Summary: Since the Church has too long tolerated the teaching of our culture on sexuality and sexuaol relationships, it's time to speak up about building quality relationships.
“Building Quality Relationships: With Jesus – Develop Healthy Partners”
Eph. 5:3-8; 1 Cor. 6:9-20
Sometimes the words of Scripture hit me in the gut. In preparation for today’s message I was directed to such words, from Jesus Himself. In Rev. 2:19 Jesus commends the Church in Thyatira for her love, faith, service, and perseverance. But then, in verse 20, He throws His punch: “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” The church was tolerating the teaching of sexual immorality. Why did the punch land on my gut?
According to writer Rodney Joyce, "The United States remains the sexual superpower of the world, with Americans making love more often and with more partners than any other nationality, according to one survey.…Among other findings, the survey revealed that Americans were starting earlier than anyone else, at an average age of 16. Americans also had the highest average number of lifetime sex partners, at 14." (1) The church has too long tolerated the teaching of our culture on sexuality and sexual relationships. To preach a series on building quality relationships without addressing it is to continue the already condemned toleration. We must be concerned and outspoken about developing healthy, holy partnerships.
The two passages we just read contain much of the New Testament teaching concerning a proper view of sex and sexuality. The first directive is to AVOID UNHEALTHY PARTNERSHIPS. Four such partnerships are mentioned. First, avoid a partnership with IMMORALITY. The Bible makes it clear that sex, rightly understood, is healthy. It is, after all, God’s idea. The creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis 1 and 2 teach it: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it…A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” We are created as sexual beings; it’s part of God’s design. But like all of life, our sex life is to be disciplined. Just as we can misuse our spiritual gifts, or misuse our financial resources, we can misuse the gift of sexuality. THE PURPOSE OF SEX IS NOT PERSONAL SELF-EXPRESSION IN ORDER TO BE HAPPY BUT PERSONAL SELF-DONATION IN ORDER TO IMITATE GOD. Sex, as designed by God, always obligates us to the complete giving of ourselves. As Tim Keller put it, “Sex without the giving of oneself is a monstrosity, akin to walking around without a head.” (2)
A teen age boy asked his grandfather, “They didn’t have much trouble with sexually transmitted diseases when you were young, did they?” Grandfather said, “No.” The grandson asked, “Well, what did you use for safe sex?” Grandfather thoughtfully replied, “A wedding ring.” (3) That’s the meaning of Paul’s words in Ephesians. Sexually active ‘immorality’ refers to ANY KIND OF INTIMATE SEXUAL ENCOUNTER OUTSIDE THE BONDS OF MARRIAGE. (3) “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed…”