Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Truth About Sexuality by Jackie Hill Perry

Leslie Basham: Jackie Hill Perry says it’s time to step out of the shadow of your past and into the light of Jesus.

Jackie Hill Perry: You don’t have to carry the shame of your sin. Jesus took care of that already. You don’t have to be afraid to confess the things that you have done in private. Jesus knows where you are, and He knows what you have done. But He has already promised that He is faithful and just to forgive you if you would only confess.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Lies Women Believe, for January 22, 2019.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: One of the biggest areas of confusion in our world today is this whole area of sexuality. So many women have been hurt and know the pain of abuse. You may be one of those women.

And so many women have also hurt others and are living with the consequences of terribly wrong choices. You may be one of those women.

Well, regardless of our past or our present, what we all need is to understand God’s purpose and God’s plan for sexuality.

When we were planning for the True Woman ’18 conference, the theme was: The Truth That Sets Us Free. We knew we needed to address this issue and to help women discover and experience the truth about sexuality.

So I asked my friend Jackie Hill Perry to take us to the Scripture and to help women discover the truth about God’s design for sex. I loved the way that God used her in that conference to help women who are struggling and who are hurting to find healing and help in Christ.

Jackie brings a love for studying God’s Word to this topic, but she also brings the heart of a poet, as you’ll hear later in the program. You’ll also hear, she has a life message to share as God delivered her out of a lesbian lifestyle.

Now, if you have young children with you, you may want to get them busy doing something else as today’s topics may not be suitable for young ears.

Now, let’s listen to Jackie Hill Perry from True Woman ’18 this past fall.

Jackie: In the church, we talk about sexuality a lot. Well, in some churches it's not discussed enough, but I really do believe that this conversation about sexuality is so much more than sexuality itself. This concept of sex and our capacity for it sits between two bookends.

We have the beginning, when God made the heavens and the earth. And then you have the end, when God will make a new heaven and a new earth. In-between these two worlds, if you will, sexuality lives.

This morning I want us to be reminded about where it all came from, what sin has done to it, how Christ has redeemed it, and what will come of it. I really believe that if today we can get this deep truth in our souls, no matter who you are, what season you are in, whatever has happened to you, whether single, married, sexually abused, sexually promiscuous, whatever the case may be, the truth is what is we all need.

Let's pray.

God, meet us here in Jesus' name, amen.

I have three points today.

The first point is that sexuality and all that it entails is God's idea.

Please turn to Genesis 2, verse 18 which says:

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field but for Adam, there was not found a helper fit for him.

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh and the rib the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman. And brought her to the man and then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man."

Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed (vv. 18–24).

In this passage you see the introduction of four things that God made in relation to humanity that has something to do with sexuality.

The first thing we see is community. We see this in verse 18 when God says that it's not good for man to be alone.

The interesting thing is that throughout all of chapter 1 it says that God saw this and God saw that and that it was good. Six times God declares that what He has made is good until He gets to Adam.

Adam is not lonely in the sense of him being by himself. But he is alone in the sense of having no one near him who is like himself. And God says that this is not a good thing. Why?

One reason being that God Himself is not alone. God is triune. He is one God that exists in three persons. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are God by nature is a communal God and relational God.

So seeing that Adam is made in the image of God, Adam is also a relational being like God. So for him to fully walk in what God has made him to be and do all that God has called him to do, such as to subdue the earth and be fruitful and multiply, because clearly he can't do that by myself. He didn't need not another animal or another plant, but he needed another person.

A hope that encourages the women in here that are single and not loving it, it affirms that it is not a strange thing to want a relationship. Nor is it something that you should be ashamed about.

But I do want to say that, just as God's word to Adam that it's not good for man to be alone affirms that we are designed for relationship, it also affirms that you don't need a relationship to be fully human.

Adam might have been alone, but he was not less of a man because of it. And you might be alone, but you are not less of a woman because of it. And marriage and sexual intimacy are not the ultimate or only expressions of relationship and community.

Our culture would have us to believe that our humanity and joy finds its completion in being sexually intimate or married. But the truth is that our Lord was fully single, really human, yet very whole.

We were all made for relationship. This is true. But the relationship that will last beyond this life is not marriage, for one day that will be done away with, but it is our being brought into fellowship with God and His Church that will extend beyond this life.

The second thing God that made in relation to humanity that deals with sexuality in Genesis 2 is gender.

Verse 22 and 23 describes how God put Adam to bed, opened his side, took out a rib—with no sauce—and made an entirely different . . . (you caught that—laughter) I don't like dry ribs. I know some of you all do the dry rub thing. I don't get it. I need sauce. I need sauce. (laughter)

But He made an entirely different, yet similar, human being called a woman. He describes the act as “the rib that the Lord God had taken from man, He made into a woman.”

If you pay attention to the language “taken out of man, made into woman,” you get a sense of the distinction being made here, that these are two different people made two different ways. He is not her, and she is not him.

And why does that matter? It matters because if God made man and woman, then gender is also God's idea. And if it is God's idea, then it's a good one.

You know God made everything for His glory, right? Everything is for Him, including our gender. Adam and Eve's gender was not an accident. Nor was it something they chose. God made it. As they lived out their humanity with all of their God-given distinctions, the world will be able to learn something about God and His gospel.

I say that because I don't want us to think that God didn't make us women on purpose, as if, when He thought about making you, what you would be was inconsequential to who you’d be. Making you a woman, you are able to image God in ways that are distinct from a man.

