Disruptive Discipleship | Pure Love

Jamal Baker:
Hey Chapelhill online family. And I also want to welcome our Atlanta location, we’re going to be streaming this message to our Atlanta location today. Hey, my name is Jamal Baker and I am the Chapelhill Atlanta location pastor. I am so glad to be with you today, as we continue our Disruptive Discipleship message. We’re going into week seven of this message, I hope you’ve been blessed by the previous weeks. If you haven’t had an opportunity to listen to those, you can go back on the app or watch those online, powerful life-changing messages. We have been saying that Disruptive Discipleship means that, we enter into a relationship with Jesus and he changes the status quo in our life. He changes those old attitudes and those old behaviors, those old mindset. So, it’s a disruptive experience for those who follow Jesus. Let me just give you a quick recap of what we have discussed over the last several weeks.
We have said these things. We said, a disciple of Jesus knows the gospel. We said, a disciple of Jesus loves outside the lines. In other words, a disciple of Jesus goes beyond those preconceived and predetermined lines and loves people who are outside of those things. We have said that, a disciple is rooted in Christ-centered community. Listen, I hope you are connected to your church home, I hope you’re getting connected in small groups, either in person or virtually. We said that, a disciple is empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit allows us to live a witness for Christ. And then we said that, a disciple is submitted to the authority of scripture. I hope you’ve been submitting your life to the authority of God’s word because it is life-changing. Listen, we’ve been using this quote over the last few weeks from pastor Eugene Peterson about discipleship.
And it says this, to be a disciple says that we are people who spend our lives apprenticed to our master Jesus Christ. We’re in a growing-learning relationship, always. I love that always. A disciple is a learner but not in the academic setting of a school room, rather at the work site of a craftsman. We do not acquire information about God but skills in faith. When we sit at the feet of our master Jesus, he empowers us with skills in faith. So, today’s message is, a disciple is committed to pure love. Isn’t this a great message to preach on Valentine’s Day? Isn’t today the day of love? Well, at least, that’s what the world tries to tell us or should I say, sell us. You know those delicious chocolate candies that are wonderfully delicious but also fattening that we buy during this time of year?
And how about those $10 Valentine’s Day cards that will be in the trash next week? How about those? And how about those wonderful roses that sell for triple the price this week only? How about that? Isn’t that what real love is all about? I don’t think so but listen, it’s okay if you want to celebrate love in that way, that’s perfectly fine. But listen, today I want to talk about love through the lens of scripture. After all, the Bible, as we said last week, is to be our authority on life, thought and behavior. Our culture has a perspective about romantic love and passion, that is often reduced to emotions that must lead to an expression in some kind of physical or sexual experience. What is most often left out of the conversation is, the spiritual nature of sexuality and romantic love.
Actually, the Bible has a lot to say about this topic and we’re going to look at what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, to be committed to what we call, pure love. Now, go ahead and type in the chat, pure love, go ahead and shout it out to somebody next to you, pure love. Now, let me warn you. This is probably going to be a PG13-ish message. So, if you’ve got some pre-teens in the room, you might want to sensor what’s about to be said. But here’s what I want to commit to you, I won’t be saying anything that is inappropriate. In fact, what I say will no doubt be cleaner than what their friends are already telling them at school. In fact, what I have to say won’t be nearly as risque as what they find on their dumb phone, I’m sorry, on their smartphones. I’m still not so sure how smart those phones really are.
So first of all, what we really want to do is, lay a biblical foundation for where we’re going today. So, I want to present what I call a Theology of Sexuality. A Theology of Sexuality. See, theology is the study of God and God’s relation to the world. So in other words, how does God relate to his world and his creation as it pertains to sexuality? So, what we’re going to do is, we’re going to begin at the beginning, Genesis 1 beginning at verse 26.
And it reads, “then God said, let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So, God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female, he created them. God blessed them and said to them, be fruitful and increase in number.”
So, the first point I want to make to you, under this Theology of Sexuality is this, the image of God is reflected in our sexuality. See, verse 27, again, it says this, “so God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God, he created them, male and female, he created them.” So, get ready for this truth. The image of God is male and female. Let that sink in for a moment. See, his character, his nature and his expression, can be observed in the genders of human beings he created. Think about this, God purposely created two genders who would come together and display a picture that is a glimpse of who God is.
And now, don’t think that I’m implying that you are a little God, I’m not implying that you’re a little God. In fact, I’m simply saying that we are reflections of God. Just remember, the image that is reflected is not the same as its reflection but it is similar. Are you with me? See, I’m saying that God has used the gender and the sexuality of his creation to reflect important aspects about himself. Now see, here’s something that’s so powerful, on day six of creation, after he has created all of the other things and now he has created mankind, male and female, he says something powerful. Genesis 1:31, it says, “God saw all that he had made and it was very good.” See, up to this point, he would say day one, it was good day two, it was good. Day three, it was good. He gets the day six, after he creates those who bear his image and then he declares, oh, this is very good.
