Lets talk about sex
By Graham Ashby
I don’t normally speak, let alone write about the subject of Sex. It’s one of those hard issues that always seems to raise eyebrows with people thinking, ‘What’s his problem?’ This article developed from a series of messages that my wife and I prepared when we were asked to address the subjects of Relationships and Sex. At first we were reluctant, to say the least, but as we began to study and read about these issues our hearts grew heavier and heavier. Sex and the immorality that accompanies it was far worse than we had thought. But there was a positive. We discovered, as we learnt about where our youth are at, that the subject of sex isn’t as taboo as it was in our generation. Today young people are willing to talk about it and admit that they need to know what God has to say about relationships and sex. What buoyed our hearts the most was that in this crazy, murky world of illicit sensualities young people are hungry for truth, decency and hope.
Our culture is obsessed with sex. Pornography is everywhere, declining morals, increased divorce, gay and sex parades and an epidemic of forbidden passions and impure behaviour. Our hedonistic ways continue on unchecked and lead to wrecked lives. Society appears to be intoxicated with erotic attitudes and it’s beginning to take its toll on churches.
Sex is an issue that we can’t run from or hide and I believe that as Christians we have to talk about it openly, honestly, purely and Biblically. Why even raise the subject? Because, ironically, it is both blatant and insidious to our young people. To them it is everywhere. Virtually every form of media has sexual content attached to it. They admit to being confused and in many cases overcome by the relentless exposure they encounter. Liberal sexual attitudes have wormed their way into the hearts of many young people to the point where they think it’s normal to have promiscuity all around them. Strangely, sadly, the one group that seems to be silent on this subject is the Church.
From the young people that I talk to, it’s apparent that they desperately want to know what the Church believes about sex. Although it may be an embarrassing subject, our Bible teachers and preachers have to let this generation know what God has said on the matter and inspire them to be God honouring and pure in their relationships and sexuality. With sexual content invading our public and private worlds through magazines, newspapers, billboards, movies, televisions, tablets and mobile phones, we, the Church, have to live rightly in a world rapidly going wrong. This means we “avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen” (1 Thess. 4:3-5).
As part of my research for the Youth Camp where my wife and I presented five messages on the subjects of Relationships and Sex, I sat my wife beside me at my computer desk and typed the word ‘Sex’ into the Google search engine. In 0.16 of a second, 3 billion, 210 million websites registered. I then clicked on images. In less than ¼ of a second, 3,690,000,000 (that’s 3 billion and 690 million) pictures flooded my monitor! Immediately I closed my web browser and we both looked at each other, stunned at how easy and quick it was to access such content. For many, sexual images are ‘normal’ and part of everyday life. Indecent images are not only on screens they are also in brochures, in Malls, on buses, on packaging and are prolifically used by the fashion industry. It’s not just our teens who are exposed to the sex industry. Our children too are seeing toys, cartoons and websites that are sexually visual and stimulating. Societies all over the world are being swamped with image after image of seduction, lust, temptation, sensuality, nudity and erotica in what appears to be a global attempt to dull the conscience of purity and wholesomeness.
A statistic on ‘Pornography, Sexual addiction and Online Perpetrators’ reports that more than 20,000 images of child pornography are posted online every week (1).
It’s been estimated that when a young person views pornography for ten minutes on a computer, it’s the equivalent to what their grandparents would have seen in their entire lifetime!
With the power of technology and the internet, never before in the history of mankind has such a tsunami of sex been able to influence a young generation. All the more reason why the Church has to speak up about what God wants us to know about this subject.
Added to this is the sexual revolution that is being taught in our public schools. Our young people are being instructed that ‘when you have sex’ here’s what you do and use. In fact the destructiveness of what is being taught in our NZ Sex Education in Schools was highlighted in a Herald article last year entitled – ‘Sex education: have we got it wrong?’ A student was upset to be taught “that anal and oral sex were alternatives to intercourse and that it was okay to play with a girl’s private parts as long as she consented” (2).
Parents, be aware that no-one in school teaches abstinence despite the best evidence being that to have a happy, healthy and long lasting relationship, sex should wait until you are in a committed marriage (3).
Needless to say, the Church has to be proactive in the subject of marriage, sex, families and even the subject of singleness. Singles are often the forgotten demographic in church and need the encouragement and affirmation that they too are human beings who are loved, valued and important to the Church. They may not be in a relationship but they are still worthy people who have much to contribute to the body of Christ. They too need guidance and Biblical principles to help them navigate their place at home, work and the Church from their position of singleness. They need to know that we don’t see them as ‘gay’ because they have not married. They need to be among families where they are appreciated and trusted. Like every sexual being they will battle with temptations and doubts and that’s why the Church needs to be a source of rich hope, joy, accountability and company for them.
All people need intimacy but the Church needs to be truthful and explain that although sex can be an expression of intimacy, not all sex is intimate. Recently a TV documentary (4) interviewed teenagers that were under aged and having sex. Every teenager in that documentary was raised by a single parent, mostly their mother. Although the documentary did not say so, it was obvious to me, that these teens were looking for love and intimacy because they were lacking a father figure. With no father role-model they were deluded into thinking that by having sex they would be loved. The sad truth is that girls will give sex in order to get love whereas guys will give love in order to get sex. That’s why as churches, we need to teach our young people where they can find true love.
The Bible says “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). That means that we must use God’s Word to direct the hearts and minds of our young people and instruct them in right living. Scripture has plenty to say on the subjects of relationships, sex and intimacy and it’s certainly not embarrassed about it. Reading the middle-eastern expressions of love and intimacy in the Songs of Solomon may not stir the passions of a Western believer, but beneath the layers of those poetic writings is a revelation of romance and love between a King and his Queen. Solomon was giving us a joyful insight that sex was designed by God and in the context that He created, can be part of a loving and intimate relationship.
According to Genesis God made our bodies ‘very good’. The sex industry degrades these bodies.
According to Genesis God designed marriage. Our sex culture is destroying marriage.
According to Genesis sex makes two people one. Sex today promotes multiple experiences.
According to Genesis sex in marriage should be shameless. Sexual activities today are shameful.
According to Genesis God set the standard for relationships and sex. In our world there are virtually no standards today.
It’s obvious that the world’s standards, or lack of, are in complete contrast to God’s perspective on sex.
It’s the Church that needs to be proactive today by being a godly example and by leading the hearts and homes of those who know no other way. Responsibly, positively and lovingly, we need to teach the Scriptures to our young people so that they can learn how they can have the best relationships in the future.
If the Church at this time buries its head in the sand we can be sure that this secular culture will influence their emotional and sexual desires. They need light in this dark world. They need hope in a world so desperately lost. They need truth when so many lies go unchallenged. They need the Lord to rebirth their innocence and empower their future relationships and families.
May I encourage every Church to lead the way here by positively, truthfully, Biblically teaching God’s way for the best relationships and sex. I know the subject may extract some coughs and frowns, but we dare not allow our church members to walk the secular minefield of sex alone. We need to express eternal values and principles that Scripture so clearly reveals. Silence is not an option. Our young people want to know the truth and we must deliver it because it will set them free to be the people that our Lord calls them to be.
(4) TV3, July 5, 2012.
His Needs, her Needs by Willard F. Harley.
The Sixty Minute Marriage by Rob Parsons.
For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn.
For Men Only by Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn.
Hedges by Jerry B. Jenkins.
The Five Love Languages by Dr Gary Chapman.
Real Marriage. The truth about sex, friendship and life together by Mark & Grace Driscoll.
Every Young Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge & Stephen Arteburn.
Every Young Man’s Battle by Stephen Arteburn & Fred Stoeker.