Our, ‘What About?’ series, aims to answer the most common questions we get asked as a Christian Church in Texas.
Watch the sermon or read the manuscript to find out where we stand on Sex Before Marriage.
What About, Sex Before Marriage?: Sermon Manuscript
This morning we are continuing our series called, “What About?” You can look through the devotional to see where we are going over the next 6 weeks, and if you are feeling uncomfortable throughout this series, I want to encourage you that you are not alone.
I was talking with someone a couple of weeks ago and they said, “I am just nervous sitting in the room. I can’t imagine how nervous you must be up front talking” and they were right because I also am nervous and uncomfortable through this series.
I am not the type of person who likes to get into heated arguments, or push buttons, so this is uncomfortable to many of us going through this series, but listen to me, this isn’t all going to go away after we finish this series.
God’s Word is designed to challenge us, provoke us, push against, and poke on us, and it isn’t to be mean or cruel, but in our humanity, we have wondered from Him, and His Word is to beckon us back to Himself, to see our need for Jesus and find life in Him.
The first week we talked about the role of women, second, we talked about abortion, last Sunday we talked about those who have never heard about Jesus, all of which you can find on our YouTube Channel, and this morning we are talking about sex before marriage.
Listen, I know sex is widely accepted in our culture, and it’s possible we are thinking to ourselves, “Is this still a discussion?” Isn’t everyone having sex before marriage? Is this even an important conversation?
But listen to me, 4 of the next 6 conversations we are going to cover in this series have to do with sex, and God’s Word is going to cast a completely different understanding of sex than what we see in our culture today.
Our culture has jumped on to one of those automatic walkways you see at the airport, and everyone is moving in this one direction automatically, and because everyone is doing it, we think to ourselves, “This must be right.”
So, we might already be married, we might not think this is that important, but this conversation is the beginning of God’s Word giving us a completely different understanding of sex, so that this morning we are going to focus on three sub-points; 1. Why Do We Drift Toward Sex? 2. Where Do Our Cultures Answers Break Down? 3. How Does God’s Word Respond? Let’s look at the first sub-point; 1. Why Do We Drift Toward Sex?
- Why Do We Drift Toward Sex?
Two quick qualifiers: I know we have some younger ears in here this morning, and I am going to try to be respectful with my words and my tone, but sex is a conversation we need to introduce to our children early, because our culture is absolutely presenting a message on sex to our children, so as a parent I would start introducing concepts as early as 5 years of age.
Second, I want to remind us of the good news of Jesus as we begin this conversation. We are talking about sex on a Sunday morning in worship, and I am confident the majority of us in this room have had a variety of experiences with sex, therefore, we need to be reminded that the God of Scripture isn’t shocked by our sexual experiences.
All of us have fallen short sexually. Jesus knows our thoughts. Jesus knows the secret things we have done, or have been done to us, things we hope nobody ever finds out, therefore, we need to remember the gospel is that Jesus moves toward us in this conversation.
Jesus has come to bring healing. Jesus has come to bring forgiveness. Jesus has come to take our sexual shortcomings upon Himself, put it to death at the cross, so that we might be made clean. You with me?
Now, when we enter into the conversation of sex before marriage, we really need to make sure we are on the same page with those two words: sex and marriage.
First, when I am talking about sex I am talking about sex in the broadest sense. I am talking about sex between two people in a bed under the covers, I am talking about oral sex, I am talking about solo-sex, or masturbation with pornographic materials (multi-billion-dollar industry), I am talking about any kind, and everything in between.
This is important to clarify, because we are all coming from different experiences, but we need to acknowledge there is a narrative in our culture pushing us toward sex, because sex needs to be liberated.
Somebody put sex in jail, and we need to let sex be free. We need to break off the shackles of sexual oppression, sexual liberation, sex-positive, that all sexual activity is healthy as long as it is consensual, so that our culture today is rallying around three values:
- One may not criticize someone’s sexual choices.
- One may not coerce or cause harm to others.
- One may not engage in sexual relationships without consent.
Listen, God’s Word affirms points 2 and 3, but God’s Word absolutely speaks into our sexual life, which we will talk about this morning, but it’s important to see, our culture is intentionally driving us toward sex.
Second, we need to talk about marriage, because it’s clear that our culture has a mixed relationship with marriage in general.
- We love engagements and weddings.
- We love relationship shows like the Bachelor and Bachelorette.
- We love celebrity marriages.
- Almost 2 Billion people watched the wedding of Harry and Meghan.
- We love movies and songs about love and marriage.
- 4,145,237 people got married in 2017
Bill Murray, my favorite actor, said, “I don’t want to start any trouble, but shouldn’t that be an even number.” But, we also have some things about marriage that we are not very fond of:
- We’ve taken a biblical idea and watered it down.
- Most of us have seen our parents go through a divorce.
