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April 28, 2021 2:00 am
Christopher Yuan delves into the meaning of holy sexuality as prescribed in the Scriptures: chastity in singleness or faithfulness in marriage. Yuan explains chastity is more than just abstinence. It's about holiness and wholeness. While faithfulness includes being faithful emotionally and physically, there's more to that, too. Hear Yuan explain how Christians find their identity in Christ, not sex.
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It's clear in Scripture that we are not to be conformed to this world were to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
Christopher Yuan says that's true when it comes to understanding our sexuality. We have to distinguish ourselves from the world because the world is really saying your sexuality should delight you, and it should define you and I look at God's word and psych now Christ should delight me.
Christ should define me.
That's the big difference.
This is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Lapine when it comes to human sexuality is your thinking shaped more by what you're reading in the Bible what you're reading on one talk more about that today with Christopher you one state and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us. You guys served for more than three decades in local church ministry. I'm guessing during that time you saw the issue were to be talking about today. Sexuality and gender issues moved from from something that was kind of on the back burner to something that was front and center something where people were confused about how to respond about how to demonstrate kindness and grace and compassion while still holding to the truth as they interact with other people around these kinds of issues.
In 1990 when we started. I don't remember a single conversation about this topic. I really don't.
Not that it was important just wasn't at the forefront of people's minds like it is today. I can't go a week now and the last eight, nine, 10 years while without discussions about this good once really needed discussions, but people coming to our church.
On weekends, wanting to know what is your view on homosexuality.
What is your stance what what our wives and moms.
It's a conversation like with them. I can say in the past five years I can even tell you how many moms are coming up to me. Desperate kids are coming to their parents and especially their mom St. help me. I don't know what to do and this is who I am in the moms are coming to me saying help right as a church, what are we saying how do we help our kids well. We have here a book we just read what Rosario Butterfield said about this book and Rosario the guest on family life today. She said you're holding in your hands the most important humanly composed book about biblical sexuality and godly living for our times, and we've got, but I wrote that book with us today.
He is back Christopher Yuan. Welcome back to family. Thanks for having me back. One nice thing to say about this. Will I couldn't believe it.
Yeah I mean I wish I could say I paid her to do that. But when I got back I was like now I ask you for a blurb.
I did so as it was humbled, and she is an incredible friend. I call my big sis.
She calls my mom and dad mom and dad. We are truly brothers and sisters in Christ. This is your second book your first book is a memoir and the last time you were here. We we unpacked your story, your mom was with us, and in fact I decide or listers. If you haven't heard a stripper story go to family life today.com and listen to the podcast of your story at the remarkable story that took you from dental school to drug dealing yes to prison and along the way same-sex attraction when you were living in the gay lifestyle and imprison you started reading the Bible you got sidetracked and confused and wound up in prison.
God gets a hold your life you get out of prison. It was funny is that I got out of prison and you brought up as a student at Moody Bible Institute, and everybody was complaining about the rules and you went to the rules of what I want to write this book. Holy sexuality in the gospel is moving away from memoir and moving into. Let's grapple with what the Bible has to say about this issue a lot of prayer a lot of blood sweat and tears going into writing this yes yeah you know it. Essentially my first book, which I think was really unique. You know, written from a mother and a prodigal you know not many stories are out there helping mothers to see this is what my kids thinking, but I introduce this concept toward the end of my book that I just use this phrase holy sexuality and I just introduce that concepts of this was in 2011 that my first book came out, and since then I knew I had to flesh that concept out so it took all this time to do that.
Essentially, my book is a theology of sexuality not to scare people away with theology because we think I'm not a theologian, but actually that's not true, were all theologians. If we are a Christian if we have any knowledge of God essentially theologies is knowledge of God that we are theologians, so that was my hope with this new book. Then I'll allied this as I read it yet's full theology.
It's very grounded in theology, but very practical and I met some of them out to listeners and read it because it isn't just theology. It's the foundation you have to have and I will make sure you define holy sexuality but then how do you live it out by us go there. I had this amazing theology professor my first year at Moody and he told us bad theology leads to apathy, good theology compels you into action. And so that's what I want to give people good theology that you can't sit on your seat anymore. You can't sit on your ear anymore you have to go and do the work of God. So essentially holy sexuality is this. It's two paths either chastity in singleness or faithfulness in marriage that completely and accurately and precisely tells us how we all should live when you say chastity in singleness that encompasses not just our behavior. Mother encompasses how we approach our thought life.
