Our culture sells sex everywhere we look, listen and drive. You can’t escape it. For teens today what message are we sending? We have new terms that old people (like some of us apparently) never had before. We watched as childhood Tv stars twerked their way to popularity. As parents hearts break over these types of images and moral decay what are we to do? How should we respond? What do we say to teens? What is message from the church or better yet; what does God say? Is it enough to simply say: “Abstain!” or “haven’t you heard about STD’s!?” In my youth the scare was HIV. But for many of us the scare wasn’t enough and the message of “Abstain” simply didn’t sink in.
Over the next few weeks in February on Friday nights we will be discussing what God says about sex. Its PG rated and isn’t “THE TALK”. It isn’t pushing dating vs courting or “dont drink smoke and chew or go with girls that do”. Its simply looking at the biblical passages on God’s design for sex. We will talk about some safeguards in respect to keeping their way pure. The last week (23rd) we will be making a commitment before peers, parents and God to abstain from sex until marriage. Because True Love really does Wait.
I cannot attach the recorded file from last Friday but I am pasting the teaching transcript with small group discussion below.
True Love Waits
Session 1 – Starting this out right
For the next few weeks we will be covering a topic that will be difficult for everyone: Sex. Don’t worry its rated PG and we will not going to an embarrassing or awkward place. In the church we generally reference sex in passing and at this point in school you have covered the basics of how it works. In the past, the church has left it off with us as simply: “don’t do it before marriage” or “Sex is a sin”. Generally this was taken out of context. The truth is that we, for some reason, avoid certain subjects in the church while offering definitive opinion on those same subjects. Sex is one of those subjects.
Our culture and media are shamelessly flaunting and encouraging sex to us every day in just about everything we come into contact with. First, when we say “culture” and “media”, what are we talking about?
Culture: the time we live in. The influences, people, and social climate that make up the world you are living in.
Media: The news, entertainment and communication outlets that influence the culture. The culture drives the media and the media pushes the cultural influences to the extreme.
In our life right now the media is taking what the culture is doing and every week pushing the envelope. It’s like on every TV show, magazine cover, movie and news feed there seems to be a drive to deliver a “shock factor”. A lot of times sex is the topic pushed to the extreme. Because the extreme is now the standard, sex has been devalued in our culture. Deciding what to eat seems to require more thought than sex does. For example; considering the negative effects of junk food or using the microwave gets more “air time” than the negative effects of sex outside God’s design. We have all accepted some imagery, terms and humor as standard and dismiss it.
Sex is so devalued that it removes Love and commitment and exchanges them for loneliness and disappointment. The culture we live in tells us to let people live how they want, give them space, freedom, entitlement to do as they please and of course “what’s wrong for you isn’t wrong for me”. There is absolutely no self-control. We see that in all kinds of areas. The pushback we give as Christians is perceived as hate and judgmental.
I have no intention to influence you at all with my opinions. In fact I have no desire to tell you what to do. I am however very interested in telling you what God says. We as leaders will be doing our very best to exclude our opinion and focus on only what the Bible tells us. My opinion is useless unless it is God’s opinion. The reality is that we, the church and leaders, have done a poor job telling you what God says because historically we dwelled on our opinions. We are going to spend the next few weeks telling you what the Bible says. Along the way we are going to be answering some questions you may have or maybe don’t have yet. Questions like:
- What is so bad about sex anyway?
- Why should I abstain is everyone else is ok with it?
- If we love each other than why not?
- It’s my body who is the church to tell “me” what I can do?
We will be talking about purity, commitment and endurance. But along the way we will be using the Bible as our textbook and source of truth.
The study “True Love Waits” is exactly as it sounds. The false “love” sold by our culture will leave you in a hopeless pursuit of filling a void only God can fill. Sex outside of Gods design will leave you void. The result is a desire to fill life with more sex leading to only more emptiness. Relationships that are meaningless and devoid of the one thing your heart yearns for: Love and acceptance. As singles you find Love and acceptance in God. As a married couple you find it in…. God. The marriage relationship is a reflection of Christ and the church, a reflection of the Gospel. The bond of sex is shared and enjoyed in the relationship where man and wife truly love each other. Fulfillment is found in each other and the physical unity is a celebration of your commitment to each other. It’s not always perfect in marriage but I promise you, following God’s plan for you will not leave you void.
