Sex, Sexuality and Gender - Q&A Part 2

Answering Questions About Sex And The Christian Faith

Tim Lundy
Mar 20, 2022    50m
How can we answer questions about sex and the Christian faith with truth and grace? This message tackles questions that many will face in their day-to-day life around this subject and gives solid, Christian-based advice on how to love well and yet hold to the truths of the Bible. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

03-20-2022 Venture sermon
Tim Lundy: [00:00:00] Samaritan's Purse, because they were setting up field hospitals right on the border there. As we researched different organizations, their ability to mobilize, their ability to help right on the front line. We felt like that was a great place to plug in and invest with it. We also gave $10,000 to a Christian organization, Hope International for workers, people in Ukraine, and so it was part of it is to help get them out of the country as well. We're continuing to monitor and look for ways to plug in, some of you have asked about that. As we've asked around different organizations, I can say Samaritan's Purse, I think, does as quick and as effective a job of helping people right on the front lines, so it would be an organization that we would say you could give to. And as we have other direct line contacts, we'll let you know, but we appreciate your prayers, appreciate the generosity of the church, that we're able to make gifts like this, and we want to continue to use the resources God's given us here to be a part of helping there.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:00] One of the greatest ways we could help, and I don't say this lightly, is to pray. And I would hope you're praying every day. I would hope when you see the newsreel come across, instead of just being horrified or just going, oh, that's so horrible to see, stop and pray in that moment, pray for the people you're seeing, pray for the people there, pray that God would move in this as only he can.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:25] Let's pray together, Father, we come before you, we do pray today for the people of Ukraine, we pray for the conflict there, we pray for just the battles that are being waged even now, we pray for this horrible loss of human life and the tragedy of this. Lord, there's so much we don't understand, but we know that when we see war on this scale, when we see life lost, this is evidence of our fallen world and sinfulness, and so we turn to you. Lord, I pray there would be a resolution of peace, I pray that that life would be spared, I pray that you would move in the hearts of world leaders. We pray for our president; we pray you'd give him wisdom in knowing how to interact in the best way. We pray for the leaders across Europe. We pray for President Zelensky as he leads his people. We pray for President Putin; we pray that you would move in his heart to stop this. Lord, we pray for the people of Russia, the believers there. We pray for people who have just been displaced, and they're separated from family. We pray for those who are grieving and lost today. Look, we don't know how to redeem these kinds of situations, but you do, and so that's why we turn to you, and we lay this at your feet. And we pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:58] Well, we want to finish out our series today, and we really are finishing it out, I promise you, I know I've stretched it out a few weeks with it, but we're going to finish out today, and answer some of the questions, continue to answer the questions that you've had around sex, sexuality, homosexuality, transgender. And I've had to consolidate some of the questions into categories, we'll try to cover as much ground as we can in that. I would encourage you if you're visiting today, if this is your first week, this is one of those series, you want to go back and see the biblical foundations that we laid out on the different weeks because that really informs the answers. It's one thing just to jump to answers, to questions, I think it's much more important that we actually have a biblical foundation that we're working off of in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:46] As we get into this today, I'll just say to you again, those of you who weren't here, there's parts of this as we talk about these issues that it makes us uncomfortable. So there'll probably be a point today you're uncomfortable with the conversation, but that's okay, comfort is very overrated, it really is. And I just say that because I think we've gotten to the place where things that make us uncomfortable, we're not talking about at all, and we have to talk about it.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:13] The other thing I would say today, especially today, as we start getting into the finer points of some of this discussion, you may disagree in places, and that's okay. That's okay, our unity is built around Christ, not because we all see life exactly the same way, that's part of being in the church. And all I would ask is the places where you disagree, just you ask yourself, why do I disagree? Am I disagreeing because I don't like how it feels, or am I disagreeing because I think there's a different way to interpret truth? And so I just ask you to continue to wrestle in yourself, of why you come to this.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:50] Especially on the issues today, these topics are hard because up to this point, we've been building a biblical foundation for a sexual ethic that we believe as a church that the Bible teaches very clearly, that sex is only between a man and a woman in marriage, the Bible teaches that. Now, several of the resources, and teachers, and experts that I'm reading, they would all agree with what I just said, but then the application of that can get difficult, and there are places of disagreement in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:22] Let me jump in, and we'll see what I'm talking about with it. So let's go back, as Christians, how do we navigate the issues of daily life? And here are a few of the questions. Do I use pronouns for someone who transitions? Should I attend a gay wedding? Should I allow a gay couple to stay in my home overnight? Another question is, should I allow my child to spend the night with one of their best friends at school if it's a same-sex parenting situation in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:52] Now, before we dive just into the questions, through all of this, we want to allow the Bible to train our thinking. And specifically, I want us to be thinking about it, how do we approach any gray areas? How do we approach careers? Let me be clear again, I'm not saying that the decision to engage in sex outside of marriage in any form is a gray area, that's a pretty black and white area. But how do we navigate this as those people who believe that biblical ethic?

