January 8, 2012
Every day, we are bombarded with images and innuendos about what sex is, what it means and what it is all about. We continually hear the world’s opinion. But truth is often far different than opinion.
In this message, Ed and Lisa Young layout some ground rules for the sexperiment. And they reveal some tantalizing truths about this powerful gift of sex that God has given to us.
Ed: Well, today, Lisa, we embark on a series that we have been planning for a long, long time, a series we have never done before, and it’s called The Sexperiment. We’re gonna talk about some things, some issues about life that we have never, ever discussed before. I think it’s important before we begin this series to talk about some bedroom rules, some ground rules. Because a lot of people think, I’m sure, OK, this is for married folk. You know, this is for those people who have been married for a year or maybe 40 years, it’s the Sexperiment, I mean it’s gotta be the deal. Is it?
Lisa: No. Actually we’ve talked about sex before on this stage many times, but we’ve always had the understanding (and we’re going to continue to have the understanding) that this is about what we do prior to saying “I do” and what we do after we say “I do.”
Ed: So what you’re saying is the way we behave, the way think before the marriage altar alters and affects our marriage after the marriage altar.
Lisa: Yes. So whether you’re single, whether you are not dating anyone right now but you kind of have your sensors out looking for someone, or whether you’re in a relationship, whether you’ve been married for just a short time or a long time, what we want to do is unpack, as a church family, what God has to say about intimacy, about relationships, and about sex.
Ed: How about the kids? Because whenever you talk about a subject this sensitive, when you undress this subject (pun intended), how about the kids? I mean, should the kids attend? Tell me about that.
Lisa: Well, we have age-appropriate teaching, obviously, for students and for children. But, believe it or not, from the time your child is in the third grade, about eight years of age, they have been bombarded with every type of cue and innuendo about sex, about their sexuality. So we believe and we know strongly that the #1 place to talk about sex is in the home. It’s within the family unit. The second best way is in the church.
Ed: Say that again. I love that! The #1 place is in the…
Lisa: Home. The family unit. To discuss sex, to talk about it. And we’re even going to have a session dedicated to telling how to tell your kids about sex. I mean, that’s one of those..
Ed: I wanna hear that. How about you guys?
Lisa: So it’s important. And I believe that there is no better place, other than the home, the second-best place would be the church. So don’t be shy to bring your kids. You may choose to have them in children’s church but I believe that they will gain much from this series about relationships. Because we want to raise up a generation who knows the Lord and knows what he has to say about this gift.
Ed: That’s right.
Lisa: See, this is a gift. Sex is not something that was, that is a culture thing. It’s not something from Hollywood, it’s about the gift that God gave us.
Ed: Some people are saying, “I thought Hugh Heffner invented sex.” Well, granted, Hugh is about as old as God but he did NOT invent sex. I hope you know that.
Lisa: No. So it’s gonna be exciting and we just encourage you to be committed to being a part of these talks. Because I believe that the family unit itself (and I know it is, I don’t just believe it, I know it), the family unit is under attack. And the best way that we can have a healthy family is to have healthy relationships within the marriage. That begins in the dating stage and it continues on in the marriage. We want to just, like, rock the world, create a sexual revolution, if you will, for the culture to get their cues maybe from the church instead of the church being silent and getting their culture from somewhere else.
Ed: Because the sexual revolution was in the 60’s and it doesn’t take someone with a relational PhD to realize that the sexual revolution has ended in a lot of serious pollution. So, God has a sexual revolution for us. And a revolution simply means a change for the better, and that’s what’s gonna take place. Now, I know also, because we’ve been praying like crazy, many of us, for this series. I know many of you have relationships, marriages that are hanging from a thread. And I truly believe over the next month or so, as we undress this subject, I will say it again, this can change the future, alter the future of your relationships, of your marriage, of your family. So it’s not gonna be easy for you to attend this series. Let me tell you why. Because the enemy, who has hijacked sex, is not gonna sit back and let you open yourself up to this material. So commit to it, be here, invite someone here, and I’m telling you God will take you places you never dreamed possible. Because remember, the first statement ever uttered about you and me, Lisa, was a sexual statement. “It’s a boy!” “It’s a girl!” So, sex is not something we do, it’s something we are. And that brings us, Lisa, to thinking about sex. We all think about sex. Everybody thinks about sex. Hey kids, your mom thinks about sex. Your dad thinks about sex! I know it’s gross but it’s true. Your grandfather and grandmother, they think about sex. Your uncles and aunts, they think about sex…
Lisa: Stop, stop, stop, stop.
