MODERN SEXUALITY SERMON SERIES
THE BEDROOM: BATTLEGROUND OR PLAYGROUND
JANUARY 16, 1994
Statistics reveal that 40 to 60% of the married couples in an audience this size would be experiencing a moderate to high level of sexual frustration. In fact, if the truth were known, many husbands and wives would say, “Ed, I can identify with this subject because the bedroom in our marriage is a battleground”. Hurt, anger, frustration, separation, alienation. Where do I go for help? Who do I turn to? You could turn to Geraldo or Fabio, you could watch a television show seen on cable called “Real Personal”. Armchair experts would tell you to go to the local bookstore and buy a sexual manual that resembles Popular Mechanics magazine. How about friends? You can share with your friends, but you’re a little bit embarrassed and the words seem to turn to ashes in your mouth. How about the church? Surely the church would have the answers. Sadly, historically the church has remained silent on this important and God-ordained subject. The great news, though, is that the Bible talks a lot, I’m talking about a lot, regarding our sexuality. God says He does not want the bedroom to be a battleground. He wants the bedroom to be a playground. A playground.
My wife, Lisa, is a great cook. I’m talking about a phenomenal cook. Oftentimes when she is making a recipe, she’ll call me at the office and say, “Honey, would you mind stopping by Tom Thumb on the way home and picking up this ingredient because I need it to really make the recipe work? I need it now”. So I’ll get in the car, go to Tom Thumb and get her the ingredient she requested and once she puts the ingredient in, the recipe is good! In fact, this morning she made some home-made banana nut muffins. Hey, washed down with some carrot and broccoli juice, it doesn’t get any better than that, I’ll tell you.
I want to list for you, though, God’s three-ingredient recipe toward super sex in marriage. If you take your bulletins and look, you will see a pink recipe card for you to keep. You can file this card and share the recipe with others. Something funny about sexuality, in a normal sermon I ask you to take out a pen, a piece of paper and jot down some notes. “Honey, do you have a pen? Yes, okay. It’s somewhere. Well, I don’t want to look through this stuff”. When I talk about sex though, you get ready to do. It’s like Ken Norton this afternoon when he goes against the Packers, he’s ready to go.
These ingredients are progressive and they are necessary. The first ingredient is that we have to have the right outlook regarding this bowl called sexuality in marriage. We’ve got to have the right outlook because our outlook determines our actions. If I don’t have the proper outlook, then I will not make the proper actions in the bedroom. A couple of years ago, I went down to Houston with my family to visit my parents. Dad and Mom had bought a brand new television set and they had two remote controls. I was by myself in the den trying to figure out how to work this crazy television. The picture was distorted; it was twisted. Finally, I’d had enough. “Dad, would you come out here and show me how to work these crazy remote controls?” I handed them to my father. He pushed one button, boing! A beautiful, pristine, sharp, clear picture. Think about it. Too many of us have our controls, our sexuality, in our own hands. We are looking at the user instead of the inventor of sex, when our Heavenly Father is right there. If we’ll give Him the controls, He’ll push one button and suddenly the picture will be clear and sharp and we’ll see who we are sexually before a holy God.
Last week we saw that God created sex. He gave us the gift of sex before sin ever entered the world. Sexuality was not an add-on. It was not an afterthought. It was God’s idea. He created it first of all for pleasure and second of all for procreation. God loves to see His children, in the context of marriage, express themselves sexually. He really does. That’s why the Bible says in the book of Hebrews 13:4. “Marriage is honorable and the marriage bed is undefiled.” I strongly believe those on the planet with the capacity for the most sexual fulfillment are Christians. I’m talking about a man and a woman in marriage. We have the greatest capacity for sexual adventure, excitement and understanding, and that’s exciting to know. It really is. You see, we cannot divorce our sexuality from who we are before God. We cannot compartmentalize it. It is who we are. God has woven it into the very framework of our personality. So Hebrews tells us marriage is honorable and the marriage bed is undefiled. When was the last time you worshipped God for the gift of sex, for the gift of attractiveness, for the gift of sexual expression? The Bible says it’s part of our obedience. It’s part of our discipleship toward our mate. Redbook magazine recently conducted a survey and they discovered that women, I’m talking about wives, who have the greatest spiritual intensity also had the greatest sexual fulfillment in marriage. Isn’t that amazing? Spirituality and sexuality go together hand in hand. The Bible has been talking about this for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. Marriage is honorable. The marriage bed is undefiled, meaning it’s beautiful. It’s holy. It’s part of who we are before God.
Take your Bibles now and turn to I Corinthians 7. I Corinthians 7:3 says, “Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife”. I’m being obedient as a believer as I fulfill my duty sexually to Lisa, as she fulfills her duty sexually to me. In fact, those of us who know Jesus Christ personally, the Bible says we will be held accountable about how we served our spouse sexually. I’ll say it one more time. We will be held accountable if we know Jesus Christ on how we served our spouse sexually. Verse 4, “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body but the wife does”.