At the end of the month I’m inviting parents to come here. It’s a celebration for those that choose to make a commitment to remain sexually pure until marriage. It’s also a time of commitment to be pure of heart if that has already been broken. When Jesus offers forgiveness it’s not conditional. So if that’s you forgiveness is staring you down and though you cannot get back that moment or the consequences you can dedicate you heart to Christ going forward. Perhaps the choice to be pure was taken from you involuntarily. Well, that’s a different story. You are committing to be voluntarily pure from this time forward.
The commitment is done with your parents here. Wow, right. I know but you know what, it’s something called accountability. They are committing along with you to help you stay on that path. Plus a commitment made with your parents and conversation with your parents engraves it in your memory and you are a lot more likely to keep this commitment than simply saying it only. Its voluntary meaning you choose to do this by the third week. That gives you 1 week to decide before the parents get here. No one will force you here nor look down on you if you opt out. Here’s why: I want you to make a real heart commitment to God not me or your parents. If you aren’t there then I would rather you surrender what’s holding you back, repent and follow up when you can make the serious commitment before God. While we are on the subject of parents; don’t avoid them in regards to sex. Trust me, they are just as scared as you are but I promise you they have truths and advice that will help you make right choices. Maybe you are there now in a relationship. Consider this, maybe their rules are to keep you from hurt they experienced. They love you and want to keep you from that same hurt.
Turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
This passage is going to be our basis for our study this week. The city of Corinth was no different from today. The culture was obsessed with sex. There were no restrictions. There was no censorship. Sex was so accepted that it was expected. It was celebrated in the town. Men visiting by ship would go out of the way to dock for the night and visit Corinth because they knew sex was unrestricted, expected, celebrated and you could engage in as much as you want as often as you want. Sex was a huge commodity and source of income. Paul, the writer, wants to remind the reader, you and I, that even though the culture was obsessed with sex they were Christians. Their perspective was different. They had been freed from the bondage of sexual sin by the blood of Christ. For us, our perspective is different than the culture. It has to be.
The culture we live in spends 15 billion dollars a year for sex online. That’s 16 tons of money or placed end to end, it would wrap around the earth 600 times. 70% of the shows marketed and written for your age contain sex in some content and are written about sex as a major underlying theme. The average age when you come into graphic content related to sex is age 11. That’s not “the talk”, that’s seeing something, hearing something or reading something describing sex. 91% of freshman girls in college believing that the school expects and intends them to be having sex with men and women on campus. The rules have changed to allow this activity and experimentation. The culture we live in is the same as Corinth.
God reminds us in this passage that even though you live in that environment, Christians will have a different perspective. God wants the best for you and He will always be calling you to be pure, holy and set apart. He will always be in the business of encouraging Christians to be set apart for His mission and for redeeming and restoring fallen people.
Starting out right:
The only way you will get anything out of this is if you understand a few things about yourself and God.
- God made you, designed you and has a purpose for you. That changes things doesn’t it? The culture tells you that you are basically an animal. Higher evolved but animal. So sex is just something people instinctively do like any other animal does. But being designed and made, It means thought and care went into you to make you separate and special.
- God created you in His own image. That means you are His image bearer and reflect His attributes. Love, affection, desire, dreams and humor. All designed by God and all reflect Him. A humorous God? A God that desires closeness? We don’t often think of God like this. Bearing the image of God also means you represent the unique beauty and diversity of His Love. Bearing His image makes you an enemy to who? Satan. Satan cannot stand the image of God. It’s a constant reminder of his inevitable defeat. His mission is to destroy anything that reflects the image and values of God.
- God created man and woman and designed them to work together, join together and commit to each other as a reflection of the oneness in the Trinity. The symbolism of the marriage ceremony is an outward reflection of how two separate people are joined together as one person. Yet each are diverse in personality and gender. The joining of the name, the desire to share all of life with each other and of course sex is part of that marital bond as well. A breakdown in any of these areas attack the marriage but ultimately it attacks the imagery of the Trinity.