Ed: Yeah. I’m sorry. I got carried away. But, Lisa, it’s not the fact that we don’t think about sex. As you’ve said before we don’t think deeply enough about it. We have kind of a decaffeinated view of sex because we get the cues from our culture instead of, OK, let’s see what God’s sex manual says about sex.
Lisa: Wow. Did you see that? God’s sex manual. It’s scripture!
Ed: It’s a true sex manual.
Lisa: But God created sex and so often we just bring it down and decaffeinate it to something that’s just physical. And sex is way more than a physical act. God created sex to be multifaceted. It has to do with the physical, obviously, but it’s also an emotional thing. It’s a relational thing, and it’s a spiritual thing. Wow, did you just hear that? It’s a spiritual thing. So we are not thinking deeply enough about sex. We talk about behavioral modification, but before you can have behavioral modification you have to have a mental modification. And so our goal for this session today is that you would have a change of mind, a change of thought process, perhaps, about the depth and breadth and size of sex. It’s a big deal in God’s economy and so he wants us to understand the multifaceted version, if you will, of sex. So when you walk into this place, whatever your preconceived notions, wherever you are in any of our environments, whatever your preconceived notions were about sex, we want to just kind of say, “Wait a minute. Let’s put that at the door and let our minds be renewed.” As Romans 12:2 says, it says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world…”
Ed: You know what that means? Let me stop you for a second. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. In the literal translation, if we could read the literal language, the Koine Greek, it’s “don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.” And that’s what, if we just sit idly by, the world, the culture, can squeeze us into its sexual mold.
Lisa: Thinking about sex only the way the world thinks of sex.
Ed: We have little sex as opposed to big sex.
Ed: Because remember, God wants us to have big sex, not little sex.
Lisa: OK. “… do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” So in order for us to understand God’s will for our relationships, God’s will for our dating, God’s will for our marriage, we have to understand that there has to be a transformation of our minds so that we can think like God thinks, so we can have his mindset. When it concerns anything in life, but especially when it concerns sex.
Ed: So it’s between the ears before it’s between the legs. It’s mental before it’s genital. It’s north before it’s south. It’s vertical before it’s horizontal. You understand? I thought you did.
Lisa: Yeah. And vertical before it’s horizontal, in all seriousness, it’s about having a right relationship with God. That vertical relationship, when that is right, then the horizontal relationships will be what they need to b.i.d.
Ed: I remember watching the dive team at Florida State when we went there back in the day. And the divers would tell you, where the head goes, the body will follow. A gymnast will tell you the same thing. It’s so true when it comes to this subject. When we think right, the way we think determines the way we feel. The way we feel determines the way we act. When we think right, think God’s thoughts, that’s when we will understand this beautiful, beautiful gift.
Lisa: I remember when our family got its first color television. Now for those of you who are younger, what you watch on TV land that’s black and white, the re-runs, that was normal for me as a kid. We watched that all the time. And I remember when my dad purchased that first color television set. And it was on a Friday afternoon. And the reason it was on a Friday was so that Saturday football games could be in what we called ‘living color.’ And it’s so funny to think about the difference between how excited we were then to watch that color TV set and perhaps how much better quality it is now, but I remember that our neighbors even came down because we were the first people on the street to have a color television set. And they came down and watched it and you could see the color of the uniforms and the greens and all of that. And we were like, “Wow, this is incredible! We’ve gone from black and white to color!” And we were so enamored with it. But then everybody kind of got a color television and it became commonplace. And we lost the awe and the wonder. Nowadays we turn the television on and it’s just a natural thing to see everything in living color. Perhaps we’ve allowed sex to be that way in our lives. We’ve gotten to accustomed to it. It’s become just a numbing thing and we don’t see the real value and the beauty behind how it happens and how God created it to be beautiful and a living thing within our lives.
