This past Sunday morning we talked frankly about how sexuality is abused and distorted in our sinful world. It was a heavy topic, but also a chance to talk about God’s beautiful design for sexuality in marriage. My prayer is that the sermon served as a “family discussion” led by God’s preached word for Faith Church.
In a sermon like that, you can’t talk about everything, so I wanted to answer a few questions that might be on your mind. Why do we even need to talk about sexual abuse? Is sexual abuse really that big of a deal in the church? It can be hard to believe that people and especially children in our church might be at risk. Sadly, no area is immune from danger today. Deepak Reju in his book “On Guard!” shows how churches are often seen as easy targets. The best way to defend our children is to talk openly about these dangers and take steps to show we are not an easy target. I also encourage parents of young children to consider this resource by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb: http://www.godmadeallofme.com/
Our church is currently considering protective measures for our children’s ministries. Please do not be offended when Faith Church takes steps to make background checks mandatory for everyone who works with children. This is not suspicion but an act of good faith. Steps like this show that we are not naive to the dangers and want to do everything humanly possible to protect our young people.
What about homosexuality? You may notice that although our passage clearly denounces homosexual acts (I Corinthians 6:9-11), I did not mention it directly. I decided not to address it because the sermon was talking about Harvey Weinstein and also God’s clear plan for sexuality by definition rules homosexual acts out of bounds. Yet you may be wondering, would a homosexual relationship be a “taking” relationship instead of a “giving” one? This gets to a burning question in contemporary society. Why can’t two people be together if they love each other? Isn’t love enough?
Here are two observations on this difficult and sensitive issue. First, homosexuality violates God’s intention for a man and woman to learn to love someone who is different. Homosexual relationships do not learn to give to someone who is unlike them. It does not fulfill the design of sexuality to be a picture of love the way God loves us. Second, in this conversation, it is important to remember that culturally heterosexual sins were accepted much sooner and have been “normal” for some time. If we are going to denounce homosexuality as “takers” and twisting God’s plan for sexuality we must first recognize that heterosexual “taking” is just as evil. Divorce, pornography, and casual heterosexual hook-ups need to be dealt with first in our own churches.
Why didn’t I wear a suit or tie? I always consider my audience when I dress. I preached this sermon with the prayer that it would speak to those not familiar with Christian faith, especially the younger generation. Essentially, I had my Soldiers in mind. Sometimes, a suit and tie can be a barrier for the younger generation. It is a bit strange for them and they can connect dressing up with hypocritical religion. Since they were part of my target audience, I decided to dress more casually (I Corinthians 9:19-23). More casual dress can also be a reminder that God accepts us because of Jesus and not how we look. For that reason, I may preach without a tie from time to time. After church, someone asked me if I would break out the sandals and shorts this summer. Don’t hold your breath...
Question for you: Have you discussed a biblical response to Harvey Weinstein’s actions with other Christians or had an age-appropriate dinner conversation with your children? Now is a good time. Here are a few possible starter questions for older children: What did God create sex for? Why is marriage and the sexual relationship special? Why is it unloving to live together before marriage? What are the biblical benefits of singleness?
Grace and Peace, Pastor Andrew