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Covenant Sexuality


 

 

Leslie Basham: Thank you for listening to this message from True Woman ’08, Revive Our Hearts’ first national women’s conference. It’s our prayer that God blesses you with His Word and His heart as you listen.

 

Dannah Gresh: Our first teaching today is going to be about lies about guys. How many of you brought your Bibles, a notebook, and a pen today? All right. That makes me very happy, because one of the things we want to do today is just dig into the Word.

 

We do want to have fun with you, but I think that the greatest thing we can do today is dig into the Word of God. All right, let’s go to lies about guys. I’m so excited about what Dr. Piper addressed last night, because it’s in part what I want to address with you.

 

Rather than address the specific lies that you’re talking about on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com, which are: Do I have to date a guy who is a Christian? Should I not date at all? Should I court? We’re going to address lies that are a little more dangerous—things like, I really don’t think this is sex. So, I can experience that and still be “pure,” including the way that girls dress.

 

You guys get really ticked off when we talk to you about modesty. There are all kinds of charged comments on the blog about, “Well, so what? Do I like totally have to wear lace and turtlenecks up to my neck?” What is this about? We’re going to talk about that today.

 

But rather than talking about those piece by piece, we are simply going to go directly to the Word of God and talk about what God says and defines as marriage. Dr. Piper talked a bit about that last night. We’re going to kind of back up from where he talked last night, and we’re going to get a little deeper.

 

I have two 14-year-old daughters. They’re wonderful. One of them is my natural born daughter; one of them is an adopted daughter we’ve had for one year. And when Lexie was five years old, she was probably a lot like some of you. She was like a tornado in a dress.

 

I would know when she fell asleep at night, because she would stop talking to herself. Any of you in here like that?

 

When she was five years old, Lexie got off of the school bus, put her hands on her hips, looked at me and said, “Momma, you know those eggs that you said were in my belly? I have been thinking. How does my body know when it’s married to turn them into babies?”

 

Just for the future, that’s when a momma starts praying. I said, “Well, Lexie, sometimes when a husband and wife want to show each other how very much they love each other, they hold each other very tightly.”

 

I was praying for wisdom about where to go next, when suddenly Lexie got this kind of “eureka” look on her face. She said to me, “I knew it was something just like that.” And off she marched.

 

And I stood there thinking, “I deserve the Mother of the Year Award right now.” Until the next day when Lexie got off of the school bus crying, and she is a drama queen. When she is upset the world knows it.

 

She was very upset. Something in her heart was just crushed. And she stood there for about ten minutes, and I’m trying to comfort her.

 

And finally, through all the tears and heaving, she’s like, “Mommy, Mommy, you don’t understand, it was awful. Uncle Darry came to kindergarten today to visit me. And Mommy, he hugged me, and it was really, really tight.” I am not kidding you; it took me ten minutes to convince my five-year-old that she wasn’t pregnant.

 

You know, girls, sometimes we thing we have things all figured out. We think we understand. And God is looking at us, and we look a lot like little five-year-old Lexie Gresh.

 

There is so much more for us to know. And I believe that in a culture where sexuality is misused that the beauty of the portrait of marriage is so dismantled in our minds that we are very much like Lexie Gresh when she was five years old.

 

We don’t get it. And so I want to unfold for you what God says about sexuality. I want to start back in the Book of Genesis, if you’ll turn to Genesis 4:1.

 

I had several years under my belt as a best-selling author of And the Bride Wore White.  I had spoken to audience after audience on the subject of sexuality. I was on my way on a flight to Atlanta, and I was saying, “God, I need passion to talk about this subject.”

 

“Lord, how many times have I said have I said this? I need a freshness.” I have to tell you that after studying for about five years not only social statistics about sexuality but what God says about sexuality, I kind of thought I had it figured out.

 

I wasn’t even close. God was about to blow me away. Let me tell you that when you ask God to help you figure something out, He will blow you away.

 

I was saying, “God, I need new passion for this issue of sexuality. Could you give me that? If there is something I’ve missed, something I have not yet uncovered, show me.”

 

Well, I was reading through the Bible. It was the beginning of the year in January. I came to Genesis 4:1. It says “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.”