So, that brings me to this second point that I want you to embrace as we talk about this Theology of Sexuality. Point number two is this, God blessed the intimate relationship between man and woman. He blessed it. In fact, this intimate relationship between a man and a woman is what we call, pure love. It is an expression of goodness of God in the earth. Of course, it goes without saying that a part of this sexual relationship is intended to procreate children but that is not God’s only purpose for this relationship. I’m going to get to that just a little bit later, just buckle your seat belts and get ready. But if we are to have an accurate Theology of Sexuality, we must embrace a truth that comes from the Bible and here’s that truth. Write this down, take a picture of it off the screen. And it says, God created sex and declared it good. He created it and declared it good. Somebody just type in the chat, it’s good. Come on. Just tell somebody next to you, it’s good.
I know it’s getting uncomfortable. Listen, I understand. Listen, I’ve been in church for a long time, and I know for some of you, you’re already squirming because I’ve said the word sex too many times in church already. And you’re wondering, wait a minute, this is really uncomfortable. How long is he going to be talking about sex in church? And oh, by the way, why are we talking about sex in church? And when would that little short preacher be done with this uncomfortable message? Well, just give me a few more minutes and I’ll be done. But here’s the thing that I’m saying, why are we talking about this in church? The reason that we’re talking about it in church is because the world is talking about it everywhere. And the world is not shy about this issue. In fact, the world has plenty to show and tell about this topic and most of it is wrong and destructive. So, we’re talking about it in church because God is the author of it, he’s the creator of it and we’re reclaiming his truth for the people he created it for.
So, it’s important that we talk about this. See, the mistake that the church has made, in my opinion, is that we have primarily discussed this topic one dimensionally. If we talk about it at all, we traditionally discuss the aspects of sex outside of marriage and the sinful aspects of sex outside of marriage. We have what I call, a don’t do it theology that generally paints this erroneous picture that God is actually against sex, except for when conceiving children. See, we have this ideas, there’s a notion that I’ve heard over the years, it’s kind of like this, we have this notion that says something like this, don’t talk about it unless you discuss it from the perspective of how not to do it until you’re married. Then, after you get married, you can do it but please don’t tell nobody.
Don’t talk about it. After you’re married, as a married person, let’s just not talk about it. And here’s what we do, it’s just like we keep pretending that it’s this thing that we know happens but we act like it doesn’t happen until somebody’s wife shows up pregnant. And then somebody’s wife shows up pregnant and then we celebrate, oh, we celebrate the birth of this baby that’s coming and then we don’t talk about it again. Listen, we just need to understand, that as an unhealthy and unbiblical way to approach this precious gift that God has given us to enjoy.
And so, this brings me to my third point. Number three, God intends for husbands and wives to enjoy their intimate relationship. He intends for husbands and wives to enjoy it. See, the reality is that, the church has lost sight of this and so, the world and the culture around us has presented sexuality as the thing that you must leave biblical values in order to enjoy. But that is the furthest thing from the truth and the furthest thing from God’s intentions. See, the word of God is filled with all kinds of language and imagery that celebrates the intimacy that he created between husband and wife. And I want to give you some of what the word says about it today.
Proverbs 5:18, listen to this, it says, “may your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth, a loving doe, a graceful deer, may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”
God is saying, husband and wife get drunk on love. Come on somebody, he’s saying, be intoxicated with this incredible gift that I have given you. See, I don’t know if you even realize this but an entire book of the Bible is written on this very topic of enjoying passions and romantic love between a husband and a wife. It’s called the Song of Solomon or Song of Songs, some versions call it. And I discovered this many years ago, about two months before I met my wife. I remember where I was so clear. I was sitting in a food court at a mall and I was reading my Bible and I came across Song of Solomon and sat there and read through the whole thing. And I was like, wait a minute, this is in the Bible? And I said, God, you mean you are celebrating this. And I remember praying a prayer sitting at that table saying, Lord, when it’s right, when the time shows up, I want to enjoy this blessing with the wife that you will send me when you send her.
And I want to share some verses from this. It is so, so powerful. The book opens up with the wife speaking, listen to what she says, chapter one, verse two. She says, “let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth, for your love is more delightful than wine.” There she is, getting drunk on love again. Then look at what he says, he says, “your lips are like a Scarlet ribbon, your mouth is lovely, your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.”
