A Conversation on Gender & Sexuality | Iron on Iron

Zach Mabry |
April 11, 2023

Youth Pastors, what do we need to be teaching our students on this topic? In this session, Zach walks through 4 things we need to recover biblically when it comes to gender and sexuality.

Believers, we must be aware of culture’s stance on gender and sexuality. The Bible is not silent on these topics. God has created man and woman in His image. Our value should be in our bearing of God’s image. Not in our sexual identity. Let’s hold to the authority of God’s Word over the world.

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YOUTH MINISTRY CONFERENCE: IRON ON IRON

March 2024

Read the transcript here!

Hello everyone. Alright, we’re gonna get started. We’re gonna talk about gender and sexuality and there’s a couple of books because it’s show-and-tell. A couple of books I wanna point out that are really helpful. This is a book called The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, it’s by a guy named Carl Trueman. You could read this if you wanted to and if you had way too much time. If you have less time than that, he wrote this and the people were like, “Man, that’s a really good book. Could you write a smaller one that everybody else can understand?” So he did. And this is called Strange New World. This book is worth reading, in fact, if you bring students this summer, we’re gonna give you a copy of this and if you’re like, “Oh, I can’t bring students this summer,” then come talk to me if you really want it, and I’ll give you a copy, like Santa Claus. Alright, and then this other book, I think is really helpful. It’s called Love Thy Body, it’s by Nancy Pearcey. She’s a professor at a college. She studied under Francis Shaeffer, so you know she’s awesome. I like Francis Shaeffer so much, I named one of my kids after him. His name is Jackson, so.

True story. His middle name is Shaeffer. Oh, I should have mentioned that. I’m sorry, I haven’t got a lot of sleep and I’ve had too much coffee, so there’s a chance I’m gonna make, unintentionally, make a lot of jokes that I shouldn’t, but I am… I do wanna talk about… I think it’s really important right now in our culture, obviously, we are really confused when it comes to gender and sexuality, and so what I wanna do first is I wanna talk about three different steps that I think has happened. The steps that have happened in our culture that’s gotten us to where we are and then I wanna try to talk through what do we need to do as Christians who are in ministry, who are teaching this generation about who God is specifically, and how we are explaining what the Bible teaches about gender and sexuality because this is not something that the Bible is silent on. And I think what happens in our culture right now is that Christians are afraid to have conversations about gender and sexuality because maybe we’re not familiar with all of the nuances or all of the terms that are out there and we can feel like so much of the pressure is, so much of the cultural pressure, is against us. And the truth of the matter is that cultural pressure is against us but my fear is that for so many of us, we think, “Oh, I know I can be a consistent Christian and then also be accepted by the culture.”

And I think that’s just not gonna happen. Remember that it was the culture that crucified Jesus and he said, “If they hate me, they’re gonna hate you.” But we’re also very careful, we don’t wanna come across as unloving or legalistic or fundamental, whatever that means, we know it’s obviously offensive because it’s used offensively. And so what I wanna do is I wanna walk through where I… Kind of stages in our culture that have brought us to where we are right now. And the first step, I’ll tell you what the three steps are. One is the authority of the self, number two, the self as fundamentally sexual, and number three, liberation is the highest goal. Number one, the authority of the self, number two, self as fundamentally sexual, and number three, liberation is the highest goal. And this is, a lot of this is coming from Carl Trueman. I haven’t dealt with the primary sources. He does. He’s a historian. He’s got a lot of time for that. That’s what he does for his job.

But what’s really cool is when we can see the way that our culture has kind of, have you noticed that our culture has kind of adopted the same basic ideas when it comes to gender and sexuality? Like what Trueman will talk about that’s really fascinating is he’ll say, in his grandfather’s generation, if someone said that I am a man trapped in a woman’s body, everyone would have looked at him like, “Oh, that’s crazy. What are you talking about?” But now it’s fascinating that someone can say that and no one is thrown off by it. We’re like, “Mmm, okay. That’s what you believe,” as if that’s normal. He accredits this to a guy named in Charles Taylor, who talked about what he called the social imaginary. Basically that somehow because we’re all a part of the same culture, that this culture is thinking in a certain way and what we need as believers, we need to be aware of the way the culture is thinking and we need to be distinctively Christian in the middle of that. Because if we’re just gonna get swept up into the culture, then we’re gonna lose the foundation of God and His Word.

