Thursday, November 7, 2013

Touching Base, Part 221

TB 221
Lost in the City 2013 – PART 6
Sex Is Not Just Sex!
10 Nov 13

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Would anyone disagree that the mishandling of our sexuality can be the cause of so much brokenness in our culture? I am sure that all reading this could list many examples of the brokenness that tends to pile up when we don’t handle our sexuality in a proper way.

This past Sunday we continued our Lost in the City series. The Corinthian church was lost because they looked so much like their city when it came to sexual practices.

Text: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Big Idea: Sex is not just sex.

Culture (v.12-13)
The first couple of verses of our text provide us with some cultural clues. Notice in v.12 and v.13 that Paul is quoting them:
“ Everything is permissible for me” “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”

The first quote in the Corinthian culture basically opened up the door for all kinds of so-called freedom in the sexual arena. The second quote essentially reduced the sexual appetite to something that was merely biological. Just as the stomach is for food, in the same was sexual appetites and the body go hand in hand. Crave it, go for it! Carpe Diem!

Note Paul’s first rebuttal. How has stepping beyond God’s boundaries hurt culture, hurt you? In other words, how has our so-called freedom not been beneficial to our culture, to our personal lives?

Note Paul’s second rebuttal to the same slogan. Is it possible to be mastered by this issue?

Do you think any wife has been hurt because of the sexual addiction of her husband that started long before they ever got married?

Note Paul’s third rebuttal to the second slogan. Now note what he says in the second part of v.13. Paul has just taken the body from being something that is purely biological and destined for destruction and elevated it to a status far higher than appetites, urges, food and desires.

Where do many of our slogans come from that dictate sexual practices in our culture? How determinative are they regarding how the church behaves?

In light of our big idea, let me list the four points that drive home that sex is not just sex. Remember that Paul’s audience is the church. People outside the church may think we are nuts to believe such things but I would suggest our cultural slogans regarding sexuality have been damming and have inflicted much pain and brokenness on our culture. There must be a better way.

1. Sex is not just sex because it either honors or dishonors something of great value (v.13b,14)

How does what Paul says redefine one’s body image?

When a person comes to Christ, He wants to redeem our distorted view of the body. It is not just a physical shell that we live in, but one that we can use to honor God (or dishonor Him) and one that God will restore in the end. This body is of great value in the eyes of God. See 1 Corinthians 15 for more commentary on Christ raising our bodies.
Bottom line - our bodies matter to God, they are of incredible value and not just mere throw-aways. Regardless of shape, size, functionality, the body matters.

One of the most popular young women’s magazines, Cosmopolitan, had the following headlines on its July 2010 cover: “8 Foods that Keep You Slim All Summer,” “The Sexy Secret to Making Smart Decisions,” and “What Men Find Hot”.

What do these kinds of headlines say about a woman’s body? How does one derive value based on these headlines?

Do you think there is, at times, a connection between sexual promiscuity and poor body image? Do you ever think that someone engages in sexual promiscuity to validate themselves, feel loved, wanted, accepted, alive and to find themselves? Why doesn’t it work?

2. Sex is not just sex because an improper union can rival your union with Christ. (v.15-17)

What is the rivalry mentioned in these verses?
See the following verses that talk about our unity with Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23, John 14:18-23, 15:4,7 17:20-23

Note the word that describes our unity or bonding with a prostitute.
“When first talking about this phrase (one flesh, unite) it appears to be talking only about physical, sexual union. But while the words do not mean less than that, they mean much more. When the Bible says that “all flesh” had corrupted their way on the earth (Gen 6:12) or that God would pour out his spirit on “all flesh” (Joel 2:28) , it did not mean that only bodies were sinning or that God was giving his spirit to all bodies. Rather, he was giving his Spirit to all people. “Flesh” is a synecdoche, a figure of speech in which a part of a thing is used to represent the whole (as in our phrase “counting noses”)” The Meaning of Marriage p.222

In other words there is no such thing as casual sex. Science will back that up, but Scripture gives us another dimension. Whether you fell into bed with some stranger totally drunk or engaged in sexual relations with your marriage partner - sex connects.

Note- The Corinthian church because of its sexual immorality was supporting the sex trafficking industry of its day. Many of the prostitutes of the day were abandoned female babies that were raised for the sex trade. Our so-called freedom can be another person’s nightmare. Does that still happen today?

3. Sex is not just sex because improper sexual relations actually sins against the body (v.18)

From our context we can see that sinning against the body is a,
- Moral issue- crossing God’s boundaries- sexual immorality was a term that referred to all forms of sexual sin that happened outside the marriage covenant
- Spiritual issue- dishonoring what God values- our body, and rivaling His relationship with us-
- Emotional issue- “one flesh” involves emotional bonding
- Physical - Just as in Corinth, we are experiencing as a culture the physical effects of sexual immorality.

“STI’S are very common among teens and young adults, and they have the potential to change a young person’s life forever. Just how common? In the US in the year 2000, an estimated 19 mill cases of sexually transmitted infections occurred. About half of these infections occurred in fifteen to twenty four year olds, even though they only represent about 25 percent of the sexually active population.” Girls Uncovered page 36

Many STI’S cause more problems for females than for males. ….pre-marital sex is sexist, placing a larger burden on women than on men.

4. Sex is not just sex because your body is a temple (v.19,20)

We have already touched on this issue of value but note the imagery changes to temple. Note who dwells within the believer. What in this text tells us whether He is the owner or the renter?

What are the implications regarding how we then should treat His temple?

Note what follows the “therefore” of v.20. In light of all that God has done for us, and whose we are, Paul says honor God with your body.

My guess is that this is not something we initially thought of when we came to Christ. Having a godly body is just as important as having a godly attitude, making godly choices, having godly relationships.
What are ways we can honor our body? Look to the text for some clues. “Flee” is one idea Paul mentions.

Our walk with Christ needs to affect our sex life. It can be the hardest part to surrender because of cultural slogans that brainwash us or because of well-worn paths that are hard to abandon.

One last point - perhaps God is prompting you to come to the rescue of the exploited. Paul, in telling men to clean up their act, was ultimately protecting women who were often victims of sex trafficking. Do you know of someone being exploited right here in Kingston? Someone’s so called freedom might be causing someone else’s nightmare.

God help us!

Mark Kotchapaw
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