 

Now I had read that many times. But for the very first time I read it and thought to myself, “Adam lay with his wife Eve and she became pregnant …” He was so not laying there.

 

I went to my Hebrew dictionary, a study tool that I love and treasure. I wanted to know the actual Hebrew language for “lay” in that verse. You know what it is? It’s the word yada.

 

Like, “Yada, yada, yada.” Now, it’s funny because the culture kind of uses that word yada to be like “Blah, blah, blah, boring, boring, boring.” Turns out it’s not so boring after all.

 

The word yada means “to know, to be known, to be deeply respected.”

 

God says that when one man and one woman come together in shameless oneness, there is a deep knowing, a deep respect. Notice that there is not even a physical component to the Hebrew word in this context.

 

The gift of sexuality supersedes the physical and goes immediately to the emotional and perhaps spiritual, as you’ll see shortly. I was kind of getting excited. I was like, “Wow, God, this is cool.” And I have to tell you, I went to that event with new passion for the gift of sexuality. But it was only the beginning.

 

A few days later, I was reading through the Bible. I had gotten to Genesis 19. This is right after Lot and his family left Sodom and Gomorrah, a city known for its heinous sin. And Abraham pled with God and said, “If I can find one righteous man, will you spare them?” And God said, “Yes, go in.”

 

Abraham was able to rescue Lot and his family. Now the mother, if you will recall, for some reason looked back. She loved the sin of the city. She was tied to the sin of the city. And she was destroyed with the city.

 

So, now we’re in a scene where we have Lot and his two daughters, and they’re in a cave. They have no other family members. If you’ll look at Genesis 19, we’re going to touch some tender territory here.

 

It says in verses 32–33: “‘Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father.’ That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in to lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.”

 

Ughh. There is some hideous, horrific sin in this passage. And yet it uses the word that sounds a little similar to what we just explored in Genesis 4:1—the word “lay” or “lie.”

 

I ran for my Hebrew dictionary. “God, please tell me this is not the same word.” It wasn’t. Throughout the Old Testament we find a different word for sexual sin or sexual misuse. It is the word shakab. You know what this word means? “To exchange body fluids.” Gross. It is a word that is limited to the physical.

 

It is a word that describes and experiences only the physical. And let me say this very clearly. All sex is not the same, ladies. God has created something so high and so holy, and it is called yada. It is to be experienced between one man and one woman within the covenant of marriage. And it’s so fantastic that its definition supersedes the physical realm.

 

Satan’s counterfeit is something called shakab. And it is a mere counterfeit of what God created for you to know and to experience. It is a mere physical exchanging of body fluids. How do we get our minds to wrap around the gift of yada when every day we are bombarded with shakab?

 

Our friendships, our relationships, the Internet, television, music that we hear every day—it all celebrates this hideous counterfeit. It goes back to that concept of covenant. Dr. Piper talked about that last night, and I want to unfold that concept just a little more today.

 

What is a covenant? Think of a synonym for covenant right now, and just shout it out. Let me hear what you say. A promise. An agreement. A pact. Commitment. Vow. Treaty. These are all good words. The fact is they allude to covenant, but a covenant is such a complex agreement or vow or relationship that it is really difficult to define in a synonym.

 

I want to give you three tests of a Scriptural covenant. First, it is an unbreakable bond. It places you together forever.

 

If you think back to the covenant that God first made with His people in the Old Testament, He made that covenant with Abraham. What happens to Abraham’s name when God makes that covenant with him?

 

It changes from Abram to Abraham. This is when I get excited, because I love how everything fits together so good. Do you know that Bible scholars believe that God was taking the “h” in His own Hebrew name Yahweh and placing it into Abraham’s name?

 

They would be, therefore, identified as one. And not only did God change Abraham’s name, but He sort of changed His name in the sense that He was now called the God of Abraham. A covenant is an unbreakable bond that brings you together. Within a marriage context, marriage is an unbreakable bond.

 

There are physical ties, there are spiritual ties, there are soul ties created in the covenant of marriage. There are soul ties created within the act of sexuality. It is an unbreakable bond.