It's bigger than just what are your actions right is right and I explained more and I feel those words in a little bit but why I used chastity.
Why did you singleness my faith with my marriage chastity. It's more than just abstinence abstaining is just not doing something God doesn't give us a call of no that's why like Chasity.
Chastity is about purity and holiness wholeness faithfulness so that's why I like that word chastity is much better than just merely not doing something singleness. I'm not using the word celibacy either. We all have to admit words matter in their words often times have layers of meaning no matter what you might say what I mean. That word this way. What we have to recognize how others and sometimes the majority of others to view words so more precisely, just singleness, which is the state of being unmarried. Not necessarily a vocation or calling whatever which may be some are, but I ministered to too many people who are unmarried, who say I didn't choose this, so that's why I chose singleness, faithfulness, again focusing on the act in a sometimes visible Chasity because Chasity could also mean just being faithful to your spouse well, but I want to be more than that, I'm open demerits of God provides for me a woman to marry. I do want to just be you know you're the only woman that that I'm to be sexually intimate with. You're the only woman that I'm good at know it's going to mean much more than that right. I made as a single.
I don't have that experience, but I know that that's what I want to commit to it is being faithful to her, not only physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and committed to her and that's why I chose that word faithfulness as opposed to just other words, we often talk about the fact that keeping your bowels and marriage doesn't mean just staying married because you vowed more than that. When you're talking about faithfulness you're saying. Sexual intimacy is not just about exclusivity.
It's about more than that it's right that's right, let me come back to singleness because we got folks who are wondering what should my sexuality look like season one I'm thinking to those were again this is a high bar back, especially in today's culture near setting a high bar.
So what does that look like you have what we need to first realize that we have to distinguish ourselves from the world because the world is really saying your sexuality should delight you in it should define you and I look at God's word and psych now Christ should delight me. Christ should define me.
That's the big difference and I don't want to sound trite or just me in a make it sound. I am just, you know, making it overly simplistic. It's not a mean, but if we look at innocence, the Reformation, the reformers talking about union with Christ. I'd like to see that how pastors and and people in seminaries and you know are our teachers are coming back to that in and helping us to really understand what that means. I see that as that is our identity in Christ us. So we need to first recognize how that is incorrect. The world thinking about. We need sex people talking about like this abstinence only program there is one congresswoman that even said that not only is that unfair. It's cool, really. I to not have sex. That's that's cruel and so we need to resist that. But again, how we live should not simply be a know there has to be much more to what God is, is really compelling us to. We need to realize that God has given us affection, and these affections for relationship are real. I'm not saying though that I think our desire to have nonsexual nonromantic desires are part of our sexuality. I don't think they are because if we go that route, then that would make everyone at this table gave her by your whatever right, I mean my mother has a best friend, a sister in the Lord that she desires to be close with that then doesn't make her a lesbian. So instead of just saying how do we do with our sexuality, I think, how do we do with our desires for intimacy and that intimacy could be physical, that intimacy could be relational, etc. and that to me points us to then the true family, which is the church and that was one of my goals with writing my book, I felt that there were in any author when they write a book they don't want to just write another book and just add something in that kind of someone else's ready said what I kind of felt lacking in many the previous books on homosexuality was this absence of the local church they're talking about.
We need to do this we need to do that and and good things or even talking about difficult texts in an ethics seen as a writer.
Is it wrong and how how clearly Scripture says that same secular ships are not God's will, but then there is this missing piece of the church because for me the church was a key part of my growth in my healing and my freedom without that there isn't any.
Yes, let like I just said before union with Christ that everything, but then we focus so much just upon kind of just the person of Jesus Christ that we then forget about the body of Christ. You can't love Christ without loving body of Christ as and when you say the church is vital here. You're not saying you really need to make sure you attend in couple services like it in a month you're talking about active engagement with biblical community yes and discipleship. Actually, that's how I ended my book, discipleship and anyone in ministry. They talk about discipleship, but when I look at how discipleship is done.
I don't see it done the way that the Bible tells us to discipleship is not a support group not to say that support groups are not helpful.
I think they are but support groups are not meant to replace discipleship and the context in which discipleship is meant to occur is the body of Christ, which means having headship which means having someone speaking into your life like me and my best friend.
