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Over the past few years, my now 12-year-old daughter has been exposed to some rather uncomfortable subjects. Prostitution, homosexuality, whoring, menstrual cycles, bodily emissions and rape have all been discussed in her presence.

You might wonder what type of parents we are. Do we let her watch too much TV? Allow her to listen to the wrong radio stations? Surf the Internet without guidance? Actually my husband and I are fairly strict about the influences we allow into our home. It's been one particular outside influence that has reached our daughter.

We take her to church.

We take her to a church that preaches through the Bible. All of it. Even the nooks and crannies we feel quite shocked to hear mentioned in a room full of people.

A few years ago, we spent nine months in the book of Leviticus. Nine months doesn't allow you the opportunity to skip the uncomfortable sections.

Another series was on the Book of Hosea. As I sat beside my daughter, hearing the story of Gomer preached, I realized she probably had no clue what the word prostitute meant. Prior to the sermon, I never had reason to discuss the topic with her. Our church is now studying Jeremiah, and recently our passage used the word whore. Seven times. I would have carefully shielded my daughter from any other book, show or song that used that term.

It's not that we're trying to insulate our children from the topic of sexuality. We've always attempted to dialogue openly with them. We believe in starting the conversation early and keeping the conversation going in age-appropriate stages. But while parents have a clear duty to initiate these discussions with their children, they also need the church to provide repeated input and guidance. Deliberate preaching of the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) will naturally encourage parents to continue these important conversations. God's Word is not prudish about sexuality. It is careful to illustrate the pitfalls and the trappings, as well as the beauty and the blessing.

Better in Church

What I appreciate about our church's sermons is that they've forced us to discuss topics we may have otherwise failed to mention. Isn't it better for a young person to hear about prostitution in a church service before hearing about it on a playground or school bus? Isn't it better for them to understand the beauty of marital intimacy through a sermon series on Song of Solomon rather than a teen drama on TV? By bringing these topics into the open light of Scripture, we keep them from being taboo with our children. If God's Word speaks about these subjects, then surely his church can learn to speak of them in appropriate ways, as well.

The context in which children learn greatly affects what they come to understand. A friend recently shared how she explained to her daughter the importance of context: Imagine putting mustard on ice cream. Two enjoyable items become repugnant when placed together. Similarly, sexuality discussed in the wrong setting becomes distasteful. We should carefully guard our children from images, influences and books that may shape their understanding in unbiblical ways. However, the church has the ability to provide the proper context for these topics.

Moses commanded the Israelites to regularly read the entire law to the people. He also made sure to include children.

Assemble the people, men, women and little ones, and the sojourner in your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of the law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God (Deut. 31:12-13).

The first five books of Moses speak frequently about many topics, some of which we might label as adult material. But children weren't excluded from these discussions; in fact, the little ones were specifically invited. It seems the Lord in his wisdom gave his people a place within community to appropriately discuss sexuality. These topics were brought before the entire fellowship and dealt with honestly.

Could it be that we face so much sexual confusion in the church because we fail to preach faithfully through all of Scripture? Society shames sex by speaking of it too often in the wrong context with smirks and innuendos. Conversely, we in the church often shame sex by failing to speak of it all, missing the opportunities the Word of God appropriates for our instruction.

Perhaps if the church discussed these biblical topics more, children would be drawn to false sources of information less. By shielding these passages from our children, we inadvertently communicate that God's Word and God's people have nothing to say about sexuality. This is an issue for which it's good to recall Paul's exhortation to Timothy:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Faithful preaching of all areas of Scripture produces faithful followers in all areas of life.

Melissa Kruger serves as Women's Ministry Coordinator at Uptown Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and is the author of The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World (Christian Focus, 2012). Her husband Mike is the president of Reformed Theological Seminary, and they have three children.

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Jonathan Mbuna

commented on Jan 4, 2014

I love this article and the free advice it is offering parents. Honestly in my African context (Malawi) the issue of sexuality is very hot and sounds 'taboo'. But this article has opened my eyes further! God bless

Bob Gabuna

commented on Jan 4, 2014

Jonathan, the Devil sees to it that what the Lord had created beautiful and pleasurable, he will turn it into ugliness or destroy it. The Devil perverted the pleasures of the gift of sex.

Michael Cook

commented on Jan 4, 2014

Having been a member of sermoncental for a long time i have never comented on any article. I am a bi-vocational pastor and run an electrical contracting business, chaplin our high school football team, am a member of our city council, so i depend on sermon central a lot to help me out. This article has really opened my eyes to the fact that i cannot preach around the subject of sex, but that i must do it from a biblical standpoint. Thanks so much. Great article.

Linda Chambers

commented on Jan 6, 2014

Revelation and Illumination is awesome. Praise God. Preach on Pastor Cook.

Doug Dameron

commented on Jan 4, 2014

Great article! I preach through books of the Bible at our church and if it's not "off limits" to God its something we need to talk about! AMEN!

Bob Gabuna

commented on Jan 4, 2014

well said. sex is God's special gift. it is pleasurable when enjoyed according to the Lord's stipulation.

Brad Brought

commented on Jan 4, 2014

AMEN sister!!!

Danielle Schuster

commented on Jan 4, 2014

This timely article really addresses a problem in church.However, I was a single parent 20 years and here is a dilemma that is worth considering, The number of children living in single parent households has doubled in the last 50 years according to U.S. 2010 Census. We have lots of single parents who are learning the rules....all over again.Which means many of the "parents" you are talking to are struggling themselves with their own singleness temptation and sexuality. Lots of work to do in this 21st century with a changing society.

Olu-Timi Lewis Afolabi

commented on Jan 5, 2014

I SHARE WITH HER VIEWS 100 MY EXPERIENCE WITH SPEAKING AND WRITING ABOUT SEX FROM THE BIBLE POINT OF VIEW HAS SHOWN THAT MANY ARE IN TOTAL DARKNESS ON GOD AND SATAN;S PERSPECTIVE OF THE SUBJECT CALLED SEX.

Charles Ingwe

commented on Jan 5, 2014

Like br Jonathan, I am based in africa and believe you me to table the issue of sex as open as it deserves in church where parents and children are present has never been easy. Hence, such topics call us to a position where we arrange special sessions like the youth session or couple's session. At such fora we freely discuss sex topics. There maybe disadvantages but overall sex matters are attended to than leaving them unattended to. Lovely article thanks alot.

Linda Chambers

commented on Jan 6, 2014

What an eye opening article for parents. As parents, our "right timing" to discuss specific topics may not be God's timing. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the word of God, our children can't loose. Discussing and teaching about "sexual" related topics in the church will eliminate our children from receiving false or distorted information from the streets or from the media. For example, "Everybody's not doing it." Whatever the "it" may BE.

Barry M. Adkins

commented on Jan 6, 2014

Praise God for this timely article. I was recently criticized by a couple parents in our congregation for preaching on sexuality because their children were asking too many questions.

Kashif Chand

commented on Jan 29, 2014

I am more motivated and convince to teach the whole word of God. It seems to be very difficult in Pakistani culture but somehow have to.

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