Alright, and so what we’re seeing is with the authority of the self, like it used to be… And this is where I think we need to recover, I’ll come back to this. It used to be that our culture was… And we can argue if you want, about whether or not America has ever been a Christian culture, but the fact of the matter is, is that we have a system of government that was set up according to Christian principles, whether all of the founders were Christians or not, that’s not important. Well, obviously, it is important, but not for the conversation. And we had been a part of a culture where we saw two distinct authorities. We saw the authority of God’s Word in special revelation, and we acknowledged the authority of God’s World in His natural revelation. Kind of what we talked about last night how Jesus Christ is exalted both in creation and in Christianity, in salvation, and what we need to do is we need to make sure that we are seeing these two things as the authority. We as believers, we hold to the authority of God’s Word and His World, and now what’s happened in our culture, and Carl Trueman, he attributes a lot of this to the work of Jean-Jacque Rousseau and a lot of the Romantics who replaced the authority of God’s Word with the authority of self.

And how do we see this practically living out? Well, think about what you hear on a daily basis in conversation, people will talk about authenticity is the highest virtue. This is what we hear all the time, “Well, I need to be my true self. I need to be authentic to me.” And of course who knows you, I know me, “And no one else knows who I am, so I need to be authentic in who I am, otherwise, I’m living a lie.” And if you hear it phrased like that, do you want people to live a lie? Of course not. We want them to be their authentic true selves, well, to an extent, but think about that, isn’t part of all maturity learning how to be courteously inauthentic? Think about that. If you guys don’t want me to be my authentic self, if I… You know me well enough to know.

I’ve known Bobby for about 20 years now, my authentic self is fundamentally a sarcastic jerk, like-minded. And did I just call a student pastor a sarcastic jerk? Like I said, I haven’t had enough sleep, I’ve had too much caffeine. But yeah, but I think what’s really fascinating is that we, again, in most of our lives, we realize that the authority is not in us, that there is an outside authority, but what our culture is trying to say, our culture is pushing this forward that you are… It’s Nacho Libre, right? I’m the gate keeper of my own destiny. And I will have… Got them. Yeah. But we know fundamentally, when we stop and think about it, we know that’s not true. We know it’s not true that how you feel is the most important thing because how you feel doesn’t change reality, in fact, our feelings need to conform to reality. If you’ve ever raised children you know this.

But it’s fascinating because this is what our culture is trying to say, our culture is trying to say, “You need to be authentic to you, you need to be true to you, anything else is living a lie.” The next step is that self became fundamentally sexual and Trueman will attribute this a lot to the work of Sigmund Freud and those who follow after him. That whatever brings you sexual fulfillment that is what defines you. This is what we’re seeing happen in our culture that, that means that your identity is found in whatever brings you sexual pleasure. So you can say authoritatively, “Well, I am gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, whatever.” You say that, if you say that, then who’s to tell you otherwise? Because you’re the authority of who you are and so if the authority is who you say you are and that your identity is fundamentally sexual. And then the third is what, again, Trueman would contribute this more to the work of Karl Marx in the mid-1800s and will say that liberation is the highest goal. And what Marx did, is Marx separated everybody into either the oppressor or the oppressed, which if that’s the case, it’s really tempting to want to be part of the oppressed.

No one wants to be, “Well, I’m part of the oppressor.” So what would happen is, he would say that anyone who has been marginalized or oppressed needs to be lifted up, needs to be liberated. Well, when we put all this together, you’re the one who determines your fundamental essence, and this is gonna be seen through the lens of your sexuality, of your sexual self and whatever that is should be exalted. And I think that’s exactly where we are as a culture today, we are in a culture that is defining… I mean, think about it, no matter where you look, whatever articles you read, whatever newscast you see, what are they talking about? They are identifying people fundamentally with what their sexual preference is and the idea is that if this is a marginalized sexual preference, now it needs to be exalted. And what we’re seeing is people, like young people and I think specifically young women in our culture because they’re going through all of these changes, they’re… Adolescent girls who are beginning to start their puberty and these hormones are going into their body and they’re thinking, “I’ve got all of these feelings I don’t know what to do with.”

