RPMs: RECOGNIZING POTENTIAL MATES
June 05-06, 2004
[Ed drives onto the stage in a 2004 Ferrari Spider 355 convertible sports car to illustrate the point that our sexuality is a gift made to fly down God’s highway—not go off road.]
SPEED LIMIT SIGNS
What if I gave you the keys to this beautiful Ferrari, and as you were tooling along the freeway—just cruising, I mean you were flying in this thing—all of sudden you noticed that there were like 5 speed limit signs in rapid fire succession? If they all said, “Speed Limit 65, Speed Limit 65, Speed Limit 65, Speed Limit 65, Speed Limit 65,” you’d understand what the speed limit was. Now, if you’re like most people, you must say to yourself, “Those speed limit signs are not really there for me. I mean, who cares about a speed limit sign? A speed limit sign only matters if you get caught.”
Well, you really don’t think about the fact that people put the speed limit signs there for a reason. You don’t think about the fact that people have studied the roads and studied the terrain and they know the safety. They know the minimum and maximum speed limits that everyone should travel down this particular piece of real estate known as a highway. Well, our God is the same way. When it comes to today’s subject matter, sex, God has placed a big, monster speed limit sign right in the middle of our relational road. And He’s told those of us who are unmarried to abstain until we get hooked up in marriage.
Now, when most people hear that, when most singles hear that, what do you think their typical response is? Do you think it’s something like, “God, that is so cool! He’s so awesome, he’s so strategic, he’s so beautiful, and he’s so caring. I love God because he’s told me five times directly and twenty three times indirectly to abstain from sex until marriage. Yeah, God!”
Do you think that’s the typical response? No, it’s not! Singles don’t like it; they don’t dig it. They do the push back thing and say, “God, why in the world are you raining on my sexual parade? God, why have you given the marriage folk a blank check, but with me you’re saying, ‘Speed limit, speed limit, speed limit, speed limit, speed limit sign?’”
Well, we have to understand something, God is not being capricious or cruel. God is being loving, and He’s being strategic. Our lives, and specifically our sexuality, are like Ferraris. They really are. If I handed you the keys to this car—when this car was brand new it cost $205,000—if I handed you the keys to this machine, what would you do? You would take care of the car. You would make sure that everything was A-OK with this vehicle.
Like I told you a couple weeks ago, a friend of mine who owns a brand new Ferrari dropped it by the church and let me drive it around for four or five days. And he told me this, “Don’t worry about wrecking it. It’s insured. Hear what I’m saying.” Well, what do you think I thought? Of course I was more careful with that car! I parked it away from all the other cars, and I was careful about anyone giving the car door dings. I was especially careful when I drove into my driveway, with these giant dogs [Ed owns two Bull Mastiffs] looking down into the car, drool dribbling around the car. I said, “No, Brut, Apollo! Get back!” I just had these nightmares of them jumping on the car and scratching the car. I was worried about the car.
When I was going over bumpy roads or railroad tracks, I was very, very careful. I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of taking a Ferrari off road! A Ferrari is made, my friend’s car, this car is made to cruise. And in reality, it’s probably made for the Audubon. It’s a car that should go fast. It’s sleek, it’s for the road, it’s for the highway, it’s for a racetrack.
DUMB, DEFECTIVE DATERS GO OFF-ROAD
But here’s what we do. We take our Ferraris, our lives, we take our sexuality, and we do something that’s dumb. Once again, I’ve got to talk about dumb decisions that defective daters make. The dumb decision that defective daters make with the Ferrari, with their sexuality is, they take it off road. Are you ready for that? They take it off road.
If you had a Ferrari, you would take care of it. You would put good fuel into it and you would baby the car. Yet, every time we take our Ferrari off road, every time we have sex outside of marriage, we’re messing our lives up because a Ferrari is not wired to go off road.
What happens when we go off road? Maybe we’re dating someone, and instead of building real community in the dating relationship, instead of understanding what each other is all about, instead of working through conflict resolution, instead of thinking about character issues and all these other points, we put a ramp on God’s freeway and we jump over God’s freeway. We jump over God’s guard rails, and we prefer the thrills and chills of sex outside of marriage to the real work it takes in the dating relationship. In other words, we’re using a God-given gift in a God-forbidden way. And the more we’re involved in premarital sex, the deeper it gets, the more messy it gets. We get stuck, we rev the engine and mud is slinging everywhere and the mud covers the windshield. Then we can’t see anymore.
