In The Beginning – “Sexuality, Marriage and Friendship”

Sunday

The topic of sexuality and marriage is a personal and sensitive one, but one that must by addressed by the church. It’s probably not a surprise that Cape Cod Church holds a traditional, New Testament view of sex, sexuality and marriage; what may be a surprise, though, is the posture we choose to take as we seek to live that out as a church. As we consider the topic, as well as our posture, there’s no better place to start than in the first two chapters of Genesis – “In the Beginning.”

1.  Since the Beginning – Our Bodies Matter (Genesis 1:27; 2:7) 

  • In the beginning, Genesis tells us, God created humans as a set-apart species – different from all the other creatures because we were created “in the image of God” – as his image bearers on earth. He created us with male and female bodies, but then he went a step further and breathed his own breath, or “spirit,” into us. We are both body and spirit, and in that spirit we bear the image of God.
  • This is where our view of sex and sexuality begins – with a reminder that our bodies are a good gift from God, but also that what we do with our bodies – and what we do with our bodies with others – affects both us and them, physically and spiritually. Our bodies matter spiritually, so there’s no such thing as “casual” or “meaningless” sex. If we act otherwise, we diminish our very humanity.

2.  Since the Beginning – Made For Deep Friendship (Genesis 2:18) 

  • As God considered his “good” creation, he found something that was “not good” – the male human was alone. So God purposed to make a “suitable helper” for him – someone who was different from, yet corresponding to the man; someone he could connect with in healthy relationship. 
  • As humans, we were made for relationship, and we all need someone who is “corresponding” to us – someone we can connect with emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. That relationship occurs within the bonds of marriage between husband and wife, of course, but also in other relationships – ideally in our deepest friendships. This is a good reminder that we don’t have to be married – or sexually active – to experience and enjoy deep, fulfilling, spiritually healthy relationships with others.

3.  Since the Beginning – A Healthy Sexuality (Genesis 2:18, 23-25) 

  •  Since the beginning, God has made us as “sexual beings” – but he made us for a healthy sexuality. The original humans were physically different from each other, yet made to be “corresponding”; opposites, yet designed to become “one flesh.” They were naked, but unashamed of their sexuality.
  • Sex is God’s good gift to us – highly pleasurable, just as it was designed to be. It also brings intimacy – the unveiling of ourselves to another person in the most personal and private way – and it can create new life. It’s bonding, as well, bringing two people together in both a physical and spiritual way (like no other activity). Sex is powerful and important, which is why God designed it to be contained exclusively within the safety and security of marriage.

4.  Since the Beginning – Marriage (Genesis 2:24-25) 

  •  The idea of sex being confined solely within the bonds of marriage may seem old-fashioned and unrealistic, yet it is the most exciting, most positive and most romantic view of sex there is. The one thing it’s not, though, is easy. However, our own struggles with that shouldn’t stop us from proclaiming and seeking the beauty of God’s design for sex and for marriage.
  • Generally, humans are sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex. However, research shows that 3-7% of people are attracted to those of the same sex. This orientation or attraction is, in itself, not sinful.  Instead (for all of us), it’s how we choose to act upon our attractions that creates sin (or not). 
  • Same-sex sexual activity can be intimate, pleasurable and bonding – but it falls short of God’s design and purpose for sex: that is, to bring two different-yet-corresponding image-bearers together, physically and spiritually, to become “one flesh” as husband and wife. This idea can be challenging, unpopular, and even a “deal breaker” for some, but it has been clear “since the beginning.”
  • However, as those who have been saved by the grace of God, we are called to love people right where they are, just as he does. It is critical that our “posture” reflects that love, not condemnation.

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE

These passages may provide additional insights related to the subject of this week’s message. All verses are NLT unless otherwise noted.

Malachi 2:13-16; Matthew 13:34-35; Matthew 19:3-6; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; Ephesians 5:31-33                  

Video of the Week: The Image of God by the Bible Project

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION

  1. What are your initial thoughts after hearing this week’s message (or reading the highlights above)?    

  1. Why do you think the topics of sex, sexuality and marriage are such a big deal outside of the church?  

  1. In your understanding after hearing the message, why do you think those topics are such a big deal to God – and should be to us as followers of Jesus? 

  1. Read Genesis 2:23-24 again. The writer says that verse 23 “explains” verse 24 (“for this reason” in other translations).  By your understanding, how does verse 24’s conclusion logically come from verse 23?

  1. As a whole, what would you say our church’s posture and message should be to those who choose to engage in sexual relationships and activity outside of a marriage between one man and one woman?  

  1. The ideal of reserving and containing sexual activity inside of heterosexual marriage is, as history shows, extremely difficult to achieve and preserve. Why do you think that is?

Sunday
February 18, 2024
“Purposeful Faith”

We’re called by Scripture to have a “childlike faith” – a complete dependence on a good and loving God, our Heavenly Father. And with that dependence comes a sense of purpose – a trust that, if God created us, he created us with a purpose in mind; we were created “on purpose, FOR a purpose.”

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Sunday
February 11, 2024
In The Beginning – “The Day of Rest” 

We wrap up the “Since the Beginning” series this week, and we’ve looked at some heavy stuff – confession, sexuality, murder. It’s a lot to consider; if you’re needing a break, perhaps that’s the way the series – and God’s plan for our lives – was meant to play out: with rest and celebration at the end of our striving and work. The idea of real rest sounds pretty good today, doesn’t it? 

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Sunday
February 4, 2024
In The Beginning – “The Story of Grace”

Our series, “Since the Beginning,” has focused on who we were as God’s “image bearers” before the Fall – before we became self-aware and self-focused – selfish, anxious and addicted. Like the trendy “How it started…How it’s going” memes, the early chapters of Genesis paint a picture of “started beautifully…going terribly.” But if we look closely, we find the beautiful story of grace – in Genesis, and throughout the entire story of the Bible. Even where we expect – and deserve – justice in its place.

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