Matthew 19:1-12 – Baby Mamas & Baby Daddies: The State of Sex In Our Society Today

Posted: February 11, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew
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Matthew 19:1-12
Jesus Teaches About Marriage & Divorce

Baby mamas and baby daddies. Sex without marriage. I was having a discussion yesterday with my oldest daughter about a class that she had to go to about pregnancy as part of her own journey in pregnancy. Yes, my oldest child is about to give me my first grandchild. She and her husband, Curtis, to whom she has been married to for almost 7 years now, are about to have their first child together. But at this class, my daughter was one of the few married women in the class. It was shocking to her that in our Southern society where we once prided ourselves in adhering to acceptable social conventions that we now live in a society where all of that has broken down. There is a growing trend toward simply having babies outside of marriage. There is less stigma attached to it than ever before. Even greater than that, sex outside of marriage is not considered a big deal anymore. Before you think me high and mighty, before and my first two marriages, I have justified my participation in this scene. Sex is how I validated my inner value when I was not married. I didn’t think of it as sin because that is just the way the world is now, I would say to myself. Sex and dating are almost a given in today’s world. Our churches are full of otherwise wonderful single Christians who are participating in premarital sex and it’s not just teenagers.

It is virtually all adult singles. Even Christian singles have had multiple sexual partners to whom they never married. In a recent study by ChristianMingle, an internet dating service for Christians, they found that “A majority of single Christians are rejecting biblical doctrine by choosing to have sex before they are married. Sixty-one percent of self-identified Christian singles said they are willing to have casual sex without being in love, while only 11 percent said they are waiting to have sex until they are married.” With that background, let us read Matthew 19:1-12 again, one last time, with eye toward what it means for those who are single (pay close attention to vv. 10-12):

19 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

Wow! The standard is pretty high. In response to His disciples saying that if marriage is an institution with such high standards of behavior then it is better to not marry. Jesus answer indicates that Jesus taught that singleness and marriage are both acceptable to God. This means that marriage is not commanded of anyone, neither is abstention from marriage, even for the sake of the kingdom of God. For some, as the disciples expressed, ‘it is better not to marry.’ But others could find celibacy too hard to handle. The ability to function effectively as a single person had not been given to them. For these people, marriage would be preferable to singleness. The standards for sex according to the Bible are pretty high indeed, regardless of being single or married. If we marry, we are expected to be married for life. If we are single, we are expected to wait until marriage to have sex, as it represents the only situation in which sex is acceptable. If there is ever a sin for which the vast majority of us stand condemned it is this one. How do we live up to such a high standard in a society that glorifies sex almost as a sport or at least as feature of any relationship?

I guess the first thing that we have to do is to understand that sex is an overpowering human urge. Yet, we live in age where we are told to do what feels good to us. One of the hallmarks of the fruits of the spirit is self-control or self-discipline. In our culture today, when it comes to sex, there is no longer self-control when it comes to sex. Single parent families. Children with different last names than their mothers. Government service agencies overrun with meeting the needs of single mothers. Fathers who have fathered multiple kids by different women and some who have never met their own kids. This is not a black or white thing, it is a culture thing. Even we as Christians, as I cited the Christian Mingle survey/study, are failing miserably in this area. How are we to change things in this area? It seems almost as the biggest insurmountable problem that we face as Christians. As I said we are failing miserably in holding up the high standards of marriage and sexuality. Even as a Christian myself, I know that if I was ever single again, this would again be my most significant challenge as Christ follower. Having sexual relationships as a single person is so easy these days. It is certainly not looked upon with any disdain by society so it would be easy to fall into that trap again. It’s OK. Everybody’s doing it and it feels good so it’s OK. It’s certainly easy to sit her as a married Christian and say that if I was ever single again that I would have self-control. That’s a hard sell when we are so programmed toward sexual conquest just by our nature and certainly by our culture now. We must recognize our weak spots and seek Holy Spirit guidance.

How to change even the culture around sex even for us Christians I have no clue how to change other than to say that we should aspire to higher standards. We should not say that just in this one area that it is OK to be like the culture. Easier said than done. We must first quit equating sex with love. Sex is the fulfillment of bodily desire but it is not love in and of itself. How many times have you, as a man or a woman, been brought you lowest because of the end of a relationship when you were dating that hurt 10 time more because sex was involved? Help us Lord to be the change in our society. We have seen what unrestrained sex has done to our society. I think that we must examine as Christian what sex is in our relationships. It is not the end game. It is the prize. One of the unique things about my marriage now is that because of my job situation while we were dating was that I ended on the West Coast and she on the East Coast. We are a bi-coastal couple for the vast majority of our dating years. You know what? It forced us to become friends because by simple logistics physical intimacy was off the table. For two people who had defined their personal value by and through sex all of their lives (which caused us to choose unwise marriages for us as individuals previously), the fact that we had to learn to talk and learn to be friends first was unique. What a difference it has made in our marriage. We see our friendship as important as our sexual relationship. It takes a lot of pressure off of sex as the glue that holds us together. In past marriages, sex glossed over a lot of problems. Maybe this is the approach that we should be taking as singles is that we must have some self-control and want to find out a whole lot about a person before we even entertain the idea of sex with them. Sex should never be the basis of a relationship. Friendship between lovers should be the goal first. If you can’t be friends with them outside the bedroom then we should never entertain thoughts of bring them into. Sex clouds incompatabilities between potential mates. I can attest to that. Two marriages and many failed relationships in between were often clouded with sex over content. Am I compatible with this person? Can I be friends with this person? Would I be hanging out with this person if I was not in a sexual relationship with this person? These are the questions that we should be asking ourselves when it comes to sex. Access to sex from a person should never be the reason we get married either. If more marriages were based on being friends first then maybe just maybe the divorce rate would go down. In our society though and even among Christians, we are blinded by sexual passion as love. When passion fades and you are not friends with the person you married, then, the trouble begins. Then, we start throwing away marriages like we throw away and old pair of worn out tennis shoes. Let us, as Christians, lead the way in defining that first comes friendship, then comes marriage, and then comes sex. It is going to be a tough sell. I know that. It’s going to be a tough sell even among Christians. We have got to sell our own people on it first before we can sell it to the world. The only way that we win the battle here is through prayer first for Christians to find our way to Jesus’ ideal for singleness and marriage. Through prayer to change our own hearts first then the culture’s.

So, here we have it. Jesus says that marriage is like those dangerous jobs that only the highly skilled are qualified for. Marriage is only for those that are not faint of heart. It is a lifetime commitment, according to Jesus. There are few outs for marriage. Let us change the culture of the culture of marriage today. Let us change the culture of the culture of singleness today. Let us see marriage as something tough to enter into and that it must be to a person that I can be friends with not only in the bedroom but outside it. We spend more time outside than we do in it, but we tend to marry today based on those brief encounters rather than the long haul of being outside the bedroom. Nobody said being a Christian was easy. In fact, it is the hardest job you will ever love. We are pruned daily and we are expected to be in the world and not of it. We must be the ones to set the example here and not just say because the culture is doing it and it is an insurmountable problem that we might as well join in. God help us. We must have His help. Father lead us and convict us and help us live by the standards that you have set for marriage and for singleness. Amen and Amen.


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