That’s precisely why some people hook up with the wrong person. It’s the power of sex. Sex is not just a one dimensional thing. It’s not just the physical thing. If it was just a physical thing, you could have sex with someone and…no big deal. But sex is physical, it’s emotional, it’s spiritual, it’s psychological. It’s multifaceted and multidimensional. And the more we’re involved in it, the deeper we sink, the more we hydroplane, and the more we miss the greatness that God has for us.
A while back I was following Lisa on a busy freeway, in fact we were leaving Houston traveling on I-45 North in stop and go traffic, and for a while we could go pretty fast. So I was following her, and suddenly she stopped and smashed the car in front of her! I slammed on the brakes and smashed her! And then another car smashed me! We were in a pile up, a chain reaction accident, and it was not pretty. It was an ugly thing, especially when you rear-end your wife’s brand new car!
Well, every time someone practices sex outside of marriage, they are starting a chain reaction. Check this out. The first one is sexual intercourse. The second one is the guilt that comes with it that sticks to us like Velcro. Then the self-deception comes. You say to yourself, “You know, everything is okay. Everyone else is doing it. No problem.” Then we have desertion, and we feel separation and alienation from God, from His church. And we begin to float and move away from God’s freeway. Then we miss the majesty of our lives. We miss the true meaning of dating.
Sex is a God-given thing that should be used within His guidelines and guard rails. It should be used along his freeway. If it is, great things will occur. If it’s not, you’ve got some problems. And speaking of problems in sexuality, here’s what the psalmist said in Psalm 66:18, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”
That’s a scary verse. If we deal with sexual sin, if we have sexual sin prevalent in our lives, if we go off road and take this Ferrari and go places we shouldn’t go, what’s going to happen? There is going to be a road block between ourselves and God. And we can try all of these formulas and all of these situations to get rid of the roadblock, but the bottom line is the roadblock is there.
Sex is intended for the marriage bed. It’s intended for a lifelong commitment before God. He thought it up, it was His idea. And the reason He wants us to do it His way is because we will be blessed in an amazing way. We will have a guiltless life, and we’ll have the freedom to be the kind of people that God enjoys us to be.
I think about a kite when I think about sex. Today is kind of windy day. What if I took a kite without any restraint and just let it go in the parking lot? You know what would happen? The kite would crash. Some of the time? No. All of the time. For the kite to really soar, I need to take a string and I need to put a constraint to it. Then, when I have the string to the kite, what will happen? The kite will soar! The kite will cruise.
And the same is true with your sexuality and mine. As I put this restraint, the string on it, the rope of God’s word around it, it’s going to soar when I do it God’s way. When I say, “Well, I’m going to cut the strings. I’m going to cut what the Bible says about it off,” I’m going to crash and burn! And life is too short to live in the deep weeds. Life is too short to go and to do this off road thing.
[Ed next uses a piece of duct tape to illustrate the bond of sex.]
Sex is kind of like this piece of duct tape, this is nice florescent green duct tape. Now, if I took this duct tape—let’s see if I can tear it—and I just kind of tore a piece off, you know, it is really sticky right now. Right now, this duct tape is at it’s height, it’s top potential. So whatever I stick it on right now is going to have the best stick and it is going to bond to that—like this carpet. Now that is some serious duct tape stuck to some serious carpet! Well if I take the duct tape off of the carpet and put it on another surface, maybe like these steps, it’s not quite as sticky. And if I keep on doing it over and over, look—it’s lost it’s stickiness. It’s lost what it used to have.
The same is true in the sexual realm. We lose the true meaning and the power and the octane of what God wants with our lives because we’re going off road. Sex is multifaceted and multi-dimensional.
[Next, Ed uses a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to demonstrate the effects of sex.]
