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Just Sex?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
February 26, 2024 9:00 am

Just Sex?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 26, 2024 9:00 am

Our culture has some deeply held, deeply untrue ideas about sex. To fully understand and respect the sanctity of sex, we have to go to God, who created it, and his Word, which is very clear about how we should view it.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Marriage and sex were designed by God to address one of the deepest needs of the human soul. The need for companionship, for intimacy, to be fully seen and fully known, fully loved. And in that intimacy that we experienced with somebody else in a really mysterious way, it would point us beyond that horizontal relationship to our vertical relationship with God. Sex is not just a physical act, it's a soul act. Welcome back to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of Pastor J.D.

Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. You know, I think it's safe to say that our culture has some deeply held and deeply flawed ideas about sex.

But to fully understand and respect the sanctity of this topic, we have to go to God who created it and to His Word, which is very clear about how we should view it. Now, this may not be the best day to introduce your young kids to our program. So if you have elementary age children listening with you, we'd encourage you to find this message later on your own at J.D.

Greer dot com, where you can always listen free of charge. In today's message, Pastor J.D. explains how sex addresses one of our basic soul needs to be fully known and fully loved. But it also gives us a taste of God's amazing love for us. So grab your Bible and let's join Pastor J.D.

right now. Matthew chapter 19, the big idea in this series, Forever Family, is that what Jesus teaches about marriage in Matthew 19 not only revolutionizes marriage, but also everything connected to marriage. And so we've looked at singleness, for example, dating today. Today, we're going to apply Jesus's understanding of marriage to one of the most complicated and potentially awkward parts of our lives, and that is sex. Now, Matthew chapter 19, verse three, Matthew 19, three, and the Pharisees came up to him, him, of course, being Jesus. And they tested Jesus by asking, was it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause? And Jesus answered, Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female? And he said, Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So you see, Jesus says, they're no longer two anymore. In marriage, they're one flesh.

What therefore God has joined together, joined together, let not man separate. And they said to him, Well, then why did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away? But Jesus corrected them, saying, No, because of your hardness of heart, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives. But from the beginning, it was not God's intention.

I say to you, whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and marries another, well, that person commits adultery. Well, the disciples replied to him. If that's really the case, if that's the deal with marriage, it might be better for somebody never to get married. But Jesus said to them, Yeah, not everybody can receive the same, only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who I told you represent in this, in what Jesus is saying represent single people, who've been made eunuchs by man, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.

Let the one who was able to receive this also receive it. Jesus here teaches that marriage and sex were created to address one of man's primary soul needs, and that is the need for companionship. It was not just something created for the reproduction of the species. It was not good for man to be alone, so God created marriage and sex to go along with that. And in this experience of marriage and sex, Adam and Eve, the man and the woman, were also going to get a taste of the love of God for them and learn a little bit more about how God loves people. That all by itself, that one simple seedling of a teaching in there challenges three of our culture's most deeply held myths about sex. Ones that people in our culture widely believe, at least I should say they are trying to believe them, even though I'm going to try to show you I don't really think they're true.

Here's the first one. The first myth in our culture that this challenges is that sex is just physical. It's just physical. It's a biological urge like any other urge. People say it's kind of like food.

You get hungry, you eat, right? It's like a sport. You find a partner to play with for a while.

Later on, you can switch up partners, no big deal. It's like tennis. It's like touch football.

It's like tackle football where you just stay on the ground for a little while longer. Somebody's like, look, I didn't know him or her that well. We just had some fun for a while. It's no big deal. There were no strings attached. Like Katy Perry said in one of her songs, I don't even know your name.

It doesn't matter. You're my experimental game. It's just human nature. If you're a little bit older, Woody Allen, maybe that's more your speed. I know sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it's one of the best. So people think like, what's the big deal then if we just have a little fun? But see what I'm going to tell you, and I think you already know, is that most everybody, even though we all wink at each other and go along with the myth, most everybody deep down knows that's not true. Just ask yourself, why is it that so many people's greatest regrets in life are sexual? Why is it when somebody comes in my office and says, pastor, I need to tell somebody something.

I need to tell you this. And I've never told anybody else, but I know exactly what's about to come, right? Nobody's about like I cheated on my taxes or I haven't been able to keep up with my my diet, but nobody ever says that. They're always going to go for something being sexual. If sex is just physical, why is it that when a child is sexually abused, when they're an adult and they finally connect the dots, it's still so difficult to shake off? It's not just an authority figure, let me down or betray me.

No, it's much deeper than that. If sex is just physical, why is adultery so hard to get over? If it's just physical, why is that such a devastating thing that happens in a relationship? If sex is just physical, why is it that men with the deepest sexual issues usually had uninvolved or missing fathers? If sex is just physical, why is rape so much more psychologically damaging to a woman than other forms of physical violence? The National Domestic Violence Center says that women are much more prone to report physical abuse than they are rape. And that's because there's a shame and a trauma attached to rape that makes it difficult even to talk about.

