Sermon: Sex and the Christian Marriage
Scripture: Matthew 5:27-30
In this week’s lessons, we learn how contemporary culture approaches sex, and see how Christians are to think and act differently, as Jesus taught.
Theme: Is There a Cure?
Given the pervasiveness of the world’s perversion of sex, what are we to do in this situation? We cannot escape. That is monasticism, and it is unbiblical. We cannot retreat into celibacy, for God created sex and gave marriage. And we certainly cannot give vent to promiscuity or even genteel experimentation. The only answer is that we must fight a debased and perverted morality with a pure one. And we must live and teach what Christ taught as the true way to happiness.
I believe this must start with a clear recognition that the sexual instinct as we see it and know it has gone wrong. Notice, I did not say that sex or the sex instinct is wrong. Christianity is almost the only great world religion that approves of the body and has thoroughly glorified sex in marriage. I only said that the sexual instinct as we see it and know it has gone wrong.
For one thing, the appetite for sex, stimulated by our culture, is enormously out of proportion to its function. Lewis, who makes this point far better than anyone else I know, says wisely:
The biological purpose of sex is children, just as the biological purpose of eating is to repair the body. Now if we eat whenever we feel inclined and just as much as we want, it is quite true that most of us will eat too much: but not terrifically too much. One man may eat enough for two, but he does not eat enough for ten. The appetite goes a little beyond its biological purpose, but not enormously. But if a healthy young man indulged his sexual appetite whenever he felt inclined, and if each act produced a baby, then in ten years he might easily populate a small village. This appetite is in ludicrous and preposterous excess of its function.
Or take it another way. You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act—that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us?1
The most popular argument against this view today seems to be in the admission that sex is a mess, but that it has become so only because it has been hushed up. The answer is that today it is not hushed up. In fact, it has not been hushed up for the greater part of this century. And still it is terrible, and it is getting worse. We have more divorce today, more perversions of sex, more illegitimacy (two to four times as much as in 1940, in spite of the pill), and more downright misery in marriage and outside of it than ever before. People are flocking to the marriage counselors and ministers for help to unscramble the ruin they have made of their lives.
Actually, as Lewis says, it is probably the other way around. The human race probably hushed up sex originally because it had become such a mess. And if things get bad enough in our day it may well happen again as the present playboy age gives way to a new Victorianism. No, there is a perversion of the sex instinct, and we as God’s children should know it and resist it.
What is Christianity’s view of the body, and sex in marriage, and what is the biblical basis for this?
List some evidences that sex is not being hushed up. What does this tell us about our culture?
Reflection: How is the sex instinct being perverted today?
For Further Study: Download for free and listen to Tim Geiger’s message, “A Biblical View of Sex, Sexuality, and Gender.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)
1C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1958), 75.