Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. It's a scientific study written by a couple of neurologists showing what having multiple sexual partners, especially when you're young, in many respects more devastating than unwanted pregnancy, more devastating than STDs. Repeated sexual encounters actually hinder our abilities to form lifelong and satisfying relationships. Welcome back to another week of trusted biblical teaching here on Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer of the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
As always, I'm your host, Mollye Vidovitch. You know, today's culture tends to paint sexual expression in any context as a matter of personal choice. We are encouraged to follow any path that leads to pleasure in ways honestly never seen before. Conversely, the biblical model for sexuality is viewed as oppressive, even unhealthy and intolerant. But if that's the case, then why have so many of us been burned by sexual encounters? It's time to see what God has to say about this most important topic.
So let's join Pastor J.D. for today's teaching titled The Power of Sex. Today, Proverbs 5, we're going to look at the power of sexuality. Tim Keller, who I have told you before is kind of like a spiritual Yoda to me, great Bible teacher he is, says that our culture both overvalues and undervalue sex.
It's ironic. We undervalue it on one hand and we overvalue it on another. So Proverbs 5 unpacks that a little bit.
In fact, the whole book of Proverbs does. So let's look first how we undervalue sex. As you're finding Proverbs 5, let me explain that our society wants to believe that sex is just physical. It's like food.
You get hungry, you eat. But let me ask you, present you with some questions I heard once that will tell you what you already know, and that is that sex is not just physical. If sex is just physical, why is rape so much more harmful to a woman than simply being beat up? Why is it, if sex is just physical, that when a child is sexually abused, when they become an adult and they finally connect the dots, why is it so difficult for them to shake? If sex is just physical, why is adultery always so devastating to a relationship? When somebody comes in my office and they sit down and they start to cry and they say, I've never told anybody this, Pastor, but I've got to tell somebody what comes out of their mouth 999 times out of 1,000 has to do with a sexual mistake that they made.
Everything in our experience screams out. Sex is not just physical. We know that. Something much greater and more profound is at work. And so Solomon says in Proverbs 5, to his son, drink water from your own cistern. Flowing water from your own well.
A cistern is an image of female sexuality. He continues, verse 16, should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets, let these treasures be for yourself alone and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth. In Proverbs chapter two, he calls a wife, the companion of your youth. The word in Hebrew he uses for companion haloop means something like what we would mean when we say soulmate. Told you about a book that I own.
I think I told you this a couple years ago. It's called Hooked. It's a scientific study written by a couple of neurologists showing what having multiple sexual partners, especially when you're young, does to your brain. Again, they're not writing as Christians, but they explain that multiple sexual partners actually rewires your brain in a way that makes, they say, genuine, lasting, selfless relationships much more difficult, if not nearly impossible. Here's what they say, and I quote, the individual who goes from sex partner to sex partner is causing his or her brain to mold in such a way that eventually accepts that sexual pattern as normal. The pattern of changing sex partners therefore damages their ability to bond in a committed relationship in the future. Again, these are not pastors. These are people writing from scientific analysis of the brain.
Here's what they conclude. You can no more try out sex than you can try out birth. The very act of sex produces a new reality that cannot be undone. Let me talk for a minute here about the damage of pornography, because looking at pornography, these authors show, perhaps to an even greater extent, destroys your capacity for lifelong and satisfying relationships. It's not only an offense to God.
It is because he's pure. It's an offense, so up first it causes you to start looking at the opposite sex like a commodity. Men, when you gaze at pornography, you are looking at an image of a woman whose body you just want to use. You don't see her as a person, as a soul, and that trains your mind to begin to see all women in a certain way, and that's how you start to relate to all women in your life.
Now, like I said, I direct a lot of that issue toward men, but in our society it has become just as much one for women. In the wild success of Fifty Shades of Grey, soft porn for women made mainstream. These books, these movies are not romantic. These books are destructive, and they are destroying your capacity for romance.
Now, at this point I know that there are some of you feeling overwhelmed because you've made these kind of mistakes. What I want to tell you is that there's not one of us who stands before the throne of God pure. We don't stand there clothed in our righteousness. We stand there clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. A righteousness that He purchased by His blood and a righteousness that He put upon us. It is not my purity.
It's not what I've done that makes me whole. It's the blood of Jesus. All precious is the flow. That makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus. You see, I get to tell you that the blood of Jesus can actually make you purer after His blood has been applied than before you even sinned.
Maybe you're broken right now by all the sexual mistakes that you've made. I get to tell you that the resurrection of Jesus is such that He can put you back together again stronger and more whole than before you were broken. You see, God made the death of Jesus gruesome.
