Summary: A frank look at sexuality, spirituality, faithfulness, and adultery.
Plumbed to the Depths
Life After the Wedding, part 5
Wildwind Community Church
February 19, 2006
I want to talk to you today about something that affects adults from every background, every religion, every ethnicity, every moral stripe. I want to talk to you today about a tragedy that often leaves people blindsided, even when other people might have seen it coming. I want to talk to you about marital unfaithfulness. Adultery. Cheating. Extra-marital sex. Getting it on the side.
But I want to do justice to the topic this morning. I don’t want to merely stand up here and tell you adultery is a sin. That’s no big revelation, although if you didn’t know that, it’s definitely worth knowing! What I want to do with you today is to look closely at sexuality in light of what we have already talked about – the fact that God desires through marriage that you become holy – that you come gradually to reflect his character more and more. 1st Cor. 10:13 tells us that God is faithful. God desires that we come to look like him in our actions, emotions, and attitudes. If God is faithful, God desires that you and I become people who are faithful. So I’m as interested this morning in talking to you about faithfulness as I am in talking about adultery, in fact the only reason adultery is worth talking about is because adultery is faithlessness, and really it’s faithlessness that interests me.
Today’s message will be rated PG-13, so I want you to be aware of that in case you have business you might need to attend to with children who are still in the auditorium, or in case you are a particularly sensitive person. There will be parts of today’s message that some will consider shocking, but I believe this is ground we must cover frankly. The first thing we want to do here today is remove the veil of secrecy from the issue not only of adultery, but from sexuality itself. Sexuality can be embarrassing when discussed frankly, especially when the intent is not to joke or demean but to take it seriously. I know the church doesn’t have the greatest track record when dealing with sex, but all we can do is be responsible for ourselves here today and try not to make it worse!
I’m going to spend a lot of time talking about sex and sexuality this morning, because obviously sex is wrapped up in adulterous relationships. And here’s my key question today, and this is huge so listen carefully:
What if your sexuality – your gender – the way you are wired sexually – has a direct line to your soul? What if it’s not just tissue and nerves and muscle? What if there’s a direct spiritual connection?
Does that seem hard to accept? Not to me. The Apostle Paul wrote several of his Bible books to people who, before they had received Christ in their lives, had participated in temple prostitution rituals. As far back as you go into history, sexuality and spirituality have been linked. Sexuality has always had transcendent power for human beings – and uniquely for human beings. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
The Transcendent Power of Sex
Did you know that of all the creatures on the face of the earth, human beings are the only ones that have sex face to face? Did you know that? Do you think that means something? Do you think it suggests that those who would reduce sex to a merely physical/biological act (like many in our society have) have drained it of most of what it means? Have you ever wondered why it is that sex has been used in religious rituals since the dawn of history? Have you ever thought about why it is that America is of two minds about sex – that on one hand we diminish it – we say you can and should have sex with anyone who consents as long as they’re old enough. So we treat it casually on the one hand. On the other hand we exalt it – we worship it and glorify it in magazines. We set it outside the flow of everyday life by making sex itself a kind of celebrity. We can’t decide whether sex is animal and natural and casual, or whether it is glorious and spiritual and transcendent. We insist on treating sex casually when it suits our fancy (say, when a person is bar-hopping and seeking to “get laid”). In those times we’re content to act as if we’re just “being natural,” just “doing what animals do.” We minimize it with phrases like, “Everybody does it, it’s the most natural thing in the world.” But you know what? Tens of thousands of babies are born every day in this country, but who doesn’t almost come unglued when the baby that is born belongs to them? Who doesn’t acknowledge that in the most so-called “natural” act, a miracle has occurred? Just because everybody does something, or something happens regularly, doesn’t mean we’ve explained it, that we understand it, that we have figured it out, that it’s not a mystery. There are times when we sense a spiritual connection during sex – we sense that something more is happening than meets the eye, that all is not as it appears, that something deeply mysterious is happening right in that moment and that somehow we are both causing it, and also caught up in it. We sense a bond of a special kind. We enhance the power and intensity of that bond by looking our partner in the eye, staring into the soul if possible – or trying to. On this level, sex is not merely animal/natural – mere exchange of bodily fluids. Sex on this level is “soul-exchange.”