Tim Lundy: [00:06:25] And if you look at your notes, and just for a moment, this is a grid that you can apply to other things as well, it's not just these issues. I mean, we have issues and culture that we go, am I allowed to do that or not? Well, the first thing you always want to ask yourself, is the Bible clear on this issue, has the Bible explicitly stated what I should do on this issue? Wherever the Bible is clear, you're clear, you don't have to debate it, it's not a gray area, it's a black and white area. But as you come to it, you go, okay, I don't see those verses on pronouns, I don't know the uses, and I'm seeing Christians say different things.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:03] So then the next level is, where is my conscience on this before God? Where's my conscience on this before God? We're going to get into this in the book of Romans because Paul takes a little bit of time to really unpack these issues, how do you do this as a church? One of the things they were wrestling with in the church in Rome, was over whether you could eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. And so there was this big debate in the church, that some people said, man, if meat has ever been sacrificed to idols, if you eat that, you're endorsing idolatry. there's no way around it. Others said, well, I don't believe in those idols, I just purchased the meat, I have the meat, I'm not worshiping an idol, I'm just eating meat. And so the question came to Paul, which is it, Paul, just give us the answer. And Paul says, well, let's step back. And again, we'll walk through this in Romans, because I think we don't handle these issues really well. that's why we want scripture to inform it. One of the things, though, that he brought out in that study is, he says, "I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself.". And so when he talks about his own life, he says, I'm free to eat the meat, I don't think the meat is unclean in itself, I'm not endorsing idolatry when I do that. But then he adds this line, he says, "But it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean." So if you, before God, if eating that, especially if you had come out of idolatry and you go to eat that meat and you're sitting there going, man, this is just wrong. He goes, then it is wrong for you.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:41] And we don't like this, we want God to kind of just give us the hundred rules, and just tell us what you can do and can't do. Isn't it funny, for all our railing against we don't want to live under the law, we really do want to live under the law because it makes it so simple? And part of the uniqueness of the New Testament, part of the uniqueness of the New Covenant, remember the Old Covenant, God did, he spelled out. He said, this is what it means to be my people here, here are the key laws, the black and white things, and then he applied it down to really specific ways in that time for that people. In the New Covenant, he said, I'm doing something different, instead of writing that out on tablets, I'm going to write it on the human heart, you're actually going to have the Holy Spirit within you, so you look to him, and you listen to him.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:29] Now, the specific things that are black and white, he has written them out, they're all through the New Testament, there are specific things, especially on this area of sexuality, we've been going through it. God's really clear that sex is between a man and woman in marriage, that part is specific. But the application now in these places of, where do I engage, how do I stand, your conscience may be different before God, that you really feel like I can't do that. Where someone else is pursuing, and they're listening to the Holy Spirit, and they go, well, I'm approaching this differently.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:01] As I say that here's how we have to do this balance. How do I live out my faith while showing love in order to be a light for Christ? So on one half of the equation, and you're always going to feel the tension between these two poles by the way, how do I live out the truth of my faith? How do I live this in an unwavering way, that I don't want to be inconsistent with it? I don't want to move with the world when the world moves, this is the truth, and I've built my life on it. How do I live that out, while at the same time evangelistically, man, I want to reach people who are far from God, and I want to connect with them, and I want to have a relationship in their life so that they can know Christ? And the reality in the church, and probably in this room, one of two of those drives you more than the other. And I'm just saying this as a pastor, I see this in churches, that some churches, man, they are great at standing for the truth and standing for the faith, and they proclaim loudly and boldly and clearly, and they don't mind who they offend in it, and there's a place for that. Others, man, they are so evangelistically driven, they're just thinking about reaching people for Christ all the time, and they love people, and they're connected out in the world, and they're connected in that way, and they're driven by that to the point that they go, oh, man, it's hard for me to stand on that pole. And I would just say, as Christians, we live in that tension of how do I do both of these well? Man, I don't want to be a person that is wavering on the truth, but in the same way, how do I reach people for Christ in it?