Ed: Some people, Lisa, when they hear us talk about sex or see a bed in church, they have a weird thought. They kind of freak. How can you connect God with sex and the church with sex? And as I’ve said so often, we’ve kicked the bed out of church and God out of the bed. Let’s bring the bed back in church and God back in the bed. Why, though, are we so weird when it comes to talking about sex in church? Well a brief history lesson would serve us well. You remember Plato? Plato said the soul is great, the body is evil. One of the church fathers, Augustine, brought some sexual baggage into his writings. He was influenced heavily by Plato. This began to be pressed on the church. Then you have Martin Luther, who had his own sexual baggage, and began to do some writing that would not line up with Scripture but about his own theology, his own belief regarding sex. Thus it has been perpetuated and the church has become strangely silent. Quiet. And we’ve allowed the world and the culture to be the sexperts that we (those of us who are saved) should be the sexperts, because sex began in Heaven and God wants us to practice it the way he wants it practiced, which is in this beautiful covenant called marriage. And marriage is the only human relationship that is a mirror of God’s relationship with his people. That’s how huge marriage is! So, sex is the superglue of marriage.
Lisa: How exciting would it be if we could, as a church, if we could, as married couples, those of us who are married, have such a relationship with our spouse that people that we meet are just wowed by it. And they go, “Wow, that’s incredible! You’re relationship!” Then they would come to find out that this is a picture of God’s relationship with his people. So if you want to be a light in this world we need to be having the best marriages out there. We need to have marriages that are attractive to other people, that they go, ‘I want what they have,’ and that’s the supernatural touch that God puts on our lives through our marriages.
Ed: That’s great. When it comes to this opening session, I want to talk about several tantalizing truths. The word tantalizing is very appropriate since we’re talking about sex and God thought it up, it was his idea. The first tantalizing truth is this. Get ready. Sex is supernatural. Say supernatural with me. Supernatural. Wow. Some of us are processing that. Lisa, sex is supernatural?
Lisa: When you think about the word supernatural it indicates something of God, something out of this world, that God is a part of it. So what has happened is we have this connectivity between God and sex. And it freaks people out. Ed and I were doing an interview just this morning before the first service here and the interview with the media. And this person, the interviewer, got literally choked up at the end of the session…
Ed: It was hilarious.
Lisa: And he goes.. <cough, cough>… I just think to say God and sex at the same time is a little tough. And you know what, he was being an illustration of what the world does because people cannot connect God and sex. We don’t see the depth of it and therefore we have removed God out of it. But sex is supernatural because of the oneness.
Ed: Yes, God gave us sex before sin ever entered the human equation, and we’ll talk about that in a second. But let me play off of what Lisa just said. Oneness. Oneness. The Bible says in Genesis 2:24 that two shall become one.
Lisa: For this cause a man will leave his father and mother…
Ed: That’s right.
Lisa: … and be united to his wife. The man and the woman unite in marriage and become one.
Ed: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the trinity. Three in one. There is oneness there. When a couple engages in sexual intercourse in marriage you have the male character qualities of God and the female character qualities of God coming together as one. Sex is not just sex, it’s just-sex.
Lisa: We have to have a mental modification to grab hold of this. So sex is supernatural. It’s also for our enjoyment.
Ed: Say enjoyment.
Ed: Oh, you’re kind of frowning… smile!
