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Fountain of Life

Jun 28, 2020 | Dave Gustavsen

Good Sex / Bad Sex

Proverbs 2:16-19

Good morning Chapel family! I hope you’re all having a great start to your summer. It was really good to pray with many of you this past Wednesday night—we had an online prayer meeting, in case you didn’t know. And there were about 150 people who gathered to pray for our nation and our world, and all kinds of personal things. Really powerful time. So thank you, those of you who were part of that. Also, on Friday, we had a fun drive-by celebration for our graduating seniors. So congratulations to all our high school graduates! We are praying for great things in your future.

So…we are taking the summer of 2020 to walk through the book of Proverbs. And today we’re going to look at the theme that takes up all of Proverbs chapter 5, half of chapter 6 and all of chapter 7. And that theme is—drumroll please…sex. Why? Why would Proverbs focus so much on sex? Well, because we humans are sexual beings, and the way we use our sexuality has a massive impact on our lives. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. (And just in case you didn’t hear the parental warning, today’s message might not be appropriate for kids under 10 or 11 years old).

So…we’re going to focus on chapter five today. And as we go through the chapter, you’re going see that it speaks most directly on married people. So if you’re married, this is like a bull’s eye—direct application to you. But if you’re not married, it’s still very relevant, just in a more indirect way.

So, let’s read the passage together—Proverbs chapter 5. Hear the Word of the Lord…

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
    turn your ear to my words of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
    and your lips may preserve knowledge.
For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil;
but in the end she is bitter as gall,
    sharp as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
    her steps lead straight to the grave.
She gives no thought to the way of life;
    her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.

Now then, my sons, listen to me;
    do not turn aside from what I say.
Keep to a path far from her,
    do not go near the door of her house,
lest you lose your honor to others
    and your dignity to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
    and your toil enrich the house of another.
11 At the end of your life you will groan,
    when your flesh and body are spent.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
    How my heart spurned correction!
13 I would not obey my teachers
    or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble
    in the assembly of God’s people.”

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
    running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
    your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
    never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
    Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
    and he examines all your paths.
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
    the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23 For lack of discipline they will die,
    led astray by their own great folly.
This is the Word of God.

So, based on Proverbs 5, let’s talk about three things today: Bad Sex, Good Sex, and Why it Matters so Much. Bad sex, good sex, and why it matters so much.

So, first: Bad Sex. What we read in this chapter is a father giving advice to his son. And in the third verse he introduces the topic:

For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil…

That phrase “adulterous woman” is a Hebrew term that literally means “stranger woman.” So this is talking to a young, married man about a woman who is a stranger—she’s outside the marriage covenant that he has with his wife. This could just as easily be addressed to a young, married woman. So this could be a parent warning their daughter against a “strange man” who comes along.

If you’re married, you know what it’s like to see an attractive person who is not your spouse, right? I know there’s some romantic person out there saying, “Oh, no, Pastor Dave. If you’re really in love, you won’t notice anyone else. You’ll only have eyes for that person.” And the book of Proverbs says, “Wake up from your fairy tale.” That’s my translation. Eventually, you will realize there are other attractive people in the world, other than your spouse. Physically attractive; emotionally attractive. And that’s normal! That’s not sin to notice them; that’s called temptation. And the difference between a wise person and a stupid person is what they do with that temptation.

Now, let’s talk a little more about the idea of a marriage covenant. This is so beautiful, and our culture so misses this. Marriage is a permanent, spiritual, social, legal commitment between two people, in which they entrust every part of themselves to one another. Let me say that again: a marriage covenant is a permanent, spiritual, social, legal commitment between two people, in which they entrust every part of themselves to one another. That is an amazing thing.