Tim Lundy: [00:11:39] I think the person who handled it the best, other than Jesus obviously, is the Apostle Paul. Paul was driven on both of these things, and so as you read those writings, it's so helpful. I love how he puts it in First Corinthians, he says, "To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ).". So he said when I'm interacting with people that they haven't grown up with the Jewish law, and they don't keep these rules, and they eat meat because that's not a problem for them, man, I can connect with them on that. No, notice, he says, I'm not outside the law of God, that's his way of saying I don't connect with them to the point that I stop listening to what the New Testament says, that I change my moral stand in that. But if it's a cultural thing, man, I'll try to reach them in any way, "That I might win those outside the law. 22To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some." He's saying, I'm constantly flexing my comfort for the sake of who I'm reaching. But notice why, "I do it all for the sake of the Gospel that I may share with them in its blessing."

Tim Lundy: [00:12:50] And this is one of the keys if you want to check your own heart, the reason Paul would always flex, I'm always flexing for the Gospel, for them to come to Christ. I'm not flexing because I want to be popular. I'm not flexing because the culture has changed. I'm not flexing because. well, I don't know what they're going to think about me. Paul didn't worry about that stuff, but he did always look at himself and go, okay, is there a way that I can use this to reach him for Christ, so I can reach them for the Gospel? Is there a way, and is this an issue that I couldn't move on for that sake? Now even doing that, even with that mentality, and you need to hear me, even if you do things perfectly...And I think we live under this illusion, if I say it just the right way, and if I'm loving the right way, they won't be offended. Guys, the Gospel is offensive in places. And especially if you've entrenched your life in a sinful pattern against God, then you don't want anybody saying the truth.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:50] So even Paul, who's willing to stretch in every way possible, look at what he has to say to Timothy later in life. He says, hey, don't be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, don't be ashamed of Jesus, or of me. And he's talking to his mentor, a fellow pastor, he says, hey, don't be ashamed of me, I know I say things, I know I stand strong, I know I stand in a way that a lot of people, they've pulled back from me and they don't like it. So I'm asking you to stand with me in this and suffer for the Gospel by the power of God.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:32] You go, well, Tim, you're supposed to give me a quick answer here. And you're putting me in this place where I'm having to live in the tension between, man, how do I stand for the Gospel and the truth, and how do I reach people for Christ? And part of that is by design, part of the New Covenant is, and we don't teach this enough when he said, I gave you the Holy Spirit, that he's writing the law on the heart, God is more concerned that you have a dependence on the Holy Spirit in these decisions than anything else.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:02] Now, it's based on a dependence on his word. So you know what his word is saying, and you go, man, I'm always going to follow that. And now, when I move into these gray areas, I am moving into this tension place that I go, okay, Holy Spirit, you lead me because you've got a divine curriculum for me. And there may be specific issues that I'm facing here that other people aren't facing out of that. My goal as a church, man, I want you to be led by him instead of led by Tim. Now, I don't abdicate the leadership role, I'm called to speak leadership role into your life, but I'll never be the Holy Spirit in your life. And if through this process we learn to depend on him that much more, that every time we come to one of these issues we go, man, this is so hard, God, what are you calling me to do? And then you dive back into his word and go, have you been really clear? You're clear here, okay, I know what to do. Oh, it's still not clear here, and then you talk to other believers, you go, man, would you help me discern what I think God's calling here? And then you live in that place of dependence on him. You go, man. Tim, that's much harder than you just giving me a bunch of answers. And yet, that's the reality, boy, if we could grow through that, the power of that in our life with it.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:26] Now, that said, I'm not dodging questions. Let's go back to the questions, I just want to give you a context for it. So do I use pronouns for someone who transitions? So if they're male and they've transitioned to female and they've declared, these are my pronouns, she and her, sometimes they in them if they see themselves as non-binary. And as you read through this, kind of two different voices of Christian experts who believe in a biblical Christian ethic, let me make sure I'm clear, everybody I'm talking about here would believe everything I've preached for the last four weeks. So these aren't people that are coming at it with a liberal mindset, these are Christians wrestling with it on the two sides of it. Let me give you kind of the two sides of that, of those that are wrestling with that.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:15] Those who are against, who would say, it's always wrong to use the pronoun of the new pronoun, it's always wrong with that. One, there's a case it would be lying, there biologically male and I'm calling them female, and so there's a deception with that. And so, in their conscience they go, man, I can't do that. The trans community, and this is one of the strongest things against it, it's not just pronouns, the trans community wants to reshape language because language shapes culture. And so as we see these events that are happening, when you see a swim meet and you know, you see the guy standing on the stand in that, and the frustration that comes out of that, all of that is culture shaping. And so if you can reshape the language, then you can declare, because here's where it really becomes difficult for us if I can reshape the language, then I can declare what is hate speech. That anybody that doesn't agree with that language is now hate speech, and so you're not many steps away, and you see it with different bills in Canada and that, that you're not allowed to preach what I've been preaching the last four weeks, because language has been reshaped in that way. That's why it is a serious issue as a culture, and so those who've taken a strong stand say, I can't do that, many of them come because they're interacting with that.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:40] And so then it becomes hate speech to even stand for biblical Christian ethic. I mean, we see it in our own community, we see it in our own church body. Rigo Lopez, who leads Fellowship of Christian Athletes, there are few people more loving and love kids more. But on one of the high school campuses, man, different people have come forward and said, man, they are a hate group. Now, is it because they said hateful speech at all? No, you're not going to find anybody more loving. It's because as leaders, they just said, hey, we hold to a biblical Christian ethic when it comes to sex, that's our belief system. And so you find yourself in the crosshairs without trying to take these steps at all but find yourself there. And so, for those who speak out against using the new pronouns, this is really one of the core issues around it. Others have said, as well with it, that if gender dysphoria really is, it used to be quantified as a mental condition, am I not just confirming the delusion by using the pronouns? Am I not just making it worse with that?