- Sex is created by God as good thing for the marriage. It was a sign of the intimate covenant between man and wife. It was ordained and designed as gift between man and wife with value and purpose. Genesis 1:26-27, 2:21-25. Yes, School taught you that’s where babies come from not the stork. That’s one purpose. It’s an intimate oneness you cannot replicate apart from a committed marriage. It’s a bond.
- Being a Christian means you confess and desire Jesus to be Lord of your life. We call it Lordship. This is important. Lordship is basically: who calls the shots in your life. You? All of the major decisions in your life will fall back to how you answer this question. How you deal with problems, relationships, direction and purpose. Who call the shots? It’s more important than money, college, marriage and service. Yes Christian service. Why? Because in whose name are you doing this service? Jesus or yours? When you call the shots (lord) you are driven by selfish ambition, you get what you want by whatever means you need to, You are driven by the moment. What feels right now with little to no thought about long term consequences. So Sex is good now because it’s good now. When Jesus is Lord, You check your desires with how they fit against His standards. His purpose becomes your purpose. Your relationships are directed by Him for your good. As Lord He protects you from the consequences of sexual sin. God will allow you to be lord but it comes with great cost and you have to pay the price.
- Are you a Christian? I mean really, inside you know the answer. This kicks back to the Lordship. Simply saying: “I’m a Christian” or even praying to receive Jesus doesn’t mean it’s the real deal. True and real Christianity involves repentance, surrender and faith. Far too many Christians make the decision for Jesus but don’t let Him be Lord. Many never really repent. That means you really strive stop sinning because you recognize who you are sinning against. Lordship deals with surrender. Surrender of your desires and rules to the desires and boundaries of Jesus. Faith for many of us is only as deep as when things are going well and we have a good emotional feeling. We believe in the promises of God but from afar. Are we really ready to turn over our relationships (now or in the future) to Jesus? Are we aware of Jesus when we are on our phones, Instagram and behind closed doors? Do you really have faith that He, as all-knowing God might have a better idea of the consequences of sin than you do?
God designed sex. He’s not keeping something good from you because He is cruel or likes to inflict difficult rules. He expresses boundaries for your protection. Protection from: hurt, rejection, selfishness and self-destruction. God the ultimate designer of all things designed sex to work in the security and love found in a committed marriage. Until that time comes, we are striving to be complete in Him.
This probably wasn’t the start to a sex talk you were expecting. But the foundation is critical to understanding Gods desires for you. The commitment to purity is only as good as who you are committing to. If you are not in tune with God right now the commitment is in word only and you probably will not keep it. If you truly surrender your heart to God in faith, He will sustain you.
Break out groups:
As we break out into small groups: we will be reading a verse or a few, then talking about what it says and what it means to you. Your leaders are there to guide you through what the Bible is saying on the tough ones. This is a format for girls and guys to deal with scripture in a practical sense.
Guy and Girl groups:
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Verse 12: What do you think this verse means? How does it apply or does it to purity?
(sex is technically legal in society but is it “profitable” for the Christian?)
Verse 14: This verse kicks back to 13 where the body is for the Lord not immorality. In the struggle against the message of our culture, what can we learn from verse 14?
(Similar to praying in Jesus name, Christians tap into the power of Christ. This gives us confidence and power to overcome) Verse 17 – similar thought
Verse 18: “Flee”. Why do you think it says flee and not fight against? Why would God say “flee” instead of resist?
We use 1 Corinthians 10:13 as a verse for enduring temptation. Interesting to note the statement: “but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also”
After reading both passages, do you think God is trying to tell you something about flee vs fight? How could this relate to a relationship?
The pursuit of purity begins in with the belief that God wants to give you something not take something away. We acknowledge in that belief/ faith that God is qualified to be Lord in our life.
Do you think that you are fully qualified to be lord of your life? Why?
Recap – 9:55
The pursuit for purity starts with acknowledging who your Lord is. If it’s Jesus then we look to what He says and trust that He sees our lives, sees our weakness and makes decisions on what is best for us. What is best is not always easy but its for our good and it glorifies Him. In church terms we call this sanctification – it’s the process where we strive to become more like Jesus and as a result God uses us and His name is glorified through us.
God gave us tools to help in the area of purity: Prayer, Scripture and accountability. Trying to tackle purity without using the tools God gave us “is like thinking we are ready for war just because we have a few camo shirts” (D.A Horton)
Misconceptions about love
What is purity