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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - What to Think About When You Think About Sex?

Levi Lusko - What to Think About When You Think About Sex?

Levi Lusko - What to Think About When You Think About Sex
TOPICS: I Think I Love You, Relationships, Sex

In 2013, a man named James Howell threw out an old hard drive. He had a couple of them in a desk drawer, and one of them he knew was no good. He didn't need it anymore. He didn't need the information on it, and so he tossed it out, tiny little thing, the size of an iPhone 6 supposedly this little hard drive. But what he didn't realize until later was that it contained the only password that exists in the world for him to be able to get into his crypto wallet, which as some of you can't do the password recovery email me let me know what the password is. And you download it, that's the show, honey. That's all you got. And so he had tossed out. He discovered only too late this is back in 2013, he threw away the only key to accessing 8,000 bitcoins, which he had purchased at a really good value.

And these two identical drives, he knew one had it and one did not. And he thought he was positive he had thrown away the one that didn't have it on it. And to his horror he realized what he had done when it was already at the bottom somewhere of this landfill a landfill with 110,000 tons of garbage. And somewhere in the midst of that landfill was his password that would allow him to access what at the height, and of course crypto goes up and down, but at the height of Bitcoin's craziness. This was worth conservatively eight, $500 million, this 8,000 Bitcoin 500, a half a billion dollars. And understandably, this man has spent the last decade of his life trying unsuccessfully to get into a garbage dump. He has spent a decade trying to convince the city that he lives in that it's not a bad idea for him to go in there and root around. He's gotten plans, he's gotten backers angel investors to help in exchange, of course, for a portion of what he's going to find when he gets this thing out and just how sad it is to think of a man who is longing has spent a half decade trying to get into this garbage.

The moral of the story is that when things that have irreplaceable value are treated as common, heartache is the inevitable result. Well, welcome to week number two of this series of messages, I think I love you where we're examining our line of thinking as we approach relationships, dating, and all of these things so that we can learn to navigate the ambiguity of intimacy. And our goal, my goal isn't to tell you what to do in these areas but to help you learn how to think about them. Because if you don't learn to think right, you will never be able to live right and to love right.

But if we can allow God's word to shape and to frame and to form the level of thinking about these things, then downstream from that, we will see God's best, his plan for our lives, his good and acceptable and perfect will for our lives in return for us choosing to think how he thinks. Because his ways are not our ways. His ways are past finding out. So if we choose to learn to think how he thinks, we can live how he wants us to live. In Proverbs 30, which is where we're going to base our comments out of today versus 18 through 20, a man named Agur collects for us some pearls of wisdom. And these are verses I've never taught on in my entire life speaking about sex and dating. And I have traveled the world carrying a message of God's plans of the powerful life and death pull of sex and romance, how it's powerful in the right direction it's also powerful in the wrong direction. But I've never preached on this text before. And God has shown me some very powerful things.

Let's take a moment and stand up, every location, let's stand to our feet for the reading of God's word as a way of elevating God's word above human thinking, human words, human understanding. It says in Proverbs chapter 30, "There are three things which are two wonderful for me, yes four, which I do not understand. The way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the midst of the sea and the way of a man with a virgin. This is the way of an adulterous woman. She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I have done no wickedness'".

And Father, we do ask and pray that you would help us. We thank you that you have told us the truth and not lied to us to make us feel good and not encouraged us on the path to destruction. But you said that there is a wide road that leads to death. And there's a narrow road that few there are who find that leads to eternal life. And so God, we're not going to help us not to base our decisions on the popular way, on the common way, on the cool culture way, but to choose to listen to what you are saying, to listen to your still, small voice of the Holy Spirit that is saying this is the way. Walk in it. Because now always yells louder, but later lasts longer. And yes, hope is deferred at times, and it makes the heart sick. But when that desire comes, when your best for us comes, it is a tree of life. So speak to us now. Draw people to yourself. We pray for redemption, we pray for everyone to have an unguarded heart to hear this talk, to hear us consider this moment of our ways and whether they please you or not God that we would be drawn towards what you have for us, and we pray this in Jesus' name Amen.

You may be seated. In this proverb, we are basically given the framework with which God wants us to elevate sex to. And he chooses to put it on the same level as seeing a ship in the midst of the sea. That's the kind of thing that painters are dying to paint, a ship in the sea and the spindrift. The spindrift is the name of that foam that shoots off the top of the wave, and the light and the horizon. I mean, that's beautiful. We all love these nautical images. So he says OK, a ship and see. This is two wonderful for me, right? Take my breath away, that's what we feel when we see something like that. Who doesn't love a lighthouse, and a stormy sea, and it's just beautiful, seagulls off in the distance. Then he says a serpent on the rock, now, love or hate snakes, and I'm in a hate snakes category myself. But what we've got to admit it's an amazing thing to watch a snake. It gets your attention and your undivided attention at that.

