SEX – THE REAL DEAL
For Mature Audiences Only
October 7, 2007
Some of you can’t even believe you’re in church. I mean, if you were to listen to that song with no spiritual context, you might kind of think, whoa, that’s a rather explicit description of the passion between a man and a woman. But when you put it next to the Song of Songs, when you put it next to God’s holy word, you realize that that’s just a current vernacular that is echoing what God has said in the Bible. As a matter of fact, that song, with all due respect to John Mayer, that’s tame compared to what God has written Biblically about how husbands and wives are supposed to enjoy sex. Would somebody help this poor boy preach? I mean, that’s the word of God. That’s what he has called us to. And it’s important for us as we begin this stage of the conversation to just kind of review very quickly where we were in the first three installments. And if you look through the entire Song of Songs, you see the fact that God designed and desires sex to accomplish two very critical, very specific purposes. In the life of a man and a woman, God designed and desires sex to first of all unite them. That is what is ultimately going on.
Because sex is first of all theological. Remember? That when a man and a woman come together in the act of marriage, they are portraying, they are representing the character and the personality of God. So it’s first of all theological. Second of all, it is spiritual because you have man and woman representing the image of God, distinguishing themselves from the rest of God’s created order. Now, of course, the drive and the mechanics of sex transcend species. But it is only within humanity, between man and woman, that the desire and the meaning of sex reaches the depths and the levels that it does for us. That’s what separates us from the animals. The fact that we can have those desires and that sex has the meaning it has between a man and a woman makes us distinctly human. No other creation of God shares that with us. So sex in God’s economy is designed and he desires it to unite.
But second of all, God also designed it and desires it so excite us. There is uniting, but there is also to be exciting. And I think many times in the church we have been so afraid to talk about that, as if someone might, just might find out that sex could be fun. Or that maybe we would scare God, that we would show him what’s possible, as if he didn’t create us that way. I mean, it is not an accident that our nerve endings ended up where they ended up. He did it on purpose. Again, if you don’t even really believe in God but somebody dragged you here because they promised you lunch afterwards, you have to at least acknowledge the creative genius of God to draw us together.
Part of his creative genius is in this excitement factor. But it is the excitement factor that is built upon and fueled by the uniting factor. That uniting factor requires, as a matter of fact, it demands maturity. In order to really and truly unite with another person, you have to reach a certain level of maturity, both personally and relationally. Personally you have to be mature enough to understand who you are before you can appropriately give yourself to another person. And make no mistake about it. When a man and a woman engage in sex, they are giving their soul to another person. That’s what’s happening there. Yes, the physical is going on, but it is in that uniting that they are painting a picture of God, and it is that uniting that then feeds and fuels the exciting part of sex. That’s why it’s a myth to think man, how could you have sex with one person your whole life? Doesn’t that get boring? No. Because the sex is not just about the exciting part. The sex is also about the uniting, and the uniting feeds and fuels the exciting, and the exciting feeds and fuels the exciting. It works in concert together. That’s God’s genius.
But it is this level of maturity, it’s this maturity that sex requires if it’s going to be experienced in its fullest, fullest potential. That’s why the bride in the Song of Songs repeatedly issues this caveat. It’s this warning that comes to us in chapter 2, again in chapter 3, and then at the very end in chapter 8. Look at what she says here. She says about the maturity thing, daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. She’s saying here that this gift is so powerful, it is so significant that you and I are called by God to protect it in that covering, in that cocoon of covenant marriage. She’s saying so guard and protect it. Look out for it. But within that gift, man, celebrate good times, come on. That’s what she says in the original Hebrew. And it’s important that we understand the excitement factor. Because as you read the Song of Songs, you see husband and wife drawn to each other, both of them enjoying the other. And the first thing you learn will about it, if you read God’s word, is that exciting requires communication. Real excitement requires communication.
Communication is the primary channel of excitement between husband and wife. It begins by conversing and talking to one another. Look at what this husband and wife say to each other. She says let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. This verse is not agricultural. She’s inviting her husband to celebrate and enjoy her. Then the husband says how beautiful you are. My darling, there is no flaw in you. They’re talking to each other.
