The Gospel For Sexual Sinners (Live)Nov 30, 2020
Excerpted from Redeemed Sexuality: 12 Sessions For Healing and Transformation in Community (p. 54-55), by Andrew A. Boa (InterVarsity Press, 2017)
We're talking about the gospel, the good news, what it is and how it applies to our sexuality. Not only our own sexual sin, but also the same that has been done to us. If you've been following along with Husband Material, you know, that matters a lot and we talk about both. I'm so passionate about our topic tonight. Tonight, we are talking about the gospel, the good news, the melt-in-your-mouth good news. What is the gospel? I want to read a little excerpt from my book, Redeem Sexuality. Talks about this; When we are sexually tempted, the gospel gives us God's power. When we are sexually ashamed, the gospel gives us God's pardon? It tells us the double truth that though we may be great sinners, Christ is a greater savior. While the lies from the enemy, focus our attention on what we are doing or not doing, the gospel focuses our attention on who Jesus is and who we are because of what he did for us. So I know there's some disagreement about what exactly is the gospel. I'm just taking that simple definition who Jesus is and who we are because of what he did for us. And specifically, because whether we're dealing with sexual temptation to use pornography, to act out or sexual accusation in the aftermath of using porn and sexually acting out what we need is not more encouragement to do better next time. But the truth, the truth about who Jesus is and who we are because of what he did for us. In Romans, it says the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. That word salvation is the exact same word in the new Testament as healing. Gospel is the power of God for healing. I like to think that there's not more than the gospel, just more of the gospel. And when we truly experience it, when it sinks deeply into our bones, it transforms every part of us.
So tonight, we're talking about how this good news intersects with our specific struggles, with this area of discipleship, where we are all becoming more like Jesus, sexuality. I want to talk about creation, corruption, incarnation, and consummation. Starting out with creation. By the way, this is important because a lot of times, people who are trying to help each other get free from porn, start with sinfulness. They start with brokenness, but that's not where the gospel begins. It begins with creation. It begins with goodness. It begins with God making us in his image. How? Male and female. In Genesis chapter one, the first chapter of the Bible, sexuality takes center stage. And in some ways it also is a part of the very first command of the Bible, where he says, be fruitful and multiply. Basically guys, go have sex. That's the first thing God says in the whole Bible. Isn't that awesome? The goodness beauty, power, strength of sexuality, that's where the Bible starts. And that's where I want to start. And we've talked about this in another episode called Bless The Boy Within You. The point is this, we have so much more than original sin to talk about. We need to talk about our original blessing that each of us has created in the image of God. And there is nothing so harmful and hateful that we can do to erase that image. Even the deepest, darkest parts of us have something of light in them that there is a divine desire that we are all implanted with, which we are often promised that it will be fulfilled by pornography. So if some of you guys are in Husband Material Academy, you might know a little bit about your divine desire. And I want to start off with a question here, what is one device and desire that you have, which porn promises to meet and in the end fails to deliver? Could be the desire to be accepted, included, the desire to be powerful, desire to be wanted, to be known, to be noticed, to be loved.
I'm going to wait, what is one divine desire you have? Because here's what I want to say about this. It was created by God. So often we curse our sexuality because we struggle with pornography, not realizing that it's often our original blessing, the desire beneath the behavior, which is actually good. It's actually created by God. It's actually Holy. It's actually sacred. So, I'm seeing some divine desires here. Belonging, to be wanted, to be accepted, absolutely, to be intimate, to be safe. A lot of times our specific porn fantasies symbolize safety. To be a real man. To be in power or you might even say to not be powerless. To have agency. I mean, we are created to want these things. We are designed for them and the gospel begins with creation. First of all, I just want to go back and say some of the other divine desires that I'm seeing. The desire to be known, the desire to be affirmed. Absolutely. And our problem is not that we have these desires. The problem is that we're pursuing them in a way that doesn't work and makes a mess. Speaking of the darkness, the gospel also speaks of corruption, that this created original blessing that we have has been corrupted. And in fact, everything, every part of creation has been corrupted. And here's what this means for us. In our context, we are all sexually broken. There are not some of us who are sexually pure and some of us who are impure, we're all broken and we're all healing. We're healing from our individual sins. We're healing from the sins of our families. We're healing from the sin of our culture, the pornographic age that we live in. And so this truth about how we're all corrupt, that can be used to make us feel really horrible about ourselves. I think that if you are believing that porn is completely your fault, you actually have too small view of the corruption. You think it's just about, you? No, it's so much bigger. This is about corruption in your parents. This is about corruption with your peers. This is about corruption at our schools, at our churches, in our country, in our world. All of that corruption is part of the fall, is part of the brokenness. And here's one of the other beautiful things. Something can't be corrupted unless it's inherently good. Something can't be broken unless it has value and goodness to begin with. So in fact, our very sexual brokenness and corruption is evidence that we are indeed not fundamentally sinful. We are sinful in nature, but not sinful by nature. And there is coming a day when it will be impossible to sin.
