Sex and the Sermon

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I grew up in a home where sex was never talked about.  We weren’t allowed to watch shows like All in the Family, MASH, Three’s Company, and other shows that often times talked about sex. I really didn’t understand much about sex other than it was something that we didn’t talk about. If for some reason the subject of sex came up on a television show, someone would quickly get up and turn the channel. As a young boy growing up, pretty much the only thing I remember being discussed about sex was it was something that was not good, and something that you should not do.

As for church, the only time I remember hearing about sex was when the preacher would say, “stop doing it,” or “it’s a sin.” I remember vividly in junior high when my brother and I realized the preacher would use secret code words for sex during his sermons. “And Adam knew his wife Eve,” the preacher would say. My brother and I would cut our eyes around at one another and grin, knowing we had broken the secret code for sex talk … it was the word “knew”.

My wife was also raised in a home much like mine, where the subject of sex was never discussed. That made for some awkward moments on our honeymoon night that we still laugh about today. On the biggest night of our married life, we were a bit embarrassed because everyone knew what we were doing.

Twenty-six years have passed since that time, and we have become much more comfortable talking about sex. Maybe it’s because 26 years of marriage makes you more comfortable, or maybe it’s because we do marriage seminars where we talk about sex, but most likely it’s because we have realized that sex is a gift from God. It was never created to be dirty, shameful or embarrassing.

We don’t fault our parents, or the churches in the past, for their lack of discussion on sex, but we have definitely handled the subject wrong. Ignoring the subject in our families and in our churches is not the answer. While our society has become very open and vocal about sex, we have made the mistake to become very quiet about it. The world has swung the pendulum too far to the left and declares “sex is god,” and so Christians have swung the pendulum back to the right too far and said, “sex is gross.” God never created sex to be gross.

Hollywood and our society have made sex a god. Sex sells and we see it in almost every commercial. Commercials that have nothing to do with sex, use sex to sell their product. Movies like “50 Shades of Grey” and “Magic Mike” have glorified our bodies for sex. The porn industry makes a profit of 90 billion dollars a year. Do you realize how much 90 billion is? If you were to take the amount of money ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX made last year and combine them, they didn’t even come close to 90 billion. If you were to take the NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA and combine how much money they made last year, they didn’t even come close to 90 billion dollars. That’s simply another sign that sex has become an idol in our world. Sadly, often times churches and Christians only reaction to stats like this is to ignore it and not talk about it or to say, sex is bad or dirty. We never preach the whole truth that God does in his Word. The truth that sex is a gift from Him for married people, and that He created it to be good and beautiful in the confines of marriage.

My wife, Lea, and I do marriage seminars all over the country. One of our favorite lessons that we do is called, “Keeping the Spark in Your Sex Life.” We enjoy the feedback from this lesson because we often hear comments like, “We’ve never thought of sex that way,” and “We were raised that sex was dirty.” We personally feel that Hollywood and our society have preached the wrong message about sex, and we, as Christians, need to step up and preach God’s message about sex.

I’ve been preaching in Childress, Texas for the last 12 years. It is my yearly custom to preach on marriage and family subjects every spring. I do this because it’s a need, not just in the church were I preach, but in every church. A couple of years ago in my series on marriage, I decided that it would be the perfect timing for a sermon on sex. I wasn’t going to preach about what’s wrong with it, to stop doing it if you’re not married, etc. I wanted my whole sermon simply   to be about how sex is God’s awesome gift to married people.

I had no doubt in the hundred-year history of the church in Childress that there had ever been a sermon on the subject of “Sex is Good!”  I’ll admit I got a little tickled when our very serious worship leader called me a couple of days before the sermon and said, “I am wanting to know your sermon topic for this Sunday so I can pick out some songs that go along with it.” I stood there on the other end of the phone just smiling. After I told him I was preaching on sex, there was a long silence, and then he said awkwardly, “Okay, I’ll see what I can come up with.”  

I felt as if society constantly was telling us about sex through commercials, movies and magazines, so it was important for my congregation to hear a message on sex from God’s perspective. Please know that there have been about 3 sermons I’ve preached in the Childress church in the past twelve years in which no one moved … this was one of the three. Amazingly, I wasn’t stoned outside the church when I was done. Many said it was a sermon that needed to be preached, and they looked forward to talking to their kids about it.  I felt, and still do, that it’s extremely important for our kids, families and churches to hear the real message that God tells us about sex in His Word. Sex is a beautiful wedding gift given to married people.

How do we know God is pro sex? Out of all the species He created, there is only one species that has sex for pleasure and not just for procreation … yes, that is us, humans. It’s as if God created us and said, “Here is your wedding gift from me. Enjoy it for pleasure.” I also find it amazing that God chose an entire book in His Bible to be dedicated to the subject of sex between a husband and wife, the Song of Solomon. I love Proverbs 5 where Solomon is talking to his boys and tells them not to look for love from other women, but to delight in their wife.  He says, “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer – may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love,” (emphasis mine). I love the idea of being intoxicated by your spouse and the love they give you. It’s as if you can’t ever get enough.

The church hasn’t always looked upon sex as an amazing gift from God. Unfortunately, most churches have only preached about its dangers and focused on how sex in the wrong context can destroy. Sadly, a lot of folks have gotten the wrong idea, even Christians, that sex is only dirty, only sinful. While the world chooses to be obsessed with sex many Christians and churches have ignored the subject unless it’s to preach against it.

As Christians, we will do well not to ignore the subject that the rest of the world so openly talks about. Instead we must share the truth of God’s message with our children, our churches and the world.

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