Tim Lundy: [00:19:54] Let me go to the flip side, there are others who say, yeah, I use the pronouns as a sign of respect with the person. And again, voices on this side of it, and a guy like Preston Sprinkle, who I think is probably one of the best writers, and teachers when it comes to this, but he's interacting with a lot of patients in this. And he said to them, hey, I've made it explicitly clear, I don't agree with their assessment of their biological sex, but as a sign of respect and relationship with this so that I can help them, I've used the pronouns in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:28] Some have kind of moved to a place where they would say, I can use the name, but not the pronouns. If they've embraced a new name, then that's not really lying, a lot of people change their names for a lot of reasons. Most of the Hollywood stars that you say their names, that's not their real names, and so we don't consider that lying every time I say it.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:52] In the same way, some have said I can say their new name, but I will choose not to use their pronouns. You're going to find Christians on all three of these in it. For me, personally, I don't have a problem using their new name. I don't feel that's deceptive; I think that is a way of showing a sign of relational respect in that. I am pronoun avoidant for the most part, and what that means is when the pronoun comes, I'll insert their name instead of the pronoun there, even to the point that it might be awkward. Where they're like, well, you keep saying the name, why don't you say the pronoun? And then I would say very clearly, I'm doing that on purpose because I don't believe there's been a change in biological sex, I don't believe that. And so there's a clarity there of my belief, but I'm not looking for the ways to always pick at it in order just to make the point.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:47] Sprinkle made one point out of it, he said, you know, he has one of his patients, she goes to church, she loves the Lord, she struggles with gender dysphoria greatly, it triggers in a way. And one of the triggers for her is when someone says she and her about her, she doesn't know why, but that's a key trigger. And so she chose they/them as a way of just kind of avoiding it. Now she's not embraced transgender, she's living in Christ, she's living out, she's battling this dysphoria. And so he looked at it and he goes, you know, when I take it to a personal scale, is there something I can do to help guard her in her battle to live out what Christ is called her to do? That's an easy sacrifice for me in order to do that. And I look at that, and it kind of falls on two sides, those who are really battling this out in the culture, and it needs to because of truth being, redefined usually are those who are taking harder stands on this, those who are interacting with individual patients, usually are willing to show flexibility because of the person out of that.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:56] And you are in different situations, some of you, you're dealing with this in your immediate family. And so every day, you're trying to build a bridge of relationship with them. Some of you are seeing this happen in schools and organizations, and every day you're feeling that need, I've got to stand up for this truth and we've got to speak out for it. I'd say both are true in this, and so this is where I would just challenge you as you come back and you go, okay. what does Scripture say? I think Scripture clearly says that your biological sex is determined by God. So we're not wavering on that. But where is Scripture calling you to interact and live in a case-by-case situation?

Tim Lundy: [00:23:39] Let's go to the second one, should I attend a gay wedding? So if I go to a gay wedding, is that endorsing homosexuality? Is endorsing gay marriage in particular? And again, on both sides of it, and here are some of the questions I think you just have to process through. Are they Christians? Are they Christians? And so am I holding them to the standard of what I would hold a Christian to, when they don't even embrace Christianity at all? The second question you ask yourself, is this a civil ceremony or a religious ceremony? Are they coming and saying this is a covenant before God, and they're making that proclamation? Or are they just seeing this as a secular civil ceremony? In the same way that maybe somebody of a different religion, they're having a wedding that you would attend in it. I think you have to ask the motive of your heart, you’ve got to examine your heart. Is my reason for going or not going not to make waves, or is it really motivated by the Gospel?

