The Big Idea: A husband needs to be loved physically so he can love emotionally, and a wife needs to be loved emotionally so she can love physically.
As a man, is there anything you daydream about more than sex? Probably not. So why did God make us this way? Why do we even want sex, and why are there boundaries for it? Also, how do we as men differ from women? Join us as we transition from “phony” to “holy” sex by answering these questions from God’s Word. Plus I’m going to teach you how to be a great lover!
Sex and the Man in the Mirror
Good morning, men. As we begin, we are going to do a shout out. It’s the same one we did a couple weeks ago and I realized they’re not going to see that online until a year from now because it was the Christmas message. We do everything else on a two week delay online but we do the Christmas message on a one year delay. Make sense if you think about it. Here’s the shout out to Kingdom Knights from the … Is that Nash Road? Yeah, Nash Road Free Methodist Church in North Tonawanda, New York. Five men. They’ve been meeting for three years at the Jim, James Moir’s house at 7:00 PM and we are looking for a field rep up there. I wonder if you would join me in giving these men a very rousing and warm Man in the Mirror welcome this morning. One, two, three. Hoorah.
Welcome, guys. We’re glad to have you with us. Also wanted to mention we need a few table leaders here. Three table leaders here at the Friday morning Bible study. If you are interested in exploring that, we are having a leaders retreat. We have an annual leaders retreat, half a day at our offices on Saturday the thirtieth of January, a couple weeks, I guess. If you would be interested in exploring becoming a table leader, you can’t self-select yourselves. It’s kind of a mutual thing. But if you would like to explore if this is God’s will for your life to lead a table and you’d like more information, we’d like to invite you to be a guest at the table leader meeting. In fact, you could be a guest there even if you didn’t want to be a table leader. If you’re interested in that, you can see me, you can see Jim Angelakos, or you can send an email to the address at the bottom of the handouts. There’s that.
We are in this series, Sex and the Man in the Mirror. Three week series. We’re going to be doing a number of these three week series on practical topics: sex, work, marriage, family, money, so forth. This is the second message. Last week, we talked about phony sex. This week, we’re going to talk about holy sex, holy sex. Sex is a good and a beautiful thing. It’s also very useful. You wouldn’t be here without it. Personally, I’ve been thinking about sex all week long and it’s been a great week. I told my wife last night, I said, “I spend so much time working on this sex message,” I said, “I’m getting a little horny.” She said, “You’re always horny.”
First up, why is that we want to have sex? Why do we want to have sex? Notice I put in the word want as opposed to the word need. Want sex, need sex. Hey, potato potato. I just think that’s a silly argument to have. If you look on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, sometimes when people are trying to feather out the meanings of the different levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and in explaining, sometimes they’ll include sex at the physiological level, sometimes they’ll put it up two levels at the belonging and love level. Whatever the case, I’m using the word want here this morning.
We all know that we want or need sex because it is part of God’s design. It part of God’s purpose for mankind. You have a bolt and it’s called the male part and you have a nut that you thread onto the bolt and you call that the female part. God made this male and this female design for several reasons. Number one, for procreation, to populate and to reproduce ourselves. Then, secondly, of course, he made it for a married couple, married male and female, you have say now, married couple to enjoy physical and emotional and spiritual intimacy with each other.
It’s interesting, this morning, literally this morning, Barna has come out with a new study on sex, how Christians view sex. One of the other views is that sex is for two people to connect with each other and enjoy pleasure. That would not be the Christian view, but nevertheless, that’s very prevalent. It’s interesting too that in the Bible … You might go ahead and start turning if you want to to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verse 3. 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verse 3. It’s quite interesting. There’s so much talk in the Bible about sexual immorality. It leads you to the conclusion that, “Hey, wow. There must have been a lot of sexual immorality during the era in which the Bible was actually written.” That’s relevant to us, I suppose, because it seems that there probably is a lot of that going on now as well.
The point of all this is that because God has this purpose, he has given us a mating instinct. You see sexual competition in the animal kingdom. There’s actually sexual competition in the world as well. You have these wombs and you have these men competing for these wombs. It’s interesting. There’s quite a bit of research on all of this from a psychological and a secular social sciences perspective. God is the one who’s given us this mating instinct and it’s a powerful driver of our behavior. In fact, I can’t think of any driver of behavior for men that’s more powerful than sex. While it’s not talked about a lot, it’s well known in research that men spend an immense amount of time daydreaming about sex during the week. In fact, it’s probable that for most of us, most of us spend most of our time daydreaming about sex. We have sex dreams, we have fantasies, some of us, some of us are engaged in inappropriate sexual thinking and so forth. I want to help give you the boundaries for some of that this morning as well. Sex is good. Sex is good.
