worldview of the Bible different than others in our world? What are some of the worldview that your neighbors hold? Why does worldview matter when it comes to sex?
2. Before talking a lot about the brokenness of sex it’s important to revisit God’s good gift to us in sex. Why did God make us sexual beings? Why did he choose to allow procreation to happen through sexual intimacy? What are some of the other blessings given to mankind through sex? Ultimately, what does sex give us a picture of? Do the answers to theses questions bring us toward thankfulness and worship? (They really should, God giving us this gift is evidence of his goodness.)
3. When sex is taken out from it’s God given boundaries there are devastating consequences. Just like taking a bonfire, that belongs outside, and bringing it into the middle of your living room, it wasn’t made for that. What happens when we take God’s good gift of sex outside of his given boundaries for it? What things break when this happens? What are some ways we are seeing this brokenness today? Have you experienced this brokenness personally? Have you seen this brokenness in others?
4. One of the directions that we can go in misunderstanding God’s good gift of sex is toward an idea we called sex as gross. Sex as gross is a summary statement regarding the view that sex itself is in fact impure or defiling. This viewpoint primarily shows up in religion or in highly traditional cultures. How does the view that sex is impure go against what the Bible teaches? What are some ways that this view is expressed? Have you ever encountered this? What did it look like? What were it’s negative affects?
5. The other direction that we can go in misunderstanding God’s good gift of sex, the more prevalent one in our world, is toward an idea we called sex as god. Sex as god is a summary statement regarding the view that sex is the ultimate glory of human existence. This viewpoint primarily shows up in secular culture and it is pressing in all around us through music, art, entertainment, advertising, and so on. We have basically been in the midst of a sexual revolution for the last 50 years in this country. The growing understanding of sex is that there can’t be anything wrong with any expression of sexuality because it is simply a matter of a person’s decision as to what they want to do with their bodies. Sex has become “casual” in some sense of the word. How do these ideas contradict what God says about sex in scripture? Can sex, a union of body and soul, truly be “casual?” What happens to us when we take sex outside of it’s God given parameters, in a marriage between one man and one woman? What are some of the results of making sex an ultimate, godlike thing? How do you see this happening around you? How about personally?
6. Ultimate fulfillment can only come through our spiritual union with Christ Jesus. Sex is supposed to point us to this reality because no matter who we are, married or unmarried, sex will never ultimately fulfill us. Have you ever heard this before? Does this statement shock you? Why? What does it look like to be ultimately fulfilled in God’s love? How does our sexuality proclaim the gospel to us and to the world?
All of us have been affected by the particular brokenness of sexual sin in one way or another. We have broken God’s commands personally or we have been hurt by the brokenness of someone else’s sin. And we stand in the midst of a culture that pulls us further and further away from God’s good design for sex. Our bodies, our hearts, and our minds have been taken captive by these things. It’s absolutely essential that we understand the gospel in the midst of this. Jesus showed us God’s fullness of love even while we were sinning and being sinned against. He died to free us from the shame of these sins. His love forgives, cleanses and empowers us. Take some time to behold the gospel, and the glory of Christ in granting freedom from sexual sin, as well as the fullness that awaits us because of what he’s done for us.
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