And they’re so, and again, we can’t overlook the way that social media is affecting all of our young people. I say young people, I mean college actually, maybe everybody. People are getting caught up into this and so they’re trying to find this identity, whatever their identity is and they want their identity to be celebrated and we’re telling them whatever your identity is needs to be celebrated and you’re the one who determines your identity. Well that’s crazy. This is… And we’re seeing the fundamental shift, no longer are we holding to the authority of God’s Word in God’s World but now the authority is the self and we’re seeing the culmination of this in the transgender movement. Think about what’s happening in the transgender movement, the transgender movement is saying, “I am the one who determines my sexuality and even though it looks contrary to nature, what do I need to do now? Now I need to bend nature into conformity to who my true self is.”

Do you see this? This is what we’re dealing with on a daily basis. You see this every day in the news, where there’s another state that’s having conversations on how young they’re gonna give these gender-affirming care to. That’s what we’re seeing. Think about this, when we use those terms gender-affirming care, what does that mean? That means that somebody believes that their gender is different than their biological gender, it doesn’t conform to the natural world and so what do we need to do? Well, we need to give them whatever treatment it is that conforms to the identity that they’ve chosen for themselves and now the self has usurped both the authority of God’s Word and now is usurping the authority of the natural revelation.

Isn’t that fascinating? And what’s crazy, all of you need to read a book. Oh man, I forgot who it’s by, it’s called Irreversible Damage by… Nicki, just tell me her name. You need to read a book called Irreversible Damage, it’s by somebody who has a name that Nicki knows. Abigail Shrier. Okay, and this was fascinating. Shrier, Abigail Shrier she was a reporter for Wall Street Journal and she did this huge study talking about the rise in the sudden transgender identification of adolescent girls. ‘Cause what’s happening, what’s happening? This is in this culture because we’ve elevate self, because we’ve elevated the truest thing about you is your sexual preference and because that needs to be celebrated, you’ve got all of these girls who are adolescents, going into puberty and they feel uncomfortable in their own body. Well yeah, we used to just say, “Well, that’s puberty and puberty is difficult for people.” But now, because the cultural climate has changed, now we’re saying, “Oh well, if you’re feeling that way when then maybe you’re not supposed to be in this body.” And you guys all know that, you guys have worked with middle schoolers, think about this if when you have young women…

And this is crazy. There’s a fundamental difference, and we’ll talk about this. There is a fundamental difference between the genders. My wife and I were watching a TV show three nights ago with our family, I told you I had four kids, our boys are 13, 11 and 9 and our girl is 6 years old and it was really fascinating and we’re… It’s really cool ’cause we’re getting to see the differences in the way that boys and girls are growing up and we’re watching this show, it’s a really awesome show. It’s called All Creatures Great and Small. Has anybody seen this? I don’t cry, I’m a real man. But it’s so good. It’s about this British farm veterinarian. Right, cool. And he’s going around to all these places and they get to this one scene where there was a guy who, he wanted to dance with this girl and he really liked her and she didn’t know how she felt, whatever, but it was so funny ’cause we’re sitting on the couch and my boys are oblivious to any type of relational dynamic. They’re just thinking, why are they at this dance? Shouldn’t they be out on the farm?

And then Ella, my daughter, she got all giddy and was like, “Oh, he likes her, he’s nervous.” And it was so funny and I was like… I looked at my wife and I was like, “She’s 6. This is terrible.” But think about this, ’cause most guys that age are oblivious to it. So what’s happening is we have an epidemic of these young girls who are going into puberty and they’re feeling all these emotions, they’re feeling uncomfortable in their body, which makes sense because that’s what every girl does when they’re going through puberty. And so they have these desires for this emotional connection but most of the guys are aloof, so what are they thinking? Well, I’m gonna find this, find some sort of target for this emotional connection that I’m longing for and you find that, and you wind up having these girls having these closer connections. Which to be honest, has been normal for years.

I’ve always been uncomfortable with my mom’s generation, ’cause she would talk about her girlfriends. You guys know what I talk about, right? “Oh, I was staying over at my girlfriends.” And I’m thinking, weird. But what’s crazy is now, for these girls who are… And that we’re seeing… It’s an epidemic. I mean, this youngest generation, they’re saying that like 25% of this youngest generation, which I don’t think this is true, I think these are inaccurate percentages but they’re saying like 25% of this younger generation identify as transgender.