Marriage is radical oneness. Within that covenant, the purpose of sex is to show in a physical way the oneness that you already share in every other way. Like, “I’ve given you my plans and my future and my money, and everything else, and you’ve given me your plans and your future and your money and everything else, so it makes sense that we would give each other our bodies. Tim Keller says that sex is like “covenant cement.” I like that. Covenant cement. In other words, every time a married couple joins together physically, it re-affirms and strengthens the covenant they share; they’re celebrating physically what’s true in every other way. 

And therefore, listen: when you take sex and remove it from the context of covenant, you’re tearing apart something that God never intended to be torn apart. So, in Proverbs, here’s what this father is warning his son about: don’t pursuesexual pleasure without covenant relationship. Are you with me? That’s the definition of bad sex: Pursuing sexual pleasure outside of covenant relationship.

Now: it’s possible to do that—to pursue sexual pleasure outside covenant relationship—in several different ways. It can be adultery, where two people have sex, and one of the people is married to someone else. But it could also be sex between two unmarried people—no covenant. No full commitment of self. And of course, in our culture, it very often takes the form men or women using Internet porn. Did you realize that the porn industry brings in more money than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined? That is crazy. And it just shows how common it is to pursue sexual pleasure outside of a marriage covenant, which is what this father is lovingly warning his son against.

Why? Why is this dad so passionate about this? Because he knows that if his son misuses his sexuality, very unpleasant things will happen to him. In verse 4, he says, look: this amazingly gorgeous and seductive woman, who has captivated your attention, in the end, will be sharp as a two-edged sword. You’re going to get hurt bad. In verse 5, he says her steps lead straight to the grave. That’s not good. In Proverbs 7 it says when we give in to lust, we’re like an ox going to slaughter, or a deer walking into a noose, or a bird flying into a snare. In other words, it’s a trap.

There was recently an article in Salon, the online magazine; the name of the article was Did Porn Warp Me Forever? It’s a first-person account of how this author started using porn even before adolescence. And over the years, he constantly had to find kinkier porn to keep getting the same thrill. And he felt this strong sense of shame and guilt, but he couldn’t understand why. After a while he realized it was affecting his relationships with actual women. He couldn’t look at them in a normal way anymore. Toward the end of the article, here’s what he says: “I’m grateful for my generation’s embrace of sexual liberation, but this feels more like a cage.”

That’s exactly what Proverbs is saying. It looks like freedom, but it winds up enslaving you. And if you’re a porn user, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

In verses 9-14, he talks about the consequences of cheating on your spouse: verse 9 says if you cheat, you’ll lose your honor and your dignity. Verse 10 says strangers will feast on your wealth, because if the affair causes a divorce, you may find yourself in the position of having to financially support two families. Here’s the reality: people involved in secret sexual sin experience huge stress. They usually don’t sleep well. Their health suffers. Because they’re violating their design. And then look at verse 11:

 At the end of your life you will groan,
    when your flesh and body are spent.

I challenge you to find a woman at the end of her life who says, “I’m so glad I cheated on my husband.” I challenge you to find a man who says, “I’m so glad I got hooked on porn—it was so fulfilling.” Sexual sin always produces regret. And it says when you get to the end of your life, and your body is so weak and old that you couldn’t have an affair even if you wanted to…you will groan… Deep regret. I wish I could do that over. So in all kinds of ways, this thing that looked so good at first will start to eat away at your life. 

And therefore, verse 8: Keep to a path far from her,
    do not go near the door of her house…

Don’t go to the company happy hour where you know she’ll be. Stop talking with him about how frustrated you are with your husband. Don’t go out to lunch one-on-one with her. Listen: if you’re married, you Facebook account, your Instagram, your email accounts, your cellphone should be an open book to your spouse. If you get nervous when your spouse picks up your phone or looks at your email, why? I’m not saying you should share that stuff with anyone! But your spouse isn’t just anyone.

You know, as I was writing this message, I felt the weight of this. Because there are some of you listening right now, and you are flirting on the edge of doing something that you will not be able to recover from easily. You’re thinking about doing something that will ruin your family, and affect the hearts of your kids for the rest of their lives. So if I can be a messenger of God to even one person today—if I can turn one person from making a really bad mistake—this whole message is worth it. Keep to a path far from her; do not go near the door of her house. I know it looks good…but it is a trap. It’s bad sex.