Something that really frustrates me as a pastor is what I call “pick and choose” Christianity. I ask people who read the Bible, “Do you believe the Bible?” Most would say, “Do I believe the Bible, Ed? I believe the Bible. I even believe the maps! Everything. The total package. I believe the Bible. Yes sir, I believe the Bible”. Then I’ll talk about finances and how we should be good stewards of God’s money. “Oh, I believe that! That’s right”. I talk about relationships and getting problems solved. “Oh, that’s right. Yes”. How to handle stress. “Oh, that’s very important. The Bible talks about stress and I believe that too”. I mention sexuality…”Oh, well that’s another issue that’s kind of on the back burner here. Let’s talk about something else. I’ll obey God in everything else but this is a little bit threatening”.
When God reveals His will, we are to obey it whether it’s in the area of sexuality, stress management or finances. I’ll read it one more time, “The wife does not have authority over her own body…” In other words, when we’re married, we give rights to our spouse over our bodies. “…but the husband does and likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body but the wife does”. The evil one, I’m talking about Satan, is crafty, because he knows that a vital, regular, mutually-satisfying sexual relationship will bond two people together like Superglue, cords that cannot be broken. It will provide a foundation for children for generations and generations to come because sexual intimacy is a major player in the marriage commitment. The evil one will do everything possible to say, “Hey, look at the picture. Take the controls in your own hands”. He loves us to see distorted views of our sexuality. If you have a distorted view today, if you think that sex is dirty, is something bad, is something that God doesn’t really smile upon, then do this. Say, “Lord, I give my sexuality to you. I give the controls of my life to you. You press the buttons. You show me the picture”, and He will. He really will. That’s why I encourage you to obey Romans 12:2. Listen to the words, Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world… ” In other words, do not be conformed to the values of this world, “…but be transformed by the renewing of your what? by the renewing of your minds”. Let’s say it together, by the renewing of your minds. What is the most important sexual organ in our bodies? I just read it, the brain. Our minds. If I’m going to have a proper outlook towards sexuality in marriage, I’ve got to renew my what? My mind. How? How? Can I buy a new mind at the blue light special at K-Mart? How do I do that? Two suggestions.
First, study the Scriptures concerning your sexuality. I Corinthians 7. Read the first three or four chapters of the book of Genesis and also, if you really want to get in-depth, read the Song of Solomon. God has given us an entire book in the Bible, spouses, that gives us instruction and motivation on how to make love to our mate. Second, buy books. Go to a Christian bookstore. Buy books on sexuality. Here are a couple off the top of my head, “Intended for Pleasure”, by Dr. Ed Wheat, a great book on sexuality. Also “The Gift Of Sex” by Cliff Penner. Finally, if you want something that will really shock you, it will make a romance novel seem calm, “Solomon On Sex” by Joseph Dillo. You’re talking about a book that will give you instruction on how to kiss, to the importance of good breath. This is the Bible now. Romance, men. Song of Solomon. Most of the translators were afraid to really translate the intensity of the Hebrew word when they came to the Song of Solomon. I guarantee you some of the junior high and high school students will make a mad rush to the Song Of Solomon, “Let me see that. Let me read that.”
I know what you’re thinking. Some are saying, “Okay, Ed, I’ve got it now. I’ve got the right outlook. I’ll study the Scriptures. I’ll buy the books. Now I can join hands with my spouse and we can rush into the bedroom”. No. There is a second ingredient. The proper outlook is the first ingredient. The second ingredient is that we have to create the right environment, the right environment or the right atmosphere. I’ll read you a Scripture verse in Song of Solomon. Here’s the Good News translation. Song of Solomon 6:12, “You have made me eager for love “. You have made me eager for love. You’re talking about the right atmosphere. You’re talking about the right environment. (Hums “Love is in the air, every sight and every sound). You see, let me get very direct here, there are some differences between a man’s sex drive and a woman’s sex drive. Men, we are notorious for kind of compartmentalizing our sexuality. A lot of us view sex as what takes place in the bed with our wives between David Letterman’s monologue and the late movie. Gary Smalley says that a man’s sex drive is like a microwave. A woman’s sex drive is like a crockpot. Women have to look at the entire context of the marriage before they are ready to be intimate in marriage. They have to know that all is well outside the bedroom before they can be ready inside the bedroom. Most of us guys, we have no clue of the context nor do we take a step back and look at the entire relationship. We’re just thinking about the act itself. That’s the way God wired us up. Both of us can learn. Men can learn and women can learn. In fact, speaking about a man’s sex drive, statistics show that men like to have relations with their wives on days of the week that begin with “T”. A new finding. Tuesday, Thursday, Taturday, Tunday, today, tomorrow. What kind of environment, husband, wife, are you creating? Are you serving each other outside the bedroom? Men, how about the non-sexual touching. Some guys, “What, there’s such a thing as non-sexual touching?” Helping out with the children. A number of things to create this environment, this atmosphere. I could talk for seven weeks on it but buy those books I talked about.