Recently, and I don’t know why, I’ve been really into peanut butter. I really don’t know why. And a couple nights a week I eat some peanut butter. I also like peanut butter and jelly, but I really love peanut butter. This is the stuff of champion’s right here. I’m going to make a quick peanut butter sandwich. I’m not going to eat it, but I want to make it for you to show you something about sex. Okay, I put the peanut butter on the bread. [Ed drops the bread] Oh, gross. Do you like end pieces? My wife does. Anyway, peanut butter is kind of messy, but it’s a nice sandwich. There, peanut butter. Then you put the jelly on it. Mmm, that’s good. Now, we’ll put the other piece of whole wheat bread to complete the sandwich.
Now, that right there is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It is good. I wouldn’t eat it right now because it has some carpet fragments in it, but you see what I’m saying to you. Okay, if I take the peanut butter sandwich and pull it apart, what’s going to happen? Look, some of the peanut butter is on this piece of bread, some of the jelly is on this other piece of bread. And if I keep doing it over and over…look at the mess!
Well, that’s what happens when we involve ourselves in premarital sex. Time and time again, over and over and over we have this emotional bond, this spiritual bond, this physical bond, the psychological bond and all this stuff is happening. Have you ever wondered why it’s like a weapon of mass destruction going off when people break up? Do you know why that occurs? It occurs because of the power of sex. It doesn’t occur because people are dating God’s way. It occurs because people are not doing it God’s way. And that is a scary, scary thought to consider.
So when you think about your life, single adults, when you think about your life, students, and when you think about your life, parents—as you train your kids today—make sure you don’t go off road. Make sure that you do it God’s way. Sometimes when we think about going off road we don’t really understand the full implications of what it means. Now I’ve got some jelly on me!
Let me read some verses for you. Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 reads, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.” Wow! Learn to control. That’s why we’re doing this series, we need to learn to control God’s Ferrari.
Now, we understand when it comes to sex, there are basically three directives in the Bible. The first is adultery; the Bible says we’re not to have sex outside the marriage bed. We know that. The second is fornication; we’re not to have premarital sexual intercourse. Now the third area is something that I just read, “Sexual immorality.” What is sexual immorality? If you’re a thinking person, you’re saying, “Okay, I got it, I can do everything up to the act of sex. I can do everything up to sexual intercourse. That means I’ve got the green light, and I can do all this fun stuff, and as long as I stop before sexual intercourse, everything is A-OK, and I’m being the kind of person God wants.”
Well, hold that thought for a second because sexual immorality refers to three things. Let’s move to the gears of this Ferrari. Man, there are a number of gears in this Ferrari! Look at this here. You’ve got the 1st gear, 2nd gear, 3rd gear. Well, there are basically three gears when you think about sexual immorality. The first gear is the embracing gear. That’s embracing a person, that’s hugging a person, that’s kissing a person. The second gear is the caressing gear. That’s when you caress certain body parts with the clothes on. The third gear is the stimulation gear. And that’s when the clothes are removed and you stop just short of the act of sex.
You talk to pastors, you talk to theologians, you talk to Christian counselors, they will all tell you to stop at first gear. Because the moment you go second gear or third gear, you’re signing up for some guilt, you’re signing up for some stuff that will mess you up, you’re signing up for stuff that could ultimately and easily take you off road. And then you can miss God’s best for you. Don’t go off road. But dumb, defective daters go off road.
DUMB, DEFECTIVE DATERS TEST DRIVE
And here’s the second thing that dumb, defective daters do. Dumb, defective daters test drive. Dumb, defective daters test drive. You shouldn’t test drive; don’t test drive. When I say test drive, what am I talking about? I’m talking about this…
You walk into a car dealership and you go, “Oh man, this is a cool car! A Ferrari! $205,000?! I guess before I put down my money, I’ll test the car out. I’ll see if the car is okay. I’ll see if the car meets my needs.” And we carry this mentality into relationships. We say, “You know, instead of really committing to him or to her, I’ll just test drive. We’ll just play house. And then, if everything works out, we can get married and drive down God’s freeway. That’s what we’ll do! We’ll test drive.”
That’s dumb! It’s non-biblical and it’s wrong. But that, too, can mess your life up. Let’s see what the Scripture says about it. 1 Corinthians 6:18 it says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”
STD – STUPID THINKING DISORDER
You’ve heard of sexually transmitted diseases before. Well, a lot of us have another STD that’s more prevalent than gonorrhea, syphilis, or AIDS. It’s the Stupid Thinking Disorder. People who test drive are into the Stupid Thinking Disorder.