Come on, this brother is rapping. Now, listen, let’s look at the next thing he says. Then he goes on, he says, “you are a garden locked up my sister, my bride, you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain,” and then she responds, she goes, oh, you think my garden is locked up? Well, I got something for you, here you go. She says, “awake, North wind and come South wind, blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and tastes its choice fruits.” Now, let me read you what he says, come on, he responds, he goes, “oh yes, I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride, I have gathered my myrrh with my spice, I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey, I have drunk my wine and my milk.” Did somebody turn the heat up in here? Because it has gotten hot up in this place today. My goodness.
Guys, this is in the Bible. This is the Lord celebrating the power of this gift that he has given to husband and wife. It’s such a beautiful illustration of pure love. The pure love that God intended for husband and wife. This is a picture of the power and the passion of two disciples of Christ who are committed to honoring God in their sexual life. And God himself is pleased because he created it and intended it to be expressed this way. I am so glad that the Lord left this in the Bible. I’m so glad that he made sure that he wouldn’t give the world the last say on this precious and powerful gift. See, here’s the truth, satan and the world have lied to us and duped us into believing that God was against the very thing that he created us to enjoy.
He’s a liar and a deceiver and the world, we have left this to the wicked purveyors of porn and creators of illicit materials to teach us how to use the gift that God created for us. See, this was never meant to be on display in magazines and movies and dark websites. This was always meant to be expressed in this powerful union between a husband and a wife, fully enjoying God’s blessing. Now, I want to show you another verse that comes out of Song of Solomon and this is a verse that really shows how the people around them, the community, they hear, they’re sharing, they’re communicating of love and they celebrate with them. Look at what they say, they say, “eat friends and drink, drink your fill of love.” See, in other words, they’re saying, go ahead and enjoy the blessing of pure love that the Lord has given you. This is the kind of thing that we do when we see a couple get married in church and we say, go ahead, go ahead and enjoy what God has given you. Be blessed. Don’t let anything get in between it. Be blessed.
See, not only does God celebrate it but the community of God should be celebrating this with those who are walking as two disciples who want to honor him in pure love.
And then number four, almost done. God gives boundaries for intimate relationships. So, this is important and I’ve been alluding to those boundaries, these boundaries are contained within a marriage relationship. 1 Thessalonians 4:3, it says, “it is God’s will that you should be sanctified, that you should avoid sexual immorality.” And 1 Corinthians 6:13 says, “the body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord and the Lord for the body.” So, the Greek word here that refers to sexual immorality is the word Porneia. And it’s defined this way biblically, sexual immorality is biblically defined as a sexual activity that occurs outside of the marriage union between a man and a woman. And, of course, you can see clearly that this is the root word for which we get our modern day term, pornography. But it is also very clear that the boundaries that the Lord gives us for enjoying the sexual blessing is within the parameters of a marriage between a man and a woman.
And so, we discussed this important truth last week, we said, a disciple is submitted to the authority of scripture and so, we need to allow the authority of scripture to dictate our thoughts and our behaviors in this area. See, as we said at the very beginning of today’s message, God is the creator of marriage and relationships. He’s the creator of sexual expression and the one who determines how it is to be express. So, that makes it worth restating a truth that said last week and last week messaged and here is that truth. The designer is the definer. The designer is the definer. He designed it and he gets to define how it should be express. So, God is this creator and designer of sexuality, he tells us how to operate it but we, however, have been deceived by satan and the world to believe that God’s restrictions are oppressive and intended to keep something good from us. That’s a lie of the enemy.
See, God loves us and his ultimate desire is that we would live in a way that fully keeps us in close relationship with him and brings the blessing to our life in the process. See, when the marriage and the intimate relationship was first described, according to God’s design, it was a picture of pure love. Genesis 2:24, it says, “therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become, say it with me, one flesh.” See here, we find the marriage covenant and the description of this physical connection but it conveys a powerful spiritual truth. See, when a man and a woman come together physically, it is not simply a physical act. The physical act is symbolic of a spiritual reality. The two become one, not only in body but also in a soulful and spiritual union. This is so important for us to understand.
So, this is the reason that this is reserved for marriage because the sole union between husband and wife is intended by God to last for life. See, that’s why from God’s perspective, there is no such thing as casual sex. God has no way of even articulating something that would be casual in the sexual realm. See, we can’t casually become one with this one and pull away and then become one with that one and pull away and then become one with this one and pull away, there’s no way you can be casual about a one flesh union that points the picture to a spiritual and soulful connection.
I really want to illustrate this. I brought along some Play-Doh with me today, to illustrate this powerful truth. See, I’ve got a little blue Play-Doh, it represents the man and a little pink Play-Doh, it represents the woman and here they come together in this one flesh union, the two become one, the two become one. Now, you can still see that there is some distinction between the two of them. You got the blue on the right and the pink on the left but the two have now become one. Even though they may physically be different people, God looks at them as one in the spirit and one in their soul.
