The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller – Chp 8 – Sex and Marriage

Opening Prayer

Ice Breaker: 

Resting in the Text:  Ephesians 5:18-33 (p. 19 of The Meaning of Marriage)

 Discussion Questions:

  1. Contemporary social views on sex vary.  Some see it an appetite to be quenched, others as an unavoidable evil, while still others see it as a form of self-expression (220-1).   According the Christian view, what is sex for?  In what context should it be exercised?
  2. Some say that sex is dirty and demeaning (221-2).  How does Biblical Christianity respond to such a claim?
  3. Some believe that sex is a private affair and what individuals do in the privacy of their own home is no concern of others (222-4).  This attitude is reflected in the words of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, “ The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.”  What is the Christian teaching about sex and community?
  4. What does the biblical term “one flesh” mean (224)?
  5. How can a relationship with Jesus help a single person to remain chaste before marriage (227-9)?
  6. Read the quotes from Jane Eyre on pages 229 & 230.  How will training ourselves to have a similar inner dialogue help us when we face temptation?
  7. Read 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.  How should this passage be applied in the lives of married couples?
  8. Read Kathy notes at the bottom of page 233.  What are your thoughts about what she wrote?
  9. If a couple is having issues in the sexual aspect of their relationship, are those challenges likely to be the real issue or a symptom of other issues in the relationship (234-5)?
  10. Read the last section of chapter beginning with the paragraph at the bottom of page 235 that begins “Sex is glorious.”

Closing Prayer Time

Moving Towards Sexual Purity

For much of the 1990’s I worked at an Esso bulk agency where we would sell fuel, oil and fertilizer to farmers and small commercial businesses.  And one of the products that we used to sell was ammonium nitrate or 34-0-0.  Farmers would use ammonium nitrate to fertilize their hayfields because it worked better than anything else at increasing yields.  The other nitrogen product would release some of its nitrogen into the air, but ammonium nitrate fertilizer would stay intact until moisture carried its nutrients down into the soil.

But something happened on April 19, 1995 which made me realize that something that farmers were using to help create more food for the world could also be used to create destruction, terror and death.  Timothy McVeigh parked a rented truck filled with explosives in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  And when those explosives detonated, 168 people were killed and more than 680 were injured.  It was the worst terrorist attack on US soil before September 11, and one of the main ingredients in the bomb McVeigh made was ammonium nitrate.

Sex and sexuality is kind of like ammonium nitrate.  Sex is a gift from God to humanity which he has given to us to enjoy within a marriage relationship.  God has given us sex both for pleasure and for procreation.  God has created men and women to fit together face to face and he has hard-wired the two sexes to be attractive and attracted to the other.

But just like ammonium nitrate, sex can and is being used in ways that causes terrible destruction.  Continue reading “Moving Towards Sexual Purity”

Christian Morality: It is not all about sex

Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here.  If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong.  The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins.  All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people inthe wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting; the pleasures of power, of hatred.  For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become.  They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self.  The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.  But, of course, it is better to be neither.

(C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (MacMillan: New York, 1943) 94-95.