Friday, November 14, 2014

Teens, The Church and Sexuality

It’s the elephant in the room, the one topic that many parents dread talking about and often fail to talk about to their kids. The topic is sex. In a society that idolizes sex it is important for parents to engage their kids in sexual education. The question that remains is why is this so hard to accomplish? Why are we embarrassed to share with young people the truth about sex? I believe it because we lack the knowledge and understanding of why God created sex.

Growing up I, as well as most of my peers, were told to avoid sex before marriage because it was bad. The ramifications that come with having sex before marriage are real and serious. One could contract a sexually transmitted disease or have a child outside of marriage. As a society we have hashed out these arguments over and over yet we see no sign of young people engaging in sexual activity slowing down. The sad part is that this kind of pattern is no different inside the church than it is outside. What if we looked at sex as God as created it? As Christians we are required to shape our view of all things in a way that aligns with how God created it. God has not left any area of life untouched in his infallible Word and so there we must go. What does God say about sex? Why did he create it? How are we to enjoy this good gift from God? Why kind of boundaries are around it? I firmly believe that we as Christians must engage young people with a joy that is much more fulfilling than the joy found in sex. It is not until they see Someone greater, a greater joy, that they refocus their desires of sex to the One who created it.

Let’s look at God’s design for sex. One of my favorite bloggers, Tim Challies, has wrote at length on this topic and I want to share some of it with you. In a post called “Sexual Detox III: A Theology of Sex” he stated the following:

“God gives us sex because it has unique power in drawing a husband to his wife and a wife to her husband. He knows this because he is the one who invented it! He made it so that it is far more than the sum of its parts. We could describe sex in terms of body parts and hormones, but we would not be any closer to understanding it than if we were to describe a cake only in terms of its ingredients—flour and milk and eggs (or if we were to describe the Lord’s Supper making reference only to eating bread and drinking wine). Sex goes far beyond merely the physical and instead extends to the emotional, the spiritual. It is through sexual union that two are made one, that they are bound together; there is a mystery to it that can only really be compared in impact to the union of God’s people to God as they are grafted into him.God gave us something remarkably powerful and was wise to place strict boundaries on it. He has every right to do so because he is the one who has created sex and who has given it its function. Sex, then, is to be shared only between a husband and a wife, and cannot be extended to others either before marriage or during marriage (Matthew 5:27,28). Sex must not be stirred up or awakened until the time is right (Song of Solomon 8:4). Sex is to be practiced regularly throughout a marriage (1 Corinthians 7:1-5). Such boundaries are not intended to inhibit freedom but to enhance freedom. When we use the gift as God intends it, we gain great joy and freedom in it. When we abuse the gift, we ultimately suffer for such abuse.The purpose of sex, then, is to provide a unique means through which a husband and wife can know one another, serve one another, express vulnerability before one another, give and receive. No other area in marriage offers so much to gain and so much to lose. No other area in marriage so closely grafts the couple together.”

I consider this a profound statement! If we look at sex this way and teach young people to see sex in the light of what God says about it, then and only then, will we see life transformation in this area. It is important that we relate the truth that sex is a good gift, but it has boundaries that God has established that we may enjoy this gift in all of it’s fullness. As a single guy I may never get to enjoy this gift, but I must obey its boundaries and remember that the desires of sex ultimately point to my desire to have intimacy with my Savior!

Tim continues on: “When you understand this you must also understand why sex is meant to be enjoyed only between a husband and wife. You understand why God forbids pre-marital sex (fornication), why he forbids extra-marital sex (adultery). All these things make a mockery of the real thing. All these things abuse his good gift.”

One day I will get to see Jesus face to face and that desire trumps every other desire. I pray that young people will be captured by this great truth and follow Jesus with wreckless abandon.

The topic of sex doesn’t have to remain the elephant in the room, indeed it cannot. If Christians fail to teach their children about sex, society will gladly handle it. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is one of the leading voices in the Southern Baptist Convention. He has a daily podcast in which he talks about current issues and how Christians should look at them. In one of this latest episodes he discusses this very topic (society pressing its views upon young people).

He states:

“Young people in this crucial period of life of early adolescence all the way through young adulthood need the continual support and encouragement of the church. One of the worst things we can possibly do is fail to teach our young people the reasons for Christian belief and the ground them in Scripture and the totality of the Christian worldview. In this sense, every Christian pastor, every youth minister, every parent, needs to be an apologist – ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us. And when the parent doesn’t have a ready-made answer, the next step is to go find someone who has an answer and to draw from the rich resources of the Christian tradition over 2,000 years of intelligent reflection upon the Christian faith.Furthermore, we need to understand that our young people at these very important ages are headed into a period of sustained and in evitable intellectual combat. There are evangelists for any number of ideologies and worldviews out there and if we do not direct a very serious approach to the Christian faith, to our own children, and if they do not see it in us and understand it from us, we should not be surprised that they fall away.”

We need to take a minute and let that last sentence sink in. If we, as Christians, are not willing to teach young people about sex then do not be surprised when someone else does. My prayer is that we will take President Mohler’s advice and do what Christians have done since the very beginning, teach the truths of the Scriptures no matter the cost.


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