September 17, 2006
I was four years old, and I asked my mother this question, “Where do babies come from?” And I asked so many questions as a kid—as I do today—that I finally wore her out.
She told me, when I was four, where babies come from. She said, “Ed, babies grow in their mommy’s tummy.”
I said, “Mom, did I grow in your tummy like that?”
She said, “Yes, honey.”
I said, “I don’t believe you.”
Now, after 24 years of marriage and four kids later, my mom was right! I believe her; she was speaking truth.
WE NEED A BIGGER VISION OF WHAT SEX IS
The sexual revolution that began in the 1960’s ushered in change, because the word “revolution” means change. But, the true definition is a change that ushers in something better. So here’s the question—are we better off four decades later? Are we better off after the sexual revolution? Could it be that we’ve been sold a bill of goods? Could it be that we’ve been lied to? Could it be that the revolution was really sort of an illusion that caused widespread pollution? I don’t know. It’s a good question to think about, though.
At Fellowship, we’re going to begin, during this series, a sexual revolution. We are going to bring about, obviously through the power and the grace of God, a sudden change, a change for the best. Because often, when we look at a bed, especially in church, it makes a lot of us nervous. Some of you are tense right now and you’ve already told the person seated next to you, “What’s up with this? They brought a bed in church? That is just freaky. I don’t like that!”
Well, herein lies the problem. For far too long, we’ve kicked the bed out of church and the church out of the bed. During this series, we’re going to bring the bed back to church and the church back in bed, because sex is worship. Sex is worship.
A few of you are looking at this bed and you’re picturing things in your mind about the bed. For some of you, this bed is a symbol of intimacy, a place where you and your spouse have sexual intercourse, where you make love. For others, it’s not a place of intimacy, it’s a place of rebellion. Maybe for some here, you’re looking at this and you’re saying, “This is a place of regret, Ed, because I’ve slept in the wrong bed with the wrong person.” Maybe you’ve been married to the same man for 20 years, and at night you have your back turned to him. You feel like there’s a wall between you and him and there are warm tears that roll across the bridge of your nose onto the pillow because of a problem due to intimacy and sex, or maybe, the lack of sex.
So, yes, it’s a powerful symbol. We say, “I slept with her.” We say, “I went to bed with him.” It’s a place of conflict or a place of comfort; a place that’s hot, or maybe a place that’s cold; a place where arguments occur. I don’t know. Maybe you’re single and you’re looking at the bed night after night wondering, “Will someone ever occupy the other side of the bed? Will I ever get married?” The bed.
THE CHURCH TAUGHT US NOT TO; CULTURE TAUGHT US HOW TO—REVOLUTION IS ABOUT WHEN TO, WHY TO, AND WHO TO
Let’s bring the bed back in church and put the church back in bed, because sex is all about worship. And when it comes to sex and our sexuality, the church basically has taught us not to. Our culture has taught us how to. This revolution, though, is about when to, why to, and who to.
The church has said, “You’re not really a sexual being. Just deny those desires. Just take some cold showers.”
How many of you grew up in a church where you heard teaching like this about sex? I doubt very many did. How many of you grew up in a family where sex was talked about lovingly and openly? I doubt very many of us. So, some here are in this camp—just deny and suppress your sexuality. Well, that’s whack.
Others here are in this camp—you just express it and go for it with whomever, whenever, and however. You’re mantra is, “I’m just going to do it! It’s all about the buzz and the high and the thrill and the chill. I’ll have sex with you, and I’ll have sex with two or three people, and I’ll get into homosexuality and all sorts of things.”
Sex is a God-given gift so often used in a God-forbidden way. But we’ve got to take this God-given gift and use it in a God-driven way, which is in marriage, a life commitment. Sex is a supernatural gift when it’s used in a commitment, a covenant between a man and a woman. During this series, we’re going to reconnect God with sex. Usually we don’t use sex and God in the same sentence, do we? And if we use it, it’s usually in the negative. This series is going to be positive, because we are going to connect the two. God’s not, because God’s already connected with sex. We, though, are going to reconnect God with sex. Several weeks from now when we leave this series saying, “Wow! This is unbelievable! I had no idea of the depth of this topic.”
We’re going to find out, too, that sex is something we are before it’s something that we do. Have you ever thought about that? All of us are sexual. If you’re a single adult, you’re sexual. If you’re a student, you’re sexual. If you’re a pastor, you’re sexual. If you’re into real estate, you’re sexual. Everyone’s sexual! We’re made that way intentionally, so it’s something we are before it’s something that we do.
Something else I want to do during this series is I want us to have bigger sex. That’s the goal. We have little sex in our world today. A lot of us have little sex, just little sex. It’s not big sex; it’s just little bitty sex. We think it’s big, but it’s not; it’s little.
But God is a big God. We have this redemptive story, the story of the beginning, the story of the turning, and the story of the rescue. We must see sex as something big, something gargantuan. We must see sex against the matrix, the grid of this redemptive story. But most of us don’t. Most of us have a small vision of sex. That’s why we say, “Well, it’s just sex. It’s just sex.”
What if you’ve slept in the wrong bed, and then you’ve gotten married? Now you have some kids and you’re starting to talk to them about sex, and they’re starting to fire questions your way like, “Mom, Dad, did you guys ever have sex outside of the marriage?” How do you answer questions like that? How do you talk to your kids about this topic?
How about singles and their sexuality? How about those here who are married? Do you have great sex? God wants you to. Why don’t you? We’re going to talk about some of those things openly and honestly, lovingly and candidly, because the church is the second best place in the universe to hear about sex. Where is the first place? The home.
We have this banner right now on the side of our building that says, “Sexual Revolution.” You would not believe all of the emails and calls we have received. Hundreds! And it’s hilarious because whenever you talk about sex, people have their opinions. There is pain involved. There’s a lot of stuff, deep stuff going on in people’s lives. And we’re going to unpack this, because many of us have sexual regrets. Some here have been abused. Others have a healthy view of this. But I’m telling you, the sexual revolution begins here at Fellowship Church.
One time, I made a mistake and I brought my Doberman to church. My wife and I have a Doberman. His name is Dolce. He’s a dog, and I thought, “You know what? Dolce would be fine in my office during one of the worship services. After I’m done with the service, I’ll pick him up, put him in my car, and we’ll cruise home.”
Dolce’s smart, but again, he’s a dog. So, the music starts and Dolce is fine. He’s just hanging out in my office. Well, when I began to speak Dolce went nuts! You could hear him up in my office. The walls are sort of thin, and I could hear him in the middle of the message going nuts! So, I make eye contact with Lisa, and she hears it. She stands and sprints up to my office and holds Dolce back. “Dolce, it’s just Daddy. He’s preaching; that’s what he does.”
I will never bring Dolce again to a worship service at Fellowship. I never will. That’d be a good book, though, The Day the Doberman Went to Church.
If you have your Bibles, turn to Genesis 1. I’ll go through chapter 1 and also I’m going to hit on Genesis 2.
I read a while back that the average man has a sexual thought every twenty seconds. Can you believe that, ladies? So, the situation is not that we don’t think about sex. The problem is, we don’t think deeply enough about it. So, during this series, we’re going to take our floaties off and go deep. I’m talkin’ about really deep, as we talk about this powerful, incredible aspect and what it means to be alive.
God started the whole creative process in Genesis 1. We don’t have time to go through it all, but the Bible says that the earth was formless and void. It was chaotic. And it says the Spirit of the Lord was hovering over it. It’s the picture in the Hebrew of a bird hovering over her babies. God began this process. He began a basic creation.
Then, as the days melted off the clock, it became more and more complex. He started out with something basic, like a rock or a tree, which is more basic than a fish or wildebeest. Are you feeling me?
Well, let’s turn to Genesis 1:24-26. This is important that we get this. I spend a lot of time in Genesis 1 and 2, because the goal of these two chapters is simply this; it’s for us to be fully human. That’s God’s goal for us—to be fully alive.
Genesis 1:24, “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind’; and it was so.”
So God’s in this rhythm of creating, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, and day 5.
Look at verse 25. “God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.”
It was good. So, what’s God doing? He’s creating animals. Turn to your neighbor and say, “Neighbor…you’re not an animal.” I know for some here that might be revolutionary and shocking, but we’re not animals. Let’s just receive that. We’re not animals. We’re humans.
Now in verse 26, the rhythm of this creation account breaks. If you could read it in the original Hebrew, the writer wanted it to break to show the uniqueness of what it means to be a man or a woman.
Verse 26, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”
God said, “Let us…”
“What do you mean, ‘us’? I thought God was one.”
Well, He is one. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Unity and diversity; three in one, one in three. They are coexistent and coeternal with one another. I’m talking about the Godhead, the Trinity.
We’re made, I’m made, in the image of God. We’re made uniquely male and uniquely female. There is a unique masculine soul and there’s a unique feminine soul. We’re not animals. I repeat—we’re not animals. We’re fully human.
What does it mean to be fully human? We’re made in the image of God. That means we have physical bodies and spiritual bodies. There’s integration with the physical and the spiritual.
The other day a guy said to me, “Hey, Ed, that’s just my spiritual life.”
I looked at him and said, “Like there’s another one?”
Everything is spiritual. Sex is spiritual. My body, your body, is spiritual. We jump on an airplane and we’re flying—that’s spiritual. We’re fully physical and full spiritual. We’re made in the image of God. God sent Jesus Christ to live on planet Earth. He had a body. He died on the cross for our sins and spilled his blood for our redemption. He was buried and he rose again. He had a bodily resurrection. The Church is called the body of Christ. And the Bible says when we clock out, when we go from this life to the next, we’ll have new and resurrected bodies. So, matter matters in God’s economy.
We’re fully physical and fully spiritual. We’re made in the image of God. We have a masculine aspect to us if we’re men, a feminine aspect to us if we’re women. Thus, when you have a man and woman, a husband and wife, in sexual intercourse on the marriage bed, you have reflected the nature and the character of God. You’ve got the masculine character qualities and the feminine character qualities both going on. When you’re joined together as you make love with your spouse, you can’t tell where one is and the other begins. Three in one, one in three; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Three in one, one in three; coexistent, coeternal with one another.
But again, we’re having little sex. We don’t have big sex. Who are you lying to? Are you believing the culture? If so, then you’re having little sex. I’m talking about big sex in this series! If you want big sex, you better understand that you’re made in the image of your big God who wants the best for all of our lives. He wants the best sexually. This desire I have for God, for connectedness, is often reflected in the desire I have for the opposite sex. And I can carry it out in the marriage bed.
Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
Now, here’s what C. S. Lewis said, “When you remove morals from the human equation, you remove humanity from the human equation.”
I’ll say it again—we are not animals. We are not animals.
Look at Genesis 2:18, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’”
So he said, it’s good, it’s good, it’s very good. Now, he says, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper (don’t you like that word?) suitable for him.”
(Ed sings) “A helper I will be, a helper I will be, hi-ho the dairy-oh, a helper I will be.”
Genesis 1:22, “The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”
Now, Scripture does not tell us what went on when Adam first saw Eve. Here’s Adam who has been alone, guys, and God makes a perfect woman for him and presents this woman to him who is totally and completely naked. And it doesn’t say what he did or what he said. I don’t know.
I grew up in a preacher’s home. And, because I grew up in a preacher’s home, I’ve known a lot of preachers in my life. And preachers tell the corniest jokes ever! They are so cheesy and so corny. This is a great time, though, for two preacher jokes, because I’m talking about sex. A lot of you are nervous, I can tell. There’s a lot of tension in the room. A bed’s on the stage. You’re thinking, “When’s he going to finish, honey?!”
Here’s a preacher joke. The Hebrew word for man is pronounced “ish”. The Hebrew word for woman is pronounced “ish-ah”. The Bible doesn’t say what Adam said the first time he saw Eve. Maybe he said, “Ish, I am man.” And then, as he looked at Eve, he said, “Ahhh, woman!” That’s the first joke.
Here’s a second one. There was a preacher who was sitting in one of those throne chairs. Some preachers have those throne chairs behind the giant pulpit. He was going over his message, and he had one of those loose-leaf Bibles. A loose leaf Bible is one you can put notes in. And he was going to preach on this text in Genesis. And as he began to walk to the pulpit, one of his notes fell out on the carpet. One of the loose leafs just settled to the floor, but he didn’t know it. He began to read and he said, “And Adam said to Eve…” He began to frantically look for his notes. “And Adam said to Eve…um, interesting, a leaf is missing.”
