Summary: Sex is NOT just physical. It is so much more. Sex is symbolic, sacred and service.
Ephesians 21 …submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
The main point Paul makes in this passage is that marriage is a divine mystery, pointing us beyond itself to Christ and the church.
Whenever you have a sign, you’re not supposed to get fixated on the sign…
o Imagine you were on your way to hike and camp out in the Grand Canyon and right before you get there you see a sign that says, “Grand Canyon, turn right” and you said, “Oh great, there it is.” And you camped out underneath the sign!
o You’ve got to look past the sign to the thing the sign points to.
But that’s what most people do with marriage
o They get fixated on the sign. So they start to see marriage as essential to ultimate happiness. It’s hard to think of a happy life without finding perfect love. And so they get obsessed with questions like, “Did I marry the right person—can they give me eternal love? Am I ever going to get married and find true love?”
o And we end up putting a weight on marriage it was not designed to hold. We look to romance for fulfillment and identity and satisfaction.
o But they were never designed to give us that. God is.
The mystery of marriage, Paul says, is that it and biological family are echoes, signs of something greater; something more eternal—Christ and the eternal family, the church.
Marriage is gospel--‐re--‐enactment. In it we get a taste of the love of God and we learn to love like God.
That’s Paul’s main point in Eph 5, and we’ve been considering it from 6 different angles.
This week, our final week, we are going to bring all these things together and talk about intimacy and sex.
Now, the word ‘sex’ is not found in Ephesians 5, but Paul talks in vs. 31 about coming together in one flesh in marriage, the ultimate expression of that is sex.
I’m going to try to debunk a deeply held cultural myth that a lot of people believe, or are trying to believe. That is: “Sex is just physical.” Some of you have tried to believe it.
“I didn’t know him or her that well, just had some fun for a while. No big deal. No strings attached.”
“Sex is kind of like food. You get hungry? Eat. Not significant what restaurant you eat at.”
Or, “It’s like a sport. You play it together; next time, pick another team. Like touch football. Or, better yet, tackle football… just you stay on the ground for as long as you can.”
But most of us, when we think about it, know that is not true. I heard one pastor expose that this way…. Think about these questions: (Andy Stanley, “Designer Sex,” from “The New Rules of Love, Sex and Dating”)
Why is it that when a child is sexually abused, when they are an adult and connect the dots, it is so difficult to shake off?
o It’s not just that “an authority figure betrayed them.” No, it’s deeper than that.
Why is rape so much more harmful to a woman than simply being beat up?
o Women will report physical abuse, but report rape way less often.
Why is it that men with the deepest sexual issues usually had uninvolved or missing fathers?
Why is adultery so hard to shake?
Why is it that most people’s greatest regrets are usually sexual?
o When somebody comes to me with some deep, dark, secret, it’s almost always sexual.