But what’s happening is think about it, she’s having these relationships, the boys are aloof, so they then join and they start to have these friendships with each other that get to be so… They get to be close and they have this emotional connection and then they’re listening to people saying, “Oh well, maybe that’s what you’re supposed to live for. Maybe you’re actually not just a girl having a close relationship with another girl, maybe your transgender.” And there’s no standard to tell them otherwise, why? Because the standard has shifted, it’s not nature, it’s not God’s Word, it’s whatever you think that you are. And this is so dangerous. So what do we need to do? Where do we need to go from here? Alright, so where do we go practically? So I’m gonna list a bunch of things on what we need to recover Biblically. Number one, we need to recover the proper authority.

We need to understand the Bible is not silent on these issues, that Christians need to be able to go countercultural because that’s what Christianity has always done. If we are trying to appease the culture then we’re not being Christian. In Galatians 1:10, when Paul says, “Am I seeking the approval of man or of God? Or am I striving to please men? And if I’m still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” We need to recover a Biblical authority, we need to realize that God created man and woman in his image and that the Bible speaks about gender and sexuality as good gifts that God has given. Understand this, that when God created mankind, he created man and woman in his image. He created… Ready, this is… We’re gonna get kinda nerdy for just a second, he created engendered, embodied, eternal souls and that that was part of the very goodness of the created order before sin entered into the world. So we need to recover a Biblical understanding of authority but that needs to lead to a biblical understanding of identity.

We need to have a biblical understanding of identity, and we need to realize that fundamentally, number one, we are human beings created in the image of God. And that we believe that every human being has eternal value as image bearers of God. And again, when we’re talking about image bearers of God, we’re not just saying every human has importance and has value, yes, but we also understand that you have importance and that you have been God. And this is what’s crazy. When you talk about… You hear the term people say you’re gender assigned at birth. Everyone’s heard that term. Well, what’s fascinating is I always thought that when people were using that term gender assigned at birth, that they were talking about your biological gender, which usually they are, but what they’re saying, it’s a derogatory statement saying that someone else assigned your gender. Ain’t that fascinating? Oh, so you’re not supposed to conform to your gender that someone else has assigned to you, you’re supposed to choose it yourself. And we need to step back and we need to realize, no, our gender has been assigned to us by God. And what’s fascinating is that even if you try, this is what’s so heartbreaking.

You look at the transgender movement and you have young men and young women who are mutilating their bodies to change the superficial design of their body, and that’s it. I don’t wanna get too graphic, but we’re talking about young men who are cutting off their private parts and having surgeries to try to change their physical body to replicate the body of a woman. But do you know it’s not changing anything inside. Ain’t that terrifying? And what’s so sad is there haven’t been, we haven’t had the opportunity to have a long, long-term studies on the effects of transgender surgeries, of what used to be called sex reassignment surgeries, and now we’re calling gender affirming surgeries. Because that’s the way the culture is moving. The culture is not saying that someone else has the right to assign your gender, it’s you assign your gender and you’re doing surgery to affirm what your chosen gender is. And at the end of the day, it’s not changing anything. Every cell of your body still is either XX or XY, and that’s huge.

So we need to understand that it is God who created us with value, with purpose, with dignity, that each one of us is an eternal soul. If you are trying to find your identity, your purpose, your source of living in something other than being an image bearer of God, it’s gonna be a never-ending struggle that is only gonna lead to discouragement and depression. If you’re trying to find your identity because again, we cannot get away from the fact that we are God’s creatures in God’s world. We can’t do it. We cannot do that. And so this is where Christianity has something to offer. If we can recover and understand, of what it means of identity, of human identity, then we can help people understand the value not that they create for themselves, but that God has given to them.

And then if you’re a believer, we know we talked about this last night, if you’re a Christian, you find your identity and the finished work of Jesus, that he purchased your soul for himself by his precious blood. That’s where we need to be thinking about identity. We need to flip the script on the culture. You don’t get to determine your own sexual preference and make that your identity and find your fulfillment in that because you can’t find your fulfillment in that ’cause it’s not what you’re created for. You need to understand that you’re created in the image of God for a relationship with him and you’ll be continually dissatisfied until you find your relationship with him. Well, Augustine said that, you made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.

So we need to recover a biblical understanding of identity. We need to understand that God made us engendered, embodied eternal souls, and that he has validated sex and sexuality. That gender was a part of the goodness of creation, and he gave us these pictures, these biblical analogies to show us the value. We see that marriage itself is a picture of one, the trinity, and two, Christ in his church. When we read through Genesis 1:2, we see that he created mankind in his image, and that the only thing that was not good before sin was it’s not good for man to be alone. Is it because God somehow created a deficient creation? No, he created in such a way to show us that we were created for relationship, for relationship with each other and relationship with him. And so we see the trinity is the three and oneness. That three Gods eternally present together as one, and we see a shadow of that in marriage with two becoming one. And then we also… Ephesians 5 shows us that marriage itself is a picture of the gospel of Christ in the church, and we can’t lose that.