Now, Julie and I have been married for 15 years, and I know from firsthand experience that sex is the most difficult subject to bring up in a marriage. I mean, that’s just tough water to wade into and say honey, could we just talk about our sex life? Whoa, hey, hey, whoa. Everything’s good, right? I thought so. Pass the gravy, would you, please? It’s tough to bring up. But husbands and wives have to be able to talk about it. We have to be able to discuss it. What’s really interesting, if you read the Song of Songs, is that this couple is open and direct and very, very expressive in their language. But they are never vulgar with each other. They never step over that line where it gets into something that feels tawdry or cheapened. It’s always in beautiful, poetic language.
And I know a lot of guys, men are kind of like well, I don’t get into writing those kind of notes and all that kind of stuff. She knows I love her. No, she doesn’t. Tell her. Go to her. I thought I’d get a witness on that. Tell her. You are beautiful. You are my bride. Guys, she married you expecting, wanting to be your bride until one of you no longer breathes. Wives, your husband married you expecting, desiring to be sexually satisfied and fulfilled with you and you alone until one of you no longer breathes. Talk about it. Discuss it. Make sure the kids are asleep, but discuss it and communicate. And communicating leads directly into the second facet of truly exciting sex. Exciting requires anticipation. There’s communication, but there also has to be a level of anticipation.
I don’t know what it is about marriage, but when we get married, we quit anticipating. We quit flirting with each other. What you did to capture her heart, his heart, is the same thing that will keep his heart, her heart. Flirt with each other. Create that level of anticipation. Remember what it was like when you were dating? You’d turn onto the street of where she lived, her apartment or her parents’ house, and oh, butterflies start flapping in that six pack ab that you used to have, and you’d even be thinking, man — and then I remember, man, Julie and I dated in kind of unique circumstances because she was from Mississippi. She would come to Houston where I grew up. And the way we got to meet each other is her uncle is the pastor of the church where I grew up. So I had to go to the pastor’s house to date my wife. That was tough. Man, you talk about pressure. But I knew when I turned onto their street, Julie and I by the grace of God waited until we were married to share sex. But I knew on that date that she was going to kiss me goodnight. And this girl can kiss, okay? So when I picked her up, there was anticipation about what was going to happen at the end of the night. I knew there was going to be some sugar coming my way. There was one time when I kissed her goodnight, and I raised my head up from the kiss, and I looked, and there was a picture of the pastor right over her shoulder. But that level of anticipation, of communicating I want you, to say you know what? I’m looking out for you.
Wives, to say to your husbands I have one goal today. Do you really? What? Get the kids to school? Nope. One goal. One goal? What’s your goal? You. You watch him. Watch him bolt home on time, help cook the dinner, clean the dishes, clean the kids, put them to bed, feed the dog, bathe the dog, take out the trash, he’s yours. Because you’re creating that anticipation. Men, we need to be like Solomon was. Look at what he writes here. “He says until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Descend from the crest of Amana, from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon, from the lions dens and the mountain haunts of the leopards.” You know what he’s saying to his bride here? Your satisfaction, your sexual pleasure is my priority. I’m taking care of you, and that’s all that matters. If it takes all night, I’m there for you. That’s what he’s saying here. You think that is a woman who isn’t anticipating? Whoo! She’s all — I mean, come on. Exciting requires anticipation.
Also, you’ll see in the Song of Songs repeatedly that exciting requires variation. Exciting requires variation. It has to be developing. It has to be growing. And this is again the miracle and the mystery of God-given, God-ordained sexuality. Sex never gets old. It never becomes stale as long as it is the expression of the relationship and not the definition of the relationship. If your relationship is defined by your sexual relationship, then yeah, it will become stale, it will become old. But if the sex remains an expression of an always growing, always deepening, always expanding relationship, never gets old. You don’t get bored. It is always changing.
Look at what the bride writes. She says “awake north wind. And come south wind, blow on my garden that its fragrance may spread abroad. North winds and south winds blow differently. North winds bring the snows of winter, they bring gusty winds. South winds are gentle breezes that just kind of blow out of the tropics.” And husbands and wives need to be open to both types. But variation by definition has to be mutually agreed upon and mutually arrived at variation. You have to keep those channels of communication open so that it’s working in a God-honoring, spouse-respecting way. Exciting requires variation. Also, exciting requires visualization. The eyes are a critical component of the sexual excitement that God desires and designed husbands and wives to experience. The eyes. Where sex is concerned, the eyes have it. This is a woman who understood that.