That's not discipleship that's friendship enough that can be accountability. But God has provided us the body of Christ with pastors and leaders who are to be her spiritual shepherds to guide us in that and unfortunately I see that kind of a missing Lake almost an afterthought in what sometimes in this conversation, so that's why I want to come infuse that back into the conversation you and yet so many people I think is as a pastor I'm always thinking of the person that's not coming to my church or any church so the unchurched single guy married you name it out there who my perspective would be in this is how I thought before I ever got part of Christ centered community church.
I thought the last place I want to go to think about my sexuality is church yes I know what they think another theology whether I did or not I thought I did, and I know what the people there are like so everything you're saying right now. They well that the average guys I am I going there right because when you even say the word holy sexuality. I know what it means. If I'm an unchurched guy means no sex ever you and you know those Christians never do have sex if they do, it's only for that end right exactly in your… It's gotta be more than a know so so talk to that guy was like why would I even want to know church and yeah just that unchurched person who's got a mindset like semi people listen to the culture thinking this is my identity.
Why would I go anywhere that combines holy which means God yeah and sexuality together, how can I be a good thing yeah and this is why I want us to make the first thing the first thing so if I had a guy that I'm talking to who doesn't know Christ and his wrestling was sexuality whether it's header such a promiscuity, or whether you know it same secular ships. Whatever it is you know, in those things that are blessed by God you know specially if it's heterosexual promiscuity, or even maybe he's committed to his girlfriend alone, but they're not married. So these are things that are blessed by God and if I know that there not a Christian.
I'm not really can address the sexuality and they might come at me and have these questions what you think about sex before marriage. What he think about same-sex marriage. I'm missing what, let's put that on the back burner and let's focus on the first thing that is is there even a God because honestly what is matter what God thinks. If you don't even believe in, so let's go to the first thing and this is why I think as a Christian. Sometimes we forfeit our responsibility to preach and share the gospel and we push it into the hands of the church and the pastor like you and I want my neighbor to know Christ. I invited him to church one right but have you invited him doing into your home and share the gospel. Or at least I'm not saying you need to just hit people over the head of a lifetime. Your story yes right Milagros I Butterfield Dr., Pastor Smith. He knew how hardheaded she was and I am saying that because I know really well right and she needed because often you need to live the gospel before the preach the gospel right so I think we need to make the first thing first its faith in Christ as she's resided says so well. I was not saved out of homosexuality. I was saved out of unbelief. So with the guy who does not know Christ I'm just going to live the gospel invited him into my life and wait for those God moments to then be able to share the gospel and then once God begins working in that person's life, and the Holy Spirit is indwelling that person and changing then were able to address these other issues, because they have their mind is gone from docking understanding to be enlightened in Christ.
I'm sure the story before but it's because it had such a profound impact on me for the first time I heard it Tim Keller who was the pastor for years at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. In his early years there. He said whenever he would get done preaching need say a man that all these New Yorkers would flood forward and say a question for you is that I learned how to preach, because the New Yorkers were asking me questions.
I realize this is what I need to be talking about. He said one Sunday a woman comes forward. There's a whole crowd around me and she says I have a question for issues that I've been coming here for three or four weeks. I think I might want to join the church, she said I'm a lesbian would I have to give up my lesbian relationship to be a member of the church. So here he is in for the firing squad right with that question. Everybody turns and looks at the pastor in New York does I can answer this one and it was brilliant. He said I think you're asking the wrong question and she said what you mean. He said well I think you need to be asking the question, who do you think Jesus is and do you believe he is who we have been saying he is and who we believe he is. If you don't then there's no sense in joining the church. If you do that's going to have implications for every area of your life, not just her sexuality every area of your life. But if he is who we say he is you don't have any other option than to surrender to him right and I thought boy you talk about defusing a bomb, but he did the same thing you're talking about, say, somebody comes and says I want to know about this? The question you say let's just pull back and decide what you believe about God.
We believe Jesus is what you think this is all about. Yeah, and it's taken you know Jesus's words, if anyone would come after me, mean that all of us down is not to some anyone in the Greek means anyone name just pastors just missionaries just church leaders anyone would come after me, he, she must must sit on that sort of not. Maybe must deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me.
That's a radical and and even that this carrier cross Luke adds daily, I think we misunderstood that we think carrier crosses carry this burden. You know so okay my my boss sees just you.
He's an unbeliever, and he's just so hard on me. You know I miss at that's I just have to come across and I just have to grin and bear it.