We cannot say that, oh, we can adopt some type of understanding that the culture has on gender and sexuality and still keep the gospel, we can’t. Because from the beginning, this was pointing towards the Gospel. Next, we need to recover a biblical anthropology. That’s nerdy. We need to understand that the Bible has a high view of the body. This is a heresy that the culture got in even in the beginning, as soon as the New Testament was written, you had this agnostic influence, and agnostic just sound super nerdy. You had this influence where they tried to separate spiritual and physical, where the prevailing cultural understanding of the time was that the physical was bad and the spiritual was good, and so they denigrated the body. But the Christianity does not hold to a low view of the body, we hold to a high view of the body. Let me read just a little bit in 1 Corinthians. I’m gonna read some in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 and some in 1 Corinthians Corinthians chapter 7.

1 Corinthians chapter 6 starting in verse 13, it says,

“The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise up by His power, meaning the body. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never. Or do you know that he who has joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her, for as it is written, the two become one flesh.”

He’s quoting from Genesis, the creation account. But he who is joined to the Lord, becomes one spirit with him. Look at this, flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, you were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body. Do you see this? He is elevating the physical body, your body has value, and your body was created for the Lord. We need to understand that Christianity doesn’t have this weird bifurcation between the physical and the spiritual, as if the physical is bad and the spiritual is good.

No, his creation was created good, and our bodies are part of that goodness of creation. He also says, your body was meant for the Lord. He says that what you do with your body matters. Do you see that? And that when you are sinning sexually, you are sinning against your body. He says, your body is the spirit, is the temple of God. Man, the thing that made the… I said the Spirit of God, I meant to say temple, your body is the temple of God. And the thing that made the temple so valuable, so precious was that’s where the Spirit of God resided. And what he’s telling us is that the Holy Spirit of God resides in your body. So it has immense value. And we need to be careful with what we’re doing to our body. You joke around, there’s always guys… I work with college students, and so there’s always guys that come through here who are lifting. You know what I’m talking about. You gotta take care of that temple. You heard me, right on bro. [laughter]

Those guys are dumb. [laughter] Not you, handsome. [laughter] But we do need to understand, we don’t need to make it a caricature, we need to understand we believe that the body has a value because God’s Spirit dwells in you. That’s crazy. We need to… And for so many Christians, we do not have a solid biblical anthropology, we don’t have a high view of the body. The next is we need to understand that the Bible has a high view of sex. We need to recover and biblical sexual ethic. I’m just gonna continue reading and we’re now going into 1 Corinthians 7. Now remember, 1 Corinthians, There was a guy, a pastor who preached a series on the Book of 1 Corinthians and he called it The Church Gone Wild because they are dealing with crazy, just crazy stuff in there. But look at what he’s saying. Let’s pay attention to this. Remember that this is a culture in which women were not seen as… Women were seen as second-class people. They were seen at best as disposable and at worse as sex slaves, property. And now the Christian ethic invaded that world, and look at the way that Paul talks about sex in marriage. And we need to understand that as Christians, we believe that sex is good and valuable, just like everything in its proper context. And the proper context is in a covenant marriage.

He says, now, concerning the matters about what you wrote, is it good for a man to have sexual relations with a woman? But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” Look at this. This is really fascinating. We’ll read, the husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband for the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Now, time out. In this culture, if you were to say that a wife does not have authority of her own body but the husband does, the entire culture would have said, amen. Because what’s crazy is in Corinth during this time, they believed that a man could not commit adultery. Do you know why? Because he could have sex with whoever he wanted and it didn’t matter. But a woman couldn’t have sex with anybody but her husband, that’s the culture that Paul is writing to. And so when you see, oh, a wife doesn’t have… And this is, every feminist is like, “I can’t believe he said this.” But just wait, because I believe that the next verse is the most culturally blasphemous thing that has ever been written. Because it says, For the wife does not have authority over her own husband, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