And so, can you imagine if you become one with someone and then you decide, I want to go do this with somebody else. And when you do that, you can’t pull away without some of her being left on him and some of him being left on her. See, every time you come together with someone in a sexual act, you leave a little bit of yourself there and you take a little bit with you and then you go on to another and you leave a little bit more of yourself there and you take a little bit with you. And before you know it, you have these fragmented souls, these fragmented pieces. See, this is the reason that God says, no, don’t do it like that because you can’t go into that, come back and remain whole, you are broken. And so, God’s restrictions are not oppressive, they are protective. So, I want you to understand something. He sets these boundaries around our life and with inside of the boundary, that’s where he wants to bless us.
So write this down, the blessing is inside of the boundary. That’s where the blessing is. See, this is why a disciple is committed to pure love. Pure love endeavors to stay inside the boundaries that God has provided because we recognize that his commands are motivated by love for us. He doesn’t want us walking around fragmented and having pieces of others that we never should’ve had pieces in our lives. And many of you know the truth of what I am talking about because you’ve experienced it, like I have in my past, these different pieces and fragmented where I’ve made myself one with someone that I never should have made myself one with and still the residual impact of that still touches the soul. And God is saying, I’m trying to protect you from that. I know you think in the short-term it’s going to serve you but it won’t. Hear me teenagers, hear me single people, do not go outside of those boundaries because there is pain that will have to be healed.
So, God’s boundaries are protective, not oppressive. His boundaries are protective and not oppressive. I want to close with a passage of scripture, that really, it’s not only about protecting us from the emotional and the potential physical damage of sex outside of marriage, he’s also warning us of the spiritual danger that this behavior puts us at risk for. I want to read a passage of scripture that doesn’t really sit well on the culture of 21st century ears but it’s still Bible truth anyway and we still need to say it. And last week we talked about how we have this cultural pushback against absolute truth. And so, I want to read to you some of God’s absolute truth and I encourage you to receive it.
1 Corinthians 6:9, it reads, “or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor the drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And such worse some of you but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God.”
See, this passage warns us, not only about the spiritual perils of sexual sin but it talks to us about the perils of sin in general. By the way, I hope you noticed that this passage did not elevate the sexual sins above the others, that they were right there in line, it put it right there with the idolatrous, those who worship things other than God and those who are the greedy and those who are thieves and those who are drunkards and those who are revilers, revilers means those who abuse others physically or emotionally, those who are drunkards, greedy, he puts all of that together. But let me tell you what really blesses me about this passage because it’s both a warning and a statement of hope.
Verse 11, he says, “and such were some of you but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God.” And such was I. There are many things on that list that I can say, yeah, I can say guilty as charged but the blessing and the goodness and the hope of God says, listen, no matter how dirty you have been, you’re never too dirty for the blood of Jesus to cleanse you. No matter how far away you have gone, no matter how deep you have fallen, you are never too far for the grace of God to find you. And such were some of you. So, no matter where you have been, no matter how you may have missed it, no matter how you have broken it, no matter what your spiritual life looks like, when you come to Jesus, he makes us new, he makes us clean, he redeems us, he restores us, he renews us and he can empower us with his pure love.
Let’s pray.
God, we love you and we thank you. We thank you for the power of your word, the power of your truth, that has the ability to transform the mortal soul. And so, Father I pray, I pray for the married people right now God, the married people who need healing in this area. Father, would you give them a renewed sense of the blessing that you have given them and let them be restored from the deception of the enemy and honor you in this area once again. And God, I pray for teens or singles or young adults or even older singles, who are wrestling with the baggage from the brokenness. Father, would you let them know that the blood of Jesus washes them, justifies them, redeemed them and makes them whole. And so, right where you are, if you need to repent before the Lord, just go ahead and say, Lord, forgive me. Just go ahead and say, Lord, renew me. Go ahead and say, Lord justify me because I want to honor you in this area of my life.
And then, perhaps, you’re hearing this message and your confession would be, pastor, I have not surrendered my life to Jesus. I’m not living for him right now. Or maybe, at one time, you did surrender your life to him but for some reason you got distracted and you’ve walked away. If you find yourself in either of those categories and you sense the Holy Spirit saying, today is the day for you to surrender for the first time or surrender again. Would you bow your heads and pray this prayer after me?
Just say, Father, in the name of Jesus, I confess that I have sinned, I confess that I need you Jesus. And just go ahead and say, Jesus, I surrender my life to you right now. And then say to him, Jesus, I believe that when you died on the cross that you paid the price for me and then say this to Him, I believe on the third day you rose from the grave and because you rose from the grave with eternal life, I have eternal life with you. And just say, Lord, thank you. Thank you for saving me, thank you for cleansing me and making me new in Jesus name. Amen. Amen.