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Yearning: Sex, God and the Gospel

posted 25 May 2012, 13:24 by Peter Booth   [ updated 26 May 2012, 07:07 ]
Here are a few highlights from a chapter in an ebook called 'Porn Free Church; Raising up gospel communities to destroy secret sins', by Covenant Eyes. The whole book can be downloaded free on charge here: The following is from chapter 5, written by Tim Chester. 

A recent survey suggested that one in two evangelical men and one in five
evangelical women are struggling with pornography. Other surveys bear out these
proportions. This means that when you look out on your congregation on a Sunday
morning, one in three people are struggling with pornography. What good news are
you offering them?
The chances are many of them think they’re the only ones who are struggling. They
may think they’re disqualified from Christian service by their sin, perhaps even from
the Christian family. They hide their guilt, terrified of being exposed. Yet at the same
time they may long to share their problem. What good news are you offering them?
Or maybe they’ve told someone and were met by barely masked repulsion. Or maybe
the person they told was sympathetic, but didn’t know how to bring hope to the
situation or how to offer accountability. What good news are you offering them?
Christians need to hear a positive Christian message on sexuality because they are
called to follow Christ in a sex-saturated culture. It’s not just the proliferation of
explicit images, but the slow drip feed of non-explicit material which nevertheless
assumes sex outside of marriage is not only a norm, but a moral good.
Unbelievers, too, need to hear the positive Christian message on sexuality. If they
don’t, then any call to repentance will lack content. Jesus repeatedly makes his call
to repentance specific. The rich young man whose heart is set on wealth is called to
give his money to the poor. The woman who seeks fulfillment in sexual intimacy is
offered living water.
Paul warns us: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather
expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret”
(Eph. 5:11-12, NIV). That means we need to avoid talking about sex in a way that
might titillate or provoke. But it doesn’t mean keeping silent. Our goal is to expose
sin as sin; to show that sexual sin is idolatrous (5:5).
We need to talk not only about sex, but also about grace in the context of sex.
Sex is powerful. It binds two people together in a deep and profound way. The two
become one. Indeed it is not sex per se that binds us, but God binds us through sex
(Mark 10:9). It is a beautiful and precious thing.
But when this power for good is misused it becomes dangerously destructive. Sex
gone bad causes intense hurt and shame. Many people in your congregation will
have sinned sexually—many before conversion, some after conversion. Still others,
too, will have been sinned against.
This means that to talk about the wonder of sex within marriage will provoke
deep shame in the hearts of some people. So alongside your talk about sex needs
to go talk about grace. And not just grace in the abstract, but the grace of God
in the death of Christ. Christ dies in our place, bearing our guilt so that there is
now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1). There is no
condemnation for porn users, adulterers, sexual fantasists who are in Christ Jesus.
This is not being soft on sin. Quite the opposite. It takes sin seriously, so seriously
that the only remedy is the death of the eternal Son of God. Look at the cross and
see what God thinks of your sin—the death of his own Son is the only act that can
atone for what you have done. But in the act is grace and love and forgiveness and

Posts in this series: 
1. Fake Love, Fake War: Porn & Video Games Addiction
2. Dealing With Temptations and Pursuing Holiness
3. Yearning: Sex, God and the Gospel
4. What Are You Doing on the Battlefield?
5. A Fight for Men AND Women