 

The next test is that a biblical covenant is always sealed in blood. The covenant between Abraham and God was sealed with animal sacrifice. There was blood.

 

The greatest covenant that you and I know is the covenant of Jesus Christ and the cross. It is sealed in blood. Do you know that the gift of marriage is also a covenant sealed in blood? Let me be a little technical with you for a just a moment. There is a small tissue within every woman. It’s called the hymen. It’s within her body.

 

When she has sex for the very first time, this tissue is stretched or torn, and there is a release of blood. Now, if you grew up in the day and age when Jesus walked the earth, the Jewish wedding ceremony took this so seriously, this covenant of blood, that the first gift that they would have given you, as a young bride, would have been white wedding linens.

 

And they would want you to seal the covenant on that night, returning from your honeymoon chamber with blood evidence to share with your whole family, that this covenant had been sealed in blood. Somebody tell me you’re glad you’re a woman of the new millennium.

 

But you know what? They weren’t uncomfortable with that. They celebrated it; they understood the significance of the blood. It was a beautiful thing. Sex is a blood covenant.

 

And the third thing that I really want to talk to you about today is that sex, and every covenant, is an “if-then” agreement. If you will partake of the demands of the greater party of the covenant, then you will experience blessings that are associated with that covenant.

 

For example, if you and I will embrace the blood of the cross of Jesus Christ, then we can know the blessing of eternal life and thank the Lord, because we overcome the lies in our life.

 

If Old Testament characters would practice animal sacrifice then God would remove their sins from them. Every covenant has an “if” and a “then.” If you will participate in these demands, then you will experience these blessings.

 

Let’s look at the “if” of the covenant agreement of sexuality. Turn with me to Ephesians 5:3. This is your “if,” ladies. If you have questions in your mind about how far is too far, if you have questions in your mind about if it’s okay to have lots and lots of boyfriends, if you have questions in your mind about those things, Ephesians 5:3 answers them.

 

Because our “if” is, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Eph. 5:3–4).

 

God’s standard is that there should not be a hint of sexual impurity in your life. You know what? So many girls think, The line for me is the virgin line. That’s why we have in the Lies Young Women Believe book the lie, “It’s not really sex.”

 

They think, If I just don’t cross that virgin line, I am pure. That’s a lie from the pit of hell. God’s standard is that you are untainted.

 

Let me ask you something. Does a guy hint at sexual impurity when he surfs the Net looking for porn? Yes or no? You know what I ask guys about you? Does a girl hint at sexual sin when she dresses in a super tight shirt with her little belly out that’s really low cut? And they all bob their heads up and down like, “Oh, yes.” That’s really hard for them, girls.

 

Do you hint at sexual sin when you get on your favorite place to blog or talk online and you talk suggestively? Yes or no? Yes. These things are hinting at sin, and God says these are improper for God’s holy people. You know one of the areas that Christians are getting more and more comfortable with? It’s with sexual humor.

 

Look with me at verse 4. It says, “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking.” The Greek language clearly links these two verses. There shouldn’t be a hint of sexual immorality in you nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking.

 

That word “coarse joking” is talking specifically about sexual humor. And the word was the Greek word for “wit.” Now, if we know somebody who is witty, that’s a positive character trait, right? But God pleads with us, “Please, when it comes to the gift of sex, don’t be funny.”

 

Instead, your conversation should be flavored with thanksgiving for this holy covenant. I’ve got to ask you, when was the last time you were able to watch a television sitcom without being bombarded with sexual humor? It’s improper for God’s holy people.

 

Now if I were you, and I were sitting there, and I were 13, 15, 18, I would say, “God, that is a high and holy standard. Have you noticed the world that you allowed me to born into? It is crazy overrun with shakab. Lord, how am I ever going to keep my life from being eaten up by hint and hint of sexual impurity?”

 

You know what? You’re not going to ever keep your life from being eaten by hints of sexual impurity by being afraid of sexually transmitted diseases, of pregnancy, of having your sin found out.

 

None of those things will motivate you. What will motivate you is the “then.” Remember, a covenant is an “if.” If there is not a hint of sexual impurity in you, then you will know the blessing God has for your life. What are those blessings?