My family and I with some friends. We're doing a retracing of the portion of the Lewis and Clark journeys on the Missouri River down in the White Cliffs. And we were outside of Great Falls, Montana, and shout out those of you at Great Falls Fresh Life there. And we were amazed one day at camp to have our game of smash ball disrupt to smash for a little paddle, you try and get the ball bouncing back and forth. And after dinner, we're just sitting around, the sun setting. There's no Wi-Fi, there's no data on our cell phones, and so we're just playing and talking and singing worship songs around the fire and. And in the midst of this conversation comes slithering in an enormous rattlesnake. Let me tell you, the game of smash ball did not proceed. Everything stopped because we were aware of the healthy fear we all have for the realization of a creature that could take our lives and harm the lives of our children.

The way of a serpent on a rock, I changed what I was doing and needed to change what I was wearing because of this snake. Then another day we were eating lunch, and as soon as we packed up from lunch to get back into these boats to float down the river some more, and enormous snake began slithering down the trunk of a tree that we had just been in the shade of for this entire meal. And I'm like, I didn't even know they could do that, right? It wasn't around it. It was just coming down the tree. How was it even holding on? This is immoral, this is ungodly, right? And then they said, no, this is the good kind of snake that eats the bad kind of snakes. And I was like, well, he can proceed, but we don't like him anyway. And the way of a serpent and all is to wonderful for me, the way of an eagle in the air, right? We just have this standing family thing in the car or on a walk.

If there's an eagle in the sky, we're going to interrupt everybody, and just like, hey hey, bald eagle, right? I don't care if they're eating garbage off the side of the road as they often do. It's like, that's still an eagle, right? You do want to at times interview this bird and say, do you know how powerful you are. This is not a good look for you. If the bald eagle had a PR agent, they would stop eating the entrails out of the roadkill immediately, right? At times, I wonder if God doesn't want to interview us and say, hey, do you know how powerful you're meant to be? Do you know what you're meant to stand for when you're settling for so much on the side of the road? But it takes a breath away. When you're in Glacier, and you see a grizzly bear running down the side of the Going to the Sun Road, your conversation about granola bars doesn't continue.

You know what I'm saying? You stop because you're not. You stop because something powerful is in front of you. You stop because you're witnessing something majestic. You're witnessing something out of the ordinary. And the author of Proverbs 30 says that's where sex belongs, the way of a serpent on you, the way of a ship in the sea. It's meant to be elevated. It's not meant to be devalued. It's not meant to be common. It's meant to be something worthy of prose, worthy of song, worthy of art that would cause you to be rendered speechless instead of how at times it is devalued and treated as common something so valuable. It's just something you do. And you get up, and you wipe your mouth because you were just satisfying an appetite no different than an appetite for food or any other thing. To get up from the sexual encounter or experience and for it to not be something lofty, something saved, something guarded, a garden enclosed instead of just, and next, and next.

In fact, that's exactly how the message translation renders that, the ship, the rock, the serpent, and then the prostitute, which is sort of this Proverbs often takes an idea like wisdom and uses an analogy of a lady speaking. So don't think this is just all on the women here, but this adulterous woman, he says this prostitute just has an experience with a John, a customer and then takes a bath and then yells out into the hallway, next, which is where sex has been reduced in our day. This thing that's meant to be beautiful and sacred and special and to leave you in awe of it has become something that's as easy as ordering an Uber or purchasing something from Amazon Prime. But these dating apps that facilitate casual sexual encounters, we're living in a day where one night stands have literally never been easier.

And in one Vanity Fair article I read, a girl interviewed said it's impossible in New York City to find a man to date. No one wants to get married, she laughed. No one wants to be a boyfriend. No one even wants to date. They just want to and I quote "hit it and quit it". To have this encounter, to wipe their mouth, and then to say next. One girl literally said after sleeping with this man, she had met that day on Tinder, she was getting dressed to leave his apartment. And she heard a noise and saw that he was literally sitting at the foot of the bed hunched over his phone. As she looked at the screen, he was back on Tinder looking for who would be next to wipe the mouth and to rise up and to say I have done no wickedness. There's no thing here. I'm just doing what everybody does. It's sex, so it's just no, finish it with me, big deal. But what did we learn already at the beginning of this talk? When items of irreplaceable value are treated as common, heartache is the inevitable result.

And so we have to ask the question, where are we getting the kind of thinking from? Because it's not from scripture that would tell us sex is just normal. It's just an appetite, just something you do with your body, just is what it has, got to get it out of your system during your college years. You've got to experiment a little bit. Who doesn't? It's just what you do when you're lonely. You're focused on your career, but you need a little something something. Porn's no big deal as long as you look but don't touch, right? A little bit on the side, that's healthy, we're not getting that from God's word that presents sex to us as the serpent on the rock, as the bald eagle in the air, as the grizzly bear on the side of the road.