And that's why there's a lot of women they say that just don't report it. If sex is just physical, none of those things that I just asked you would be true. You see, we know sex is not just physical.

And that's exactly what Jesus is pointing to in Matthew 19. Marriage and sex were designed by God to address one of the deepest needs of the human soul. The need for companionship, for intimacy, to be fully seen and fully known, fully loved. And in that intimacy that we experienced with somebody else in a really mysterious way, it would point us beyond that horizontal relationship to our vertical relationship with God who sees us fully and knows us fully and loves and accepts us anyway. Sex is more than biological necessity, it is spiritual mystery.

Sex, which is supposed to be the ultimate expression of the marriage relationship, is not just a physical act, it's a soul act. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul's going to take this deep soul dimension of sex, and he's going to expand on it. So if you've got your Bible open, I want you to kind of put your finger in Matthew 19 or put something in there. And I want you to go to 1 Corinthians 6 because we're going to spend a good amount of time there because Paul really unpacks this idea of what this kind of mysterious spiritual nature is of sex and why it is so significant. Now let's tell you, this is a remarkable passage of scripture.

Paul wrote it nearly 2,000 years ago, but it's like he's talking to people at UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University at NC State, North Carolina Central, today. Just for context, Corinth, where the church that Paul was writing this letter to was located, was a highly sexualized society. There were nearly a thousand prostitutes in Corinth in a city that is about 120th the size of Raleigh, population-wise. So we're talking a lot of prostitutes. The most famous temple was to the goddess Aphrodite, who was the sex goddess, and you would worship her by having sex with one of her prostitutes. Sexual promiscuity was so common in Corinth that in Greek the word Corinth became a verb.

To Corinthianize meant to become sexually deviant. And so in verse 13, Paul quotes a little one-liner that they used from the Katy Perry of their day. In verse 13, he quotes one of their lines. This is their line, not his. Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food.

It was their line, a line from a song, I guess, and what it meant is this. Sex is just like any other physical desire. You get hungry, you eat, you get tired, you sleep. You have sexual urges, you fulfill them. It's just like any other urge, and Paul said no.

Still verse 13. The body is not meant for sexual immorality. The body has a soul, and the body and soul are meant for the Lord and the Lord for the body.

It's more than just biological necessity. By the way, just so we're clear on definitions, when I say sexual immorality, when Paul says sexual immorality, what he's referring to is any sex outside a relationship between a man and a woman committed to each other for life and a covenant of marriage, and Paul says our bodies are so much more than biological machines. Like Jesus pointed out in Matthew 19, our bodies are our vehicles for our souls, souls that were created in the image of God, souls created to know God and to know others the way that God knows them.

The stomach, Paul says, you're right, the stomach was created as an instrument to process food. You don't have a spiritual relationship with your food, but sex is not like the stomach. God designed sex to be a part of a fusion of total persons. It is a physical biological oneness that was to be accompanied by soul oneness and a oneness in every other area of our lives. Your futures become one, your bank accounts become one, your children, your offspring become one, your families become one, everything about you becomes one. Separating physical oneness from oneness in everything else tears apart, Paul is saying, the human being at a fundamental level.

What makes a zombie creepy is that a zombie is a body without a soul. Sex apart from marriage, Paul is saying, is subhuman. It separates the body from all the other dimensions of the soul, and Paul says that is going to have a devastating effect on the soul because that is not what it was created to do. Our culture believes that Christians have too low a view of sex, not appreciating the beauty and the joy that it can add to life. Paul would say, on the contrary, Christians have a really high view of sex, recognizing that God made it as something to be experienced by the whole person. So myth number one is that sex is just physical.

It's going to lead you to a related myth. Myth number two in our culture, sex can be casual. If sex is just physical, well, then it can be casual.

This is not that serious. I saw the editor of Vox magazine, vox.com, she said recently, she said, the question used to be, how many times you would go out on a date before having sex? She said, now the question is how many times you have sex before you feel the need to go out on a date.

Right? It's just, it's just casual. Paul's response, verse 16, no. Do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute, and I'll tell you in a second why he chose that, joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her, for as it is written, the two in this moment will become one flesh. When you have sex, he is saying, you become one body with the person you're having sex with, and it is impossible to have sex, and this not happen on some level. Notice that Paul's illustration for sexual immorality here, his illustration is prostitution, which would have to be the cheapest, most non-committal kind of sex imaginable, right?

