Scripture: Proverbs 7:1-5; Psalm 103:2; John 14:15; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 6:11-17, 12:25-27; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 13:12-14; Ephesians 5:28-33; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 10:22-25
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:
“Do You Have a Theology of the Body?” by Ray Ortlund
“Traditional Sexuality, Radical Community” by Corey Widmer
week three primer:
As we complete this short series on sex we come to the big question about how believing the gospel impacts our sexuality. How does the gospel lead us to view our past? How do we deal with sexual sin and how did Jesus deal with it? And, unmistakably important, how are we to follow Christ in faith and obedience?
We saw yesterday that the all important reality of our union with Christ by grace through faith bears significant implications on these matters. If we are followers of Jesus, if we have been transformed by the work of the Spirit in our hearts, if we repent of sin and come to Christ in faith then our very makeup has changed. This change in us, this new life, leads to opening ourselves to God so that forgiveness, healing, cleansing, new power for living, and hope for ultimate fulfillment are ours in Christ. What was and is true of Christ (righteousness, truth, sonship, wisdom, new life, etc.) is now true of us through that union. The ongoing life of faith is a life of continual growth and transformation as the reality of this union manifests through us looking more and more like Jesus.
Suggested discovery/discussion questions:
1. It is important when we talk about sexual sin to clarify that sexual sin is not in a category by itself as a worse sin, something that requires something extra in order to be forgiven. While this is true there is often still added shame attached to sexual sin. The way that Jesus dealt with sexual sinners was not to condemn but to forgive (John 8) and prophecy about how Messiah would come (Isaiah 42) speaks of his gentleness and tender way. Do you find it harder to believe you are forgiven when it comes to sexual sin? Why do you think this is the case? Do you see others in your world struggling to believe the truth about forgiveness for sexual sin?
2. Before we can be healed we have to admit where we have been. Our tendency with sin is to go one of two ways, to either hide our sin by not confessing it and coming to God openly or to explain away our sin, saying it’s not that big of a deal, or at least not as bad as other’s sins. The truth is, God already knows. He sees everything. So your sin is completely known by the God who loves you. And the hurt of things done against you is known by this loving God as well. Do you find yourself unwilling or unable to come openly to God with these things? Have you ever thought that by not coming to God like this you are not believing the gospel? In what ways do you see the need to come to God and confess your sins/hurts as a negative thing? When you really think about it, is it a negative thing or is it a gift of grace to come humbly and honestly before a loving God? What does it look like to believe the gospel in this area of our lives?
3. To believe the gospel is to turn away from our own efforts to establish our righteousness before God (by pretending or performing) and to accept the free gift of Christ’s righteousness by faith. This is one of the results of our union with Jesus… we get his righteousness, he takes away our sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9). How does this truth lead to healing and restoration? How does union with Christ affect the way we see our sexual past? What does it mean spiritually/emotionally/practically to have the gift of righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus? Do you really believe this truth?
4. Our union with Christ is not only the key to our healing and restoration but it is also the key to our obedience. Paul makes it clear that to be unified to Christ means that our bodies belong to him (1 Corinthians 6:13-17). To obey and follow Jesus’ commands about sex is to proclaim our hope in the gospel. To be united to Jesus, to belong to him, is a joy-filled, glorious, and heart fulfilling reality. Obedience is an overflow of our hearts… if we love Jesus, we follow his commands (John 14:15) and the power to do so comes from him. Why do we struggle to see God’s commands as good? What is revealed about our hearts when we disobey God? Ultimately, do you believe that God is good to you and his commands for you will lead you to life? Why or why not? What are some of the things that make this hard to see? Are you finding it difficult to obey God’s commands about sex right now?
5. Our final point had to do with the location of our sexual obedience. Our culture tells us that the choices we make about sex are independent choices that only affect us… this is untrue. God welcomes us into a whole new family when we believe in Jesus and this family is affected and important in our pursuit of sexual obedience. As a local church, we have the opportunity and responsibility of showing the world around us the beauty of God’s good design for sex. How do we do this? This may seem a strange question, but how can you help your brothers and sisters pursue a God honoring sex life? Do you view the marriages in our church as important to you? Important to Jesus? If they are, what part can you play in their thriving? Do you view the sexual faithfulness of single people in our church as important to you? Important to Jesus? If they are, what part can you play in their thriving? How can we build a community where these matters are held in high regard, where we support one another, and where we honor Jesus with our bodies?
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