Lisa: I know! Smile! Because it’s enjoyment! Don’t be bashful about it! It’s for our enjoyment. Sex was created for our enjoyment. Now this is another one that people kind of have a question about.
Ed: Yeah, when this book was written we have done some various interviews and things with people, and this one lady from CNN asked Lisa this question. She goes, “Well, obviously sex is for procreation. That’s what the Scripture says.” Let me stop. That’s incorrect. I know it’s hard to believe that a reporter got their facts wrong but that is incorrect. Sex is primarily for…
Ed: … recreation!
Lisa: If it was only for procreation we would not enjoy it.
Ed: And we’re talking about God’s definition of it, not ours. It’s recreation!
Lisa: Its recreation! If it were only for procreation then we would not enjoy sex after we have children. I mean really? I mean, Ed and I have four children. The party didn’t stop.
Ed: That’s right! It’s just beginning, baby! That’s right!
Lisa: Our children are on the front row here about to have a heart attack! That’s good, though. It’s true!
Ed: Seriously, a lot of people think that. She didn’t’ know. She did not know.
Lisa: She was very well-meaning and really basing it on just naiveté.
Ed: Exactly. But it is, it is for our enjoyment, and it’s also for procreation. But the Bible talks a lot about the enjoyment of sex to satisfy one another. It talks about the beauty of marital love in the bed.
Lisa: And the very difficult thing is when you dread sex with your spouse. And I think I can speak to a lot of women, perhaps, who don’t have a healthy view of sex. Maybe you brought baggage into the relationship, perhaps you grew up hearing, “Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it.” And that’s set into your mind so that you think that sex is some type of an ugly thing…. Not the beautiful gift that God intended it to be. But this is so important. We cannot dread something that God said, “Enjoy, enjoy!” And what does it say to your spouse if you dread that intimate time with them? It devalues them, it just says, “You’re not important to me.” And God wants us to enjoy it. If we do enjoy it, again, that’s gonna be evident in every area, not just the physical. It flows and goes into every aspect of our relationship.
Ed: Some people, though, the last thing they need to do is actually participate in the Sexperiment. You desperately need this material, you need to read the book but here’s what you need to do. You need to have the guts, because of its content, to seek some help, to seek some wise counsel. The Bible says in the book of Proverbs that there is a genius in a multiplicity of counselors. This has caused a lot of people, Lisa, who have already read this book and experienced some of the things we talk about in the book, to walk into a counselors office lo-o-o-onnng after everyone else has taken this Sexperiment. They didn’t do it and as they unpacked some of these issues, then it’s like, OK, wow. This is awesome.
Lisa: There is a lot of hurt and pain that people are processing.
Lisa: And that’s why The Sexperiment book is not about just seven days of sex. It’s about all the things that need to be understood in order to participate in the actual seven days of intimacy. There’s a time of healing and a time of dialog, which helps us to process our relationship so that we can be intimate.
Ed: In Genesis 2:2, “The man and his wife were both naked (or where I come from it’s nekkid)… naked and they felt no shame.” There is no shame in God’s game. No shame. So it’s for our enjoyment. Also, too, Lisa, this next tantalizing truth: Sex is not x-rated, it’s God-created. Say God-created.
Lisa: God-created. Yeah, the only time that sex becomes x-rated is when we allow the evil one, Satan himself, to hijack it out of God’s plan and put it into his plan and he’s been very successful at that. But we can’t allow that to happen. We have to keep it God-created. God created it for the context of marriage. He created it for us to be fruitful, to multiply, to enjoy it, but he also says it’s not x-rated. It’s a beautiful gift that I have given to you. Again, the only way it’s x-rated is if we allow culture to dictate it. But don’t sit back and think that you can take all these cues from all the different places, whether it’s Hollywood, television, the media, you know, whatever it is, magazines, and you can feed that into your mind. And all of a sudden, you may be well-meaning in the beginning, but you’re transformed in your mind by all the things that you’re putting yourself in front of.
Ed: You’re being squeezed into that mold.