Every, Augustine said this, that every bad is simply a corruption of something good. The Bible says that everything that God made is good. Everything God made is good. Sex is good. Sex is beautiful. We want to talk about this today.
Male sex, though, is very different than female sex. Male sex is driven by testosterone. Men in sex are aggressive. For men, sex is an event. You’ll be sure to call Bill about closing that deal, pick up some milk on the way home, have sex. It’s an event. But for a woman, sex is a relationship. It’s not about checking something off, putting a tick on your to-do list. For her, sex is the result of many small kindnesses, interactions, emotional connections that take place during the week that leads her to want to open up her heart to her husband and give herself physically to her husband as a result of having her emotional tank or her emotional bank filled up. There’s a difference between male and female sex in this way. Men, I can say, it’s an event. You’ve heard it said that women need a reason, men need a place. You’ve heard this, right? Men, your women need a reason. Men need a place. You’ve all heard that, right? Yeah. It’s a great way to sum up what I’m trying to say here.
Women, a wife is aroused by emotional intimacy. In fact, her greatest need is for intimacy with her husband. Your greatest need is for significance. I want to change the world. I want to make something. I want to be somebody. I want to do something. I want to leave the world a better place. Women want to do that too and you want emotional intimacy too, but as a main driver, a man’s greatest need is significance. A woman’s greatest need is for intimacy. She is sexual desire, aroused in a very different way. We have sexual desire, aroused, almost anything will arouse us. We’re primarily aroused visually.
When we see a pretty woman or we see a picture of a beautiful woman or a TV thing or whatever it is that we find, that the laws of attraction go into effect. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen for women too, but the laws of attraction go in affect. We are aroused very quickly in a visual way. Women, not so much. Women, I’m not saying that a good looking man doesn’t tempt perhaps a woman to … I shouldn’t even say tempt being attracted to someone is not a temptation. Being attracted to someone is not a temptation, it’s what you do with the attraction that becomes the problem. It’s good to be attracted to people because there’s also not sexual loving between genders.
The point of all this is it could be sight, it could be a perfume, it could be a physical touch, brushing up against somebody. Clothing is a huge issue now, as you know. You know, it’s sad that clothing now leaves little to the imagination. I would like to take contest with that. I think what it does is it stimulates even more imagination. I think that’s what’s really going on with women’s clothing. With everybody running around with pants so tight you can imagine everything that you couldn’t imagine before. How is that taking away imagination? To me, that’s promoting imagination. Clothing is a big part of it. The reason that we want to have sex is because we have this building desire and until we know the boundaries that God has for sex, it just spills over in every direction.
Because it is for a man, an event, and for a woman, a relationship, this is going to be the big idea morning. I’m going to leave it on the screen for a good while because it’s fairly long for you to write down. This is the big idea for the day. A husband needs to be loved physically so that he can love his wife emotionally. A man needs to be loved physically so that he can love his wife emotionally and a wife needs to be loved emotionally so she can love her husband physically. You have these two kinds of things going on.
In the Bible, there are three kinds of love that are mentioned. One is agape love. Agape love is moral love. We love other people because it’s the moral or the right, correct thing to do. Love your neighbor and so forth. Love your wife, love your children. There is agape love which is moral love. The second kind of love is phileo love. That is emotional love. It’s brotherly love. Philadelphia, city of brotherly love. Phileo, P-H-I-L-E-O. Phileo love is to love emotionally. This is the primary driver for our wives. The third kind of love in the Bible is eros, E-R-O-S. This is physical love. This is the primary driver for the male mind. It doesn’t say, I’m not saying that men don’t want to have phileo and agape, but I am saying that we’re driven by this gender difference that leads us to think of sex as kind of being an event, if we were interested in the physical as the principle part of it. We end up with this thing going on between phileo and eros that this husband needs to be loved physically in order for him to be released to love his wife emotionally. Then, the wife, she needs to be loved emotionally. Again, all these little kindnesses and so forth and courtesies that are extended and conversation through the week that opens her heart up so that she can give herself physically to her husband. That’s the big idea.
Now, let’s take a look at the … Why are there boundaries for sex? 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verse 3. “It is God’s will that you should be holy. It is God’s will that you should be holy, that you should avoid sexual immorality.” The Bible does say that there need to be these boundaries. We know that basically the boundary is, cutting everything right down to the chase, it’s monogamous marriage between a man and a woman. The reason that there’s so much emphasis put on avoiding sexual immorality is that sex works very well for its intended purpose, which is making babies. It also works very well for its intended purpose, creating intimacy between a couple.