- Most of us have friends and family that are chronically unhappy in marriage and share it.
- We receive conflicting messages about how to fix our marriages, or if we should even try.
- We see high results of divorce in the United States, so that marriage comes across as a joke.
As a result, we have this mixed messaging taking place in our culture around marriage, so that marriage is kind of an afterthought, glorified dating, really fun party, so that when it comes to the conversation, “What about sex before marriage?”
One, generally speaking, we’re not sure we should get married, because we have a low view of marriage, and two, sex is generally presented as something that isn’t that big of a deal. Does that make sense? Let’s look at where our culture’s response breaks down.
- Where Do Our Culture’s Response Break Down?
Let’s talk about our understanding of sex. We will talk about marriage in our third point, but this idea of liberating sex, and ultimately trying to present sex as something that is just physical, is a lie. You with me?
The idea that sex is just is just physical. It doesn’t matter as long as nobody gets hurt, nobody is coerced, everyone gives consent, then anything goes. You need to know that is a lie.
I was talking to a person one time who had sex with another person, outside of marriage, and I said, “You need to talk to your spouse about what happened” and they didn’t skip a beat and said, “Why would I tell my spouse, because they believed what they did with their physical body didn’t affect the rest of their life.
I was talking to another person who professed faith in Jesus and was pursuing sex with multiple sexual partners a week, and I asked, “What’s the long-term plan here?”
They said, “Well, I am going to have as much sex as I can at this point in my life, and one day when I get married, I will just push the reset button.”
Do you hear the logic? The assumption is that the physical is separate from the spiritual, mental, or emotional, and you need to know that sounds great in commercials, it’s a great marketing ad to get people to vacation in Las Vegas, but “What happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas.”
First, it is a lie philosophically. The idea of separating the mind, body, and soul, so that our bodies are meaningless inanimate objects is foolish.
What do we tell kids when they are full of energy? Get outside and run off that energy. What do we tell people when people are stressed out? Exert physical exercise.
Why? Because our physical body affects our emotions, but we think we can engage in sexual activity / physical activity and tell ourselves, “It’s just physical.”
Second, it is a lie biologically. We know when we participate in sexual activity (any type of sexual activity I referenced earlier) we release oxytocin, a chemical associated with relational bonding, so that it is biologically impossible to just do sexual things with our bodies and that do not affect us.
Psychologists refer to this relational bonding as “sex glue” and when we experience sexual release with people, or two-dimensional objects through masturbation and pornography we are doing two disorienting things to ourselves.
One, we are creating “sex glue connections” with those people or objects (which is what creates fetishes), and then second, we are training ourselves to have shallow relationships every time we rip that “sex glue” apart. Does that make sense?
So that the average person goes through life with a myriad of sexual experiences (self-included) and we tell ourselves “we’re fine, it’s what everyone is doing”, and then we casually stumble into a marriage / party, and then when the relationship starts to break down we wonder to ourselves, “What happened?”
Of course, relationships are hard. We have been believing this lie that sex isn’t that big of a deal, and we are training ourselves to make relationships hard.
It doesn’t mean there is no hope. Jesus has come to bring hope, but it would be naïve to think, “What I do with my body is just physical and doesn’t affect me,” because it’s a lie.
And, it isn’t this little white lie, but it’s a lie that is fostering real destruction to us and the people around us. Let’s look at God’s Word.
- How Does God’s Word Respond?
We can look at the statistics to see how marriage is breaking down but let’s look at the biblical foundation of marriage in Song of Solomon. Look at verses 1-3:
Song of Solomon 2:1-3, “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.” 2 “Like a lily among the thorns, so is my darling among the maidens.” 3 “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. In his shade I took great delight and sat down, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”
Song of Solomon is poetic language so it can be difficult to follow. The first verse is the woman speaking highlighting how beautiful she herself in the context of the relationship.
The second verse is Solomon talking highlighting her beauty, and the third verse it is the woman speaking of her love for Solomon, “Like an apple tree among the forest” meaning Solomon stands out in a crowd.
In his shade she takes delight, and we’re not exactly sure what the phrase “fruit being sweet to the taste” but it is clear there is some romantic language being used.
Now, at this point in the relationship these two aren’t married, but they are definitely romantically interested in one another, and this is important sometimes in the church sex has been presented as gross, shame, improper, but God’s Word is absolutely the path toward sexual freedom and sex-positivity.
In fact, you won’t find anyone more positive about sex than the One who created sex. Especially for women, because in Song of Solomon the woman, not the man, is the dominant voice through the poetical language.
It is the woman who seeks, pursues, initiates, and boldly exclaims her physical attraction, and this is radical considering the context of Song of Solomon. Let’s look at verses 4-6:
Song of Solomon 2:4-6, ““He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. 5 “Sustain me with raisin cakes, refresh me with apples, because I am lovesick. 6 “Let his left hand be under my head and his right hand embrace me.”