So where are we getting that from? Well, probably principally from TV and movies. We wouldn't ever acknowledge that like I frame the way I think about relationships based on While You Were Sleeping or You've Got Mail or whatever scene from a steamy movie that you have framed how you think the sexual experience should be, which is probably why many of us are hesitant to get married without first kicking the tires of the automobile to make sure you're sexually compatible. What you really mean is you want to make sure that this person lives up to the artificial ideal that you have framed inside your head based on all the films that you've seen that present a terribly inaccurate picture of what the sexual experience is going to be like. But listen to me friends. Basing your thoughts on sex on things you've seen in the movie is like trying to learn how to drive by watching The Fast and the Furious. And the inevitable carnage that will result and does result from doing such a thing is all around us.

And so what do we need to do? We need to listen to God's thoughts. Because if our minds are renewed by the transformation of God's word, the transforming power of God's word, then we can get to the good and the acceptable and the perfect will that God has for us that the cultural baggage and the entertainment driven thinking that's appealing to the flesh and its lust, which are always saying more and now and more and now so you can wipe your mouth and say more and now again and rise up again to say next. Because the flesh doesn't get satisfied by partaking in it. Tell me the person who's ever experienced porn, and then you're tempted by it. I don't need to have any porn experience because I looked at porn 10 years ago, right? That's like drinking saltwater in the ocean to quench your thirst. The more you drink, the thirstier you become. And sin always leads to more. You need more to get the same level of pleasure you had at the beginning.

So what we need to do is go to God's words and let them frame how we think. So title of my message is what to think about when you think about sex, what to think about when you think about sex. And the first thing is that you need to think about the origin of sex like Marvel. It's not enough to see a movie about a character. We need the origin story so they can get more money from us. So we're going to go back. How far back are we going to go? We're going to meet Boba Fett's great, great, great, great, great, great great, twice removed grandfather on the maternal side, right? What's the origin story of sex? Well, it's Genesis two verse 18, And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him".

All right, so man's in the garden, and everything's been declared to be good so far. Because all the things that God makes are good every good and perfect gift comes down from the father of lights and whom there's no variation or shadow of tyranny. So God's just proclaimed goodness on everything. But then over Adam's being lonely and alone, he speaks it is not good. And so marriage and sex are a rescue operation to bring us company, to bring friendship and to bring to someone to do life with, someone to be a partner with in the ruling of this good world that God had made. And so notice in verse 21, "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam".

We mentioned last week that good things happen when God's sheep go to sleep. And it was while Adam was resting and walking in purpose, resting and walking in purpose that he was qualified for God to take one of his ribs and close up the flesh in its place. I always think about that when Jennie and I walk side-by-side. We're our best side by side because that's the strength and the power that God gave to us in relationship. She wasn't made for man's foot that he might rule over her. She wasn't taken from man's head that he might be ruled over by her, but from his rib that they could walk together, serve together side-by-side, Matthew Henry said. So note verse 22 "Then the rib that the Lord had taken from man he made into a woman. He brought her to the man". And then Adam said, and I quote, "Apple bottom jeans and the boots with the fur". Actually, he said, "bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh".

What is he saying? He's saying eagle in the air. He's saying serpent on the rock. He's saying ship in the midst of the sea. My heart is storm tossed. And then he used his gift that he had been given to walk in his calling to speak a name over her. There's the old idea that if you ever meet a masseuse, their spouse probably has achy shoulders. Because no one gets home from working all day as a masseuse and wants to give another massage, right? The cobbler with no shoes, the pastor's kid with dysfunctional behavior because the parent doesn't do any of the leading at home that they should be doing, this is a travesty, by the way. And so what do we have here. We see Adam using his gift that he was meant to use in the world to serve and bless his wife. He wasn't going to speak names over rhinoceros and giraffe and zebra and owl but not give the benefit of that gift to his bride.

And so he speaks over her whoa, man, right? Because she was taken from his side. And so she speaks over him, and they're blessing each other. This is the origin story of sex. OK, time out. We're going to get back to the message in just a second. But I just wanted to really quickly tell you two things. Number one is we would love to have you come and join us for the Fresh Life Summer Internship. You can go to for the information. The deadline of signup is the end of March, so don't procrastinate. If you're between the ages of 18 and 25, come join us for the summer intern at Fresh Life Church. We would love to have you. It'll be the best summer of your life. The second is the Fresh Life pop up worship nights. The first one is in Polson. We're coming to Teton County, Salt Lake City, Portland, Oregon, a bunch of them in Montana. We would love to have you. Jen and I would love to have you.

If you're part of our church online audience, if you obviously are because you're hearing me interrupt myself in our church on my message, or you're listening to the podcast or hey, it's the Luscos, or you read our books, come out to one of these nights. Worship with us. We're believing God for revival for him to touch our hearts. It's going to be a blast and we'd love to see you there. All right, enjoy the rest of this message. Second question, what are we thinking about when we think about sex? We're now thinking about the intention of sex.

So we're going to start with the presupposition sex is God's idea, and it must be good as he gave it. So he had to have a reason in mind that he made it for. He never makes anything just for nothing. There's a purpose to what he forms because he intends to fill it with his pleasure. So he formed man, filled it with his breath, formed marriage filled it with his blessing. So what is sex supposed to do? Three things, jot them down. Sex is supposed to give us pleasure. Sex is supposed to give us children. Sex is supposed to bond us together. So it's meant to be something pleasurable. It feels good. It's enjoyable. If you read scripture, you're going to come across sections that are hot and heavy erotic sounding literature. And this is not crass. It's not meant to be cringed from.