 

Let’s look at three of them. Let’s go back to the Book of Genesis. The first blessing that God gives to us in the covenant of sexuality is found in Genesis 1:28. It says, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”

 

The very first thing that God says to them, the action that He gives to Adam and Eve, is “be fruitful and increase in number.” The first blessing that God gives us is the blessing of babies.

 

Now, lots of you got this from a very young age. I know little girls who would walk up to me, and they’re six, seven, eight years old, and they’d be like, “I just want to get married, have babies, and then Jesus can come.” You know, they got it from a young age.

 

But not so much anymore. And we’re going to talk about that a little bit this afternoon, about what is happening, why is that desire being slaughtered in little girls. Because it is.

 

The day that I had my first child, his name is Robbie, was one of the most fantastic days of my life. I’d been married for just a little bit over a year; I really didn’t plan on being a mom for a lot longer. I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. But on that day, my husband went to get his hair cut, and when he returned home I was standing at the door with a suitcase at one side, looking very uncomfortable.

 

And I said, “Honey, it’s time.” And he looked at me with all of the compassion that a man could muster, and he said, “Time for what?”

 

I said, “Time for the baby, you big dummy.” And he ran through every room in our little, tiny apartment, and he jumped on every bed until there wasn’t a sheet or a blanket or a pillow left on it.

 

He ran into the nursery, and he started grabbing teddy bears out of the crib, and he was spiking them on the floor like they were footballs in this little NFL victory dance, you know?

 

Because every moment was a celebration. Girls, we can make babies outside of marriage, and those babies deserve no less to be celebrated and rejoiced over. But I’m telling you that this is the most God-like thing that you will ever do, creating life. And it deserves to be unmarred and undistracted by bad timing.

 

The second blessing that God gives us in Scripture, the second “if,” we find in Proverbs 5:18–19. Now, this is one that the Church is sometimes a little uncomfortable talking about.

 

But God, in His Word, celebrates this gift. Proverbs 5:18–19 reads, “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you be ever captivated by her love.”

 

God celebrates the physical pleasure of His covenant of sex. You know what’s interesting to me? I get the opportunity a lot of times to sit across the table from Planned Parenthood.

 

I get the opportunity to be interviewed by very liberal magazines, the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer was interviewing me yesterday. And you know, they want me to cave in on these issues. But our social science, liberal social science, backs up what God says.

 

Because in the Book of Deuteronomy, God says, “Hey, you know, in the year 2008 there are going to be a whole bunch of teenage girls around the nation that are going to be like, ‘What is the big deal about sex? Why do we really have to wait?’”

 

It says in the Book of Deuteronomy, “Your children will come, and they will question the rules and guidelines I have given.” And God Himself says, “Tell them that every rule or guideline I have given them is so that they will prosper.”

 

God does not give us rules in our life so that we miss the party. One of the most liberal sexual studies ever conducted was out of the University of Illinois right here in Chicago.

 

The goal of the study was, in part, to research the homosexual lifestyle so that they could advise homosexuals on their lifestyle, provide counsel to them. And they wanted to have a margin of error that was very unquestionable and tight. For example, if a magazine came in and asked all your moms today questions about their married life, we would have a pretty skewed sample if we have to admit it, right?

 

We would have the church ladies talking about it. Or, you could go to a liberal setting, and you could interview people but you’d have all these skewed results. They did not want that with this. They wanted to have a tight, credible margin of error.

 

So, they had a computer randomly select addresses. They didn’t know who lived at those addresses. They didn’t know whether they were male or female; they didn’t know whether they were homosexuals or heterosexuals.

 

But they would knock on the door, and they would say, “Excuse me, can I ask you a few hours of questions about your sex life?” Now, you know they had that door shut in their face an awful lot of times, but when they were finished, they had a very tight margin of error that is today recognized as one of the most non-skewed studies on the sexual practices of Americans.

 

One of the things they found was they had to actually abandon their goals, because they could not find a relevant percentage of homosexuals in the overall American population.