Why? Because He was punishing Jesus for your sin so you would know that there is no sin you ever commit that His blood cannot cleanse you from. He made Jesus resurrect from the dead because He was showing there was nothing broken that cannot be put together. And so the prophet Isaiah says, come now, let us discuss together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, though they stain you to the soul, yet I can make you white as snow. 2 Corinthians 5 17, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away, behold all things to become new. Romans 8 1, there is no condemnation toward those of us who are in Christ Jesus. God has made us new in Him. Romans 6 3, we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that just like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Hebrews 7 25, because of the death of Jesus, God is able to save to the uttermost to the deepest point of brokenness and pain, all those who come to God in Him.
I get the privilege of telling you that the gospel can cleanse and the gospel can heal, but you got to repent and you got to come to God and receive it. That's how we undervalue sex and we do it to our destruction. Here's how we overvalue sex. It's kind of the irony. Proverbs 11 22, like a gold ring and a pig snout is a beautiful woman without character.
Discretion, you can read that as character. Now y'all, this is Solomon at his absolute finest. Here you got a gold ring.
That's awesome. Everybody wants a gold ring. Problem is it's got a big old nasty hog attached to it, but you got a guy who wants the ring so bad that he figures he'll put up with the swine as long as he gets the ring. So every night he's got the satisfaction of gazing at this ring, but he's got to sleep with this big old nasty hog in his bedroom.
You say what idiot would do that? And Solomon says the person who thinks that sex and beauty are everything. Our culture overvalues sex and beauty, giving those things entirely too much weight in what makes for the good life and they'll put up with any hog as long as they get that. First, for many of us, we feel like physical beauty is all that matters. Physical beauty is all that really gives a person value. A lot of people put way too much emphasis on physical looks when they're dating. They will settle for hog-like character if they get gold ring level beauty.
Man, I'll say this to you. You would do well to remember that when Proverbs 31 describes the ideal woman, when Proverbs 31 describes the woman who will bless your life day after day after day until the day that you die and your children will rise up and call her blessed, not one time in Proverbs 31 does it ever discuss her beauty. In fact, the only time it mentions beauty, it mentions it disparagingly. Proverbs 31 30, charm is deceptive. Beauty is fleeting. It's a woman who fears the Lord. That's the one who's going to be praised.
That's the one who's going to bless your life. Beauty is good. Solomon was into beauty. I'm into beauty.
Beauty is good, he said, but character, that's the real beauty and character is better. I've told you before, I remember the first time that I laid eyes on the girl who would become my wife. I was speaking at a high school camp where she was a counselor, not a camper.
And just want to be clear on that. And she was leading worship and I was supposed to speak after she got done leading worship. And I remember thinking, I'm supposed to be back here concentrating on God and the sermon.
And I feel like I need to repent. And I got to talk to her and our first real conversation we ever had was about Calvinism. I get chills just thinking about it now. It was awesome. And I just, the way she talked about people and the way she respected people and the way she treated people.
And I knew that's the kind of character that I wanted to be united with. So now here we are, what, 15 years in the marriage. She's still beautiful to me. She's still beautiful period. But I see a woman now who has sacrificially devoted her time and her body to having and raising our four children.
She can no longer devote herself all day long to beautifying herself. That makes her more beautiful to me today than the day that I met her. Because there's nothing more beautiful than a beautiful spirit. Because I know that when people oppose me and when I go through difficulty, she's the one I want by my side. And when we walk through tragedy, she's the one that I want as my companion. And when I get old and unattractive and you're like, you're there now. When I get old and really unattractive and I got six chins, I know that she's not going anywhere because she has beautiful character.
Because charm, as much as she had it, is deceitful and the beauty is fleeting. But it's a woman who fears God. That's a woman who blesses you for every day of your life for eternity. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. You can always find out more about this ministry by visiting jdgreer.com. You know, this time of year is really critical for ministries like Summit Life. And that might be a bit surprising to you if you don't know what it takes to fund a ministry like this. You see, when you give to Summit Life, you're making sure that cost doesn't get in the way for anyone who wants to learn and grow in their faith through these messages. Your generous gift helps people dive into the message of the gospel. So we would love for you to consider joining with us today in that mission.
And guess what? Today, we launch our ever popular 2023 Daily Planner as our gift to you. We'll send it as a token of our thanks for your gift to the ministry right now. So give us a call at 866-335-5220 or check it out at jdgreer.com. Now let's get back to our teaching on Summit Life.
Here's Pastor J.D. There are some women who think that physical beauty is so important that they feel absolutely worthless without it. So we got a lot of young girls who do really destructive things to their bodies to try and look good. Anorexia and bulimia are often built on the assumption that your primary beauty and your identity, your real worth is established by your shape and your size. Did you know that anorexia and bulimia are five times more common in our country than in non-developed countries?
