Saturday, May 07, 2011

"Temple Language" Explains God's View of Sex

Some flowers pose for my camera.
I'm preaching tomorrow out of 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

I'll summarize where we are in our 1 Corinthians series this way:

1. God is building a new Temple.

2. It’s a Temple made of people.

3. Paul laid a Foundation – Christ crucified.

4. On this Foundation God is constructing the new Temple.

5. A “temple” is something God dwells in.

6. You… are a Temple of the Holy Spirit.

7. You… are a portable sanctuary.

8. You… and we… are being built up… “edified”… to be an “edifice”… in which the very presence and love and power of God dwells.

Then, the text itself:
12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[b] 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.[c]

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Obviously it's important to understand Pauline "temple language" to get what's going on here.

Re. Jesus' views on sex, the best thing I've read recently is in Greg Boyd's The Myth of a Christian Religion, in his chapter 13, entitled "The Revolt Against the Abuse of Sex."

Some of Greg's thoughts...
  • Sex is widely considered a morally neutral activity, essentially no different than racquetball.
  • Americans see several hundred implicit or explicit every week sexualized scenes on TV shows, commercials, in the movies, on the internet.
  • Only a small percentage (less than 1%) of these are between people who are married. And some of these make fun of them.
  • The message is that it’s OK for sex to be enjoyed recreationally and it’s best when it’s done outside of marriage.
  • The ideas of “chastity” and “sexual morality” sound old-fashioned and prudish.
  • 65% of American teens today engage in sexual intercourse before graduating from high school.
  • By the time they get married only 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men are still virgins.
  • But what about professing Christians? The statistics are no different.
  • What about “True Love Waits?” This program delayed sexual intercourse for about 18 months. Most teens who pledged to wait until marriage to have sex did not wait.
  • NOTE: I know of a young man who is getting married this summer… who waited… he’s giving his True Love Waits ring to his bride on their wedding day.
  • Sex has become severed from morality.
  • The porn industry has exploded.
  • Porn now has more revenue than professional football, basketball, and badeball combined.
  • (If anyone wants to know my sources e-mail me…)
  • Every second in America 372 new people log onto porn sites. More than half of these new users are underage.
  • What about pastors in America? Within the last year about a third of all pastors visited porn websites. (I have not.)
  • Recreational sex permeates the church.
  • If you are a Jesus-follower listen. As in all things, disciples of Jesus are called to imitate him by submitting their sexuality to the reign of God.
  • Jesus was fully human and tempted in every way that we are, yet he did not sin.
  • Boyd – “Whether we are single or married, Kingdom people are called to manifest the beauty of God’s original design for sexuality and revolt against the debauchery of our culture and the dehumanizing Powers that fuel it. In our sex-addicted culture, this is one of our most formidable challenges.”
  • What can motivate us? NOT… I am convinced… just reading the hundreds of prohibitions against sex outside of marriage found in the Bible. Lots of churches take this approach. I don’t think it does any good. In fact… my experience is that churches that get real fundamentalist about this stuff end up producing even MORE sex-addicted teens. We need to go deeper and see why sex is such a big deal to God and why his prohibitions are not prudish or puritanical but beautiful.
  • Most will not be motivated to hold to God’s strong “No” to sex before and outside of marriage until they can fully appreciate God’s even stronger “Yes” to the beauty of sex within marriage.
  • We’ll look at Three Biblical Teachings about God’s Strong “Yes” to Sex Within Marriage.
  • #1 - The Creation of “One Flesh” God designed sexual intercourse to create a new, sacred oneness between a man and a woman that is intended to never be broken.
  • #2 – The Sign of the Heavenly Marriage  God designed sexual intercourse to be a sacred sign of Christ’s relationship with his bride, the Church.
  • #3 – The Sign of the Marriage Covenant

Sexual Intercourse is the sacred sign and seal of the marriage covenant.