Lisa: You’re being squeezed into that mold and all of a sudden your sexual view does become x-rated. So we have to think in terms of what God says about it and the beauty that it is, and all of that.
Ed: It’s the issue of content and context. The content: sex. God says use the content (sex) in my context (the marriage bed). The result: You’ll achieve your destiny. Conversely, we have the opportunity because we have freedom of choice, given to us by God, we can take the content and use it out of context. The result ultimately will be chaos. Sometimes people think, well, if a married couple looks a certain way or if they have a certain amount of money or if they can travel here or there or whatever, they must have great sex. That’s not true. Don’t believe that. I remember the time that we talked to this porn star, a very famous young lady. It was one of the saddest days in our lives. The emptiness, the pain, the brokenness. A beautiful young woman at the zenith of her life, Lisa, a hollow, devastated, messed up. She has had sex with who knows how many people who look a certain way, whatever. She was absolutely, and is absolutely, miserable. And when we shared with her a little bit about God’s view of sex, she broke down and started crying. This is the porn star!
Lisa: It’s not x-rated. And we have to come to terms with the fact that we have to have spiritual compatibility in our relationships in order for there to be a great physical compatibility. I hear some many people say, “Well, you know, in today’s world everybody is doing it. Everybody is doing it! Come on, Ed and Lisa, you must live under a rock!” Well, no. I wanted to challenge you couples, because I know we probably have some people hearing my voice, and maybe you’re single and you’re living with someone and you’re thinking, “Well, we need to test the waters because we don’t want to be stuck in a relationship where we’re not physically compatible. We want great sex in our relationship.” I want to challenge you. You concern yourselves about the spiritual compatibility and God will take care of the physical compatibility.
Ed: That’s right.
Lisa: He will do it! I’m really, really, frustrated. I get very, very frustrated when I hear that because what you’re saying, in essence, is that God can’t handle that. He can’t handle it.
Ed: “I know better than God. I’m the sexpert.”
Lisa: Ed and I have been married for 30 years. We dated for six years. We remained pure during our six years of dating. And I tell you that to say it was not easy because we are just normal people like everybody else. We struggled with that and had to set boundaries and really pay attention to our relationship as we were dating to protect ourselves.
Ed: You had to set boundaries, not me.
Lisa: Yeah, right. But I can tell you that we did not test the waters of sex before marriage and God took care of it, OK? He took care of it.
Ed: That’s right.
Lisa: And great sex is not about testing the waters prior to marriage. It’s about trusting God and he will take care of it.
Ed: Exactly, Lisa. Now that’s a word. So many people here, we have so many singles who are watching this, who are engaged here and at other environments. And they’re going, “OK, my virginity is in the past tense. Is there hope for me still? I mean, have I committed this unpardonable sin?”
Lisa: The beautiful thing about Christianity is that it’s all about reconciliation. When you give your heart to Jesus Christ he power-washes your life and forgives you. And he takes on anything from your past that you’ve done, he takes it upon himself so that when we are standing before God, and God looks at our hearts, he sees Jesus. Not our sin, not our shame.
Ed: That’s great.
Lisa: So if you make that decision today and ask for his forgiveness. Maybe you’re a follower of Christ and you’ve gone down the wrong path and made some wrong choices, you can ask for that forgiveness today. And your virginity will be restored spiritually. And although you may still suffer consequences from your past experiences, God has forgiven you and you can move forward from this day and do it God’s way.
Ed: And if you are a virgin and you’re thinking about sleeping in the bed before marriage, we would tell you categorically from Scripture and just from our counsel and our talks to so many singles, don’t do it! Because again, God forgives, but he does not remove the consequences. It’s ideal, it’s his best to give that gift to your spouse when you’re married.
Lisa: And The Sexperiment book has been something that came out of a couple of years back when we challenged the church to do this, it’s overwhelming that many people took this sexperiment several years ago and what God did. Again, it’s not about seven days of sex or a contest. “Hey we made it.!” “We didn’t make it…”
Ed: Yeah! “We got six out of seven days, man! How about you guys?”
