Teaching Series Introduction:
People are complex. You and I are complex. How do we understand ourselves and each other? How do we move toward one another in God-honouring ways? How do we love wisely in the context of everyday relationships?
One of the most memorable songs in recent years is the song ‘Human’ by Rag ‘N’ Bone man. It’s an honest reflection on the complexity of human relationships, with the line ‘I’m only human after all. Don’t put your blame on me.’ It’s something we’ve all felt at times – I’m just human, don’t expect perfection! The word ‘human’ originally means ‘of the earth’. It’s where we get our word humours from – dust, from the ground, from the earth.
During 2020, we’ve had a glimpse of some of the limits of our humanity, but also some of the best of us humans. And, as we begin to emerge out of this pandemic, it’s worth getting back to basics to remember some foundations of what it means to be human. When we know who we are, we can rebuild for what’s ahead.
Our guide will be the very opening words of the Bible. Yes, the first few chapters of Genesis provide is with rock-solid foundations to be able to navigate uncharted times. We’ll be thinking about our purpose, our relationships, our sexuality, our identity, and how we live in changing times. We’ll be grappling with some pretty big questions that we all face in life.
And as we do so, we’ll discover the freedom in being neither dust nor divine. Yes, join us at Riverside to find the freedom in being able to say “I’m only human after all!”
Title: Human – Session 6: sex is great but …
By: TIM CHILVERS
Date: 7 march 2021
Bible Passage: Genesis (chapter 2, verses 23-25)
In a society that has elevated a gift from God to the status of a god, the biblical perspective on sex is breathtaking. It is good news for everyone, whether they be conservatives or liberals; single or married; young or old. As we discover that sex is both more, and less, important than our culture has modelled, we see a future that is truly good news for our broken lives.
Resources are sent out to all parents each week via e-mail. If you are not receiving these emails or would like to know about how you can get connected with our youth groups please contact us, we would love to hear from you.
- What is the purpose of sex, do you think? Why do you think we find it difficult to talk about?
- Read Genesis 2:18-25. What, if anything, does this passage say about sex? What are the important dimensions to it?
- It’s interesting that the first time a human speaks in the Bible, it is a poem about relationships (v23). Why do you think we find relationships so complicated? And, why do you think humans spend so much time and energy focussed on sex?
- Verse 24 has the three common dimensions of weddings across the world – leaving your previous family unit to form a new one (‘leaves his father and mother’), public commitment (‘united to his wife’), and sex (‘one flesh’). Why do you think these components are so universally emphasised within marriage (throughout history and across cultures and religious frameworks)?
- Timothy Keller says ‘The Christian sex ethic was revolutionary. It introduced the very idea of consent in sex, and it made sex not about self-fulfilment (which always privileges those with more power) but about creating lasting community that reflects God’s relationship to us.’ What do you make of this?
- Read Hosea 3:1-5. The dramatic story of Hosea compares the relationship between God and his people as being like Hosea and his wife (who was a prostitute). In this passage, Hosea even pays for time with his wife! This shocking picture of sex, unfaithfulness and devotion is a compelling snapshot of how God sees us. In fact the language of sex and relationship is often used in this way (eg. Ephesians 5:31-32; Song of Songs; Ezekiel 16). How might the language and emotions around sex give us a much more breathtaking sense of God’s devotion to his people? How does this change how we see sex and relationships?
- Take some time to pray – thanking God that he forgives us for our own failures; asking that he would sustain us in our longings; and that he would help us to discover more of how loved we really are.
FURTHER STUDY RESOURCES
VIDEO: A fascinating discussion from Speak Life about ‘Relationships, Sex and the Body’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p5TILbzvPE&list=PL4zD5797LHdfhw3vJEz0UkksUnxrnNTin&index=5
VIDEO: A discussion with Ed Shaw about a question that we rarely ask, but is such an important question – ‘What is sex for?’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68t0wFOOAJk
BOOK: ‘Purposeful Sexuality’ by Ed Shaw
BOOK: ‘Loveology’ by John Mark Comer
BOOK: ‘Redeeming Sex’ by Debra Hirsch
BOOK: For married couples – ‘Closer’ by Adrian & Celia Reynolds
BOOK: About sexual brokenness and for people grappling with unwanted sexual desires (eg. Addiction etc) – ‘Unwanted’ by Jay Springer
ARTICLE: A thought-provoking article (written in 2013 in a US context, and so some of the terminology and themes may seem a bit outdated) in which Andy Crouch outlines how everything about you (mind, body, spirit etc) matters. http://andy-crouch.com/articles/sex_without_bodies
ARTICLE: an honest and raw reflection about adultery and its consequences https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/12/fashion/12Modern.html
Watch Online: YouTube
Listen Online: Podcast