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Posted in: Growth, Marriage, Know God

02.15.23 ( Jeff Vines )

Holy Sexuality

(excerpt from the Sermon)

Sermon Series: The Talk

What is the Biblical sexual ethic? Believe it or not, it's simple, chastity in singleness. Not until you find a suitable helper, not until you leave the safety of the emotional, psychological, physiological, judicial, and economic security of your parents and you commit to provide the same thing for the one you're married to, or you're planning on marrying, then you get married. Judicial commitment, yes, it's important, the marriage ceremony to God, there's a transaction. You become one flesh, you are naked and unashamed. Basically, by inference of the progression, if you're naked and you haven't become one and you haven't committed and you've not found a suitable helper and there's no commitment, then you would be ashamed. Nakedness and unashamedness happens only after you found the helper, you're totally committed to the helper, there's a judicial transaction of marriage, the two then can become one, and then there is no shame. So chastity in singleness and, second, faithfulness in marriage. Instead of determining how we ought to live based upon enduring patterns of erotic desires, God calls us to live holy lives, which means there's such a thing as holy sexuality.

All other sexual experiences (not sexual temptations, those are real – and temptation cannot possibly be sin because we're told in Hebrews that Jesus was tempted in all ways), not temptations, but sexual experiences, temptations that are acted upon that are not within the confines of faithfulness and marriage, then would be immoral, sinful, and destructive. Heterosexuality is not holy sexuality, it's not the same thing. I remember talking to a mother and she came to me and she said, “Pastor Jeff, I'm so distraught. My son just came out as gay. I don't know what to do about it. I'm devastated. I just want to remove myself.” And then she said this, “Why can't he be normal like my other son?” I didn't say it, but I knew the situation and I felt like saying, “Normal like your other son? You mean the one who's living and having sex with a woman he's not married to? You mean like that normal?” Listen, when it comes to normality, it's immaterial. What matters is holy sexuality. And I think it's a shame how we in the church have thought heterosexuality in and of itself is the will of God. No, it's not. Holy sexuality is the will of God. So while you're sleeping with women you're not married to, while you're committing adultery, while you're addicted to pornography, and over here you're slamming those who are struggling with same-sex attractions. Really, the Biblical sexual ethic is chastity in singleness. No sex before marriage. Faithfulness in marriage. No sex with anyone other than a marriage partner. Sex outside of these parameters is called by the scripture “sexual immorality” because it violates design and ultimately it does not cause one to flourish.

1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” What does it mean to “sin against”? Well, when you commit sexual immorality, you're not only violating God, you're violating yourself because you were never designed to operate that way. That's what that means. Ephesians 5 says, “But among you there must be not even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.” “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (Colossians 3:5). Sexual immorality. So the Bible assumes we're going to have desires that are illegitimate, put them to death, as well as impurity and lust and evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Can you be forgiven of these? Of course. Can you be restored? Of course. Should you continue in this sin? Absolutely not. Paul says in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from death through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in death like this, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” So the writer tells us whatever the temptations, whatever the desires, we don't have to be a slave to them anymore. There is a power within us, the same power that will cause us to rise from the dead at the consummation of the age, that power is in us now to give us victory over sin and death. Will desires enter you whereby you will want to sleep with someone that you're not married to? Absolutely. As a single man or woman, will the desire for the act of intimacy come upon you when you're dating somebody you're attracted to? Of course, it will. Will the desire to look up pornography sometimes overwhelm you? Absolutely. Will the desire to test the waters of intimacy and sex with someone of the same sex fill your heart? Absolutely. Not all of you, but for some of you, absolutely.

However, you're no longer a slave to sin, no matter what the sin is. In 1 Corinthians 6 we're told, “do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor greedy nor drunkards nor slanders nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. 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.” First of all, notice it's not only men who have sex with men that will not enter the kingdom of heaven. It's sexually immoral – all sexual immorality – it's also idolaters, it's also adulterers. It's those who are greedy, it's thieves. It's those who are drunk and slanderers and swindlers. But wait a minute, I thought we were saved by grace through faith. How can the Bible tell us we won't enter heaven if we do these things? Because it's not telling you that you will not enter heaven if you do these things. This is the message I've been trying to get across for about five years now. There is a difference between failing and succumbing to temptation and repenting and getting back up and keep trying again and again, no matter how many times you're knocked down. There's a difference between that and an unbroken life pattern that exhibits these kinds of things and resigns itself without a fight at all to these desires.

We've been created in the image of God, but that image has been tainted by the fall. What we really need is to stop making excuses and to be born again. To pray that God would breathe His Spirit into us and give us the knowledge and the wisdom associated with the life of vitality and the courage and the will to live within those parameters that we may honor Him and honor our design. Romans 8:13 says, “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Live according to the flesh, you're going to die. Live according to the Spirit, you're going to live. Your feelings or disposition do not determine your identity, nor do they determine objective morality. In other words, if something is wrong, it's wrong no matter how it got there.

Regardless of your bent or what society's told you, the word of God stands forever. And it tells you in clear terms. When it comes to sex, you've got two options because God gave you the gift. He is the designer and He says, chastity in singleness, and faithfulness in marriage, all based upon creation and design. And when you violate these, it's sexual immorality. You need to repent and continue to live a godly life. And finally, in Christ, we can overcome the desires of the flesh. “No temptation is overtaking you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure." With the calling of God comes the supernatural power of God to give us our ultimate victories over sin and death. So coming at you and with you, motivated by love, recognizing that I am a sinner with my own fleshly desires, recognizing that we were all sinners. We are all sinners tempted by things that do not conform to our identity. Realizing that you're in a culture that has epitomized sex, that makes it the pinnacle of your existence. There has to be a time when you take a deep breath and you say, okay, society is confusing. They change their mind from generation to generation. I need objective truth. I need someone to guide and lead me so that I can grab my emotions by the scruff of the neck and lead them to what I know will bring a life of vitality and flourishing.

The word of God tells you that when it comes to sex, it is a gift of God only to be entered into after you have found your helper, after you fully commit judicially, emotionally, economically, psychologically, and physiologically. Only then when you leave and cleave, you leave your parents. You do for your spouse what they have done for you in providing you safety, security, love, and acceptance. And only after the judicial form has taken place in the marriage ceremony, then the two shall become one and they will be naked and unashamed. That is the scripture. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Sex is between a man and a woman who have been married and anything outside that is sexual immorality. However, the passions that we have are strong. This is not the unforgivable sin. Let us not shoot our own wounded, but let us bear one another's burdens and encourage each other to walk toward the truth.

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About the Author
Pastor Jeff Vines is the Lead Pastor of ONE&ALL Church. He spent twenty years on the mission field (Zimbabwe, New Zealand) planting churches and training leaders. Jeff is the author of Dinner with SKEPTICS: Defending God in a World that Makes No Sense (2008, 2011) and Unbroken: 8 Enduring Promises God Will Keep (2012). Jeff and his wife, Robin, have been married over 30 years and enjoy life with their kids Delaney & Sian, their daughter-in-law Jessica and sweet grandchildren Ada, Owen, & Layla.

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