I remember I went to a Christian school when I was in the fourth grade. And I remember in a chapel service, just flipped into the Bible because I was bored and the person speaking was not holding my attention. And I stumbled upon the Song of Solomon, I was like, well, hello, what is this? No one has told me about this book. And there are parts that you read in the Bible, let me tell you something, there's not just, hey you just got to get through it because you've got to have the next generation of children. I mean, I'm telling you something. God chose something that feels good. There's something about it that's pleasurable and the experience. And that is God's design for it as well. It's meant to enhance your life. And yes, it is meant to be the mechanism, it is the mechanism by which we see children and successful generations come into the world. But it as well, and this is an invisible aspect of it. It is meant to be something that would be concrete that would serve to cause the two people to come together and be welded together.

This is in verse 24 of Genesis two. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh". Now, when you're in the act of intercourse, of course, the two bodies fit together. But that can't simply be what he's referring to. He's speaking to some process by which sex is the glue that binds you together on an unseen level. And as we, and through science seek to understand what happens in the human body during the sexual experience a part of this though not all of it is enlightened. Because we know that two primary things are flooded through your bloodstream in the act of marriage, in the experience of an orgasm, and those two things are dopamine and oxytocin.

Now, dopamine we know to be this pleasurable feeling that you get in times of stimulation, in times of arousal. So your brain gets this huge reward of dopamine when you're having sex with someone. That's part of that pleasurable. And when you experience dopamine, your brain wants to get more of that. And so it's going to look for more opportunities. And if you save your sexual experience where you allow that dopamine to come from for one specific area, there's going to be a constant desire to have your brain flooded with that dopamine there. But if it's every time you're on your laptop, there's that flood of sexual fueled dopamine, then that too is going to be a source of your brain looking for that same pattern to take place. The other is oxytocin the nickname that has been given to this is the cuddle chemical, the cuddle chemical.

And the three times that the human body is flooded with oxytocin is the sexual encounter, is breast feeding, and is giving birth to a baby. And it's a bonding agent and that causes there to almost even if you don't mean to sort of just latch on to whoever you are with at the moment of the sexual release. There's this sense of I want to say I love you. It causes you to want to say I'm going to be with you forever. I'm going to be true to you always, which is why there is such a cold sense of despair that follows the release of masturbation to pornography or whatever lustful images are in your mind from undressing the people in you have deposited there. Because you get all this oxytocin floating through your body, but there's no one there to give it to. There's no one there to bond to in that moment. But God's design would be you and your spouse have come together as one flesh in every way, financially.

Jennie and I are one financially. What's mine is hers, and, what's hers is hers right? We are one financially. She shops through my closet all the time. I'd end up in the newspaper if I shopped in hers, you see? We are one financially. And we are one socially. We are Jennie and, hey it's the Luskos. I mean it's just the two of us. There's not this other life we're just me on the side, and I've got these other relationships that she doesn't know about and when I'm on a business trip. No, no, Jennie and I are together. We are living as one socially. We are living as one financially. We are living imperfectly but together spiritually. We are one. So the sexual union is the cherry on top of all those other ways that we have come together. We ended our former lives. It's gone, right? When you light that candle, you're blowing out the candles that represent the bachelor Levi and how it's used to be.

Now, we're coming together as one. And sex is the act that takes all of that other commitment and gives you language for. It gives you a physical way to say I am one with you ride or die till death do us part. That's the intention of sex. Tim Keller said, and I quote, "Sex outside of marriage is not a sin because it's so bad but because it's so good". So God had this amazing design for sex that would bless us, pleasure, children, concrete. And he told us how to use sex not because it's bad, but because it's so good. Banks don't have cameras and bars and people with guns because everything inside is so bad. They have that to protect something inside that's good, that's worth having. So when we get an attitude because God told us how to use something he invented, can we agree that logic doesn't make sense? But God like you don't know how I feel. You don't know. He gets to tell us how to use what he invented what he gave to us.

So what's the plan? Well, we just read it, a man, a woman covenanting together for a lifetime. One in every way, therefore sex is the cherry on top of all those other kinds of unions. All right, what about a different way of using sex? Well, it's a beautiful thing. God doesn't have to in his word give us every possible violation besides a biological male and a biological female coming together and enjoying sex in that context. Because he has a junk drawer. You have a junk drawer. I have a junk drawer. Where does that go? The potato peeler, junk drawer, where does the lime squeezer, junk drawer, we have slots for forks. We have slots for knives. We have slots for spoons. But for that wine opener cork thingy, junk drawer. We have the junk drawers, right? And God has one too, it's first Thessalonians Chapter four. It says this.