That brings us to the third and final ingredient. Yes, the outlook is right. Yes, the environment is needed. But this last one is desperately needed for this recipe. Open and honest communication. Open and honest communication. It’s kind of like the story of the husband and the wife who were sitting at the breakfast table. The husband was reading the sports page and the wife said, “Whatever happened to our sexual relations?” The husband threw down the sports page and he said, “I don’t know. Did we receive a Christmas card from them?” It’s sad to say but that’s about as much communication sexually that we’re involved in. I believe only 5 to 10% of the husbands and wives here have ever sat down and really talked about their needs, their wants, their desires specifically in the marriage bed. I’ve seen this happen a number of times. Lisa and I have been out to eat with a couple and the husband will get up, go to the restroom. The waitress will come by and she’ll say, “What would you like to eat?” The wife will order for her husband and she knows exactly what he wants, how he likes his coffee, his nachos, you name it. It’s just amazing! Talk to a husband, he can tell you his wife’s favorite color and all these different things in non-threatening areas. But if you begin to interview them about what many think is a threatening area, sexuality, “No. We don’t really know that much”. Most of us think we know more about our spouses’ bodies than we actually do but we don’t know that much about them at all. Secondly, most of us are very poor mind readers. What happens when the lights dim and the clothes come off? We feel so vulnerable. We feel so afraid to talk. If we’re afraid to talk, two things will happen. We’ll live our lives and our marriages in frustration; or if we do talk, we will have a great marriage and the physical aspect will be dynamite.
Let’s look again at I Corinthians 7. Move down to verse 5, a very straightforward verse. The Bible says, “Stop depriving one another”. We should not use sex as a weapon or a reward. “Well, you were good today, so….” Stop depriving one another, except and here is the only excuse, “…except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer. ” You can’t say “I have a headache anymore”. Maybe, “I’m in prayer”, but not “I have a headache”. “Stop depriving one another except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self control”. Husbands, wives, if you do not create a magnet at home, Satan will have many magnets outside the home.
How about the issue of refusal, because it’s something that all of us deal with. We have many singles here. I hate to shock you but in the context of marriage spouses are not always in the mood for sexual intercourse. It doesn’t always come together like that, the man ready and the woman ready every night. It doesn’t work that way. What happens when a man initiates physical intimacy and a woman is not in the mood? In many marriages, all husbands hear or see is No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. When they have a steady diet of no, no, no, they begin to feel temptation toward some other people. Women, if you have your husband on a diet sexually, think about this. If you are on a food diet, what do you think about every time you pass by a McDonald’s or 7-Eleven? Food! I speak to wives sometimes who say, “All my husband thinks about is sex”. You could have him on a sexual diet and it’s been so long between times you’ve made love, that’s why he talks about it and initiates it so much. When you say no wives, and sometimes husbands say no but nine times out of ten it’s the wives, when you say no, say no with an appointment. It’s very important. If you miss everything I said today, you hear this, when you say no, say no with an appointment. “No, not tonight, but how about tomorrow morning or tomorrow night?” If it’s just no without an appointment, then you have damaged your husband’s self-esteem, and you, the Bible says, can cause him to stumble outside the marriage bed.
I also believe most couples make love at the wrong time of the day. In many marriages, both are working, come home, take care of their kids, go out to eat or cook a meal, help with the homework, go through all that. Then many men make the grave error of sitting in front of the giant television and watching TV, channel-surfing for about two hours and then saying, “Okay, honey, let’s go upstairs and have another night of ho-hum sex”. Get the TV out of the bedroom and present yourself at your best for your spouse. So, if you have a constant diet of no without an excuse or without an appointment, men or women, your marriage could be suffering. I would guarantee you there is sin in the marriage, specifically sexual sin, because your husband has rights over your body, and wives, you have rights over your husband’s body. It’s very, very important. There are so many temptations. We should so satisfy our mates sexually that we would be crazy to even contemplate or think about another party. Most psychologists say the underlying cause for divorce is the frequency issue. It sure is quiet. That’s the third ingredient. When you put these ingredients in the bowl and you begin to mix the recipe, I want you to take the bowl and put the bowl on an oven because once you’ve put it on an oven, which is the foundation of the Bible and Jesus Christ, He will turn the heat up and the physical dimension of your relationship will sizzle! It will sizzle! God wants it to sizzle. If it’s not sizzling, you put it in His hands. The control is with Him and you will see how to use this gift and how to give glory to God in every part of your body.