We're talking about corruption here. We're talking about healing. So here's my question for you now. What are you healing from? You could be talking about your individual sin. The sin of your family that you grew up in. You could be talking about the sin of the other kids at school who bullied you. What are you healing from? What is the brokenness where you need the gospel. Abandonment, inmeshment, abuse, neglect, betrayal, powerlessness, healing from shame, feeling from fear, healing from rejection by peers and family, me too. Healing from being adopted and never belonging. That's a big one. And our identity in Christ, our adoption through God the father's family speaks directly to that and we will get to that very soon. Healing from a fear of failure, healing from always being afraid. This healing from fear is interesting because actually it's not fear, which is our problem necessarily, fear can actually help us. Sometimes we need caution and inhibition and anxiety is alerting us. It's giving us the message that our brain perceives a situation that's unsafe. So in fact, healing from fear means healing from harm because likely at one time you were harmed, the world was not safe. And that fear was very real. The fear sticks with us and as we get older, it doesn't grow up. I just interviewed somebody on Husband Material who said that emotions don't age. It's not necessarily fear that needs healing, it's the eight year old fear. It's the three-year-old fear that needs the love of God.
So guys, here's another one. Healing from being good enough. I think what you mean to say is healing from inadequacy, healing from being perceived as not good enough, healing from shame. Absolutely. The gospel begins with creation. It continues into corruption, which is actually evidence of the goodness of creation. And then here's such a big surprise in the gospel. This God who created sexuality as this divine engine for intimacy within us actually became sexual in Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, God the son, took on human flesh. He took on a human penis and testicles and not only experienced what it's like to be a sexual person to be a single person, no less, but to suffer, to suffer in his body, in his sexuality. And in this, we have such a fantastic and endless resource for our sexual brokenness because we have a high priest. As the book of Hebrew says who can sympathize with our weaknesses, who is tempted in every way yet without sin. It says that because he suffered, he's able to help us when we're attempted. He's been there. He even endured what I would call sexual abuse on the cross. In the paintings we see of Jesus on the cross, they have the decency to put a loincloth on him, but Roman crucifixions stripped a person naked. He was physically and sexually abused. When we were talking about the incarnation, who is Jesus to you? How would you describe him? This incarnate God. Craig says my encourager. Carrie says, my brother who understands me. Kurt says, master, friend, sanctuary. Michael says just pure forgiveness. Larry says, God. Scott says our friend, Craig says, he lifts me up. Jason says, Jesus is love. Marcus says, I used to know him as the guy to run to when I really screwed up to make things better with me and God but now he's my brother who helps me through all that life's brings me love that. He's our older brother. He's the one who can help us out grow porn. Amen. When we're struggling with sexual sin and brokenness, a lot of times, we imagine God to be different than Jesus. The good news of the gospel is that there is no God who is unlike Jesus. Any expression on God's face different than Jesus is an illusion. I'll tell you who he is to me. He's my healer, savior. In the Bible, those two concepts are connected linguistically. Healer equals savior, savior equals healer. There's no distinction between eternal salvation and healing a sick person. It's the same thing. Scott says our advocate. Yes. Okay. I'm going to get a Bible verse on that 1 John 2:1. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin, but if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous one. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world. Wow! Isn't that what we just talked about? Not only for our individual sins, but for the sins of the whole world, our advocate, Jesus Christ, the righteous one. Todd says compassionate, gracious kind and gentle. That's who Jesus is. Amen. You know, when he encountered sexually sinful and broken people in the gospels, how does he respond to them? How did he react to them? He always came closer. He always connected. Always with compassion, always with tenderness, never raised his voice or told them to toughen up. He saved his confrontation and his aggression for the people who thought they were righteous. He says, it's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. He's our doctor. He's our great physician. And if we're struggling with porn guys, we need heart surgery. And he is such a delicate surgeon. Victor says, Jesus is an escape. Amen. Porn has functioned as an escape for us. How much greater to have Jesus as our refuge, our safe place, our escape. Paulo says he is the answer. Amen. You know, when Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, what is truth? He didn't say anything as if to imply, I am. You're looking at him. Michael says, I had this thought the other day that Jesus is just like me, flesh, who I can touch, talk to and be with. One day, I will see him and be blown away. Absolutely. That's the incarnation that Jesus is just like us. He became just like us yet without sin so that we can become like him. One of the church fathers, Erin Hayes wrote that, he became like us so that we can become like him. That's the good news of the incarnation. Do you guys see how the gospel is so much more than just the cross? Even more than just the cross and resurrection? The incarnation is a really important part that we need to get. If we're going to get past this performance-based Christianity and more into this presence based Christianity. God with us Emmanuel. That's the incarnation. Myles says my beloved brother. And in fact, here's my favorite verse of the Bible. This is the reason why I always say at the end of an episode, you are God's beloved son. In you, He is well-pleased. It's John 15:9 where Jesus says, as the father has loved me, so have I loved you. Did anybody else hear that? How has the father loved Jesus? Eternally, infinitely, indescribably. That's how we are loved by God. Wow. How has the father loved Jesus? The voice came from heaven saying this is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased. He's loved me like that. Yeah. That's why we always say you are God's beloved son, In you, He is well pleased because whatever is true about Jesus, whatever belongs to Jesus is now ours through the gospel.
Romans 8, which by the way is like a gospel motherload says this in verse 32. He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also along with him, graciously, give us all things. So apparently by giving Jesus up for us all, God has done this great exchange where now we not only get Him. He is the greatest gift, the gift of himself. We also get all things thrown in. Unbelievable, all those things that we've desired. Acceptance, love, safety, belonging. It's all included. It's an all in one package. And the centerpiece is our savior, Jesus. Wow, unbelievable. So why am I saying that now? Because miles said, Jesus is my beloved brother and we share in his inheritance, you know, what's something cool about an inheritance. You can't do anything to earn it or to unearn it. It's just a complete gift. When the Bible talks about this concept of inheritance, it's saying, hey, you have something as a birthright, as a result of being in this family with God as your father and Jesus as your brother. And it's everything. It's the universe. Wow. Now we were made to steward that universe and, and to reign with God, not in the sense of trying to replace God, but in representing him accurately. And you know, that's the language of Sonship that we have in the Bible. A son is in many ways, a representative of the father. D.A. Carson asks this question, for us, how many of you do the same thing for your job that your father did for his job? These days? Not many of us. Back in biblical times, like 90% plus of the people would have been doing the same thing that their father does. And that's part of our status, that's part of our calling as beloved sons is to do the same things that Jesus did. That the Father did. And in the Husband Material Academy, we go really deep and do those same things with our younger selves. Bring love, compassion, healing, forgiveness, hope, strength, beauty, courage to the boy within us who love. Brandon says Jesus is the only person I can trust entirely and rely on entirely. Amen. Which gives us a foundation to be able to take risks and reach out to others in safe, wise ways, because we have them as well, the foundation. And if I'm feeling especially clingy or fragile with people, it's often because not trusting entirely in relying on Jesus. So the gospel is not a replacement for relationship. It actually gives us a stable secure foundation that we have as a resource for relationships. For me, the best way to talk about the cross and how it deals with our sexual sin is to recite a rap. I bet you've never heard me rap before. Tonight you'll hear me rap with my deep voice. There's a song called the cross by Shai Linne and I want to share one verse of that song. It's talking about what is happening when Jesus is being sacrificed for the sins of the world. You ready? This is going to be crazy.