The cross in first century Greco-Roman world and actually any time in history is probably the most gruesome form of death. Anyone could ever experience. That is what were supposed to carry.
That's the symbol of that and so we need to die. I don't know how us to sanitize that they but it is about just death to self, so that Christ can live in an us and that's to me that's a glorious thing because I I know what I'm capable of and I will and I want Christ to be living in me.
So let's say get down to some practical things. Let's say I have my son or my daughter or my friend or coworker come up and tell me I have same-sex attraction are II had in living a lifestyle that the church wouldn't accept. What's the best response Tina because Arby's I don't want to say the wrong thing. I don't want to. When you think about if somebody is carrying that cross. Yes, they're having desires and there'd not knowing what to do, but they do want to follow Jesus. Are you saying the best thing we can do is to love them to love them to Christ. Well okay so first yes it is love and I kind of begin in my book, though kind of tweaking that statement a little bit because the world says love is love is love right in. We just need to love the thinking entity and and the Christians what you're doing. You're not loving so my point actually is that I don't find issues that we need to be more loving.
I believe we need to know what that love is grounded in all love is grounded in truth. If you have the wrong truth. You will have the wrong love. If you have the correct truth. You will have the correct form and if you have God's truth. You will then be able to love is God love. So if you have a loved one that comes to you and confide with you opens up. I suggest the first thing is to thank them.
Thank you and see you know what I know how hard it was for you to open up to me. Thank you for trusting me, thank you for opening up to me. Tell me more. One thing you don't want to do as a parent is say that you thank you and then they'll say I love you don't follow that up right at that moment with but the reason I am not saying that you don't believe that anymore I'm using for that moment that precious moment that's going to be kind of seared in the image for four decades. For that moment. Just listen say that but for later. You know it, especially visit if it's a may be at a rebellious child that says I'm gay and I have a boyfriend I'm moving out, you know, I would say thank you for telling me I know how hard it was. I want you know I love you no matter what, save the butt for another conversation because if you say that, but at that moment.
You just erase what you've just said it's right they won't remember anything that you said you better have more conversations after that because then you could talk, and honestly I can almost guarantee if you living for Christ. If you are in God's word and you're going across. They know what you believe but what they are questioning is whether you're going to accept them or not work, talk more about these kinds of interactions as we continue our conversation this week and you deal with this in the book holy sexuality in the gospel. I just keep coming back guys to what is at the heart of what we talked about today. Pretty simple chastity in singleness. Faithfulness in marriage. We live in a culture today that with the just says that's crazy.
That's not that's not how you think or act and I were dead and I'm sure we all agreed it is simple.
It's not easy.
It's actually simple and very profound in terms of how to live it out.
But I love the clarity of the simplicity of admin and I'm looking forward to talking more about okay what does that actually look like to live out because it is not easy trying that is me as bad, it means it's worth pursuing because it's it's a high bar that's worth for 12 when you got a book here that the government come back to what Rosario Butterfield said the most important humanly composed book about biblical sexuality and godly living for our times. That's work at the copy of the minutes of the season is right up there with the Bible to wow yeah yeah it's pretty significant and is a great book about Lord I wouldn't put it up at the Bible level. We got copies of Christopher's book holy sexuality on the gospel. It's available in our family life to the resource Center you can order it from us email@example.com or call to order at one 800 FL today, so give him the title of the book holy sexuality of the gospel, sex, desire and relationships shaped by God's grand story by our guest today, Christopher, you one you can go to family life today.com to order your copy online or call to order at 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life, and the word today. You know, we hear from so many of you regularly about how important it is for us to have these kinds of conversations to help all of us think wisely, biblically, compassionately on subjects like this and we just want to say thank you to the listeners who make these kinds of conversations possible for all of us. Those of you who are regular legacy partners who who donate monthly to support family life today and those of you who make an occasional contribution from time to time. Every donation we receive helps extend the reach of this ministry, making it possible for us to regularly interact with more people more often around important subjects like this so thank you for your part. If you are not only a listener but also a supporter of this ministry on behalf of your fellow listeners.
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One morning to talk about how critical it is for us to understand the reality of our identity in Christ. Our identity as children of God. As we deal with all kinds of temptations, including sexual temptation. Christopher Yuan will be with us again tomorrow. Hope you can be here as well. Think our engineer today. Keith Lynch got some extra help from Bruce Goff and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine will see you back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow