small groups pastor
This past weekend, Ron continued in our series called Sandyland, and jumped right into the ever popular topic of sex! I'm not sure, but it looked like he started sweating a few times...especially when the Song of Solomon passage was quoted.
Sex has often been compared to fire (and not just because it's hot)...but because when used appropriately, it's wonderful; when it's used carelessly, however, it's very destructive. And this was really the premise of Ron's entire message - that God invented sex to be something beautiful for us! Unfortunately, many of us have allowed it to be something hurtful and destructive.
In a humorous anecdote, Ron talked about the question he often heard while he was in student ministries several years ago: How far is too far (sexually)? In essence, they were asking how much can we get away with, without breaking the rules, so to speak? And at the heart of that question is a tendency I think we can all identify with, and that's a temptation to see how close we can get to sin, without actually sinning. Unfortunately, I wonder if the heart behind that sentiment has already defeated us.
One of the quotes that really jumped out at me was this:
"You can't build on a foundation of sin now for a life of purity later."In other words, if we build a foundation of pushing the boundaries, we shouldn't be confused when we struggle with purity later in life. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." Solomon was a guy who really appreciated sex - his love letters are, after all, the stuff of legends. And yet he understood the importance of guarding one's heart. Why? Because it determines the course of our lives. And when impurity get's in, it leads us down a destructive path...further away from the beauty of what God really desires for us.
This really is such a big topic...much bigger than can be fully explored within one weekend message, and certainly too big for this blog post. But let me just close by saying this: Sex is a beautiful thing...but only when it's enjoyed within the parameters expressed in the teachings of God's Word. When it's taken outside of those parameters, however, it only invites painful consequences into our lives. What if I've already taken it outside of those parameters? Is it too late? The good news there is that God's grace is huge! And I truly believe God honors a repentent heart and restores our purity...when we're willing to pursue it at all costs.
Some questions for further conversation:
- What was your response to the topic of the message and/or this post? Did you find it shocking, disturbing, challenging, funny, embarrassing...what? And, of course, why?
- How do you define sexually pure? How does Scripture define it?
- What ways do we tend to lower our guard on the "purity" issue in our hearts? In other words, what ways do we tend to let subtle impurities infiltrate our hearts?
- What are the destructive consequences that may come from sex outside the parameters of God's Word? What are some examples of this you've seen (or experienced)?