Summary: And today I want to help us consider the goodness of marital physical intimacy.

As we continue in our series ‘Restoring the Gift of Our Sexuality’… I thought you might appreciate knowing a little more how the choice to do this series came about. This little video kind of fills it in…

[VIDEO: VCF SEXUALITY SHORT (by Nate Torrence) ]

Well… needless to say… I got the message.

And I want to say to my anonymous friend… and to each of us… I believe God wants us to RELAX.

As we noted last week… sexuality is a sacred and wonder-full reflection of God… that we now experience in the strangest mix of ways. It’s a part of our identity and our insecurity… of strength and shame… of the tenderness and harshness.

We seem to live in the mix of repression and obsession… inhibition and indulgence.

The only one NOT hung up in sexual confusion… is God.

And today I want to help us consider the goodness of marital physical intimacy.

Last week as we considered the words of Genesis that speaks of our design… I described what I believe to be God’s design for sexual intimacy… that it reflects the uniting nature of lifelong partnership. Sexual passion is the stimulating of a God-given longing within us for oneness; through the pleasure of releasing both personal and physical boundaries… therefore it’s inherently a part of lifelong partnership. Experiencing oneness without being one violates our personhood. I understand that may be hard for some to accept… and you may not agree at this point. We’ll look consider this further in the weeks ahead. But on this premise I want to help us grasp what God has designed and desired in marital intimacy.

I want to say a word to those who are not married…. I know it may be hard to hear anything about sexuality that you feel is not available to you. It may seem like holding an investment seminar when you’re broke.

Let me note that this will be the only week focused on marital intimacy per se… and we will discuss God’s wisdom for sexuality for those unmarried as well as conclude our series on how we can relate supportively together as married and unmarried adults.

Along those lines, I hope that you will not feel that what God intends for marital intimacy isn’t relevant to you.

• If you could ever get married in the future… it is relevant to you.

• More importantly…if you know anyone who is married and care about them… it is relevant to you.

In fact, one of the most difficult challenges in our sexual experience is NOT simply what happens in the world of single adults… it’s often the tensions that emerge in married life.

Perhaps for those single… it sounds like you are just being placated… and it’s a little hard to have sympathy. My hope is that we can set aside comparisons… and become friends who care to understand what God has for one another’s experience.

In fact, I want us to hear What God inspired in a man believed to have been unmarried himself… about sexual intimacy in marriage.

(Note: a more informal paraphrased translation)

1 Corinthians 7:1-7 (MSG)

1 Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? 2 Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. 3 The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. 4 Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights." Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. 5 Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. 6 I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them. 7 Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.

The words of the Apostle Paul here may not sound like the greatest promotion of marriage.

In fact the wording of other translations can seem even more questionable, as if Paul merely resigns marriage as a necessity for the less self controlled.

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