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Marriage part 7: Sexuality


1 Cor 6.9 – 7.5

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. 15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.


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Best sermon I have ever heard on sexuality is Tim Keller’s, “The Temptation of Beauty”

I will post it on my Slack blog, but for today, you are stuck with me.

Our text is nothing like most of those OT texts on sexuality.

There is no mention of feminine sensuality, no objectifying of either sex.

It isn’t even romantic, and it is completely even-handed.

It is practical (realistic) without being transactional or chauvinistic

It considers the realities of men, women, children, beliefs, circumstances…

It is “brass tacks”, “nuts and bolts”, down to the “nitty-gritty”, “unvarnished”

It is practically clinical in its treatment of sexuality in marriage

The heart of the text is godliness: the best foundation of life-long relationships

Godly Sexuality:

This term might strike some odd

In fact some are uncomfortable with this subject altogether

Think it shouldn’t be spoken of in church, or to children

– Children are getting far more graphic sex ‘Ed’, and it is terribly distorted

Parents, pastors should be countering this propaganda with a godly narrative

Let me take a moment to make the point that the OT ‘sensual’ depictions

are precisely a narrative of sexuality — not exactly ‘Doctrine’

They are a story, they are art, poetry – some ways more powerful than doctrine

Our interaction with our children on this subject cannot be just clinical, doctrinal

You don’t serve your children well being bashful, ashamed, prudish, euphemistic

“birds & the bees”, etc.

Don’t allow the world to plunder what is beautiful, wonderful, and Godly

Sexuality, as God designed it, isn’t something that is dirty or embarrassing

It is done in private because it is intimate, and it requires absolute vulnerability

Not because we are ashamed

When we publicize what is intimate, it subverts it (transforms, perverts)

No longer intimacy, it is performance, and by definition loses authenticity

Regardless how great an actor, if they are performing, they are faking intimacy

Intimacy by definition cannot be faked nor exhibited.

In the text, Godly sex. is juxtaposed with on-demand promiscuity, prostitution

IOW: Godly sexuality being contrasted w/ Transactional sexuality (commodification)

Sex is a central issue, but not the transactional sex you could get from a harlot

This is the point of the lead up to the discussion of marital sexualtiy

Transactional sexuality is to want:

The body but not the person

The pleasure but not the vulnerability

The sensuality but not the intimacy

The moment but not the life

Prostitution and promiscuity are not the only versions of transactional sex

Sadly there is a ‘Christian’ version of it.

The oft taught mantra that a woman needs to do her wifely duty

“If you took care of business, the mistress would be out of business”

This is not at all what Jesus or Paul or even Solomon had to say about this.

Even Solomon laid fault at the feet of the foolish man pursuing strange women

Wrong that single men expected to be chaste, but married men’s every desire satisfied

Like telling the starving to be content, but the obese at the buffet to gourge.

Marriage was not designed to be the ‘liberation’ of self-restraint or chastity

This produces a permissiveness of married men indulging in titillation

Expecting their wife to “take care of business”

Like expecting employer to cover unrestrained credit card debt

Jesus holds men accountable for their gaze and their conclusions

Mat 5.27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Notice that Jesus’ doctrine puts all the fault & responsibility for lust on men.

As opposed to other religions that drape women in black sacks

Paul’s mutual-ownership teaching is not only that both get all the sex they want

That is like telling the fox & hen that they can both eat whatever they want

True that woman’s sexual availabilty doesn’t belong to her

But also true that man’s sexual restraint doesn’t belong to him

Doctrine of ‘wifely duty’ idolizes transactional & desecrates godly sexuality

1) This ‘doctrine’ presupposes that a man has no duty to befriend his wife

Men lament that the wedding cake poisons the woman’s sex drive.

But it is just as toxic to the man’s friendliness.

And it exposes that his real view of marriage is transactional & addictive 

“I married you, now I get what I want whenever I want it, for life.” 

2) Emanates from a pseudo (faux) love that is predatory, coercive, quid pro quo

“If I woo her, priortize her needs, longing for deep friendship… then I get sex?!” 

3) What if she were to become gravely ill? 

Or be paralyzed in an accident?

Mal 2.13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. 14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

What we see is that this apparent incompatibility is actually God’s intended design.

Men have tried relationships that circumvent this design. DISASTROUS!

1) Prostitution, Promiscuity

2) Poligamy 

higher domestic violence, depression, dispossession

3) Homosexuality 

Both want sex the same amount – what could go wrong?

>50% gay, >75% lesbians report psychological intimate partner violenc (IPV)

>16% report a suicide attempt, >9% report multiple attempts (2-8x hetero)

None of this is the Godly sexuality as described in Proverbs, Songs, or 1 Corinthians

Godly sexuality is:

1) Loving (not Transactional)

(Not Self-absorbed, coercive, quid pro quo)

The only way we get the depth of the relationship is with an actual relationship

That means a real, true commitment; covenantal; based on true love

2) Authentic / Intimate (not Performative)

This is why sex outside of the marriage commitement is so problematic

It is acting, pretending, it is mismatched

Fornicators are acting out commitment, but not actually committed

It is a lie, not just to the other, but to themselves.

3) Chaste (not Unrestrained)

Pornography, adult content, sensual ‘aids’ 

This does not mean that a couple should be prudish, ashamed, etc.

But this should be authentic

The cause of prudishness in marriage is not lack of external stimuli

Chastity is not the opposite of passionate, fun, exhilarating sex

The problems in marriage are a result of SIN, not a lack of it.

4) Vulnerable (not Ashamed, Frigid, Isolated, Distant, )

We tend to think of vulnerability as bad, and certainly as dangerous.

It is dangerous, but not bad.

Vulnerable is the prerequisite to godly sexuality

It is actually the point of it.

It is why it is done in the nude.

Sexuality is great when (and only when) it is an exercise of complete vulnerability

It is so much more than an hour of passion and climax

It is just the physical expression, the acting out of:

Complete and total emotional, psychological, and spiritual vulnerability

You might be thinking that Godly Sexuality sounds very hard


The most terrifying passage in all of Scripture is the following.


1 Cor 13 Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Charity never fails.

This isn’t possible because someone like me, like you could never do 

Why? Because we could never actually want that.

We want what we think we could (or should) get from being like that.

But that is the opposite of true Love.

What is terrifying about this, is the real risk of loving fully and spouse not reciprocating.

But for the one who truly loves, this is not terrifying nor a risk.

Because they don’t love to be loved, they just love.

In many ways, the first love is the purest love we ever experience

It is no wonder that Jesus calls the church back to their first love.

That was the love that caused you to swim through shark infested waters

Just to give your beloved what they wanted, expecting nothing in return

That dispelled all headaches, for the joy of making them feel wanted and special

True Love is the bedrock of godly sexuality.

The Gospel:

Sexuality reflects the Gospel in such a accurate way because it illustrates redemption

Ungodly sexuality was a consequence of sin alienating us from God

Commodified, inauthentic, undisciplined, isolated

Telling: Even after we made ourselves clothes, they were not compelling. 

We still hid, we were still ashamed.

God made us clothes that we could tolerate being seen in

But they still separate us from him and from each other.

The new man, created in Christ by the power of him hanging naked on the cross

Emancipates us from the inauthenticity and shame between ourselves and Him.

And regenerates us, giving us a new mind: The mind of Christ.

We now can approach confidently into his presence

Because we are loved by Jesus in such a primal, no-holds-barred way

When we confess him, we are able to be:

Real, authentic, vulnerable, trusting, confident, intimate, surrendered

And not just with God, but because of our relationship with God

We are able to restore godly sexuality in our marriage.

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