Do you see the way… Think about this, that is foreign in our culture today, 2000 years ago, it was crazy to say that a woman had authority over her husband’s body. And let’s remember, like… We’re using euphemistic language here, it is talking about sexual fulfillment in marriage. Do you understand that? A woman is in control of her husband’s body in the bedroom. Do you understand that? So if someone is trying to tell you, oh, Christians are prudish and puritanical, as if that’s also an insult. Puritans were awesome. [laughter] Those guys were studs. They wrote like, it takes you a day to read one thing that they’ve read, you’re like, “Where’s my dictionary?” Those guys are awesome. But Christianity doesn’t teach that sex is bad. Christianity doesn’t teach that sexual fulfillment is bad. Christianity said… And this is what’s crazy, Bobby and I were talking about this earlier. In 2019, you guys don’t know that’s why I’m telling you. In 2019, they did this, it was called the world map. What’s it called? It’s an organization… I’ve got the notes here, called the world family map in 2019 and they did a study on relationships and sexuality, and the demographic… This is crazy.

In 2019, they did, it’s like 11,000 families across the world, the… Do you know what demographic claims that they have the best relationships and the most sexual satisfaction? Middle-aged religious people. Ain’t that crazy? But our culture is trying to tell you, oh, it’s these young people who are having sex with whoever they want. They’re the most sexually satisfied, they’re the most sexually bankrupt. It’s crazy. We’re talking in the world that’s saying that, and specifically women who are in traditional gender marriages and highly religious families are experiencing the most sexual satisfaction. Ain’t that crazy? You know why? Because it’s people who are living as faithful creatures, God’s creatures in his world. One of my favorite passages scriptures in Deuteronomy 6 and 7. And Deuteronomy 6 and 7, he’s talking about the laws and the rules and statutes that God has giving them to go into the land. Deuteronomy’s them getting ready to go on the land. And he says, you need to keep these laws, rules and statutes. Why? So that it’ll be good for you. He says, for your good always. God is the one who created us, and so his laws, rules and regulations are actually intended for the greatest in human flourishing. So we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s Christians who are the most satisfied in their sexuality ’cause they found the answer. That’s what they were created for.

And so let’s keep going. Likewise, the husband does not have authorities over his body, the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for limited time that you may devote yourselves to prayer then come together again so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. We need to understand that the Christian view of sex is liberating because it is what we were created for. And then, let’s not forget like Song of Solomon. Song of Solomon is a celebration of love. In the Proverbs, I’m gonna read an awkwardly long proverb. [laughter] That’s what we do here. Proverbs 5:15, drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets, let them be for yourself alone and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight, be intoxicated always in her love. Why should you be intoxicated, my son with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulterous? For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord and he ponders all his paths.

The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him and he has held fast in the cords of sin, he dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly, he’s led astray. That’s what’s happening in our culture. We’re getting led astray by our own folly because we’re not accepting the sexuality that God has called us to. And we need to understand as Christians, God has a high view of our identity, of our sexuality, of our gender, of marriage. And then I also wanna say this, what we need to make sure that we’re teaching a healthy understanding of sexuality. Because so many youth groups have done a crappy job talking about sex, it’s just we just need to realize that. And the two things that we need to do is we need to avoid selfishness and avoid shame. We need to make sure that we’re teaching on sex and sexuality in such a way that we’re not telling people that it’s the only thing that matters in life. That we’re not teaching… ‘Cause you guys just read it, we read this. 1 Corinthians 7. 1 Corinthians 7, sex and marriage is created for you as a gift to give pleasure to your spouse. That’s crazy. This is not what our culture is saying. Our culture is saying it’s all about me and about my sexual satisfaction. Because if you try to teach people, oh, that sex is the most important thing ever, if they are in a situation where they’re not having sex, then what?

But if it’s a gift for your spouse, for you to come together so that you can pursue the Lord together, awesome. And we need to make sure that we’re not saying over and over, sex is bad, it’s bad, it’s bad, it’s bad because then, then this shameful idea gets attached to sex. ‘Cause I don’t know about you all, but I’ve counseled a lot of young couples who they’ve been told sex is so bad that when they get married, there’s a stigma attached to it, a shame. So we need to be teaching the goodness of sex and sexuality in the context in which it was created, that it’s created as a way not to be selfish, but to be selfless in a way that avoid shame. And we also need to understand the Bible teaches a high view of singleness. Because we need to make sure that we don’t just say, oh, well, marriage is the only thing you’re created for and for. We have young or old faithful people who are following the Lord who are not married.