By the way, context wise, speaking to a church in a city where they had all gotten radically saved out of a way of life where it was normal to go to temples that's religious icon was a male phallus, all right? So this is the way that he introduces Jesus in the hope of the Gospel into an incredibly pagan society where it would be normal for a man to have his wife for procreation and children and financial benefit because her family was upstanding and they could pay to have him become the husband to their daughter. But you would also have a girlfriend, someone your intellectual peer that you would enjoy life with, but then you would have sex with her also. And you'd have sex with your wife also. But then you also had concubines and mistresses for sexual pleasure that you wouldn't be friends with, and God forbid, you bring a child into this world through.

And then there were just daily trysts with temple prostitutes as well. And this is the context in Thessalonica that Paul preached the gospel and brought news of this way of walking with Jesus and then needed to on the back end of salvation explain what does it mean now to walk with Jesus? Because something to know about God is he always cleans his fish after he catches them. So God doesn't come into the world and go, you're dirty, naughty, sinful, and gross. Let's clean this up. Let's clean this up, enough of that this, enough of that that. And if you get good enough, then I can save you. God comes in through Jesus having done everything that's needed for the human heart to flourish on the cross and rising from the dead and says, if you believe in him, he will save you and change you. OK great, I'm saved. I'm headed to heaven. I'm a son or daughter forever.

All right, now, let's talk about how to move you towards God's best for your life, what you already are in Christ. So it would be normative for in that day someone to be having sex with all of these three various people and temple prostitutes and worshipping at the God of the human phallus and by the way, now I'm a Christian. And Tuesday night, I'm at dinner at this party and everyone's had some food, had some wine, and they're all jumping into bed for a massive orgy because it's a Tuesday and what else are you going to do in Thessalonica? And Paul says but now that you've trusted Christ, now let's let that inform your sexually. Let's let that inform how you spend your money. Let's let that inform how you make these decisions about where you're going to go and what you're going to do. And so he wants them to understand the intention of sex.

So what did he say? This First Thessalonians four three, is the will of God. What's God's will for me? Here it is, your sanctification, which is that if you're saved you begin to act like you're saved. That's a simple definition of sanctification, that you should abstain from sexual immorality. Your attention, please. The word sexual immorality in the Greek is porneia. Can you guess what English word we get from porneia? This is God's junk drawer for everything that's not his plan for how we use the gift called sexuality. So we don't have to sit here and go this scenario, this scenario, this scenario, this scenario, we just get to go a man, a woman, marriage bed, one lifetime. Anything that's not that is porneia, and you can choose to walk in that path as a Christian. But let me tell you, you will not experience God's best for your life, his blessing, his good plans for you, his look his good, acceptable, and perfect will for your life will not come as a result of that.

And the Holy Spirit will not stop striving with your heart and working on you and pushing you towards that until you repent and relent so times of refreshment may come. And if you would say, well, there is none of that. There's as I read scripture, there's none of that conviction. There's none that I would say you're probably not a Christian if there's no sense of guilt there's no sense of awareness and desire for God's best for your life. So today should be the day you trust Jesus and then begin to surrender every area of your life that he purchased with his blood on the cross and then gave you his resurrection power and his Holy Spirit to walk in as well.

So the origin of sex, the intention of sex, now, of course, there is the distortion of sex. The distortion of sex comes from the movies and comes from the culture, comes from the idea of the bachelor party. And you can go to the strip clubs, and you can watch this, and you can have these partners. And you can give your heart away time and time again. And none of that really matters because it's just physical. And the culture tells us that you are hungry, so you eat. You're feeling run down, so you take a nap. And you're feeling sexy, so you sex. And it ain't no big deal so long as you're smart and it's safe sex. And the Bible would just say didn't you ever know, no one ever told you that there is not a condom big enough that can fit over your soul? So the message on consequences of turning from God's plan for your sex life isn't just you're going to get an STD, you naughty little sinner, or someone's going to get pregnant. Because there are ways and means to not get pregnant.

And well, you can still get an STD even if you practice safe sex. But that's not even the gist of this whole thing. Because Paul to the Corinthian church, which by the way, Corinth was the sexual capital of the ancient world. And there were 1,000 prostitutes that worked at the temple to the goddess Aphrodite like we talk about chocolate and red wine and oysters being an aphrodisiac. There was literally a temple to the goddess Aphrodite that had 1,000 prostitutes in her employ that would walk down the hill every single night at sunset. And you could go and find one of them and worship. Honey, I'm going to go have my quiet time. And that was just a normal day in Corinth. All right, and so Paul to the Corinthians didn't come in strong, guns blazing on gonorrhea and HPV, and unplanned pregnancies.

What did he say? He said First Corinthians 616 he said there's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as it is physical fact. As it is written in scripture, the two become one. Andy Stanley in his book, The New Rules for Sex Love and Dating, he unpacks this idea of sex being more than physical and involving you on a deeper level with a series of uncomfortable questions, which I'm going to read to you in their entirety. And I want to preface it with this will be hard to hear and yet it's important to ask. If sex is just physical, and it doesn't go any deeper than that, why is rape so much worse than simply being beat up? If sex is just physical, and it doesn't go any deeper than that, why does a child who's been molested continue to bring those things if untreated on in a different way than they would had it been simply being physically abused?

