After a two-week break, we’re returning to 1 Corinthians. That means that, for the month of June, we’re going to be dealing with sex on Sundays and each week in our Daily Worship Devotions.
In 1 Corinthians 6-7, God in his Word speaks frankly, plainly, and practically to the Corinthian church about sex. If you survey the text, you’ll also see that he speaks quite comprehensively. In this section, God speaks to married people, single people, and widows about sex and marriage. God speaks to us about all sorts of sexual sin and brokenness, including denying our sexual desires. But he also commands those who are married to not deny their sexual desires (withholding). In 1 Corinthians 6-7, God speaks to us, and commands us about sexual sin as well as sexual health. It really is quite a passage.
Let’s be frank; talking about sex is awkward and uncomfortable in and of itself. And talking about sex at church for several weeks in a row feels like an unbearably awkward scenario. Trust me, I feel it too! But church, in the context of our spiritual family gathered around God’s Word, is the one place we both need to and should talk about sex together. So, here we go!
This Sunday we’ll tackle the opening section: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. In this section, which primarily deals with restraining and denying our sexual urges, God speaks a fundamental truth that undergirds all of the Bible’s teaching about human sexuality. It’s a truth that is both counter-intuitive and also much neglected. Speaking to them about sex, God reminds the Corinthians, “You are not your own!” What does that mean?
Our sexuality, our feelings about sex, and our sexual needs are very, very personal and private. And yet, here at the beginning of one of the more comprehensive sections in the Bible about sex and sexuality, God reminds us “You are not your own!” What does that mean and what are the implications of that with regard to us as individuals, married couples, singles, and widows? That’s what we are going to be unpacking over the next several weeks – and it’s going to take us several weeks to do it responsibly.
Now, I want to speak a word to a specific group in our family who might be feeling especially anxious and ambivalent about these topics and the next few Sundays at church: Parents. During this time, we will have “Children’s Church” downstairs for our Elementary Children during the worship service. I imagine that will be a relief for many of you. But our Middle & High School Youth will be with us upstairs in the sanctuary the whole time. That might be anxiety-inducing for some parents as you consider what’s coming in 1 Corinthians 6-7. However, I want to appeal to you that, as awkward as this is (and, yup, it IS going to be awkward), it is vitally important, necessary, and also GOOD that we broach these things as a church family together. Our world does not hesitate to teach and indoctrinate us with all sorts of wrong, unhealthy, and destructive views about sexuality and sex. That’s especially and tragically true when it comes to our culture’s aggressive influence and destructive sexual agenda for our children and youth.
This is one of the reasons that I, your elders, and your church staff agree that it is time for us all to do more with regard to discipling each other and especially our children and youth. We need to grow more in our faith, deepen our life-together as a church family, and invest more in our own discipleship and our discipleship of each other. As COVID-19 (hopefully) continues to come to an end here in Atlanta, as we face the ongoing decline of faithful Christianity in our country, and as we exit this blessed and brutal season of isolation, reflection, and re-evaluation, it’s a good and necessary time and opportunity for us to reassess our lives and priorities in light of God’s Word, his commands, his expectations, and his hopes and longings for us as Christ followers and a local church family.
So, here we go. Take a deep breath and read and reflect on 1 Corinthians 6:12-7:16. This Sunday, and next week in our Daily Worship Devotions, we are just focusing on 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, but I encourage you to read all of 1 Corinthians 6:12-7:16 in preparation. As you do that, let’s ask ourselves and reflect and meditate on the following: “With regard to me, sex, and my sexuality, what does it mean that ‘I am not my own’?”
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Yours in Christ,