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Sex and the Church

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“1 Corinthians – Living Well in a Weird World”

Message by Pastor Bob

February 15, 2009

Grace @ Night (6 pm worship service)

Memory Verse: 1 Cor 6:11 – “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Sex and the Church

1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Understanding the goodness of sex magnifies the tragedy of sexual immorality.  Therefore, we owe it to each other to confront it when we see it.

 One of my fears in this sermon is the emotional response that can come up when we address this topic.  All our stories are different, marked with different failures, hurts, disappointments. 

A. Why does Paul react so strongly against the idea of sexual immorality?

 

i. The biblical concept of sex brings the entire person into intimacy with their spouse.

 

Sex is a biological act that has spiritual implications

 

1 Corinthians 6:16  Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh."

  High view of the physical body Low view of the physical body
High view of the spirit A complete one-ness of the couple Why worry about something so physical?  How Puritanical!
Low view of the spirit Sex has little impact on future decision-making; whatever feels good in the moment Despair; Sex is valueless

 

ii. The potential for intimacy inherent in sex points us towards the potential for intimacy with God (Eph 5:31-32)

iii. Easy for you to say, you’re married!

- When you’re using porneia to fill up gaps in yourself (gaps in intimacy, gaps in self-esteem, gaps in adventure, etc), no matter how amazing your spouse may be, s/he cannot fill a gap intended for God. 

Application: For those here tonight who are married, are you pursuing intimacy in your marriage?  And, more specifically, are you utilizing sex as a tool to increase the intimacy/one-ness (both body and spirit) that God intends for you in your marriage?

- Homework: Talk with your spouse tonight about this question: When we make love, when we have sex, do you feel more or less intimate then before we began?  Why?  What could we change to help?

The reason why reacts so strongly against the idea of sexual immorality here (5:1-2) is not because he’s anti-sex, but because he knows the tremendous power and potential that sex offers.

– Bruised apple; broken china

o       Why are sexual crimes (rape, incest, abuse) the most offensive? 

One of the reasons is that this is so clearly not how God intended for us to experience sexuality

B. Because of the potential for intimacy in marital sex, sexual immorality is a tragedy

When you apply sex in a way that is was not meant to be applied (hook-up culture; pornography; dating sex; etc), you bludgeon your capacity for intimacy.

Corinthian context of sexual immorality:

-         Corinthian girl – Prostitute

-         To corinthianize – to have sex with anyone you see

Bottom line: The Corinthian culture did not value intimacy.  If you think that I’m naïve, or sheltered, or delusional to be speaking of lifelong, monogamous sex, Corinth would have thought that I was ten times crazier. 

(Transition) Notice something about the text: Paul is not fundamentally chastising this unnamed man for what he has done, even though Paul clearly regards it as sinful and damaging. 

He’s more interested in addressing the rest of the church for being too complacent to say anything to the man about it.

He’s carrying over the proud (lit. “puffed up”) language from chapter 4; The Corinthian church is content and complacent with themselves; Paul is trying to get them to realize that they have NOT made it spiritually; this is one example. 

 

If they had really matured as much as they thought they had, they would have cared enough about their brother to confront him.

2. Because your sexual choices will affect the rest of us (v. 6-13)

a. Sexual sin spreads throughout the body of Christ like yeast through dough (6-8)

The Corinthians assumed that the choices of one of the members of the church was their business, and who were they to say something to him?

Application: Four reasons why I want you to confront me when I sin

1. I may need the wake-up call; I might benefit from your accountability to deal with something I don’t want to deal with

2. I may not be doing/saying/thinking what you think I am doing/saying/thinking, and we can get it out there

3. It might be a blind spot; It’s sin, I just don’t know it’s sin

4. Failure to confront often leads to gossip, since the pressure will find a way out from you

b. Sexual sin cuts you off from the rest of the body (9-13)

* Disclaimer: Having sex with someone you are not married to (whether your dating, you work with him, whether you’re watching her on your computer screen) is wrong.  It’s porneia.  I don’t want to go on to the next part of the sermon until I make that abundantly clear.   

- Even so, I also want to make just as clear that sexual sin is just as forgivable as other sin. 

That’s why we memorized 1 Cor 6:11

Washed – Whatever the sins of your past were, God has removed them

Sanctified – No matter how many people you slept with, he’s made you holy

Justified – He has declared you okay, righteous

- There is a terrible term that as a culture we’ve coined to describe someone with a wake of sexual sins: Damaged goods

Like a bent canned of corn; can’t expect for someone to actual want this

- I’m going to guess that there are people in this room who think of themselves as damaged goods: there are no damaged goods in God’s family.

I don’t feel forgiven, and if you knew what I have done, you would realize God can’t forgive me.

Because of the enormous power implicit in sex, it can take a long time to begin to experience what is true.

On the authority of Gods’ Word, I can tell you that, if you have chosen to follow Jesus, he has forgiven you.  There’s nothing in your past that can jeopardize that.  “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

I would encourage you to get involved in a small group here, where you can be known, and where God’s love can be ministered through other people into your life

ii. What if we’re not talking about past sexual mistakes as much as perpetual, ongoing sexual experiences?

            Repent! Take this seriously!

-         Be willing to embarrass yourself if you have to

o       Tell on yourself

o       Ask your spouse and/or small group to help you

o       Seek out a mentor (therapist, small group leader, spiritual director) who can help you figure out what you’re seeking to find in sexual immorality

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