"We're now in the realm of the sublime and profound. With God at that helm, it's about to go down. The Father's wrath precise will blast and slice the priceless master Christ as a sacrifice. Willingly he's under the curse to be treated as if the sun was the worst scum of the earth. The scene is the craziest. Jesus being treated as if he is the shadiest atheist. How was it that the Messiah is in the fiery pit as if he was a wicked Liar with twisted desires, the one who was sinless and just. Punished as if he was promiscuous and mischievous with vicious lust, the source of all godly pleasure tormented as if he was a foul investor or child molester, how could he be bruised? Like he was the goody two shoes who doesn't think that she needs the good news. He's perfect in love and wisdom, but he's suffering as if he constructed this corrupt justice system. We should mourn at the backdrop, Jesus torn, like he's on the corner with crack rock and pulling on his laptop. What is this? Kid has gifts are infinite, but he's hit with licks for religious hypocrites. He's the light, but being treated like he's the seedy type who likes to beat his wife? He's treated like a rapist, treated like a slander or treated like a racist or maybe a philanderer. Jesus being penalized like he had sin inside build within a pride while committing genocide. I could rap for a billion years and still can't name all the sins placed on the lamps lane but know this, the main thing the cross demonstrated, the glory in the holiness of God, vindicated."
Every sin done against us, every sin we have done against others, the sin of this system that we're in behind enemy lines, the sin of the pornographic culture that we were born into that we did not choose and that we have chosen as a way to cope with pain, He paid for it all. He died for it all. He suffered for it all. And it is finished. It's over now. That song is called The Cross by Shai Linne and it's one of my favorite songs. The story doesn't end there though. It continues from the cross into resurrection. New creation. So here's my question for you, because of what Jesus did. He died. He was buried. He Rose again. And now he has ascended to the right hand of the father. If you are in Christ, what does that say about you? Who are you in Christ? Because when we put our faith in Him, Bible says we die with Him. We are buried with Him and we are raised with Him. His story becomes our story. If Jesus is who he says, he is, then we are who he says we are. So type it out. Who are you in Christ? I am blank. I'll give you some of my favorites. I am loved. I am clean. I am free. I am redeemed. I am crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, raised with Christ. I have been given every spiritual blessing. I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me. I've been given God's grace lavishly and without restriction. I am God's masterpiece. I'm created in Christ to do good works, which he has prepared in advance for me to do. I am the brother of Christ. I am a branch of the true vine. I am his friend. I am a sheep of the good shepherd. I am a conqueror. Yes. I'm seeing some of the comments. Now I am made new. Amen. So the gospel tells us who we are, and this gives us the transformational power against both temptation and accusation. Because in temptation, the enemy saying, just give into sexual sin, it doesn't matter. Just like he said to Jesus in the temptation of Jesus, if you really are the son of God, you know, questioning his identity, just like he does with us. You're nobody. It doesn't matter what you do just given. Anyways, God will forgive you. And then an accusation after we do give in, he says, you piece of crap, are you even a Christian? Look, you've ruined everything. There's no way God could forgive you. And the gospel that tells us who we are because of what God did defeats both. If I truly am some of these things you guys are saying, forgiven, whole, chosen child of the King, called by name. If that's who I am, then porn is just not who I am anymore. It's not even something that I am just choosing not to do. It's not who I am. I'm a new person. I don't know about you, but that really helps me. And the deficiency that we're facing, if we're still struggling with porn is that we still need to experience more of that reality. Because we probably believe it up here, but in our bodies and our hearts and our emotions, we need to experience that. And that comes through relationships that comes through experiential healing, that comes through redemptive experiences, that comes through all this stuff we talk about in Husband Material. So this new creation is something I want to talk about a little bit because the gospel doesn't give us a second chance. As people have said, it's like, Oh, I failed the first time and now I have another chance. Hopefully I'll do better in my life this time as a born-again Christian. No, it doesn't give us a second chance. It gives us a second reality, gives me a new identity and that's something nothing can change, nothing can take away. No sexual behavior done to me or done by me can affect my identity in Christ in the least. It's been done.
