The Marriage Bed (Sermon Manuscript)

Genesis 1:28; 2:25; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Today we continue our series, “Did God Really Say,” looking at God’s good design in all that he created, the confusion that exists in areas of authority, the sanctity of life, race, gender, sexuality, personal responsibility, justice, and salvation, and then God’s work of restoration in these areas.

There is deep brokenness and growing confusion about sexuality in our culture. Things seem to be changing so fast that we have not had much time to think about the new standards and ethics. Which way is up? What is right?

God has a plan and purpose for sex in the world. I want to examine that purpose together. Ultimately, my hope is that we will together turn from our broken sexual desires and believe that God and his plan for sexuality are better. 

CREATION — GOD CREATED SEX FOR OUR GOOD AND HIS GLORY.

As Brian has been doing the last several weeks, we are going to start at the beginning. I want to start this morning by asking, what was God’s original design for sex? 

If you are taking notes this morning, the first point I want you to write down is that God created sex for his glory and our good. 

Look with me at Genesis 1:27-28, “27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.”

One of God’s first instructions to man and woman is to be fruitful and multiply. In this, we see one of the primary purposes for human sexuality in the world. God’s design was that we would procreate. He wanted us to be fruitful and multiply, but not with just anyone. 

We see the context for procreation in the next chapter. Look over at chapter 2:24. “24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

There are three pictures here that describe marriage. First, is the idea of leaving. A man will leave his father and mother, which describes how God creates a new family. Second is the idea of cleaving or holding fast, which indicates the covenant promises of marriage. This is why we take vows in marriage like “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death do us part.” It is because marriage is a promise. Third, is the picture of one flesh. This is the idea of two lives being merged together as one. 

In Mark 10:6-9, Jesus brings these two passages together to give his understanding of marriage. “6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

This is the environment that God intended for sex. A covenant relationship between a man and a woman. Sexual intimacy was designed to be one expression of the one-flesh union of a husband and wife, who would intertwine their lives together in spirit, mind, and body. He designed an environment of safety, security, and stability for an act of intimacy and vulnerability that is unparalleled. 

Notice what it says in Gen. 2:25. “25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

This was a marriage before sin entered the world. This first marriage was free from the scars of distrust, self-preservation, and manipulation. There was no shame. There was no need for hiding. Marriage was the perfect picture of our relationship with God that he intended it to be.  

How does sex glorify God? It teaches us about our relationship with God. Marriage is a picture pointing to our relationship with God. Two parties that are bound together in covenant love and committed to one another’s good. Two become one in mind, spirit, and body, and their relationship brings joy, fulfillment, and pleasure. As their intimacy grows deeper, the enjoyment increases. These realities that we observe in earthly marriage are meant to point us to eternal, heavenly realities.  

How is sex for our good? It is one of the many ways that God reveals his love for us. It reminds us of God’s goodness. He is the giver of every good gift. He created things not just for function but also for enjoyment. Why? Because He is good and loving.

Sex is a gift from God, designed for intimacy, enjoyment, and procreation within the context of a covenant relationship. It is meant to reveal his goodness and aspects of our relationship with him. When God created sex, it was good. 

FALL — OUR SIN HAS DISTORTED GOD’S GOOD DESIGN FOR SEX.

God’s design and purposes for sex were perfect, but this perfect picture is often not what we see today. The second point if you are taking notes this morning is that Our sin has distorted God’s good design for sex. 

In our sin, we take what is good and twist it to try to extract enjoyment and pleasure without adhering to God’s plan.

This becomes idolatry. Col. 3:5-6,Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.”

We exalt sexual desire and gratification to the point that it becomes our god. It dictates our identity and holds our hope for satisfaction. This idol of sexual immorality takes on many forms. We see the creativity of man in the many ways we have sought to take God’s gift and extract from it what he never intended.  

We find this idolatry anytime we reject what God has said about sex and redefine its meaning and purpose to fulfill our desires. Anything outside of sex within the covenant relationship of marriage between a man and woman committed to each other before God is a sin. It is a rejection of God’s plan. Whether it be pornography, the lust of the heart, sex outside of marriage, or homosexuality, it is sin and leads to death. 

Why do I say that these things are sins? Because God has given us clear, wise, and loving instruction about these things and to reject his counsel is to reject him. It is to say like the serpent in the garden, “Did God really say?” We call his word and his love into question. When we reject his design, we are saying that we do not believe that he loves us and we do not believe that he wants what is best for us. 

Faith in God is to believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Heb. 11:6). So, to reject God’s design is a departure from faith, which is sin. And sin leads to death. 

Here are just a few examples of how the Bible warns us about sexual sin.