I mean, it's with a stranger, you didn't know the person going in, you don't really know the person going out, you'll probably never see them again, it involves no commitment, right? It's very non-committal, yet Paul says even in that 30 minute encounter, there's a type of joining, there's a oneness that is happening, which then leads Paul to say, verse 18, flee sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits you see is a sin they commit outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

You understand what he's saying there? Other sins that you commit against people primarily hurt them. I'll walk into a room and you're sitting there and I punch you in the face and take your wallet, I've sinned against you twice, your face hurts and you got less money. It hurt you, but not me, not so much, I just got richer, okay?

But he's saying that sexual immorality, when you commit that, you're actually hurting yourself because you're taking a razor to your own soul. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer. To learn more about this ministry, visit our website, jdgreer.com. We'll get back to today's teaching in a moment, but first, while Valentine's Day may have just passed, a lot of us are still thinking about relationships this time of year. So we decided here at Summit Life this month to provide a featured resource to help you think biblically about all of the relationships God has given you. It's a devotional study that is titled One Day at a Time, a 60-day challenge to see, serve, and celebrate the people around you, written by a good friend of J.D. Greer Ministries, Pastor Kyle Eidelman. One Day at a Time features 60 daily devotionals, and each one includes questions for reflection, as well as a challenge to inspire you to make a difference in the world every day. We'll send you a copy with your gift of $35 or more to this ministry today. To donate, give us a call at 866-335-5220 or visit us online at jdgreer.com. We know this resource will provide a unique blessing to you and those you love.

Now let's return for the conclusion of today's teaching. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Years ago, I read a book called Hooked. It's written by a couple of neurologists.

The book has no theological agenda that I can detect in that. They don't write as Christians, but they were trying to show the effects of having multiple sexual partners, especially when you're young, on your brain. Casual sex, they say, actually rewires your brain in a way that makes genuine, lasting, selfless relationships much more difficult to achieve later. 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 the brain accepts that sexual pattern as normal. The pattern of changing sex partners therefore seems to damage their ability to bond in a committed relationship. The kind of attachment damage that occurs after repeated sexual encounters is in many respects more pernicious than pregnancy or STDs because it typically goes unperceived by affected individuals while causing ongoing difficulties in establishing a lifelong and a satisfying relationship. In other words, there's a lot of dangers, they're saying. There's a lot of dangers in sex outside of marriage, but this is the biggest.

These neurologists are recognizing something happens to your soul that is giving you an inability to experience the kind of oneness, the kind of bond that it was intended to be a part of. The authors use the metaphor of duct tape, which you've probably heard before the duct tape. You know, if you take a piece of duct tape and you wrap it around a man's arm and then you pull it off, okay, you can get the poor enough. You can get that piece of duct tape off, but when it comes off, it's going to take parts of the man with it, right? It's going to pull the hair off his arm and take the little chunks of skin. Even take that same piece of duct tape.

Then you wrap it around somebody else's arm and do it. All the same thing's going to happen, but it's a little less sticky. That time little, you know, it's going to lose some of its cohesive power.

You do that enough times and eventually that duct tape will have lost all its stickiness and the authors say that's what's kind of happening here is the brain is being rewired so that it's just actually becoming unable to be able to cohere. They say, the authors say, you could no more try out sex than you can try out birth. The very act of sex produces in your soul, in your brain, a new reality that simply cannot be undone. In other words, safe sex is a joke because you can't put a condom over your soul and that's like the most important part of this whole process.

STDs, pregnancy, abortions, these are all good reasons to avoid sex outside of marriage, but they're not the primary reason God tells us to avoid sex outside of marriage. It has to do with the makeup of our souls. It's like Paul says, even the cheapest forms of sex do something to the soul.

They engage the soul. Don't you know that the person who's even to a prostitute, you're becoming one flesh with her and that's going to sin against your soul. Tim Keller describes it this way in his book, The Meaning of Marriage. Listen, even if you're not legally married to somebody, when you're having sex with them, you may find yourself very quickly feeling marriage-like ties, feeling like the other person has obligations to you, but of course the other person has no legal, social or moral responsibility even to call you back in the morning. This incongruity leads to jealousy and to hurt feelings and obsessiveness if two people are having sex, but they are not married.

It makes breaking up vastly harder than it should be and that leads many people to stay trapped in relationships that are not good because of a feeling of having somehow connected themselves. Isn't that like the plot line to every episode of Friends you've ever seen is basically what he just described? Many people feel like Christians are anti-sex, like we just don't appreciate it enough. But again, on the contrary, we understand the prescriptions that God gives. He gives because of its power.

It's like Tim Keller says, sex outside of a marriage is not a sin because it's bad, it's a sin because it's so good. The analogy that I always use here is one of fire. Fire is an incredibly powerful force. It's capable, because it's so powerful, it's capable of great good and great harm, right? So if I ask you the question, do you want fire in your house?