Brian lives in Ohio and he’s been working with one of our area directors there. Brian has been married for twelve years. The first few years of his marriage, they were spent on the mission field. Then he came back and became an apprentice journeyman and they have four children and they have been able to buy a home. It gets cold in Ohio. He wanted to build a gym in his garage, which he did, but it was very cold in the winters. He decided that he would buy a gym membership for the winters. Well, he met a friend at the gym and started working out with her and as you might expect, one thing lead to another and they became very attached, got involved with each other. Brian, a Christian, was planning to divorce his wife so that he could marry this woman.
That’s when he came to one of our Success That Matters seminars and God, Bam, hit him right between the eyes. It was amazing. He realized, he said, “What in the world am I thinking? I’m going crazy.” He said, “I had no idea. I had no idea the havoc and the destruction that I was about to set in force. I wasn’t thinking. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I wasn’t thinking about that.” He made a significant re-commitment of his life to Jesus at this event. Then, he confessed what he had been doing to his wife and then he had confessed eventually to his wife’s family as well. He got involved in one of the small groups that we set up after these events and he’s walking with these men who are walking with him and working to help restore him. I just would like to make sure I say this exactly right. I don’t usually read the comments like this. Here’s what he said.
Last fall, with our area director Dr. Clark Miller, they met in Clark’s back yard and then he read to his wife a letter than he had written and repented and confessed and so forth. Then, they buried this. They had this funeral service and they buried the letter in the compost file and made a re-commitment of their vows. Isn’t that so interesting? What I wanted to read you, look at there, blank sheets of paper.
It went something like this. Even after all that, he said, “But I have a hard time getting her out of my mind. I still have a hard time getting her out of my mind. That’s why I need to stick close to these brothers that God has put in my life.” Isn’t that interesting? Yeah. Very interesting. That’s why we need the boundaries around our marriage because to be holy is to not be sexually immoral.
Let’s just read the rest of that passage. “That each of you should learn to control his body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen who do not know God and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him,” like the husband of this other woman that Brian was involved with. “The Lord will punish men for all such sins as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure but to live a holy life.” God calls us to live a holy life.
Why does this matter so much? Turn with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verse 12. 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verse 12. Why does this matter so much? Why is sexual sin considered by God to be so much different than the other kinds of sin? 1 Corinthians chapter 6. I said verse 12, it’s verses 12 to 20 but I want to just read to you a few sentences. In verse 13, the second half, it says this, “The body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord.” Our bodies are meant for the Lord, not sexual immorality. Down to verse 15, it says, “Do you not know that your bodies are members Christ himself?” Your bodies are members of Christ himself. That’s a mystery. That’s a mystery. That’s not, obviously, a physical thing. There is a deep mystery in that. Verse 17, “But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” That’s the mystery. Then, in verse 18, it says to flee from sexual immorality but it says this, “All other sins a man commits are outside his body. But he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” Then, it goes on to say that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
The reason that sexual sin is such a big deal, why it matters so much, is just because it’s unlike all other sins. All the other sins are out there, but when we sin sexually, it’s against our own body. There’s some other things in that text too about uniting with a woman and becoming one flesh and all that. You can look at that.
What are God’s plans? What are the boundaries? Let’s look at Proverbs chapter 5 verse 15. Proverbs chapter 5 verse 15. If you’re not one of these guys that can just wiz around the Bible, then just listen. Proverbs chapter 5 verse 15 says, “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares …” Okay. Poetry so far, but this, “Let them be yours alone never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer. May her breasts always satisfy you.” Don’t you love that? “May you ever be captivated by her love.” There’s more there to read if you want to later.
The boundary is monogamous sex in a marriage between a man and a woman. Keep your fountains to yourself. I think you can kind of picture what all that might mean. It’s pretty explicit that you have this one woman’s breasts that are supposed to satisfy you. It’s the Job covenant. Job made this covenant that he did not want to lust with his eyes and look on a young woman. He just made a covenant with his eyes. I think that’s the way out of this fix.
Sex is really not a problem until it’s decoupled from God’s plan. Turn with me back to 1 Corinthians chapter 7. 1 Corinthians chapter 7. While you’re doing that, boundaries create freedom. This is Whiteside Mountain in Cashiers North Carolina. Some of you have probably been there. Any of you actually been there? Number of you have been there. It’s a 700 feet sheer drop down from the top. Then, Brian, if you can just go ahead and show this little 25 second video, just to create a little bit more drama so you can feel what it’s like. That’s wind. Those men are climbing up the mountain. I guess repelling up the mountain. Good luck. Then, you can see the sheer cliff at the top. Is that amazing?
Now, we have been there as a family many times. When my children were that tall and that tall, I let them play right at the edge of the top of this cliff of the mountain. I did, literally. I’m not kidding around here. I literally let them play right up at the edge of the top of that mountain. You want to know why I let them play right at the edge of the mountain? Here’s why. That fence right there is why. See that fence at the bottom? That guy at the top right, you can stand right on the edge of the cliff because the boundary has such a clear definition. There’s absolutely no mistaking where the boundary is. The more clear the boundaries, the greater the freedom. The Bible gives us incredibly clear boundaries.