Eph. 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” 

1 Thes. 4:3, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification:[b] that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body[c] in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”

I know there is great confusion around this issue because we have an enemy that is still whispering, “Did God really say?” He is a great deceiver, and he is working diligently to undermine God’s good instructions.  

Here are just three of the many lies that are being told right now in our culture. 

LIES OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY
1. OUR IDENTITY IS ROOTED IN OUR SEXUAL DESIRES.

This is a lie that has created great confusion in many hearts. Our culture is telling us that we need a label. We must determine our identity based on our feelings and desires, and there is no outside source that can determine this. They say that it must come from within. It is up to me to determine whether or not I am male, female, nonbinary, heterosexual, or homosexual, and this determination is made at the level of my desires and feelings. This means that if someone experiences same-sex attraction, then, they must be gay. It is their identity. This is quite simply a lie. Our identity is not rooted in who we are physically attracted to or our sexual desires. Our identity is rooted in who God made us to be. We are made in his image. We are beautifully designed creatures with the ability to love, forgive, empathize, and relate to one another. We have the ability to relate to God. We have the ability to represent him in the world by loving others. That is our identity. 

2. OUR SEXUAL DESIRES SHOULD ALWAYS BE TRUSTED AND ACCEPTED.

This lie goes along with the first and adds to the confusion for those experiencing same-sex attraction. The argument is that if there are people who experience same-sex attraction, then it must be natural and good. They did not create this feeling or desire in themselves, therefore, it cannot be condemned. This logic breaks down when we compare it to any other set of desires. We don’t assume other desires are good, just because they come naturally to us. We have a natural desire to lie, to be selfish, and to steal, and yet, we would not say those desires are good and should be pursued. Our desires cannot be trusted. We are a complicated mix of both good and bad desires, and it is God’s word that should help us define what is right and wrong, not our desires. 

3. ULTIMATE HAPPINESS AND FULFILLMENT WILL BE FOUND IN THE GRATIFICATION OF OUR SEXUAL DESIRES.

This lie is leading us to all kinds of destructive behaviors. When we worship sex and see it as our ultimate hope for fulfillment, then, we are willing to abandon God’s design and pursue whatever we think will bring us the gratification we are looking for. Single people indulge in sexual relationships that are destructive because they think it will make them happy. Married people can find themselves in despair because they don’t think their spouse is providing the fulfillment they need. Same-sex attracted people give in to their desires because they think a life without sexual gratification must be a lesser existence. People look at porn because they think it will bring them satisfaction. All of these pursuits are based on the lie that sex is the ultimate good. 

Sex is not the ultimate good. It is not your greatest hope for satisfaction. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Knowing God and enjoying him is the ultimate good. One of the most important ways to free yourself from the trap of sexual sin is to find a better source of pleasure to pursue. In his presence is FULLNESS OF JOY and at his right hand are PLEASURES FOREVERMORE.  

REDEMPTION — JESUS’ WORK OF REDEMPTION IS RESTORING OUR BROKEN SEXUALITY.

The third point this morning is that Jesus’ work of redemption is restoring our broken sexuality. Jesus came to make all things new (Rev. 21). God made a world that was good. Everything that he created was good and had a good design. Then, our sin entered the world and everything was broken. Our relationship with God was broken. Our relationship with the rest of creation was broken. And our relationships with each other were broken. 

Jesus came to redeem all that was broken. He came to restore us to a right relationship with God. He came to restore our relationship with creation, and he came to restore our relationships with one another, which includes our friendships, relationships between people groups, and marriage, including sex. 

Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected to restore us to God and fix these relationships. 

With God’s help, we are freed to experience sexuality as God designed it. We no longer need sex to provide our identity or our ultimate satisfaction. It is not our God. It is one of God’s many gifts.  

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” 

These appear to be common refrains used by the Corinthians. “All things are lawful for me” is referring to their freedom in Christ, but Paul is saying that they are taking it to the extreme. Yes, you are no longer under the law, but that doesn’t mean you should participate in things that are evil. Then, “food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” seems to be a justification for sexual immorality. In other words, one physical act, like eating food, is no different than another, like having sex. They are saying that they are just bodily functions. But Paul says, “no”. And he is going to explain the difference. 

He goes on to say in verse 14, “And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.”

He is making the point that our bodies are going to be resurrected. We can’t disregard the body, because God hasn’t disregarded the body. He will raise our bodies just as he did Christ’s body. 

He continues in verse 15, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 

The proper use of the body is not to be joined with others in sin, but to be one with the Lord in holiness. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

A few things stand out in these verses from 1 Corinthians 6.