Thankfully, this father doesn’t just warn his son of the bad. He also invites his son to something really good. Point number two…

Good Sex. This father basically says, “If you want to avoid the disaster of bad sex, make sure you’re having really good sex with your wife.” And he explains that good sex in three ways.

First, it’s Exclusive. Verses 15 to 17:

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
    running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
    your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
    never to be shared with strangers.

The marriage covenant is an incredibly exclusive relationship. Only two people allowed in it.

Time magazine recently had an article that asked the question, "Is monogamy over?" And the article offered various opinions on that question. One person said that "monogamy is a charade" that leads to "institutionalizing dishonesty." Another person said, "[monogamy] is just an option, not the default." The article also featured Pastor Andy Stanley who said this:

Monogamy is more like an endangered species. Rare. Valuable. Something to be fed and protected… We desire intimacy—to know and to be fully known without fear. Intimacy is fragile. Intimacy is powerful. Intimacy is fueled by exclusivity. So, no, monogamy is not obsolete. It's endangered.

There was a recent survey of sexuality conducted by researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the University of Chicago—here’s what they found: of all sexually active people, the most physically pleased and emotionally satisfied were married couples. Does that surprise you? See, the myth of our culture is that the best sex is when you’re single and free, but that’s just is a lie.

Here’s the second thing about good sex: it’s Emotional. Look at verse 18:

18 May your fountain be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

You know what that tells us? Having a great love life is much more than physical. It involves rejoicing in each other…respecting and appreciating each other. It involves a real friendship. One of the biggest complaints from women is: “My husband ignores me all day, and then he wants me in the bedroom.” In other words: “He’s not rejoicing in me. He’s not romancing me. He’s just using me.”

There was a fascinating report that came out in 2018, that said there is one activity that emotionally unifies couples more than any other. You know what it is? Washing dishes together. Of all the things! Isn’t that funny? There’s something about the grossness of washing dishes, that when you tackle it together, side by side, it deepens your intimacy, and makes your physical relationship better.

Last week I asked the guys in my men’s group: how do you make your wife feel emotionally loved. One guy said, “My wife’s been gardening all spring, and it looks amazing, and when I compliment her gardening, it’s so meaningful to her.” One guy travels a lot for business, and he has lots of business dinners. So a couple of years ago he decided he would invite his wife on every business trip, and she comes whenever she can. He said, “It’s been so good for our relationship.” I know for me, Norma Jean loves when I have a date planned, and especially when I put the appointment in my Outlook calendar, and I invite her to the appointment. To her, that means it’s official. So this past week I mentioned on Monday—let’s plan to go out to dinner on Thursday, since we’re allowed now, right? Outdoor dining. And she was happy with that. But when she saw the calendar invite, she was even happier. Dinner: Thursday, 6-9pm. So every person is unique, but what we all have in common is that we’re emotional beings, and there is strong link between our emotional connection and our sexual connection.

So this father is telling his son good sex is exclusive, it’s emotional, and third, it’s Erotic. Verse 19…

 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be intoxicated with her love.

Yeah that’s in the Bible. This is totally unlike what you see in popular entertainment. Right? Try to think of a movie that celebrated the eroticism of marital sex. Good luck thinking of that movie.

So—look what it says: A husband should be satisfied with his wife’s body—not because it conforms to the images that culture throws at him, but because it’s her! Because she’s the one person in all the world that he’s in this covenant with! It also says a husband should be intoxicated by his wife’s love. The old King James Bible uses the word “ravished.” This is explicit language! Because it means that thirst you have to be physically and emotionally intoxicated by another person is a God-given desire. It’s a good thing! And it’s meant to be satisfied in the security of a marriage covenant.