If sex is just physical as we're told every day, why is it that most people's deepest regrets when they speak to a pastor or a counselor or a therapist, and they use the line I've never told anyone this before, but I need to get this off my chest, what almost inevitably follows is something sexual. Friends, we know from our own painful experience that sex goes deeper than just our bodies. And we can rise up from the act and wipe our mouth getting all traces of our lunch off of our face and go on and say next. But deep down, we know that the odometer on our soul keeps track of these things that we've done because sex was given to bind us together. And when we choose to use it in a way unlike how God intended for it to be used, what does it do?

Well, it leads to the repercussions of sex. There's a distortion. It's just physical, but fourth point, there are repercussions. There are consequences. There are shockwaves. There's collateral damage that we feel and with time that we will become increasingly aware of. What does that mean? Well, Ephesians 419 puts it this way that giving yourself over to all sensuality, you can eventually lose all sensitivity, Ephesians Chapter Four Verse 19. "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity and all full of greed".

This is not just something that you read about in the pages of scripture but in the pages of The New York Times where last year an article was run called Dating Is Broken Going Retro Could Fix It. And I was shocked to find Michael Lebowitz in the New York Times advocating what she describes as a return to a modern kind of approach called courtship. And she basically says, and I quote "Almost all Americans have sex before getting married". So let's just stop and acknowledge that right there. Most people do not choose to reserve sex for the marriage bed. So almost all Americans will have sex before getting married. A 2010 study though published in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Family Psychology looked at the relationship between the amount of time a couple waits to have sex and the quality of the subsequent marriage.

Researchers found that if a couple waits until marriage to have sex, they will have less consideration for divorce, higher relationship satisfaction, better communication, superior sex in their love life when compared with couples who began having sex within a month of their first date. She goes on to quote someone from some research organization saying, "One reason couples benefit if they choose to wait before becoming sexually involved is because people tend to make better decisions about dating when they're not physically entangled". Simply put, we are hard wired, I would ask by who, to connect. And don't miss this part. Rapid sexual initiation often leads to poor partner selection. Because all that oxytocin is flooding through, you can find yourself bonding to someone who you then won't see even though everybody else in your life realizes is not the right person for you, but you've bonded to a poor partner. When you misuse sex, it works backward.

I remember one 4th of July, my dad was, he got everyone's attention, all his grandkids' attention. He said, hey kid, check this out this enormous bottle rocket fire Roman candle, Roman candle thing. Those are illegal in the state of New Mexico, Dad. And he had he had obtained this huge Roman candle. And he was about to light it. And I realized just as he was about to, he was facing this thing at his chest. And I, Dad it was like slow motion turn it around and just as the first enormous Harry Potter fireball shot out of this thing that would have shot straight into his chest, right? Sex is powerful no matter what, but when you hold it the wrong way, it shoots in the wrong direction. What was sex given to cure? Loneliness. It is not good for man to be alone.

But interestingly, when you misuse sex, you end up lonelier than ever, which is what you read when you read the New York Post and the article about the sexual dysfunction that's now the reality in New York City where Tinder really first had its enormous wave. And as it goes in New York, so you watch it ring out in the rest of the culture and the country. And you read people saying things like I've sort of worn down on the inside to the idea of actually getting into a relationship where I can commit because they were choosing to use what is meant to be the cherry on top of all the other ways of committing as this only thing, ignoring all the rest of it. And eventually, you can find yourself numb on the inside when you do get to that context and you actually now do want to commit.

CS Lewis unpacked that idea when he said, and I quote. "The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union". And of course, porn works this exact same way as well. You find yourself aroused and stimulated by the first image, provocative image you see. But with time, that doesn't provide the same level of stimulation. And the language has been used arousal addiction that it takes more and more and more intense and more dark and, and down the rabbit hole you go.

And there's plenty to find as the internet is full of it with this Pornhub and OnlyFans and a growing number every day of these sites where you can access more and more and more constantly looking for that and on the horizon in our day, increasingly virtual and VR and robotic sex even in ways to experience what God meant to be a part of the eagle in the air and the snake on the rock and instead is just now another thing to wipe the crumbs off of your beard before going back to work. But the despair that comes as a result of these things, it's like putting two stroke oil in a four stroke engine. It's never going to work if you're not putting in it what it was designed to design to run on, and erectile dysfunction in our day, skyrocketing. In 1999, only 2% to 5% of young men in this country reported it. But now it's as much as 30% in recent years. It's almost impossible for one aging human body that would have had it been the only one you ever saw and experience continue to remain the ship in the sea.

But because now how can one body compete with 20,000 video simulations that you're seeing every single time that dopamine craving gets released inside your brain? One study found that women with multiple sexual partners were 11 times more likely than those who were not experimenting in that way to report depressive symptoms. And this idea of we need to move in together to make sure things are good before we pull the trigger and get married, only one in five cohabitating relationships end in marriage. And those that do end in marriage face increasingly higher rates of divorce than those who do not cohabitate before living together. The point is our cultures and the sin natures preoccupation with sex actually leads to less sex and worse sex than God's plan that seems so restrictive and so prudish, but actually puts bars around and security cameras around to protect something because it's worth having.