Look at what the Bible says, I’m continuing. This is in 1 Corinthians 7, verse 22, he says, I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed man or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit, but the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

We need to understand that sometimes God calls us into periods of singleness, either temporary or permanent, and that that is a gift from God to serve him. We need to understand, does the Bible have a high view of marriage? Absolutely, yes. Is marriage normative? Absolutely, because that’s the way the human race continues. We’ve got these amazing pictures associated with the trinity and with the Gospel, but there’s also people that God has called to singleness so that they can serve the Lord in their singleness. So the Bible has a high view of the body, has a high view of sexuality, has a high view of marriage, and has a high view of singleness. And we need to talk about healthy relationships. We need to recover a biblical understanding of healthy communities, of healthy relationships. We already talked about this some with young ladies, we need to teach young ladies what it’s like to have good, healthy intimate relationships, but also avoiding same-sex attraction and co-dependency. These are things that are destroying our young people because they’re saying, Oh, I’m supposed to be focusing my attention on this, and they focus on a way that diverges from the truth.

We need to make sure that we are protecting our young people in the way that they relate to each other, and then we also need to understand a couple of other things. We need to understand that most of our young men are being destroyed by pornography. And what’s really fascinating is that it’s crazy. This is a caricature in our society today. Everywhere you look, there are different stages of pornography. Every new social media platform is being used to spread pornography, and it is destroying a generation of people. What’s crazy? I’ve got a quote, this is from Nancy Piercy, and then we talk about our culture’s trying to tell us that pornography is normal and natural. This is all the way back to Freud. Freud was sick and crazy when it came to stuff like this. Okay, so the first longitudinal study on porn found that men who start watching porn after they marry are twice as likely to divorce. Other studies found that watching porn actually shrinks the brain, introduces neural activity. There is now firm data showing that porn is addictive, it leads to violence that destroys relationships, and it feeds sex trafficking and prostitution. And our culture is still trying to say normal, natural and healthy. Why? Well, because what our culture has done is our culture has elevated self above God’s word in God’s world.

That’s why we have to recover this understanding of authority. And we need to teach our students that sex is a good thing in the right context. And especially when we’re talking about value, that human beings have value, we need to realize that pornography is one of the ultimate in dehumanizing individuals. Because we are turning individuals who’ve been created in the image of God, eternal souls for whom Christ died, we are removing their humanity and turning them to objects for our own sinful, perverted satisfaction. This is a big deal. It’s not like, Oh, it’s just something I do on my phone. No, you are destroying yourself because you are treating something that God holds with eternal value as garbage. We need to be teaching this. We need to be explaining to our students, and that’s where we come in. All of us in here, we have the opportunity to invest in these younger generations. They are being taught about sex through the culture and not the church. We need to be talking with our parents, we need to be talking with students, and we need to be highlighting… We have a book written for us. Do you see what I’m saying?

The stuff that I’m talking about today, I didn’t just magic it out of nowhere, we’re just reading the Bible. We need to make sure that what we’re doing is that we are okay being cultural outsiders, and we need to make sure that… And this is where I think part of our problem is that we’ve misapplied the ethic of love. What I mean by that is that we’re telling people, oh, well, you have to love them well. They’re image bearers of God, we need to love them well. And loving means approving of everything they’re doing. Bull crap. Become a parent. And you see your kids destroying themselves, is it loving to allow them to continue to destroy themselves? No, love has a backbone. Love cares about the actual well-being for those whom we love. That’s what we need be conveying to our students. Yes, ’cause there’s practical issues that we have to deal with. Well, I’ve got a friend who is transgender. Well, what do we do? Well, one is we need to make sure that we are applying the biblical understanding of identity. What that means is, if you have someone you love, you care about and they identify as something else, you need to help them understand that their value is as an image bearer of God, not in… Their value isn’t because they’re gay, lesbian, queer, questioning, transgender, their value is an image bearer of God and we love them as image bearers of God, as God’s creatures in God’s world.

And this is a long process. We need to be discipling our young people. And part of discipling them is all of these things, recovering and understanding of identity, recovering and understanding of authority and then teaching the Bible properly. The Bible teaches us about our bodies. It teaches about sex, it teaches us about gender. It teaches us about marriage and about singleness. We do to make sure that we are allowing even our teaching to come from scripture and not from the culture.

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