That ends my two preacher’s jokes for today. Next weekend, I’ll try to have a couple more. That’s right, preacher jokes. Check out my website—preacherjokes.com.
Genesis 1:23-26, “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
Interesting. God thought sex up. Sex begins in heaven. God gave us sex before sin entered the human equation. Sex is not dirty. It’s not bad, but it must be used in a God-given way, in a God-ordained context.
OUR GOAL IS TO BE FULLY HUMAN
Have you seen these gentlemen’s clubs around the area? These billboards advertising gentlemen’s clubs? They call them gentlemen’s clubs. During this sexual revolution, I want to change the name. I want to change the name from gentlemen’s clubs to kennel clubs. Because, only dogs go to clubs like that.
We’re not animals. I repeat—humans aren’t hounds. But when we take sex out of context, when we take this God-given gift and use it in a God-forbidden way, what are we doing? We’re going against the grain of God’s creation. We’re moving back from verse 26 in Genesis 1 to verses 24 and 25. We’re becoming dogs…we’re moving from becoming fully human to fully animal! And what’s so hilarious is you have all these evolutionalists running around saying, “Yeah, we’re advancing. We’re becoming more and more complex. It’s amazing the intricacies of human beings and how we’re all evolving.” We’re a bunch of dogs!
What’s going to happen tomorrow? In locker rooms in high schools, health clubs, coffee bars, and over water coolers, people will say things like, “I got a piece this weekend.” “I got some of that.” “Girl, look at that!”
What are we saying?! I know what we’re saying. We’re saying people are products. That’s right, people are objects. My Doberman—I can’t control his needs because he’s an animal. He has a physical body. He doesn’t have a spiritual body. He could bite. He will chase after female dogs. I can’t control him.
You’re telling me you’re a dog? You’re not a dog! I’m not a dog! You’re not an animal! I’m not an animal! I’m made in the image of God. I’m fully physical and fully spiritual. I have this integration, this nature, this quality, this soul given to me by God himself. I’m not an animal. You’re not an animal. Yet, we lust. Yet, we surf the internet and television channels for skin. We see an image and we don’t know the person. We have no relationship with the person, no connectivity with the person, and we strip them of their humanity and use them for our sexual fantasies. And, while we’re doing it, we don’t realize that we’re stripping ourselves of our humanity. We’re going from Genesis 1:26 to Genesis 1:24 and 25. We’re becoming animals—dogs.
How many here agree with slavery? No one does! We all disagree with slavery. Slavery, we say, is wrong because you’re stripping someone’s humanity when they’re your slave, your property. I would argue, not only are you stripping the slave of his or her humanity; you’re also stripping yourself of your humanity when you are using people as objects—when you say people are just products.
Do you know where the origin of the f-word comes from? The origin of the f-word is a farming term. It has to do with animals mating. And we have taken that term, and we have put it on human beings. Here our great God wants us to be fully human. He wants us to have big sex and enjoy this phenomenal gift. But we act like a bunch of animals. So, we’re going against God’s creative grain.
Well, it’s time that we turned the tide and start this sudden change—this revolution that will usher in greatness in all of our lives. Our sexuality is something we are before it’s something we do. It’s not that we don’t think about sex. We need to think about it in a deeper way. God is the God of sex. He thought it up. It was given to us before sin ever entered the human equation.
In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
The word “life” in the original language is pronounced “zo-ay”. It means physical and spiritual. It means integration. It means hitting on all cylinders. And for us to do this, we’ve got to get a read on this gift of sex.
Sex is all about one-ness. It’s all about pleasure. Yes, it’s for procreation. But it’s reflective of the nature and the character of God. So, it’s my prayer that during this series that some things will just open up for you, that some things will change in your life. It’s my prayer during this series that the revolution would begin with you.
Well, how does it begin with you? Well, it starts with God. We’ve got to say, “God, I see how big, how broad, how awesome sex is. I understand the beginning and the turning. And God, I see the rescue that you have planned for me.”
Here is the great news. I don’t care how you have sinned, what you have done in this area of sex—God will forgive you. God will heal you. God will change you. God will cleanse you. And that’s what we celebrate today. Sex. It’s a God-given gift that should be used in a God-given capacity.
Revolution? Let the sexual revolution begin today!
[Ed leads in a closing prayer.]