So the devil wants your sexual innocence buried under thousands of tons of garbage with you just longing to get back what you treated as common. God wants you to protect the gift that he gave you that you might enjoy and it might be cherished and it might be valuable, the repercussions. I want to end on a hopeful note. And I want to acknowledge just what we're talking about can be a lot to hear and can be met, and I have experienced it met with a lot of I wish I had heard the sooner. And a lot of this explains a lot, and I'm grateful to hear this now. But if I can go back and be 12 again, if I could go back and be 20 again, if I could if I could have heard this, it could have saved me a lot of regret. And I want to tell you that our final point is if we're going to think about sex the way God thinks about it, we need to also think about the restoration of sex, the restoration of sex. Because God, if you know anything about Him, he meets you where you are.

We have a father. No matter how long we spent in the big city with prostitutes and parties and on a high, that when the music stopped and when the cocaine ran out and when there was no more money to pay for the stripper to dance on the table, that he runs to meet us when we come back to our senses and come to Him. And your Father is a great restorer of things that are lost, lost sheep, lost coins, lost daughters, lost sons. He meets you where you're at today. And if you would say this all hurts so much, and it's so hard, and I'm hearing what you're saying, and I'm grateful to have it told to me. I don't want my life in the junk drawer of porno. I want to fight for and walk in God's best friend. But is there any hope for me, me to ever feel again? Is there any hope for me to ever to ever be able to navigate life with all of these images that have been seared into the eyes of my life, which are the window to my soul?

I can see with stunning clarity if I want to, the image is to the first pornographic. I can see the setup of the room I'm in. Because the massive dopamine that came from that illicit desire giving birth to temptation, and sin when it is full grown bringing forth death, it brought nothing but death into my life. But I'm here today grateful for the power of the Holy Spirit that doesn't look at us and go well, you have a big old scarlet A on your chest. But look at a woman as to lust after her in your heart and to do that is adultery, Levi. Well there's no hope for you. I'm telling you something. God has brought redemption in my heart, healed me from addiction to pornography and freed me from living under the crushing weight of shame that's the result of thinking my standing before God comes from what I do for him.

And so I'm here to tell you there is freedom in the name of Jesus. I'm telling you there is freedom from bondage. There's freedom from darkness. And he's not scared of what has been thrown away. He's not scared of what's been discarded. One of my previous books, I talked about a music teacher who went to a community of children who lived in a slum, who lived in a garbage dump. And he taught them to play a beautiful symphony from musical instruments that were forged out of the trash. And the music, and the song that came from this garbage dump has now elevated these kids, and they've got to travel the world playing music on instruments that have been thrown away. Hosea Chapter Two verse 15 and any of you who know anything about the Bible, you know Hosea is gnarly with a capital G. It's a prostitute, married to this pastor who he loves and and accepts and marries, but she chooses to leave him and play the harlot again and ends up in a situation of a sexual bondage and literally of being trafficked, which by the way, whenever we turn from God's plans for sexuality, women suffer first and suffer most. Children suffer next and suffer grievously. But men are not off the hook, either. We suffer as well when we turn from God's plans.

So here she is in the situation. God tells Josiah to go and buy her back and to purchase her and to love her and to forgive her. So the whole book is about God's treatment of the prodigal son and daughter who knew better. And I love the phrase that is used in chapter two verse 15 when he says, "I will give her," speaking to his people, bigger than just this one story, "vineyards from there". Fruit, life, vitality, the life can become like a fruitful vine in the heart of the home, the children are like all the plants all around the table. So shall the man be blessed who fears God. And the Valley of Achor, do you know what happened at Achor? Someone took something God told him not to touch. And as a result, he forfeited what God wanted him to have, and his family suffered as a result. But God says, I'll make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there, she shall sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

What is this if not the promise of restoration, of a God who makes all things new? Why is it that the Corinth and Thessalonica, two cities an ancient world that had perhaps the most perverted forms of sexuality, where a man would have a girlfriend, a wife, and a lover, three people were God intended that to be met in one person, for you to be my best friend, for you to be my lover, for you to be the one that I would bring children into this world with so confused sexually. And to those two churches, he explained the plans for sex the clearest, but he also tethered it to more truth about the Resurrection than almost anywhere else in the New Testament. First Corinthians 15 is the passage. We turn to drive into Lynda's viewing when we are shaken so hard we can hardly walk to the doors of that funeral home. We wanted First Corinthians, why? Because resurrection's in that book, the same book that tells us how to approach sexuality as more than skin, why? I think it's because when we get to this topic, we look, and we go look, here's what my heart's really like, broken, shattered, numb, addicted.