Check out these stats: over 70% of women who test drive have marriage on their minds! Over 70% of research reveals women who live with someone have marriage on their minds, and I believe the other 30% are in denial. But most women are trying to manipulate their man into marriage. They think, “well, if I could get him into my car and he could drive it for a while, he’ll be so smitten, so in love, that he will just walk down the wedding runner with me.”
Ladies, let me tell you why the guy is shacking up with you, why he’s playing house with you, why he’s doing the test drive thing with you. Are you ready? Free sex! That’s why he’s there.
“Oh Ed, not my man. No, no, no, not my man.” Hey, do this for me. Go home today with your little hottie, sit down at the kitchen table, look him in the eye and say, “Baby, I’m not going to have sex with you for the next two months.” Within days he’ll go, “bye, bye, bye!” He’s going to leave you, because for a guy, it’s the best of both worlds—free sex with no commitment. But when things get rocky or things start to hydroplane, he’ll be out of there. And after a guy’s lived with you for a year or two, he’s probably going to trade you in for a newer model. He’s tired of the door dings, he’s tired of the mileage, and he’s going to get out of there. It’s like my grandmother used to always say, “Why buy the cow if the milk is free?” Hello!
Those who test drive, here are some more stats, have an 80% higher divorce rate. Unplanned pregnancies cost our nation $100 billion in medical, welfare, and other costs. There are 1.2 million babies born to single mothers each. And 35,616 Americans contract STDs, that’s sexually transmitted diseases, every 24 hours. And to top that off, the Dallas Morning News reports that 56% of teenagers had sex for the first time inside of their parent’s home, while their parents were there!
My brother talks a lot to singles, and so often he counsels singles who are engaged. A lot of times he’ll ask them, “Are you guys living together? Are you guys playing house? Are you guys test driving?” If they say “Yes,” he says, “Well, why?” And they invariably say, “Well, it’s because of financial reasons, you know?” Then Ben always says, “So, financially you’ve got to live together so you can’t live in separate residences, right?” And then they go, “Right.” And then Ben says, “Well, I have an extra room in my house, why don’t you come and live with my wife and I and our two kids?” It’s amazing what happens after he says that. They are able to separate and have separate residences.
But you know, I know why people live together. It’s because so many of their parents have messed up. So many of their parents have fumbled the ball. So many of their parents have divorced, and they don’t want to go through that again. And that’s one of the main reasons why people play house and test drive and do this stuff. But I’m going to tell you, if you want to marry the wrong person, if you want to miss the best that God has for your life, if you want to miss this Ferrari that God wants you to drive, just go ahead and test drive. Just go ahead and do it. But before God, I would challenge you, single adults, not to go there. And parents, teach your children this. Don’t go there. Don’t go off road. Don’t test drive. Because humanly speaking, we’re talking about the most important relational dynamic known to man. God’s given us the keys. Let’s drive down his ultimate freeway as we discover how to soar and how to be the kind of people that God wants us to be with this incredible gift.
My son saw a knife in my closet one day, a knife that someone had given me a long time ago. It has a very long blade and a sharp blade, and I showed him how handle the knife. One day I came home from work and my son was in my closet, and he had his little hand around the blade of the knife, and he said, “Look daddy! Look at the blade of this knife!”
Now, I had a choice to make. I could take the knife from his hand and cut him up if he grabbed the knife blade tighter. Or I could wait for him to unclench the blade and hand it to me, his father. I said, “E.J., give it to me. E.J., let go of the knife. Don’t squeeze any tighter. Just give it to me.” And I watched him unclench his fist and give me the knife.
That’s what our Heavenly Father wants all of us to do with our sexuality. Because in his hands, it will soar. In our hands, it will not. So even if your virginity is past tense, even if you are playing house right now, even if you’re test driving right now, give your life, your sexuality, to God. Say, “God, I want to do it your way. I understand why you have the guidelines and guard rails, and I understand the speed limit sign, God. I know you made me in your image, I know you want the best for me, and I give it to you.”
Would you do that? Because so many of you right now are just one decision, one choice, one prayer away from really soaring and really discovering the kind of sexual speed that God has planned for you.