The reference to “his banner” is a reference to “desire” so that there is a longing for sexual intimacy. In verse 5 “raisin cakes” were to enhance sexual desire. In verse 5 she is “lovesick” so that she is exhausted from her love for Solomon.
Listen to me, this isn’t two people who are indifferent toward sexual desires. This isn’t two people are prudish and shy.
But instead, this is two people standing before each other who are sexually interested, but waiting for the commitment of marriage. Look at verse 7:
Song of Solomon 2:7, “7 “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the hinds of the field, that you do not arouse or awaken my love until she pleases.”
This language “do not arouse or awaken love until she pleases” is incredibly helpful. The gazelle and the deer are both skittish animals, and a sexual relationship is explosive, but you don’t want to casually rush into a sexual relationship.
You want the beauty of sex to take place in the commitment of marriage, and the biblical foundation of marriage is established in Genesis 2.
We will look at Genesis 2 later on in this series, but in Genesis 2 we see man and woman coming together as “one flesh.”
Our psychologist may call it “oxytocin” and “sex glue” but Genesis 2 calls it is becoming “one flesh” in marriage, because you want the multi-layered parts of a sexual relationship to take place in the divine commitment of marriage.
Our culture says, “Oh, you can be casual about it.” You can bounce in and out. You can live together. You can test it out and see if it works. You have to make sure you’re sexually compatible!
Are you kidding? What do you think happens when you put two people together who are full of insecurities, fear, anxiety, get them naked, expose their greatest vulnerabilities, release all these chemicals in their brain, and then say, “let’s see what happens?”
No, you want the Genesis 2 biblical foundation of marriage, so that when you release the supernatural sexual explosion of Song of Solomon 2 it’s going to be beautiful. You with me?
Please, don’t ever think the God of Scripture is against sex. He created our bodies. He created our body parts to experience pleasure. But He created those pleasures to take place within the commitment of marriage.
When you see the fires in California those fires are out of control. There are winds blowing from every direction, there are dry conditions in the land, there is an absence of manpower to control the fires, and as a result the damage from a fire is filled with grief.
But, if you take that same powerful force of a fire, and you place that fire in the safety of a fireplace, then everyone hovers around the fireplace for goodness and warmth.
It is similar with sex in marriage because it is in the glory of marriage that we see a husband and wife make a commitment to one another that is strong enough to cradle the powerful gift of sex. Does that make sense?
I am not just sharing these truths hypothetically, but this is what I experienced in my life personally. I became sexually active at 14 and spent the next 6 years living out the anthem of our culture thinking that I could do whatever I wanted sexually as long as nobody got hurt, and everyone was consenting.
I came to faith in Jesus at 18, but for the first 2-3 years I lived this double-sided life where I would attend a worship service on Sunday morning, genuinely enjoying the Lord, and then go to clubs in Dallas on Sunday night to hook up with random girls.
I was new in Christ, but I had created these patterns and habits that didn’t just magically go away, so that by the I met Holly I was completely convinced something had to change, and early on I told Holly, “I don’t want to kiss unless we get married.”
It wasn’t because I read a book, it wasn’t because I signed a piece of paper, but it was because God’s Word was teaching me to submit my desires to Him and trust Him.
By God’s grace we waited to have sex until we got married, we did start kissing when we got engaged, but I can tell you our church family is full of men and women submitting their desires to the Lord, trusting Him, asking for His help, and finding life in Him.
I wish I could share those stories. Our church is too small and any details I give would give away their story, but if you’re here, and you are thinking, “Yeah, but I have made some really horrible decisions with sex.” You need to know; Jesus came for the horrible decisions.
Jesus has come to draw out our stories of shame and darkness, and shine His glorious light into those dark places, not for the purpose of condemnation, but for the purpose of confession, repentance, forgiveness, restoration, by taking all our pain upon Himself at the cross, putting it to death, so that through His resurrection we might be cleansed, and made new.
It doesn’t mean those memories of confusion and pain go away, or even disappear, but it does mean they are disarmed, cleansed, and through Jesus we can find new pleasures, new passion, and a new vision to create new memories.
Is it possible that we might drift back to those old pleasures and old passions? Yes, but Jesus is faithful. In those moments Jesus doesn’t flinch. No, in those moments Jesus calls out to us, “That’s not who you are any longer. Those things have been put to death. You have been made new. Trust Me, walk in Me, therefore, might all of us turn to Jesus this morning. Will you pray with me?
North Village Church
This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.
Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.
North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.
You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.
Unable to attend this Christian Church in Austin? Don’t worry, because, through God’s provision, we have created NVC online, an Online Church streaming a worship service every Sunday from 10:30am Central Time. You can also watch our short, powerful sermons on demand and follow us on Instagram for daily Christ centered content.