Look at what she writes here. I love this. I’ve really encouraged Julie to kind of make this her life verse and to memorize it. But look at what she says here. His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite. She’s saying my baby’s got some guns. His body is like polished ivory decorated with sapphires. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars. Women, do you think this man feels loved? Believe me when I tell you, this is a woman who understands the opportunity presented by the male ego. And I hate to admit this, but the male ego is a real thing. We all want to consider ourselves strong and powerful, at least in character, if not in body. And this woman is visualizing her husband. She’s saying look at him. You have got it going on, boyfriend. I mean, she’s building him up. He’s doing the same for her. Remember what he said to her? Remember when he said your neck is like a tower, like the tower of David with soldiers’ shields on it. He’s talking about her necklace around her neck. You know what that represents? When David’s warriors were not engaged in battle and they were back in Jerusalem, his castle was marked by their shields being strung up on the walls of the castle. And when the citizens of Jerusalem saw those shields strung up on the walls of the castle, they knew that all was well within the kingdom. They knew that there was peace throughout the land. You think peace could help a sexual relationship? You think peace between husband and wife, where the battle shields are hung up and not being used could help? Again, God’s creative genius, the visualization of husband for wife, of wife for husband.
Now, this is very critical that we understand this is bringing in no extramarital aids, no other movies or books or any of that kind of nonsense that takes away from what God wants you to experience between the two of you. It is visualizing each other. It is taking care of yourself so that your spouse is attracted to you. It is managing and stewarding this gift that God has given to you.
Now, why would God make sex exciting? I think we have to ask that question. Let’s go beneath just skin deep thinking and reasoning. Why would God go to the lengths to which he went to make sex exciting? Well, to answer that question, I want to remind you of one of our foundational assumptions in this series. The foundational assumption is that the physical realities of sex echo the spiritual realities of life. Remember? The physical realities of sex echo the spiritual realities of life. And what we’re talking about when we talk about the excitement factor of sex is ultimately about freedom. It’s about the liberty of husband and wife to enjoy one another, to celebrate one another openly, without any shame or any hiding whatsoever. And that is exactly the business God has been in since humanity entered into sin.
When Adam and Eve were there in the Garden of Eden, created in the image of God, existing peacefully with one another, walking in the cool of the evening with God himself, the Bible says the man and his wife were both naked, and they knew no shame. There was nothing to be afraid of, nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to hide. But then when they fell, when they rebelled against God as I do, as you do, what does the Bible say they did? Their first move was to hide. They hid from God. They tried to shield themselves from this God who loved them enough to create them, to give them everything they would ever need. They hid from God.
If you’re a parent and your child is afraid of you, it breaks your heart to think that this being that you would give your life for would hide from you, would run from you when she heard your voice, when he heard your voice. And it broke God’s heart. Adam and Eve tried to hide their nakedness. The Bible says that they fashioned plant leaves, fig leaves together to try and cover their nakedness. Is that sad? I mean, a good, steady breeze blows, and that’s out the window. And so God helped them out. The shame that they generated, that they brought on themselves, God covered. The Bible says that God took the skins of animals. There was blood shed. And he fashioned together clothes for Adam and for Eve to cover their shame. And when he fashioned those clothes and he shed that blood, he was forecasting the complete covering of all shame and sin, the complete covering that would be delivered through his son Jesus.
Because when Jesus died on the cross and his blood was spilled, it covered the sin of the world so that none of us would ever have to hide from God again, so that nothing in your life, nothing in my life could generate that shame and that guilt that would force us to hide from God, to run when we heard his voice, to give us that freedom, that excitement, that euphoria of intimacy with him, of relationship with him. That’s the cross. That is what Jesus offers to every single one of us. Because God created you, as he created me, because he loves you, as he loves me. And he invites you into a shame-free existence. He has provided the vehicle for forgiveness. The conduit of his grace and his love and his forgiveness is Christ.
You don’t have to try and keep your pluses outweighing your minuses or to be a good guy more often than you’re a bad guy. It’s a receiving of a gift that you can’t earn, that I cannot earn. And it is the gift of Christ that covers all shame, that covers any guilt that you walked in these doors carrying this weekend. But you have to receive it. You have to respond to it. It’s not enough to just intellectually realize it. That kind of love, that kind of passion calls for a response. And if you’re here this weekend and you’ve never responded, why not right now?