Tim Lundy: [00:24:40] I think a key one, and I really look to Bruce Miller, he is a pastor who's done a lot of work in this area in it and worked with a lot of families in this area. And Bruce said, you know, one of the key ones, you've got to look at people, what is my level of relationship? And I think specifically, you're a parent, it's a child, and child's inviting you to their wedding or a sibling with that. And examining by not going, am I going to so sever this relationship that I've severed also this voice of truth in their life. And it has happened, it becomes the severing mark. And so some parents have made the decision, you know, I'm going to be there to support them, I'm not supporting this and I've made that clear to them, but I'm going to be there because I believe God's placed me uniquely in their life to be this voice of truth and this bridge of truth, and I've made that decision because of that. Other parents, they've prayed before God, and in their conscience, they go, you know, I just feel like even if I'm there at all I'm endorsing it, and I can't do it. And very painfully, they've chosen not to. Man, I grieve in both cases, I really do. And here's all I would just challenge if you're walking through that. One, you need to talk to other parents who find themselves in that. Two, we need to extend some grace to each other. I'm tired of, too often it's real easy from afar, people would say, well, I would never. You don't know, you don't know until you're there, and you don't know what the Holy Spirit is walking them through in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:24] And so in that challenge for me, I would never officiate a wedding, a same-sex wedding, because when I officiate a wedding, it's a covenant before God, so I can't do that in violation of his word. I've not been invited to a gay wedding in that, and so I've not crossed that bridge, if it was an unbeliever that I was building a relationship in Christ and they're not even seeing this as a religious ceremony, I may be more inclined and continue in that relationship. If it's a believer and they're seeing this as a wedding before God, I would be disinclined as a pastor, because I feel like even as a pastor I'm representing the mantle of this church, and so I'd be disinclined that my attendance is promoting that. But that's a unique situation for me in that, and I give you that not as your guideline of what you're supposed to do, but I want to be honest with you, where I'm processing in these things as well.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:23] What about should I allow gay couples to stay in my house overnight? Well, here's the question, are you consistent? Would you allow heterosexual couples to stay in your house overnight that are not married? And if you immediately went, well, that's different. No, it's not, it's based on the same issues. So, no, it's not. So if you go, man, I've got a consistent standard in my household that we don't, then you hold to that standard out of it. Now, again, you've got to wrestle through, where are they coming from? Do they even know Jesus? Where is the relationship with this? Is this the first thing that I'm pushing? Am I trying to change their sexuality before Jesus has even changed their heart, that's a key issue out of it? I think you also have to wrestle, I've got other kids in the house, what am I modeling for them?