Lisa: No, the point is everything that connects with those seven days of intimacy. So we’re not starting the sexperiment today. We’re just getting prepared for what God wants to do in relationships. But we know that God will take some of us who are in healthy places and it’s gonna be a great experience. Others he’s going to challenge to get some dialog going and deal with some very hard issues in the relationship so that he can show and reveal himself to us. But this is a letter we received and I think it’s important to share. Because God can do some amazing things.
Ed: And in the book, Lisa, one of the cool things about it is there are several letters from people at different stages and ages of life. It’s been interesting to see what they processed with the sexperiment.
Lisa: Here’s a letter from a woman: “Wow, what an impact the sexperiment has made in our lives. My marriage has been festering with pain and anguish over past betrayal. Deep wounds from scathing words spoken and a general sense of brokenness. I decided to participate in the sexperiment and I’m so thankful I did. I prayed for healing from our marriage for years but it wasn’t until I made the decision to do this out of service and love for my husband and God, that I have begun to feel some restoration in our relationship.” And I believe that story can be repeated over and over and over. We continually, as couples, get bombarded with our schedules, with responsibilities, with work, and all these different things. And sometimes we just forget the luster and the beauty and the gift that God has given us in sex. And it gets put on the back burner. We lose the priority of it. So we want to bring that back to be reminded of what God has given us and the restoration can take place in all of our lives.
Ed: When you look at Jesus, Jesus was the master teacher, the greatest communicator ever. He always used visuals and word-pictures to make a statement. He said, “See this child here? You need to have faith like a child.” “See this sower? Here’s some seed.” That’s the different responses that people have to the seed, the Word of God. He was always talking about that, always using things like that. That’s why we teach the way we do at Fellowship Church. We’re taking a page out of Christ’s playbook. We’re taking this bed and this whole bedroom suite, Friday, and we’re putting it on the roof of Fellowship Church. Lisa and I are having a bed-in! No hanky-panky, no, no, no. We’ll have our clothes on for 24 hours.
Lisa: The Sexperiment hasn’t started yet.
Ed: We’re going on the top of Fellowship Church. It will be on the worldwide web for 24 hours. We’ll Skype with different couples, some famous people, some not so famous. We will have some cool bedside interviews, and the best stuff. It’ll be a ginormous date night for the couples at Fellowship Church. You show up at 7:00 p.m. We’ll have been in the bed for a long time. You show up at 7:00 p.m., pay $25, we’ll keep your kids for hours. We give you an autographed book, plus we take care of your kids. You go out and have a wonderful date night. And together we’re gonna make a statement, I believe, to the nation and the world about this sexual revolution that starts with God and it segues in your life and mine. So I know John and Yoko did that back in the day. John Lennon? Some of you have never heard of him. Well, you might want to Google…
Lisa: John Lennon.. a Beatles?
Ed: … and Yoko. Well they did the bed-in because of world peace.
Lisa: Wanting to bring world peace. But we believe that if you have marital peace you’ll begin world peace.
Ed: That’s the truth!
Lisa: So we’re gonna do our own bed-in for marital peace. So when you go on your date night, when you come back (because you do have to come back and pick up your children… I hope you know that)…
Ed: Yeah, you’re not gonna leave ‘em with us for a couple of days. No, no, no. There’s a time limit.
Lisa: So you come back and pick your children up and we’ll wave from the top of the roof like, “Hi!”
Ed: It’ll be cool. And thank you guys for being here in this first session and we’re gonna continue to worship. But remember, invite someone to this series. I’m telling you this content and this whole thing is gonna be unbelievable. I just know, in my heart of hearts, that great things are gonna happen. So be open, pray about it no matter what stage or what age you find yourself, and God will take you places you never dreamed possible.
[Ed leads closing prayer.]