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Summary: While our culture has taken sex too far, the church hasn’t taken it far enough. We need to take sex back and reclaim it for the intended purposes of God. The problem is that we have not thought deeply enough about it, that is from God’s perspective.

Physical Intimacy

Song of Solomon

A young pastor was once asked to preach a sermon on sex. Being somewhat reserved, he found himself embarrassed when he came to write the word “sex” while writing his sermon. To remove this discomfort, he decided to simply put the letter “S” wherever the word “sex” was to be used. During his preparation, his wife came in and looked over his shoulder. She noticed the letter “S” planted liberally throughout the text and asked him what the topic for the sermon was. Embarrassed even to tell his wife the topic he said, “Uh…sailing! That’s what the sermon’s about, sailing.” His wife thought it a bit of an odd topic for a sermon, but guessed sailing might be a good analogy to the Christian life. On Sunday she was sick with the flu and missed church. Her husband however preached a terrific sermon. Although he started nervously, he warmed to the topic as the sermon progressed and handled the matter most tactfully. The following week, a member of the congregation was speaking to the pastor’s wife. “Oh your husband preached a beautiful sermon last Sunday. He handled a difficult topic well and I found what he had to say rather helpful.” “Well that is a surprise! I’m afraid I didn’t think he’d be of much help to anybody. After all, he’s only ever done it twice, and both times, he went overboard!”

The last few weeks we’ve been talking about developing intimacy in a sexually charged world. Intimacy is like a three legged stool. You need all three to be balanced in marriage: emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy and today we’re introducing the third, physical intimacy. You will never experience the depth of intimacy that God created and intended for marriage until you have all three actively present, including physical intimacy. For too long, followers of Christ have danced around the subject of sex in the church and from the pulpit or avoided it all together. And the result is that we have allowed the culture in which we live to hijack the subject and God’s design for it. Now, sex is everywhere, even when it shouldn’t be. The entertainment industry, advertisers, and marketers have defined what sex is, shaped how we think about it and made it to be a completely physical and self-centered pursuit. Most of what we read, learn or hear about sex in our culture is misinformation, whether that be from movies, psychologists on TV or publications like Cosmo and Playboy. That’s because they’re seeing it from a human perspective. But God created sex and he said it was good! God thought it up. God made love so we can make love with our spouses. Sex is so much more than a physical, pleasure seeking act. It is a gift from God that is emotional, physiological, psychological and above all, spiritual. Yes, spiritual! While our culture has taken sex too far, the church hasn’t taken it far enough. We need to take sex back and reclaim it for the intended purposes of God. The problem is that we have not thought deeply enough about it, that is from God’s perspective. God has much to say about sex. In fact, he’s written the greatest sex manual ever written, the Song of Solomon.

In chapter 7, it reads: “How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of an artist’s hands. Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle. Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon…Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses. How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine. May the wine go straight to my beloved, flowing gently over lips and teeth. I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me. Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside…(and) there I will give you my love” Whew! Is it getting a little steamy in here?

God’s hope for marriage is that we’ll be intimately connected to one another and that includes sex. But what we’re finding is that’s not happening today in marriages. The average married couple is reporting sex 1-3 times a week but I’ve heard people say that they don’t know any couple accomplishing that! And that’s a concern. Christian Counselor Gary Rosberg writes, “Sexual infrequency of once a week or less should be a major cause for concern in any marriage.” What’s causing the lack of physical intimacy in marriage? After the honeymoon period, there are a lot sexcuses or barriers for physical intimacy: an overcommitted calendar, stress and pressures of life, working more hours, unresolved anger, letting ourselves go physically, kids a.k.a. ‘Keeping Intimacy at a Distance Successfully” (put this acronym on the screen) and just plain exhaustion. These block all three types of intimacy and make it difficult for couples to stay bonded and connected to one another. Dr. Ian Kerner says, “Sex seems to be rapidly falling to the bottom of America’s to-do list; but, in my experience, when couples stop having sex, their relationships become vulnerable to anger, detachment, infidelity and, ultimately, divorce.”

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