Today’s post is part of a series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team.
This past Sunday our service theme was “God Gives Himself Completely.” Pastor Bobby continued our sermon series “The Gospel Works,” preaching on the topic of sex from the biblical text 1 Corinthians 6:9-7:3.
Paul’s message in this passage is a message to a community. He refers to his audience using plural words, since he is talking to them as a group. This makes the point that sexual behavior isn’t just about each of us as individuals; it’s about all of us. In these verses from 1 Corinthians, Paul challenges both moralists and those who were emphasizing sexual freedom.
Paul offers several correctives to the way people were dealing with sex. He points out that, in general, followers of Jesus should not withhold sex from their own spouses, since sex is a good gift from God. But he also cautions against misusing our freedom in Christ in ways that lead us back into bondage.
This is because our natural appetites should not spill over their boundaries. Pornography use is an example of something going amiss with a natural appetite that is being used outside the intended context.
Paul also points us to a better way that sees sex as directed toward self-donation rather than self-fulfillment. Sex is a sign of a covenant between marriage partners, but we run into trouble if we separate that sign from the covenant itself. Paul connects this view of sex with the gospel, which tells us that Jesus gave himself for us and we are no longer our own masters.
Questions for prayer and reflection:
- One problematic approach to sex is to view marriage as not only the proper context for sex but the ultimate goal of human relationships. If you are married, how can you consistently make space for single people in your home and in your family’s life?
- Do you have appetites (sexual or otherwise) that spill over their boundaries and control you? Pray that God will work in your heart to change underlying sinful motives and work in your life to give you ways to deal with your desires that aren’t directed to your own self-fulfillment alone.
- How do you see the broader context of the church community relating to the role of sexuality in your life? Are there others who can help you deal with issues like lust or loneliness that are related to sex?
- The Bible shows that our appetites are ultimately fulfilled in a marriage feast shared with Jesus, in the full presence of the God who is a Trinity. How has Jesus begun to offer you fulfillment to your deepest desires even in this life? Ask the Holy Spirit to transform your desires so that they are more centered on the life that Jesus gives.