And they are two times more likely on the college campus than they are in society at large. Tim Keller says, what that shows you is that the closer you get to the heart of Western civilization, the closer you get to the culture forming womb of civilization, because that would be a college campus, the more that women are bombarded with the message that all that matters about you is your looks and your character doesn't matter, at least not that much. And so we've got girls who do destructive things to their body because I gotta have, I gotta have that gold ring. A lot of women get depressed as they age because when their physical beauty is gone, so goes their identity, so goes their happiness, it's all they had. And what Solomon says, his physical beauty is good.
It's good. It's a creation of God. But a person who walks with God has a beauty that lasts forever. That's the real beauty. Another way that we overvalue sex is that we convince ourselves that the good life, the happy life is impossible without good romance and good sex. And so we're willing to give up anything to have that. That's why not too infrequent, it's tragically. I know men in our church who in their late 40s, early 50s, leave their lifelong companion and their kids for a younger sexier woman, even though it destroys their family and their finances. But they feel like at all costs, I gotta have that ring.
Who cares about the hog of a ruined family? I read a book one time where a guy listed out all of the things that would happen if he committed adultery. And I was so moved by it, I made my own list.
And I pull it out every once in a while just to remind myself because I'm a guy like you guys, and I know what temptation is like. And I just want to make sure I have in my mind the things that I know. These are not ifs, the things I know would happen if I committed adultery.
I won't read all of them to you, but here's a few of them. I would cause untold hurt to Veronica, and I would have to endure the loss of her respect and her trust, and I would likely forfeit my entire relationship with her. I would cause deep hurt and confusion to Charis, Ali, Raya, and Adam, who may never understand why I was willing to trade them for a thrill.
My relationship with them would never be the same. I would bring shame on my mother and father. I would heap shame on the girl that I committed adultery with and bring endless mockery to her. I would cause shame to you, my church family. I would enable the laughter and the blasphemous smugness of professors at UNC and Duke and NC State and North Carolina Central who already disrespect God and mock him in the classroom, and I would give them just another exhibition and reason to do that. I know I would follow in the footsteps of men whose ministries I admired but who forfeited that through their immorality and whose example now causes me to shudder with horror. I'd become another example.
Most importantly, I would grieve my Lord and my Savior, and one day I would have to look him in the face and explain why, why, after all that he had given to me, after all the beauty he had put in my life, why I just had to have something else. It's just not worth it. It's just not worth it. Now you say, I have sinned that way. Can I not be forgiven?
Yes, you can. And it's like I told you, the power of God's grace is amazing in its restoration. We have people in our church that have been restored in this and it's beautiful, but you of all people should want others to understand how devastating and how powerful these things are. It is not trifling, and I feel like some of you are here, and the reason that God has you here is I'm supposed to warn you.
You're standing on the precipice and you're about to destroy everything. I take this so seriously. And some of you will say I'm psychotic and how seriously I take it. I will not go to lunch with a woman who's not my wife. I will not be alone with a woman who is not my wife.
When I travel, I always take a guy with me. Why? Because my family and this church and the reputation is entirely too precious to me to put a gun to my head and hope the chamber's not loaded. And I will not take it. So you're like, well, that's ridiculous. You're like, that's ridiculous. Maybe you just ought to think about how important this is and how much you don't want to take a chance with the things in your life that are most precious.
That gold ring is not worth it. And there are some of you that are forfeiting your very soul over this issue. And the reason I say that is because this is the number one reason, especially among people in college in the first few years after, why they won't take the Lordship of Jesus seriously. Why?
Because they don't want to bring this underneath the Lordship of Christ. And I want to look at them. I want to say, you would trade your soul. You would trade God for that.
I mean, it's fantastic. Yes, but not worth God. It's not worth your soul. Hebrews 13, four, marriage is honorable.
The bed is undefiled. God wants you to be drunk with your passion in it. But those who do not do it His way, God will judge. Some people overvalue sex and how, and that they feel they couldn't be happy if they're not married. Or if they are married, they feel like it couldn't be happy if they don't get in a different marriage, a better one. Until you're always envying other people's relationships. Imagine how much better you'd be in a new situation. You're fantasizing about the premature death of your spouse so you can get remarried or whatever ridiculous thing that you do.
Because you put too much value on it. Beauty and sex are good. They're beautiful creations of God, but they're not the most important things and they're not what makes for life. So here's the last verse I'll give you. Proverbs 6 23, for the commandments. The commandment is the way of life.
In the commandment, Solomon says, that is in a relationship with God. That's where life is. It's not in sex. It's in God.
I want you to think about this. The most joyful, the most fully fulfilled, the most fully alive person who ever lived and whoever walked the face of the earth. He was the happiest person who ever walked the face of the earth.
Every time you pray, you pray to a 33 year old single adult virgin. Yet his life was filled with joy that was inexpressible because he had the love of the father. In fact, Psalm 16 11, which he, I think quoted, in your presence is the fullness of joy.
He says, not in a marriage or in romance. That's joy. It's awesome joy, but it's not the fullness of joy.