1. THE BODY IS NOT MEANT FOR SEXUAL IMMORALITY, BUT FOR THE LORD, AND THE LORD FOR THE BODY.

Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus rescued us from sin and death, he restored us to God. God’s Holy Spirit comes to live within us and helps us to fulfill our highest and most glorious purpose, which is to glorify God and live in relationship with him. This new reality frees us from the need to find our identity or hope for joy in sexual desires. There are much higher and better things for us to pursue than sexual satisfaction. We can pursue God. 

2. YOU WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE.

This new reality didn’t come easily. It came at a price, and that price was the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ body was broken and his blood was shed for our forgiveness. He purchased us by giving his life. You were bought with a price. So glorify God with your body.

Jesus’ finished work on the cross frees us from idolatry and sin, (Romans 6) which means we are free to pursue God’s good design. 

In Romans 6, Paul is describing the results of Jesus’ finished work. 

He says in Romans 6:3-4, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Paul is explaining our participation with Christ in his death and resurrection. By faith, we are participants in Christ’s death. In other words, his death counts for ours. We die with him, and Paul is making the application that this means we are dead to sin. It no longer has any power over us. We are now free to put it to death in our lives. He also says we are participants in his resurrection. So, we’ve been raised to walk in newness of life. We are free to pursue righteousness and the things that God says are good. 

A few verses later he explains further in Romans 6:12-13, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”

Jesus’ finished work on the cross frees us from idolatry and sin, and it provides full forgiveness for past sins. (1 John 1:9, Eph. 1:7, Ps. 103) 

The weight of guilt and shame from sexual sins in your past can be overwhelming. I want to remind you this morning of the fullness of God’s forgiveness. The blood of Jesus Christ covers our sins completely. 

Psalm 103:10-12, “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

Here are some applications for us this morning:

Let’s yield to God’s word. 

Believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. His word is good and he can be trusted. 

Let’s confess our sins (Psalm 51). 

We are not here this morning to talk about all the sin “out there”. We must all confess our sins and how we have acted without faith. We should confess the times we’ve acted as if God wasn’t the greatest treasure or that his word couldn’t be trusted. Ask God to search your heart and confess the sin in your own life. 

Let’s pursue purity.

We must pursue purity by faith. Not because it earns us favor with God, but because God says it is for our good. Walk in community with others who are pursuing purity. Avoid situations where you are tempted. If you are not married and living together, you are putting yourself in a place of unnecessary temptation. I know there are practical justifications for cohabitating, but saving money on rent is not worth putting yourself in a position where sin could destroy you and your relationship. Guard your eyes and take measures to live in the freedom Jesus has purchased for you. You don’t have to continue in sexual sin.  

I know that some of these things are not switches you can just flip. If you are trapped in sin, you will need help, and we want to help and connect you with people who will help you. If you are living with your boyfriend or girlfriend, there are some real practical issues for you to work through, but faith in the goodness of God invites us to start those conversations.  

If you want to find a group that is discussing issues of sexual sin and encouraging one another, there is a ministry called CrossCurrent that exists for that reason. You can find out more about it by going to pray.org/crosscurrent. They have a virtual group starting in March. 

Let’s love our neighbors. 

And who are our neighbors? Our neighbors are those in the church who are struggling with sexual sin. They need our support, love, and encouragement. They need us to patiently walk with them. They need us to never grow weary in pointing them to Christ.

Our neighbors are those in the community that are fighting for an agenda that disagrees with us. Some of our neighbors are LGBTQ activists, and we are called to love them as we love ourselves. This means seeing them as individuals who have been created in the image of God. They have a soul. They matter. They are not nameless opponents in an ideological war. They have a story. They have past hurts. They have hopes and dreams, and we believe they need the gospel. If we decide they are our opponents and place ourselves on the other side of the playing field, who is going to take the gospel to them?  

Let’s trust in the work of Christ.

Romans 5:8-9, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”

If you are not a Christian, turn to him by faith, confess your sin, ask for forgiveness, and ask him to save you. All who call upon him will be saved. 

If you are a Christian, rejoice in the finished work of Christ that brings forgiveness and healing. 

RESTORATION — JESUS WILL ONE DAY MAKE ALL THINGS NEW.

Jesus’ work on the cross is redeeming all that was broken, but the work is not finished yet. The final point this morning is that Jesus will one day make all things new. We still have pain and scars from past sins. Some of us have sinned and have deep regret. Some of us have been sinned against and carry deep wounds. 

Some of you are single and struggling with unfulfilled desires. Some of you are battling pornography addictions or same-sex attraction. These things are not going to go away overnight. You may battle some of these things for the rest of your life. 

Our ultimate hope is found in the complete restoration that we will experience when we see Christ face-to-face. Whatever struggle you might be facing this morning, lift your eyes and look ahead to the day we will see his face. 

Revelation 21:1-6, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”

Author

Previous

Next