 

So, they studied the overall habits of Americans, and you know what they found? God actually knew what He was talking about in Deuteronomy. Because they said things like this: “Those who have had only one mutually monogamous lifetime partner,” (I call that marriage, just for the record), “tended to be the most sexually satisfied.” This was particularly true among women.

 

And do you know what’s really exciting to me? The most sexually active, sexually satisfied, were middle-aged, adult females who were religiously active. USA Today wrote an article about this. They titled it “Revenge of the Church Ladies.”

 

Listen, God is not trying to keep the party from you. He says abstinence is not about missing the party. Abstinence is not about not having sex. Abstinence is about waiting to have it right. Do you understand the difference?

 

And the third blessing of the covenant is something Dr. Piper addressed so eloquently last night. I want you to turn with me to Ephesians 5:31–32, one of the texts that he mentioned.

 

It says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” Paul is talking about a physical relationship. It says, “The two will become one flesh.” It’s talking about sex.

 

And then he says, “This is a profound mystery. But I’m not really so much talking about sex; I’m talking about Christ and the Church.” The greatest blessing of holding out the covenant of sex is that you get the chance to portray this beautiful gift that God has given us—a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

You know that word yada? We started there, what does it mean? Yada means to know, to be known, to be deeply respected. That word yada, it talks about the intimate physical relationship between Adam and Eve in Genesis 4:1. It’s used 888 times in the Old Testament. I don’t mind saying that’s a lot of yada.

 

But you know, more often that not in the Old Testament, it is not used to refer to the relationship between one man and woman. Rather, it is used to refer to the relationship between God and His family, His chosen people. It’s used in verses like this: “Be still, and know (yada) that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). The greatest purpose of your marriage one day is that you will display a physical picture of the love that Jesus Christ has for the Church.

 

When God looks down on this earth, He says, “How can I help them understand how much I love them? Oh yes, there it is. A pure and holy marriage bed. That is the passion, the only thing on this earth that comes close to encapsulating and helping them understand who I am, and how I love them, and the romance that I’m going to have with my people.”

 

I’ve got to ask you something. If your sexuality, your relationship with a future husband (if God has that for your life) has the power to be a picture of the greatest spiritual truth that there is, how motivated do you think Satan is to see that destroyed? He is motivated. And unless you feast on this truth that God has for you, I’m afraid that in too many of your lives, he will be successful. Here’s the key.

 

The lies you believe about guys will never be solved talking about guys. I’m sorry. I know you love to do that. But that’s not what’s going to fix it.

 

The lies you believe about guys are solved when you understand in a deeper way why God has given them to us to enjoy. Understanding the picture, and here, how do you overcome those lies. I have a secret for you.

 

A girl has to get so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find her. A girl has to so understand the yada relationship that she can have with the God of the universe, with Jesus Christ her Savior, with the communing Counselor that we know as the Holy Spirit.

 

She’s so lost in that relationship that you don’t even notice the guys so much. And when a guy comes searching for your heart to be the rescuing picturing of Jesus, rescuing the Church, he has to get lost in God to find her. Do you hear what I am saying? You have to get so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find you.

 

Are you lost in God? Does your heart feel the romance of a relationship with Jesus? Do you feast on the Bible the way you feast on your Internet time? A girl has to get so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find her.

 

Father God, I’m afraid for many of us in this room today, we’re not lost in you. We’re just lost. We’re lost in chaos; we’re in lies; we’re lost in infatuation with guys; we’re lost in our quest to be beautiful; we’re lost in our quest to feel attractive; we’re lost in our quest for performance.

 

God, You created us as girls to be a part of the picture that’s pursued and loved. That’s a natural desire, God, when we feel that crush.

 

It’s a natural part of who You created us to be, to perfect that picture of being rescued one day by a guy just like Jesus rescued the Church. But Lord, for this time in our lives, for this time in these young women’s lives, I pray that they would just hunger to be lost in You. And I ask this in Your most Holy name, Amen.

 

Leslie Basham: This message was presented at True Woman ’08 in Chicago. Check out all of the messages delivered there, and more, by visiting TrueWoman.com.

 

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True Woman ’08 is a ministry of Revive Our Hearts, helping you become God’s true woman.

 

 

All Scripture references are taken from The Holy Bible: New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.