2013/06/08 "Sex in Church!?" - published
This morning I read an alarming study done by the Parents Television Council in 2007-2008 regarding the sexually charged content on network TV during Prime Time hours:
"Across the broadcast networks, verbal references to non-marital sex outnumbered references to sex in the context of marriage by nearly 3 to 1; and scenes depicting or implying sex between non-married partners outnumbered scenes depicting or implying sex between married partners by a ratio of nearly 4 to 1."
Everyone that watches TV knows that sexual content has only grown since 2007-08. What does this mean? It means our society is becoming more and more exposed to a definition of sexuality that is opposed to God's plan for marriage. This should bother us as Christians. Not that the world is a sinful place but that we as Christians are losing influence in one of the most vital areas of society. I don't get mad about sinful people acting sinfully, that is to be expected. I get mad that Christians seem ambivalent to the whole thing.
Last week at Highpoint Church, I started a series called "Love Song" based on the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament. I had an overwhelmingly positive response to the first week, yet still some who felt "church isn't the place to discuss this." I want to respectfully disagree. Talking about God's plan for romance and marriage is vital in being true to the text of Scripture and vital to the well-being of society at large. This post is written to help us see the
importance of tackling this issue in the corporate church setting and to share some of my approach.
1. We believe in engaging culture not escaping culture.
This is a core values of Highpoint Church. As pastors, we simply cannot put our heads in the sand regarding what is going on around us in culture. Paul was diligent to craft letters that spoke directly into the culture of specific churches and cities. Jesus constantly referred to and addressed issues of Palestinian culture. The early Church Fathers were diligent to root the creeds in historical, factual components of culture. Regarding the unbelievable amount of sexually charged content available today we must not be silent. We must not pretend that we or our children will somehow adopt God's perspective without proper teaching.
2. The difference of comedy and crudity.
Yes, I do intentionally want people to laugh during sermons. I believe it makes people engage more. Am I funny? Well, you decide. Admittedly, in my past I have crossed the line of crudity and comedy. There have been cases where my attempts at comedy became crudity. I believe I have grown and matured through some of that. Nevertheless, Ii still believe in the effectiveness of appropriate comedy. If you ever feel I have crossed a line of crudity please let me know, that is never my aim. My goal is to honor Christ, the Church, my wife and my mamma.
3. Should kids/teens be in the service?
This is a question you must answer as a parent. I truly try to create sermons that I would be comfortable with my children listening to. If you are concerned about your kids hearing about sex, let me break the news to you…they already have! When I coach parents I encourage initial conversations about sex by age 5 (usually very basic and focused on personal privacy). I realize that most parents are frightened by the idea of having the "sex-talk" with their kids. Please remember that your kids need to hear the goodness of it as much as the dangers of it. The risk we run in sheltering our kids from these discussion is the risk of secrecy. If they don't think they can talk about it at home or church, they won't. This means your kids will learn about sex in locker rooms, school hallways and the backseats of cars.
4. True to the Text.
As a preacher I work very hard to stay "true to the text." I don't believe anyone does this perfectly but I believe this conviction serves as a safeguard in preaching and teaching. This may come as a shock to some, but the Song of Solomon is a book of the Bible. I believe it NEEDS to be responsibly taught in our churches to equip and train couples and singles for their own romantic relationships AND to equip parents to gain the understanding and confidence to teach these things to their children.
You will notice as I continue through this series I will be following the text roughly verse by verse.
5. The end in mind.
The stated goal of this series is to equip couples and singles to date, marry and stay married in a God-honoring way. I believe that is the goal of the Song of Solomon. There is a war taking place over the hearts and minds of people. The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy every good thing of God. Sexually charged material is everywhere. Why would we let the enemy have the last word? God invented romance, marriage & sex. He gave it parameters. He gave it honor. We MUST be in the business of seeking to restore the honorable things of God. When people embrace God's truth about romance, marriage and sex they are saved from thousands of regrets. The end in mind is God-honoring relationships and marriages. If teaching this series stops a potential divorce and keeps another child from living through the Hell of watching his or her family torn apart it would be worth it.
If you have questions or comments about the series, I'm an open book. Please let me know.
I am eager to get into the rest of this series and see singles, married couples and families transformed!
If you missed part 1 of Love Song you can watch it here.