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Friday, October 30, 2009

The Pastor as Scholar: John Piper's Personal Journey

As a pastor this is incredible to me and captures my vision for the ministry, and this is why I am thrilled that Piper will come to Los Angeles and share with our local pastors in Feb 2010. Thank you Anthony Kidd for encouraging me to look at this.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Biblical Principles Governing Sex in Marriage for Christians

This weekend Carl Hargrove (a contibuting editor to Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity) and I had the privilege of leading a purity conference at Sunrise Bible Church in San Jose. You can check out the sermons from their webpage under "Cross Words."

INTRO: Are you sure you think Christianly about sex in marriage?

1st The most important principle that governs sex in marriage is that God created sex in marriage for His glory.
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen,” Rom 11:36. Marriage is for the glory of God. Marriage exists to magnify the greatness of God. God does not exist to magnify marriage. If everything God created is for Him, then sex too exists for God’s glory. God created the human race to be male and female. God created the one flesh union. The Bible states that neither Adam or Eve were ashamed having their nakedness exposed to each other. They knew that God considered their one flesh union to be “very good.” Not that it was “good” in the sense that our one flesh union adds something to God, but “good” in the sense that our one flesh union reflects something wondrous about Him.

Marriages will not be lived for the glory of God until His people are captivated by Him to live for His glory and people will not be captivated to live for the glory of God until this theme of God’s awe inspiring glory permeates everything. Without this even sex in Christian marriages will be a futile frustrating attempt to gain (selfish) pleasure. In fact, until Christians commit themselves to serving their partners knowing that in this way they glorify God, God will not enable them to experience the full joy He designed for one-flesh unions (John 15:5). God must be or become the magnificently central dominating passion in our lives.

2nd Christians must satisfy themselves in God’s love, which alone enables and motivates them to give love to their spouses to the fullest extent (John 10:17).
“The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life,” Psalm 33:6. No professed Christian marriage will be Christianly if the spouses do not experientially live in light of the immeasurable greatness of God’s love (Eph 3:17-19). To know that God’s steadfast love is better than life means that God’s love must be better to us than anything in life which includes receiving love, respect or sex from our spouse. God’s love is better than sex. There will not be sex in heaven, only God’s love. Yet, everyone in heaven will be satisfied because God’s love satisfies. Therefore, the sex that will most satisfy is a Christian’s experience of giving sexual pleasure and receiving the God-pleasing gift of selfless biblical love. God-blessed sex satisfies. Selfish sex frustrates and poisons future encounters of physical intimacy. Christians then must learn to give the intended for pleasure gift of sexual intimacy. Just like in many other areas of Christian living there are skills Christians must learn in order faithfully fulfill God’s will. Do you know how to exhilarate your spouse (Prov 5:19)? God wants you to learn how if you don’t, and God wants you to strive to let your sexual life be characterized by exhilaration.

What do you do when you don’t feel like exhilarating your spouse? You have to learn how to give sincere love when your spouse isn’t very lovable. You have to learn to love in the same way Christ willingly loved you when you were unlovable. God ordains that every Christian marriage bear a cross. This means you won’t be able to fulfill your God-given role duties without dying to self and living for Him. God gets all the glory in every good marriage, because good marriages by His design only happen when each spouse is satisfied in Him. You must learn to affirm this truth when you don’t experience it to be true. You must pray for this when it is absent in your heart. You must yearn for this when your flesh pulls your towards selfish desires.

3rd God is Glorified When Christian Spouses Please Their Mates Sexually (1 Cor 7:1-6).
“Father . . . You loved Me before the foundation of the world,” John 17:24. God is a spirit; therefore, the parallels between the love God enjoys within Himself (John 5:20) and the love Christians enjoy in marriage are not always analogous. However just as the Persons within God’s Triune Being experience perfect satisfying love, God designed the one flesh union in Christian marriage to reflect the fully intimate satisfying love of two persons existing in harmonious oneness. “One flesh” is all encompassing, including body, emotions and spirit.

I Cor 7:3-5 teaches that an essential aspect of Christian love in marriage is the giving of sexual pleasure.
1. God commands Christian husbands and wives to faithfully give (as opposed to getting) sexual pleasure.
2. God wants each spouse to continually give themselves as a gift to their spouse.
3. Christian sex in marriage is all about giving and that is what Christian love is all about.
4. God is well pleased when Christians love each other; He is gravely displeased when we do not (this is sin).