Your answer should be, depends on where you're going to put it. Because fire in the fireplace is awesome. Fire in the furnace, great. Fire in the stove, amazing.

Fire in the couch, fire in the guest room, fire in the closet, not so good, right? Sex is like this fire that in the right context has incredible power for good, but out of context it can be really destructive. And this is probably a good time to talk about pornography. Pornography is a major, major problem in our culture. Y'all, our city may not have a thousand prostitutes, but we have tens of thousands of pornographic websites that are accessible to us with a few pushes on a keypad, on a keyboard. Did you know porn traffic on the web every single day in our country is more than the combined traffic of Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter?

More every day than those three combined. The porn industry in our country takes in more money every year than major league baseball, the NBA, the NFL, and the National Hockey League combined. Over 30% of internet traffic is porn.

Sex is the number one word search for on the internet. And it is tragically and scarily common even in the church. Most people in our culture, maybe even our church, think it's not that big of a problem. They're like, well, it's a victimless crime. But first of all, you need to understand it is a victimless crime.

It is a crime against that woman. By the way, when I talk about pornography, a lot of what I'm going to say, I'm going to talk about men in this. But I understand, and I'm not trying to just be gender specific, but I understand that this has increasingly become a problem for women also. So don't hear this when I apply it to men.

Don't hear that as exclusive. But you realize, men, that every woman you look at is somebody's daughter. We also know now that most of the people that star in these porn things got into it because usually it's some kind of sex slavery type of thing. And you're just participating in that. But also what Paul would tell us here is that like other forms of sexual immorality, you're sitting against yourself in a pretty damaging way because that encounter is rewiring your brain in a fundamental way. Maybe even more so than casual sexual encounters with a prostitute. And you are killing your capacity for lifelong and satisfying relationships.

It's going to do that in a number of ways. First, pornography trains your mind to start looking at the opposite sex as a commodity. When you gaze at pornography, you're not just looking at a woman, you're looking at an image of a woman whose body you want only to use. And that trains your mind to see all women in a certain way. And that's how you start to relate to women in general. When you look at pictures of women with no recognition that they have a soul, or you don't really understand or appreciate anything about that, your mind starts to see the real women in your life as objects also.

Now I know you, no, no, no, I can totally keep that separate. That's where you're wrong. That's what this book Hooked is showing you. It is rewiring your brain. That's what Paul is trying to say. It's rewiring your brain. It's creating new pathways that create a new person. When the author of the book of 2 Samuel tells the story of David and Bathsheba, that adultery, the author of 2 Samuel sets up a very interesting contrast.

Listen to this. Whenever the author of 2 Samuel talks about Bathsheba, he will always refer to her in some relationship. He refers to her like as the daughter of somebody or the mother of somebody or the wife of somebody. And what he's trying to show is that Bathsheba is a person who loves and is loved for reasons apart from her physical attractiveness. But David does not see her that way. David sees her only as a naked body who awakens less than him that he wants to have for himself. And that leads to the worst kinds of sin by David. Porn rewires your brain to think of sex as just the selfish satisfaction of an urge.

And when you train your mind that way, later when you get married, your ability to gauge in sex like God designed it as a fusion of souls where two people offer themselves to each other in self-giving love, that capacity is significantly diminished. You're listening to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of pastor, author, and apologist J.D. Greer. We're in the middle of our teaching series called Forever Family. So if you missed any part and would like to catch up, you can listen for free at jdgreer.com. J.D., our newest resource is a 60-day devotional meant to help us see, serve, and celebrate the people around us. Do you think the challenges and insights presented in this resource will apply to everyone? Like, are there specific people or ages or even relationship statuses that will get more out of it? Well, Molly, I would like to think that everything we offer here is going to apply to everybody. But the ones we've offered recently, I can't imagine one that would be more applicable for people of all ages, all relationships. What it does is it helps you cultivate a positive relationship, really friendship, which is kind of a lost art in our culture. How do you really, you know, we know how to parent, we know how to discipline, we know how to be a good husband or wife if that's the relationship we're in.

But what does it mean to really develop friendships within those things and speak blessing and life into people? My friend Kyle Edelman has put together a great, I love things that are really practical. And what Kyle will give you is 60 days of practical advice that will change relationships from being neutral or negative into positive and blessing. We'd love to send you a copy of this 60-day devotional by Pastor Kyle Edelman as our thanks for your generous support. To get your copy of One Day at a Time, just give us a call at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or give online anytime at jdgeer.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Join us tomorrow for the second half of this important message about understanding sex and its appropriate place for us as followers of Jesus. Don't miss Tuesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-26 10:08:42 / 2024-02-26 10:19:22 / 11

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