1 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 1, “Now for the matters you wrote about,” just think about that. They’ve written Paul. They wanted to know where the boundaries were. These Corinthians wanted to know where are the sexual boundaries. “Now for the matters you wrote about, these boundaries, it is good for a man not to marry, but since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own woman and each woman her own husband.” There was a lot of immorality. He says it right there. “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In this same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sex, physical intimacy, emotional and physical intimacy, except by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.”
Hey, look. In the course of your lifetime, there will be times where one of you is so sad, so depressed you just don’t have sexual desire. It’s okay. It’s okay. You don’t have to have some kind of a schedule, a calendar up on your mirror with the dates you’re supposed to have sex on it. There are seasons in which you may not have the desire. Listen, if your spouse doesn’t have that desire, even if it’s for a year, who cares? The point of this is that you can love her emotionally and you can be there for her. You can make a sacrifice for her. Then, of course, this can’t go on forever. That’s what he’s talking about, not depriving except for a time.
“Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self control.” Because we have this physiological need, want, whatever you call it, and this desire to have sex and that grows as time goes on. There’s also a principle too though that that if you don’t have sex, your sexual desire goes down. Sexual activity actually increases the amount of sexual activity that you want to have. I think that’s built in. I can’t say this because it’s not in the Bible for sure, but I think God builds that into the system and that’s why people can be single because their sexual desire has been subdued so that they don’t burn with lust. He’s saying here, for the married couple, come back together so you won’t burn.
“I say this as a concession, not a command. I wish all men were as I am, single, but each man has his own gift from God. One this, another that. Now, to the unmarried man and to widows,” these are the people that are not in a marriage, “it’s good to stay unmarried as I am, but if you can’t control yourself, then marry for it’s better to marry than burn with passion.” I remember so well a friend of mine went through a very messy divorce and he was running around. He was sleeping with women, Christian guy. We were talking about it and finally, we decided he really needed to get married. He just needed to get married because he was burning with sexual desire. He was just burning with sexual desire. He couldn’t control it so he did. He got married. He had other problems.
What you see in all of this is that God does not put limits on sex. What God puts limits on is sexual immorality. God does not put limits on sex. He puts limits on sexual immorality. When we do love and sexual intimacy, the way that God designed us to do it, things work out. Here’s how it works out by doing it this way. By the husband, loving his wife emotionally so that she can love him physically and the wife loving her husband physically so that he can love her emotionally. It kind of releases, this is the way we release intimacy in each other through sex.
Then, the final thing, how to be a great lover. How many great lovers do we have in the room this morning? Raise your hand if you are already a great lover. We have about six men there. I feel like we probably need to have a special session on this then. Here it is. Here it is. This is how you can be a great lover. We already said that for men, it’s an event, for women, it’s a relationship. For men, if you understand this, this will be a great help. For men, sex is raw, it’s sudden, it’s fast, it’s over. That’s what it’s like for a man. Again, an item on his to-do list to be checked off. For her, for the woman, it’s this relationship, it’s the result of having all of these little kindnesses extended to her, compliments, conversations, thanking her for preparing a beautiful meal, all of these things that open her heart up emotionally to give herself physically to you, the husband.
The husband, his tendency, he gets home from work, “Honey, let’s make love and then we’ll talk about it.” She says, “No, no, no, no, no. Let’s drink deeply of each other and let’s have these meaningful conversations and let’s really get to know each other and then let’s make love to celebrate.” If you can understand that, you will learn how to be a great lover.
Now, the big idea today is what? It’s this. It’s that a husband needs to be loved physically so that he can love his wife emotionally and a wife needs to love her husband physically so that … A wife needs to be loved emotionally so that she can love physically. It’s a dialectic, you see. It’s a dialectic. How do you be a great lover? Here it is. Here it is. Here it is. Who gives in? Who gives in? Who makes the first move? You make the first move. Why? Because you want sex. No, no, no. You make the first move because you are the spiritual leader of your home. There it is. There it is.
Our dearest Father, Lord, we come humbly to you today. Sex is good and sex is beautiful and very useful for all of your purposes. It’s something that too much time is spent probably, Christians talk about all the negatives and the bad things that have happened to this great good. This morning, Lord, we’re focusing on the goodness of sex, holy sex, and how to have that. Lord, I just pray that this would be a liberating message for some of the men here and online who want to give you glory in having intimacy with our spouses and we want to give you glory in reserving our intimacy for our spouses. We make our prayer in your loving name, Jesus. Amen.