How could it possibly live again, God? He says resurrection. Impossible, yeah, it was until Jesus rose. Your resurrection, impossible, yes, until you will rise as well. So he always wants you to remember in his hands, dead things can live. And if you fall in today, you can get back up. And God can continue to work in your heart and continue to bring freedom into your life. I want to close with a story that captivated my attention when I read it. Diane Gordon, 65 years old, she works three miles away from where she lived. She had no vehicle, lives in Michigan, cold weather, three mile walk to work, three miles back home, 65 years old, so clearly dependent on this job to survive that she's willing to walk six miles per day to get to this job. One day coming home from work, she stops at a gas station to buy a snack. In the parking lot walking in, she tripped over a shopping bag, garbage. She picked it up, inside $14,780. She pulls out her phone and calls the police. Just found a ton of money, this is life changing money for her a situation.

A lot of people would say thank you Jesus. I've been seen. My prayers have been heard. She called the police, and said this is not mine. I found it I'll wait here till you come. The officer who came, Officer Connell was amazed by her honesty. But she said, it's not mine. Can you find out who it was? Well, they opened all the money up. They find the bottom is a card. It's a congratulations on your marriage card and has these two first names. So some googling is done. They find out this young couple got married that day.

And this is all of their wedding presents, all of the money the friends and family around them have come to say we support you stepping into this new season together. And they were able to get it back because of Diane's honesty. The officer comes home from work. His wife says, what did you do, he tells her that you're not going to believe what happened. His wife is a woman named Stacy. And Stacy is so blown away and so touched, he said what did you do for that woman? He goes, well, I couldn't do anything for her. Did she get a finder's fee? I don't think so. So Stacy gets on the internet and starts a GoFundMe page, and said here's this honest woman. She's walking three miles from work. She gives this money back. And would you believe that $65,000 pours in a fund to buy Diane a vehicle, which she bought a brand new Jeep Compass. And when interviewed about what she's going to do with this car driving to work, she said, I'm just so excited.

Now, I'll be able to drive all the other gals home from work who don't have a way to drive as well. And I'm going to drive away. And I was just struck thinking about how beautiful it is when we give things back to the owner, when we give things back to the owner. Sex isn't yours. Sexuality is not mine, it's God's. You are not your own. You were bought at a price. Oh I, what part of yours is yourself is you? What part of yourself do you own? Did you make kidneys in the garage? Are you a self-made man? Your next breath comes from God, and your heart beats at his pleasure. And when you die, you will stand before him to receive judgment for what you did in the body. So let's not keep for ourselves what we think is ours. Let's give it back to the owner. And we will find like Diane found and like Jesus said that it's more blessed to give than to receive.

And so, Father, we humble ourselves before you. We live in a culture much like Corinth, much like Thessalonica for which the phallus is very much still a religious symbol, the Playboy bunny. We easily find our identity in these things that were meant to be tools to worship you with. Adam and Eve worshiped as they knew each other and were naked and not ashamed. But we pervert the order. We worship a thing we were given to worship you with when we turn sex into an idol. So Heaven hear us saying we're sorry. We repent, we turn from these things. With the power of the Resurrection and your Holy Spirit working, we want to sing and see a vineyard spring up as the Valley of Achor in our hearts becomes a door of hope.

If I'm speaking, as eyes are closed and are bowed all across our church and online, and you would say this message touched me, and I want to respond to God. Right now in my situation, let me just ask you to raise the hand up. You're a young man or young woman saying I want to fight for God's plans for me. You lived a little. You say from this day forward, I want to turn my heart over to God's plans. If that's who I'm describing, and you want to honor God in your use of the gift of sex, if you're in a marriage, you can say I want in my marriage now to begin to honor God in a different way.

Father, thank you for these raising their hands up for the honesty, for the commitment, for the strength it takes to acknowledge our need for your touch, not just the functional forgiveness, but the healing that comes from our vulnerability towards you and to each other. You can put your hands down. Lord, we now ask for anybody who's come today who has not said yes to Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins, eternal life through the cross. All of these things, we do to honor you as Christians. None of them are how we become your children. But if we believe in you and receive that gift that we can't earn, you said that we will not perish but have eternal life. So we ask for that today, for salvation to rise up in the name of Jesus.

If you're listening all across our church, online podcast, and you've not trusted Christ, listen to me. You are in grave danger. The wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness. If you're disconnected from your father and your heart, to die is to perish eternally in a place called Hell. That's not God's desire for any one of us. And that's why Christ died the bloody cruel death that he did on the cross to pay for our sins. And as he rose, he conquered the grave. And he stands ready to save you. But you must yield. You must repent. You must turn to him in faith. And it's his spirit tugging at your heart that many of you, you feel almost like your heart's beating out of your chest for just such a moment.

The Bible would say today is the day of salvation. Can you be saved tomorrow? I don't know if you'll be alive tomorrow, but I know you can today if you trust Jesus. So this moment, let it be yours. Say this prayer with me if you're ready to turn your life to Jesus. God'll hear you right there where you are in Jakarta. God'll see you speaking your faith out to Him in Cincinnati, San Diego, Polson. Trust Jesus today. Say this with me. Church, say it with us:

Dear God I know I'm a sinner. I can't fix myself, but I believe you can. Please come into my heart. Make it your home I trust you in Jesus' name.

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