Ray Ortlund said this: “Sex is like a fire. In the fireplace, it keeps us warm. Outside the fireplace, it burns the house down. Here's the message of the Bible: ‘Keep the fire within the marital fireplace, and stoke that fire as hot as you can.’” Very well said.

So, listen son: if you want to avoid the pain and regret of bad sex, make sure there’s lots of good sex in your marriage—which means it’s exclusive, emotional, and erotic. Stoke the fire as hot as you can.

Point number 3: Why it Matters So Much. Why would the book of Proverbs devote so much attention to this subject? Look at verse 21:

For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
    and he examines all your paths.

The reason this father is so earnestly talking to his son about sex isn’t just so his son’s life will go better. Although it will. But there’s something deeper going on. And it’s this: God cares how we use our sexuality. God cares. And here’s the scary thing: God knows. “All your ways are in full view of the Lord.” Anyone who struggles with porn should put that verse on top of their laptop screen: “Your ways are in full view of the Lord.” That’s a good thing to remember. Remember how Proverbs defines the beginning of wisdom? The fear of the Lord. A strong desire to please God, and to not disappoint God. That changes how you live. In the first message, I talked about a man I knew years ago who was cheating on his wife, and an older pastor who was mentoring me explained it really simply: He had lost the fear of the Lord. Let me ask you: how big is your concept of God? It’s probably not big enough. Worship him; kneel before him; be amazed with him; and use your body in a way that honors him.

So the Hebrew Scriptures, and the New Testament Scriptures take sex so seriously because it matters to God. He’s the one who created us as sexual beings; he’s the one who created the covenant of marriage. God has an extremely high view of sex, and so should we.

At the same time—and this might sound like a contradiction, but it’s not—don’t put too much emphasis on sex. Why would I say that? Well, because our culture is so obsessed with sex, and our culture makes it seem like there’s nothing more important than good sex, and life isn’t worth living unless you’re having good sex…and that is simply not true. I don’t care how good your sex life is; it will not fill your soul. In fact, as you get older, it will fade. Your body will change. Just ask someone who’s older. Much older than me. It will fade. And if sex was the only transcendent thing in your life, man, that will be so disappointing. You will feel so empty. Even if you’re not old yet, you’ve probably felt those pangs of disappointment, right?

In the Gospel of John Jesus meets a woman by the side of a well. It turns out she’s had a very colorful past—she’s been married five times before, and now she’s living with her boyfriend. And Jesus doesn’t say to her, “Look—you need to go read Proverbs 5. Learn how to have good sex.” Because he knows she has  a deeper need. And it’s interesting, because their whole conversation revolves around drinking from this well. Jesus says to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,” and he’s pointing to the well, but he’s looking her in the eyes, and what he’s really saying is, “You’ve been trying to fill your thirsty soul with sexual relationship after sexual relationship. Can’t you see that will never quench your deepest thirst?” Here’s what he was saying: real satisfaction—real intimacy—is something you only get from a relationship with God. And the key to that relationship was knowing him, Jesus Christ. He is the living water we need.

So let me close with this: a sexual beings, our lives will go so much better when we listen to the wisdom of Proverbs 5. Stay away from bad sex—pursing sexual pleasure outside of covenant. And married people—stoke the fire within your marriage. You’ll be so much happier. But at the same time, don’t expect from sex what only God can give. Don’t make a god out of sex. Sex a good thing, but don’t turn it into a god thing. Because it was never meant to be that. Sex is temporary; only God is eternal. So make God your God—make your highest passion pursuing Him and worshiping him and serving him. And everything else will fall into place, including sex.

Series Information

Life can be so confusing—especially in a pandemic. At a time when everything seems to be changing, let’s root ourselves in the unchanging wisdom of Proverbs. Throughout this 3,000-year-old book, wisdom is referred to as “the fountain of life”—exactly what we need when we’re exhausted, empty, and dry. Come and drink deeply from the fountain of life.