I'm adopted. I Can't be kicked out of this family and neither can you. So through the event of Jesus' death and resurrection, we have been given a second reality, this new creation so that I'm not only created in the image of God, I've been redeemed in the image of God. That's amazing. And part of the gospel, we don't often talk about Jesus' ascension also means that the Holy Spirit has come down and we have unhindered 24/7 total access to Jesus and that resurrection power, the same spirit who raised him from the dead lives within us. So if God is your father and Jesus is your brother and the Holy Spirit lives in you. Then as 2 Peter chapter 1 says, we have everything we need for life and Godliness. We've been given everything we need. Amen. We have been delivered already from the penalty of sin. We are currently being delivered from the power of sin. And one day we will be completely delivered from the presence of sin. And that's what I'm calling consummation. The gospel starts with creation. Then it moves to corruption. And that's the reality that we're all in, created and corrupted. And then the surprise comes with the incarnation. Jesus Christ, our savior, healer, teacher, and coming King, who died for us, who Rose for us, who has ascended for us and who has given us his spirit until he comes again. This consummation is the ultimate end goal of our sexuality in the end, in the new heavens and the new earth. It's not that our sexuality will be erased, but it will finally reach the goal that it was created for all along. You know, the word sexuality comes from the latin "secare", which means to cut off. And that's the reality that we're born into. We come into this world cut off because we're made for connection, for connection with God, with others, with ourselves, with this world around us, we want to be a part of it. We want to merge with it. And our sexuality is that energy that compels us outward into connection and creativity and even into the creativity of making new people.
The point is this, this sexuality we've been given. It has a direction and that direction. It will finally reach its destination on the last day. And the great marriage supper of the lamb, where Jesus is the bridegroom and we are the bride. And this thing we call marriage is just a postcard of that greater reality that's coming that we can't even avoid if we tried once we're in Christ. So guys a day is coming when we will no longer be cut off. In many ways. The beginning of our life is one of continually being cut off and severed. You know, we were born, we were conceived in the womb, completely connected to another human being and eventually once we're born as newborns, we have that attachment, at least it's supposed to be there. And slowly we disconnect, we sever and we long to be reconnected. So our sexuality is good. It's been created by God. It's been corrupted by evil. And it has been taken on by Jesus Christ who as a sexual person has done everything necessary for our healing and transformation. And one day he's coming for us. So we live in this reality of being engaged of having this ring that says I belong to the most high King. In the words of 1 Corinthian 6, great chapter on sexuality. It ends with these words. "You are not your own. You were bought with a price, therefore honor God with your body." What a great summary of the gospel, or even in the words of Jesus in John chapter eight, he says to a woman caught in adultery, "Where are your accusers? I don't condemn you now go and sin no more." Both of those messages. It's, it's the complete acceptance. Along with an invitation to pursue him. Jesus is love comes to us. The gospel comes to us as we are exactly as we are, but it doesn't leave us that way. It doesn't leave us as we are. It changes us. And that's why it's the power of God.