Tim Lundy: [00:28:08] And all these decisions, if you've got kids, and I've seen this, where parents are not talking about it, and it's kind of uncomfortable, and we don't really like talking about what's going on with their uncle or aunt, and we don't really engage it. Now with the littlest kids, when they don't have the category, I get that. But you hit an age where if you don't engage it as a parent, if you don't sit down with them and go, hey, we've got to talk through this, here's why we've made these choices that are different from the people we love. Now, we're loving them, and maybe in those choices, this is why we did that. But I need to be really clear to you, we're not doing that as an endorsement of it because this is what God's called us to, even at the point that we disagree with someone we really love.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:56] Here's why I challenge you; you have to have those conversations. There are kids growing up in Christian households, and the parents don't talk about it at all, and they kind of engage because they're trying to reach out. And the kids become adults and they go, well, you never said anything about it, I thought it was okay. I thought we just thought that was all right. Guys as our culture moves more, we're living in exile, we don't agree with the culture. And our communication is going to have to increase that much more with our kids.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:27] Now, somebody asked, would you let your kid, and I think it was their seven-year-old spend the night with a friend, and it was same-sex parents out of that. We wouldn't have, and it wasn't so much I would just say out of same sex, it was just we were very hesitant to have our kids spend the night with people unless we were really close to them, in a close relationship. We were slow to that, and people get offended by that, by the way, what are you saying about our household? And I'm just saying to them, I'm saying I'm not about to hand my kid over that you have complete control over them for the next 24 hours and I don't know you that well. Sorry, we just don't, and if you get offended in that, so be it. I'm not trying to be offensive; these are just standards that we set in that. And so, you know, there's this fear all the time of, man, if I'm protecting or I'm standing up for something, that offense, if I if offended at all, then I did it wrong. Guys, they're going to get offended in ways, we still have to stand for what we're called to do and what we are called to protect in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:31] A number of other issues around this, I think you're seeing some of the principles behind it. Let me jump into a couple of other key questions people had. What does the Bible say about pornography? What does the Bible say about pornography? Pornography falls under the prohibitions against sexual immorality and lust. Hear me, pornography is always wrong, it's always, you used to not have to say that. Let me just say explicitly, clearly, the Bible stands against it. And I mean, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.". Probably the clearest verse against it, Paul says, "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.". Pornography falls under every one of these terms, it's probably one of the most explicit forms of idolatry in our culture today, it's always wrong. And so if there's anything, because I'll see even Christian chat groups and they talk about well in the right context...No, it's always wrong. And top of that, I would just say to you, it's one of the most destructive forces in the world today. It literally is one of the most destructive forces in the world today, it is so widespread, it's so widespread through culture and it's so widespread through the evangelical church. So even as we dove into this, I know the uncomfort level kind of goes up because the struggle is real here, it's here, it's inundated with us, it's coming at us every day, it's accessible in a way like never before, and it has the illusion that it remains anonymous, and it is so destructive.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:35] And when I say destructive, I'm not just talking morally, you know, this verse always strikes me. Paul says, "Run from sexual immorality, flee from it. Every other sine a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body." You're literally damaging your own body, and this proves true with pornography like few other categories. It's interesting, I've got a friend of mine, he runs a treatment program that specializes with young men with alcohol and drug addiction, initially, that added other forms of addiction out of it because he's done his doctoral work and his studies of the human brain with it. And it's just fascinating talking to him how all these things are linked, pornography is a drug, it's just a drug, there's no other way around it, and it has the same impact on your brain as other drugs. They call it the Coolidge effect, that basically when a person sees porn, that rush of dopamine, those pleasure neurochemicals that just rush the brain, like drugs do. And so then the brain has to respond to it, one, because it's too much of a rush, those neurochemicals, the receptors, they shut down part of the receptors. And in the same way, you don't always get the same production from the exact same stimulus. And so in the same way that when someone starts doing a drug in order to get the same high because the brain is trying to protect itself, they have to do stronger drugs to get that same high again, the same thing happens with porn. I mean, they showed the studies of porn the exact same patterns with that, and so that's why you see someone that they have to increase more, and that is not the same stimulus, because the brain's trying to protect itself and, in the process, you're rewiring it. And the bad news is because you've tapped it and rushed it with the dopamine through porn, then in the regular parts of life, you have a dopamine withdrawal, and so you're down that much more, and lives that much less pleasurable. And then the only way kind of to get that fix again is, well, I got to go back to my drug, and the cycle continues.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:55] Now for some people, these leads, I mean, it's full-blown addiction. For a lot of people, maybe you look at it and you go, well, I'm not an addict, you know, I look at it from time to time, but come on, Tim, you are kind of overstating. Well, let me ask you, if someone said to you, well, I'm not addicted to heroin, but, you know, about once a month, I like to take it, what would you say to him? Would you go, oh, okay, that's all right, then. There's a reason today that around 25% of the prescriptions for erectile dysfunction medicine are for men in their twenties, it's because the brain has been so rewired. I just challenge you, look at the commercials now for ED medicine. It used to be a bunch of old people, remember, it was always the old people holding hands in that? Look at it now, it's all young people, because it's a key market, because it's damaging your own body.