So, today is our Fourth Sunday in our series on marriage. We have looked at the foundation of marriage, the purpose of marriage, and the roles in marriage. Today we are going to talk about the joy of marriage. Yes, we are going to talk about sex. Ok, so I know what you are wondering. The answer is no, this is not an “R” rated sermon. Some people may worry about the young ones in here, and if you feel like your child is too young to be hearing about this, feel free to take them downstairs, but the truth is that they are being exposed to the world’s view of sex and sexuality all around them. The are being instructed by the world in its values of sex all the time, we as a church need to bring the Biblical teaching on it to our children.
Remember that this whole series is looking at the parable of Marriage as a reflection of the Gospel. Now, think for a minute, no need to answer out loud, in what ways is intimacy in marriage a parable of the gospel? Now let me ask you a personal question, that I definitely don’t want you to answer out loud. Is your sex life an accurate reflection the Gospel?
We are going to be looking at 1 Corinthians 7:1-8. This is Paul’s teaching to the church in Corinth that is answering a specific statement about sex made by a really messed up church.
So, just a quick overview of where we are in this letter to the Corinthians. The apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth for what seems the second time. We do not have the first letter that he wrote to them, but we know that Paul heard back that the church had misunderstood his letter pretty badly, and were also dealing with a number of serious issues in the church. The church was divided, sexual immorality was rampant, and there was an arrogance in the church. The church also sent a letter to Paul that showed how much they were getting things wrong. They were seriously confused about a number of things, and one of those was the role of sex and marriage. So Paul wrote this letter to them to address many of these concerns and confusions. He addresses both the reports that he heard from Chloe’s people, as well as the confusion displayed by the letter they sent to him. So, in this section, Paul tackles their confusion about the role of sex in marriage. Right before this was the section we just read for the NT reading where Paul is telling them to flee from sexual immorality and in that section he quotes Genesis 2:24, which uses the “one flesh” metaphor as more than just emotional or legal union, but the physical act of intercourse. Now we are going to be talking about sex, but this is really a part of a broader topic of being one flesh. soul, mind and body. This is the parable of what it means to be naked and unashamed.
- Sex is for husband and wife:
Monogamous, heterosexual marriage is the place where sexual relationships are meant to thrive. Even though the culture of the time was rife with all kinds of sexual deviancy, the Biblical instruction throughout scripture is that the relationship of husband and wife is the only place where sexual intimacy is meant to exist. It is only in that covenant relationship that a man and woman can respond to one another in safety and security, knowing that they are united as one and they are committed to one another for life.
So, often people will ask where in the Bible is premarital sex forbidden, let me read to you an excerpt from Tim and Kathy Keller’s devotional on the Meaning of marriage. while I do, let me recommend this book to you. Rebekah and I are using it for our devotions together, and it has been very helpful for both of us…
- Sex is a practice of mutual submission: Remember last week when Scott talked about submission in marriage, he touched on the truth that Paul asserts in Ephesians 5:21 that Christians are called into a relationship of mutual submission that goes along with the submission of husband and wife. When Paul teaches in this text that the husband and wife do not have authority over their own bodies, he is again affirming the unity that comes from becoming one flesh.
- Sex (or rather the desire for it) should press us to do the hard work of emotional connection, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation: “Do not deprive one another” is a command that can on its face seem pretty cut and dried, but think about it this way. Why would someone be tempted to deprive their spouse of intimacy? It is usually some type of offense, or issue that needs to be dealt with. If one partner is desiring sex, and one person is not, that should drive us to deal with the issues between us in order to experience the fullness of the joy of marital intimacy. In fact, the only reason he gives for abstaining from marital intimacy is by both agreeing to it and for a short time in order to pray. So, think about it this way, if you are both upset with one another, and are not making love for a long period of time, you are in violation of this scripture. This is a process that is where the gospel comes into view in marriage. our unity with Christ comes as we confess and repent of our sin, and forgive one another, as Christ has forgiven us. We become the image of Christ to one another as we forgive one another. The bond between us is strengthened as we grow in this area, and we lear to lay down our lives for one another in the most intimate of areas.