Your presence is the fullness of joy. At your right hand are pleasures forevermore, not in the bedroom. That's not where pleasures forevermore are. Pleasures forevermore, God, are with you. It's like I often tell you the love that you're seeking in romance is actually his love.
The arms you yearn for in romance are his arms. Sexual love can be a great demonstration of the love of God in the gospel, but it's not the ultimate thing. You see, in sex, you get a beautiful picture of the gospel. In sex, you're naked and somebody sees all of who you are and they love you. It goes back to the soul need that we have, listen to this, to be known and loved.
That's what the human heart wants. We got to be known and loved. We can't be one or the other because if you're known but not loved, that's rejection.
But if you're loved and not known, that's just sentimentality. So in sex, you get a glimpse of somebody who knows you, sees you completely, and loves you unconditionally. In the gospel, you see the fulfillment of that because there you see a God who sees the nakedness of your soul. They see all the deformity. They see all the ugliness, and they love you, and they delight in you, and they accept you unconditionally, and that is the love that your heart is yearning for. Solomon says that's where life is, and then he goes on.
See how he finishes the verse? It preserves you from the smooth tongue of the adulterous. Do not desire her beauty in your heart.
Don't let her capture you with her eyelashes. How do you escape the captivity and the power that sex and romance has over you? Whether that's your addiction to porn or the fact that you're a serial dater and you got to be in a new marriage or you got, how do you escape that captivity? Solomon says by a greater captivity.
That's how you do it. You get captured by the love of God, and that releases you from this need to always have this other thing in your life, and then you can become a whole person. You get captured by the love of God for you, and it makes you a healthy and a whole person who begins to love from the overflow and not because you're a desperate, lonely person. It's like I've often told you guys, listen to this, single, lonely, insecure people become married, lonely, insecure people. In fact, their loneliness and insecurity gets worse, and now they're just mad about it because now they're blaming somebody else for their loneliness and insecurity. That loneliness and insecurity wasn't a single or marriage issue. It was a you and God issue. Problems like loneliness and insecurity are not cured by another human being.
They're only cured by the love of the Father. There are some of you. This is so messed up in your life. Some of you single people. You ought to just blow the whistle, call a time out, and you ought to take a year off from dating.
Why? Because you need to get this relationship right. You need to become a person who is full of life in God so that then when and if God brings that marriage relationship to you, you can do it out of the overflow and not as a desperately needy person. It's like I often say to single people, you're not ready to date until you're ready not to date. Because when you're ready not to date, that means that you've understood that life doesn't come from another human being.
It comes from God. There are others of you that you just, this is an area where it reveals brokenness. What you need is the love of the Father. As much as any other subject, this area reveals where things are broken in your life. If you're unhappy this weekend, there's a real chance that it's connected to this issue somehow. If you're overwhelmed by guilt, there's a real chance that it's this issue.
If you feel broken, it's a real chance that it goes back in some way to this issue. The gospel is that Jesus died for your sin so he can cleanse you from guilt. The gospel is that Jesus rose from the dead so he can put you back together again. The gospel is that his love is the fountain that will satisfy the thirst of your soul.
Amen. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer and a message from our new teaching series titled From the Beginning. To hear the first part of today's message and to access other helpful Bible study resources, visit us online at jdgreer.com. J.D., this time of year reminds us that our world continues to face heartache, hardship, and uncertainty, and it may feel like hope is in short supply, but one thing we know is that it doesn't have to be. Yeah, Molly, I know what you mean.
It seems like we're always entering another year of not knowing what the future holds, and it seems like one drama cycle just cycles into the next one. I know that my family could not have made it thus far without the support and the encouragement of our family, the body of Christ, our local church, and you here at Summit Life. Our ministry, we know we can never save anybody. The gospel alone saves people. We are simply God's instruments for, well, to use the angels' terms, spreading the good news of great joy, and what a privilege. We reflect right now on all that God has done. We praise Him.
We also believe that He wants us to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or imagine. This time of year is really critical for us financially because it allows us to make decisions about where we're going to be able to go next year. So if you would join with us today, if you would consider that and give a generous year-end gift, then we can press forward boldly into the new year knowing that God has opened some doors into some new markets, some pretty exciting ones where we're going to be able to be on the air in some places where we have not been before. So you can be a part of that.
I would invite you to consider it and pray about it and join with us financially, and then even more importantly with your faith and your prayer as we go forward. Just go to jdgrier.com. There's all the information you'll need right there. Thanks, JD.
As our way of saying thanks for your support, today we launched the 2023 Summit Life Day Planner. Ask for a copy when you donate today at the suggested amount of $35 or more. Call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220 or give online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovich. Tomorrow our teaching turns to those who are single and in a relationship, a topic I know many of us can relate to. Join us again Tuesday on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
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