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:02] And the hard part is there's so much shame around it, man, we don't know where to talk, we don't know how to get help. It's so destructive to a marriage, I see this in counseling, the level of hurt, and often the spouse who feels, man, was I not enough. The level, and here's what's hard because there's a hurt in the sexual area, but the hurt really even goes deeper in the deception, that you were lying to me, that you hid this from me in your isolation, and it's a double whammy. Now I get asked, one of the questions that comes in with it is, is pornography grounds for divorce? And I would say the instance and the act of someone looking at pornography, I don't think it's crossed that line that Jesus is saying when he's talking about the breaking of one flesh where two bodies have been joined, but I think it opens the door. And here's what I mean in it, I've seen couples that if a partner is not willing to deal with it, it becomes a form of abandonment, and so they've abandoned this marriage in it, they're not living out what Corinthians calls them to do out of it. And so I address it more as a form of abandonment if they're not willing to deal with it, which can lead to divorce. Certainly, it can lead to separation for a time in that, for them to take this seriously. And I don't say that lightly, and divorce is not something I'd ever push lightly. But I've also seen spouses trapped for years and years and years of a spouse who's not changing at all and not dealing with it, and almost as a church, you hold over them, well, until they actually sleep with the person, you can't. And I go, no, we've got to jump in and deal with it.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:59] Now hear me, here's what you need to know, we've got people all through this church that have had serious issues with it, serious issues in their marriage, thought they couldn't come back from it, addicted to it, and Jesus Christ has absolutely redeemed. He can redeem any marriage, he can redeem any...yeah, it's with that. So that would not be something that you'd go too quickly out of it, but you need to know this, if you're addicted or even struggling, you're not going to overcome it alone. I don't care how much you go home and tell yourself, and you pray that much harder, okay, Jesus, this is the last time, you're not going to get out from under it.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:38] And Scripture tells you this, this is one of those that says, "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2Bear one another’s burdens." This word burden, he is talking about a load that is so big, so crushing, it would crush you. It's like being under a boulder, you can't get out from under it. Porn is a burden, and if you're under it, I don't care how much you're praying and your intent in it, you need help. And you weren't designed to get out from under it alone, you need someone to come along and help bear that burden. And so I would just challenge you, if you're here today and you go, yeah, I'm struggling. If you're a guy here today and you're struggling, email Warrior Men. We have a phenomenal ministry here called Warrior Men, these are men, and it's all walks of life, all levels of dealing with it, some who found themselves in the depths of addiction and go, I don't think I could ever get out of it, and they have found healing and hope because they got with other men, and they got honest about it and they're willing to do the work. Now, it's totally confidential, that's why you don't hear us talk about it a whole lot, we call people to that, but it's confidential, you don't know, I don't know in this church who's in it? And that's by design, we want to respect that, and so if you're here struggling in any way, I would encourage you as a guy. If you're a woman, Journey Women is designed for the wives of husbands who are in that, and so it's a support group. It's to talk to other wives to go, hey, how did you deal with this? We don't have a specific group that's helping women who are addicted to porn, but we're connected to churches that are because this is a widespread issue for women as well, this isn't just a man thing. And so I'd encourage you, if you're a woman, reach out to Journey Women and they can help you get connected. If you're a man, reach out to your Warrior Men, you can see the email there, it's also on our website.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:43] And I'm excited that we've got a conference coming, living in sexual purity, it's coming on May 21st, it's going to be on this campus. And you can see the seminars here, we're bringing in the experts on this. So, you know, how do you live in sexual integrity? Your Brain, I hit it quickly, they'll go deeper, there are a couple of doctors that will walk you through that. How do you develop intimacy and marriage, especially if you struggled with this? Forgiveness, trust, boundaries, healing, betrayal, this is one of those conferences that should be really well attended. And I would hope that we've developed a culture here that shame doesn't keep you from coming to get the help you need. Or a lot of us need to come, maybe you look at this and go, Tim, that's not really my issue. It is somebody around you, it is your son's, it is somebody in your small group. And so we would do well, all of us, to come and get equipped, regardless of where you are in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:41:46] Let me close out with just a few things of how we approach this as a church, this is a summary of what we've been talking about. One, we are to actively look for ways to reach all people with the Good News, I would hope that you're looking for ways in your neighborhood, in your coffee shop, your hairdresser, your person that services your car, all around you, we need to be looking actively. We've said we're a missional church here in the Bay Area, and so we're surrounded by a lot of people who are really far from God. And do you know what? People who are far from God, they live like they're far from God, and we're the missionaries in their life. And so I would hope coming out of this, we're that much more motivated, who are we inviting to our dinner table? Who are we having a block party with so we can connect with that much more? Who are we willing to engage and treat them like people, not a project, like people that we love in Christ and allow God to use that gospel interaction to change their hearts? As a church, we can be welcoming to all people without affirming all lifestyles. Some churches have kind of decided they don't want to welcome or affirm, in order to stand for truth, they've said, we really don't want people of an alternate lifestyle coming here. Some have said it explicitly, some have said it maybe not explicitly, but it's felt. We've made the decision as a church because we're a missional church here in the bay, man, we welcome all people. If you're on your journey, maybe you're early in their journey, maybe you're looking at this stuff and you go, that's crazy. I'm glad you're here. Maybe you look at this, you go, man, I absolutely stand against what you're teaching here. I'm still glad you're here. Now, we're not going to change what we teach, but we want to welcome people so they can be introduced to Christ. And so we will welcome all, but you just need to know if you come here, our stand, to the best of our ability is always going to be built on Scripture, and we're Scripture cuts across your lifestyle, will speak to it, and where the Bible cuts across any of us, we're going to speak to it both forthrightly and clearly. And if that makes you uncomfortable or offended, I get that, but we're not changing on that because that's our standard.

