I feel a bit like the parent who knows they ought and need to talk with their pubescent child about the birds and the bees, but because it is so awkward they procrastinate.
Except this time, I’m talking to the church, an entire congregation, on a Sunday morning, about the birds and bees.
Yeah, we are really going to talk about it. Human sexuality.
It’s not just the awkward, private nature of the topic that has me shuffling my feet, but also the fact that in our society it has become an extremely broad topic. And a very divisive one. Christians themselves have many divergent viewpoints on sexual ethics. I started a topical preaching series called Life In These United States, and my goal has been to talk about the things that everyone is talking about, but to do so in such a way that invites conversation, shares principles, and hopefully avoids cornering people. The topic of sexuality could easily offend.
A few years ago I preached on homosexuality and I was nervous about that sermon too. You can read all about it here. So I won’t be spending much time on same-sex concerns. A few weeks ago, I also preached on marriage, so likewise, I will most talk about other areas related to sexuality.
Namely, how should Christians think about the expression of their sexuality in a hypersexualized culture? What does the Bible teach? We Christians have come across to the world as prudes, as anti-sex, to the point where teenagers growing up in a conservative Christian context can come to believe that sex is an awful thing.
But this confuses them because the culture around them seems to celebrate sexual expression. No doubt the changing hormones in their bodies and the influence of friends and media can work together to make exploration of sexual expression nearly unavoidable. What should Christians do about these forces at work within them and outside them? Succumb? Enjoy? Run away? Build walls? Most importantly of all, what does God say about sex? He created it, didn’t he? So do we know what he says about sex in the Bible?
So I approach this sermon with some hesitation. The answer are not easy. Christians through the ages have had many disagreements about sexuality. Some Christians have made sexuality a kind of litmus test for faith. They can give the impression that if you are not sexually pure and self-controlled, you are a second-class Christian and perhaps not even a Christian at all. But is that true?
And what about participating in sex before marriage? Is it wrong?
What about cohabitation before marriage? Can a couple live together first? What if they live together but don’t have sex?
How much media should a Christian consume? Is it sinful to look at any media depicting expressions of sex?
Finally, is it possible for Christians hold to a traditional sexual ethic of purity in a gracious way?
So if you want to learn more about sexuality, we welcome you to join us at Faith Church on Sunday September 18.
FOLLOW-UP POST – Click here to find out how we answered the questions above when we talked about the Scriptures and Sex on 9/18/16.