I got a couple of questions that I wanted to answer. So one of the questions is why is sexual sin worse than others? That Bible passage, I just mentioned 1 Corinthian 6 goes into this. "Paul says that every other sin a man commits outside of his body, sexual sin is within our body." And in terms of being worse, I don't know if it's worse from a legal standpoint, like, is it a crime worthy of more punishment? I don't see it that way. It's a kind of sin that has such a profoundly damaging effect on us because it's so core to who we are, because we're sexual people, because we are created male and female in the image of God. And so violating that violates some of the deepest parts of us. So that's what I would say about why sexual sin different. In some ways it's the same as any other sin. And as I said before, we are all sexually broken. Even those of us who have been free from porn for a years, we are still healing in different ways. We are still growing. We are still learning how to answer the call that says you are not your own, you're bought with a price, therefore honor God with your body. Another question I got before this episode happened, what should gay men do with God? I'm not going to tell anybody what they should do. Here's what the gospel tells me about unwanted sexual attraction, whether it's same-sex attraction or any other kind of attraction, like what I've had a sexual fetish. It says that our sexual attractions deep down come from a place of goodness that our sexual desire is not evidence of something wrong with us. It's evidence that something is right with us. And whatever it is we're attracted to is symbolizing something sacred and divine that we were created for. That's what I was talking about earlier. Those divine desires, what we were created for, we can actually bless the core of our unwanted sexual attraction and realize it has been corrupted. Just like everything. It's not that there's a spiritual part of us, which is good in a sexual part of us, which is bad. It's all created and it's all corrupted. And that's one of my favorite words. Both are true, beautiful, and broken and redeemed that Jesus has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet without sin. I wonder if that includes unwanted sexual attraction. Wouldn't be surprised if it did. And finally that in consummation, we will be made complete. It will be impossible for us to sin and no matter how much sexual sin and suffering has been a part of our story in this life, we are headed for the marriage supper of the lamb, which will be so much greater than anything you and I can experience here.
Somebody else is asking, how does the gospel address the shame of past sexual sin and the self-condemnation that has resulted? Here's an excerpt from my book Redeemed Sexuality that I was reading from before, against sexual shame and accusation, the gospel says, you're right. You're not worthy of the father's love and you never have been, but he loves you still, you are his delight. God is your father. Jesus is your brother and the Holy spirit lives in you. Will you accept your status as his beloved child? Man, the gospel speaks so deeply to our worth in spite of our unworthiness. And I feel like when you get this gospel narrative right, you see that we're not valuable because Jesus died for us. Jesus died for us because we're valuable to him because he loves us so much. Another question, if sex is so beautiful and commissioned by God, why has the church made it so taboo? I believe there's some spiritual influence here. Really, the anti-sexual culture that our churches have inherited dates back a long ways. And I believe it's one of the primary reasons why so many of us are struggling with it because of the churches' shame and silence and judgment. Wouldn't it be beautiful if we could have this message preached from the pulpits of our churches,that we are created sexual in the image of God, that we can talk about about it cause it's good. And that we're all sexually broken. It's not that some of us are and some of us aren't. Like we are all in this together and Jesus has done exactly what's needed for our very specific sexual sin and the sin that has been committed against us. What would it look to practically apply this daily? To practically apply the gospel? You know, for three years, maybe five years, I had that list of identity in Christ statements in my book here above my bed and I would read it every night before bed. It really helped me. Also practically applying this daily looks like making courageous choices. If I really am loved, what would that free me to be able to do? If I really am pure already? Would that give me the confidence to do you know, in John 15:3, Jesus says, you are already pure because of the word I have spoken to you, the word being short form for the gospel. Hope you got a nugget out of this. Hope there was some truth somewhere in there that you needed to hear. The gospel speaks so powerfully to the legalism of our church culture and the total license outside of our churches because it's based on love. It's not legalistic, it's not licentious, it's loving. And that's what changes us in the better. That's what changes us in the end. Todd has a question. How do you move the gospel from your head to your heart? You've grown up knowing the gospel is true, but you just don't feel it. The answer is you have to experience it in your body, which usually comes through another person. It's one thing for me to believe that God accepts me intellectually. It's another thing for me to tell someone else the very specific details of my sexual brokenness and have that person accept me in the moment. For me, that's how the gospel has sunk in more than anything. Also being able to access some of my childhood wounds and invite Jesus into them, not in a logical cognitive way, intellectual analysis of my trauma, but in an imaginative, emotional way. Inviting Jesus into the right brain, not just the left brain. This is something we do frequently in Husband Material Academy, especially on our Friday Coaching Call called Fantasy Fridays. And if you want to learn more about that, email me at [email protected]
Always remember, you are God's beloved son. In you, He is well-pleased. In the name of the Father who loves you, the Son who lived for you, died for you and has been resurrected on your behalf and given you his spirit and in the name of the Holy Spirit who lives in you, see you later.