Tim Lundy: [00:44:11] The third thing as a church, we live in the messiness of grace while speaking with the clarity of truth. When I'm talking about the messiness of grace, I'm not saying God is messy, but grace, as it's played out in our lives, as we talk about these situations, it gets hard. And I say this specifically in how we treat each other, man, you may have a friend and you both agree on the Bible, but they're struggling because their son or daughter has come forward and said, hey, I'm gay, and they're trying to figure out how to interact with that. And you look at that and you go, well, I would not do it the way they're doing. You're not in their shoes, you're not the Holy Spirit in your life either, and so allowing each other to have some grace to each other. Now, there may be a place that you sit down because you are a voice in their life to go, hey, help me understand your decision because this doesn't seem to match how I interpret Scripture. I'm not saying we get silent with each other, that's not grace either, but we actually extend grace to each other as we're walking in the journey.

Tim Lundy: [00:45:16] We need a more robust theology and vision of singleness in the church. Because we can't call people to live a celibate lifestyle, to live a single lifestyle, when we treat singleness like it's a second-rate lifestyle. Hear me, marriage is not the final merit badge of adulthood, so let's stop treating our singles that way. There are expressions of love, when Jesus talked about love, there's agape love, which is sacrificial love; there's phileo love, which is friendship love; then there's erotic love that only a husband and wife share. Remember what Jesus said was the greatest form of love? He said the greatest love is when you lay down your life for a friend. He did not say the greatest love is when a man or woman fall in love and get married, it's a great gift, it's a great privilege, but it's not the only lifestyle that has been both modeled in the church and should be affirmed in the church. And if we don't get more robust about that, it's really hard to look at single adults and say, well, you can't have sex, and you really can't have a relationship either, and you can't have love, all the things we get to have in marriage. We need to that much more, throw ourselves into how are we loving well, how are we relating well, how are we creating intimacy that doesn't have to be sexual intimacy, with people who are longing to do life with people that love them?

Tim Lundy: [00:46:51] The final thing I just say, we have to create better support systems for individuals and their families. I'm getting the emails from you, and I've been collecting them. Some of you have sent me emails of, this is the resource our church needs to do, this is what we need to teach. And they're all good, we can't do all of them. So I'm working with our family team, I go, Okay, which one of these should we really employ? I would say, this is the end of this series, this is the beginning of this ministry. This has to be a fundamental ministry for our church, there's no way around it, and it's part of our family ministry, it's part of our parenting ministry, it's part of our single ministry. And so you just need to hear me this has been a catalyst both in my life, but I think also in our church, that if we don't move into these areas aggressively, it's easy to do a sermon series on it, it's another thing to do ministry in that. I would encourage you if you've not done so, even if you have questions or ideas, those of you who want to be a part of a support group, I've been gathering all your names, I was waiting until today, I want to get all the names. And I'll be announcing in the next week or so, here's the meeting for all parents who want to be a part of a support group. Those of you that go, man, I'm struggling with these issues, I'd like some confidential support groups, we're looking at how to facilitate that. Those of you who've sent resources, as I said, I'm working...

Tim Lundy: [00:48:12] One of the first things we're going to do is while our students are having a Tuesday night, we're going to have a Tuesday night right in here with all the parents, and we'll walk you through some of the resources, some of the things that are coming, the plan for seminars and teaching that we can do on this. There's a lot of work to be done, and parents, you need to hear me, you're the front line on this, and so you're going to have to step up in a new way. Now, we can't call you to step up unless we equip you to step up, so our commitment is to do that together. And then always, the care tab, you can reach out to us, there are a number of ministries that are there with this.

Tim Lundy: [00:48:49] But we're committed as a church, and I'll just end with this, this is the end of the series, this is the beginning of the real ministry. And so you just need to know at Venture, we are committed to walking together as people of grace with each other on it, but people who are willing to stand and speak the truth because the truth sets you free.

Tim Lundy: [00:49:12] Let's pray together. Father, we come before you, we do thank you for your truth, we thank you for how you have just redeemed every one of us. God, if we're open and honest here, we are all so broken in different ways, sometimes it shows up in our sex lives, sometimes it shows up in our finances, for some of us it shows up in the way we treat other people, and for some, it's ambition or hoarding. Lord, I could just go on and on because sin runs so deep in us, but we thank you that the grace of Christ runs deeper and covers more. Lord, I pray for families today, I was addressing these as topics, they're dealing with it as a member of the family. Lord, I pray even today that you would lead them through your word, that you'd lead them through your Spirit, and that you'd lead them through a community here where we can engage together, wrestle with the truth together, and embrace Your Grace for each other together. Lord, I pray for single adults in our church that have not felt affirmed in the past or haven't felt like we've provided a community for them in a way, I pray, would you show us how to do that well? That it's not just a program or a ministry, but it really is all of us opening up our homes, our families, our lives, and creating those kinds of bonds in Christ. So we thank you and praise you for your grace, you always lead with grace, but you never sacrifice truth, show us how to do that well. And we pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032