I know we are in a culture that thinks that distinctions are not necessary. But, if anything, they give greater clarity to the beauty and depth of the Godhead because it is with our gender distinctions in the church and in our marriages and in our families and in our friendships that allow us to understand something about God that we would not have known if every single human being were the same.

The third thing that God made in relation to humanity that deals with sexuality is marriage.

Verse 22–24, after God makes the woman, God brings this new being to the man. The man then writes the first poem in Scripture. He said, “Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.” (My husband is a poet, but if he wrote me that, I would think it's a bit strange—but I'm not here to judge.)

Then a proclamation is made in verse 24 when it says, “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

You might already know this, but let me remind you that marriage is also God's idea. People didn't think it up. Culture didn't create it. God did. And because He created it, He defines it: One man, one woman, one flesh.

You might be wondering why I haven't talked about sexuality by now. Well, I haven't because in Genesis, sex is not discussed until the covenant of marriage is created. It isn't until we get to Genesis chapter 2, verse 24, and read the words, “one flesh,” that we are able to understand how this man and this woman are to interact with one another. They are to be one spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

When God created Adam, surely He made him with the ability to express himself sexually. It's not as if Adam was a eunuch before Eve showed up. But it wasn't until God gave Adam a wife that He then gives him the freedom to be sexual.

Sex was not created apart from marriage. It was created to function within it. To divorce sexuality from God's original design is to lose sight of why He made it. “And why did He make it?” you ask. He made it because He is good.

Can I be frank real quick? I promise, Nancy, I won't make nobody clutch their pearls. I promise I’m going to be real PG. (laughter) I promise, Nancy, I promise. But, if you have ever done it—I’m just going to say it—I’m going to keep it G.

If you have ever done it, then you have to think to yourself at one point that God is so good. (laughter) Not all of us, but some of us. Think about that. How kind of God to not just tell us to do it, but to give us the physical ability to enjoy it, where sex is not just a utilitarian thing, but it is also an avenue of pleasure.

But if God could create something as good as sex, then how much greater is He than it? There is nothing on earth that is better than God. Meaning, that sex is a good gift, but it is not a better gift than the living God.

And if it is not a better gift than the living God, then we shouldn't have to reject Him to satisfy the body in ways that He has not ordained. Nor should we distrust Him by believing that He can't help us enjoy His good gift in the ways that He has ordained.

If you are single and celibate, God is good.

If you are married and sexually active, God is good.

And if you are married and sex is traumatic for you, God is still good.

We have to trust that if He made it and us, then by keeping our focus on Him, by getting the counseling and the therapy that we need, by being willing to be honest with our spouses about where we are, we will be able to resist what we shouldn't have and be able to enjoy what we do have.

Community, gender, marriage and sexuality were all God's idea.

But because sin is in the world, we have to ask the question now: What has sin done to God's idea?

For one, sin broke humanity's fellowship with God and thus one another, where we all, in one way or another, experience a real loneliness.

After Adam sinned there are two things he did that he would not have done before. One is that he hid from God. Two is that he blamed his wife.

The intimacy he once had with God was gone. So instead of running towards God, he ran away from God. He hid behind a tree. He hid behind a created thing as if God wouldn't see him there. Then, when confronted with his sin, instead of saying, “Sorry, God, I apologize for not protecting the woman that You gave me. I’m sorry that I didn't step in.” He says, “The woman You gave me, she’s the one who gave me the fruit.” Before, she was “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.” Now she’s just the woman that helped him sin.

This is the beginning of humanity's inability to lovingly connect with one another. This is the breakdown of community.

And when it comes to sexuality, this is why we are so easily led to engage in superficial forms of intimacy. There are women who continue to have sex without a ring, not just because of lust, but because they're lonely. Sex to them has become their way of reestablishing what Adam has broken.

There are women in this room that are addicted to pornography, not just because they are lustful, but because they don't know how to have real authentic intimacy with a living, breathing person. Sin makes us believe that there is no relational risk to watching sexual images in private, but there is more risk than you can ever imagine.

God has created us for real community and real intimacy and real friendship and real love, and we really can have it.

Sin has also distorted how many see themselves.

Have you ever noticed that the first thing Adam and Eve took note of after their eyes were open were their bodies? They became aware of their nakedness, and this time they felt shame.

Do not think it odd that there are image bearers of the living God in our world today, people whom God has made and whom God deeply loves who, when looking at who they are biologically, will feel as if that is not who they really are nor is it who they should be.

When God made Adam and Eve, He stepped back and said, “It is good.” This included their bodies.

But now many are stepping back and looking at themselves and saying, “This is not good.”

What sin has also done to God's idea is that it is not only divorced sexuality or sex from marriage, but both have come to be defined according to the culture's perception of goodness.

In our world exists the belief that sexual immorality is a good thing on the basis of, “If it feels good to us.”

To reference Adam and Eve again, when the devil was tempting her to sin, the Bible says she looked at the tree and figured that it was desired to make one wise. Eve sinned because of her logic and her affections, and we are the same way. And I say we on purpose because we can't just think that all of this sin is out there as if it's not in us, too.

We are all born in sin. We are all women whose affections have been affected, and we have all sinned because we figured it would be a good thing to do so. But thank God for Jesus because Jesus has redeemed God's ideas.

And how did He do it?

Do you remember the story of the woman caught in adultery? The Bible says that the Pharisees brought her to Jesus and told Him that the law says that she should be stoned. Even though they handled her situation in the worst way, their theological assessment of what should happen was correct. The law did say that her sin deserves death. But Jesus tells the crowd, “Let him who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Then the text says that one-by-one everybody that brought her there walks away.

I think one thing that we miss or might miss in this narrative is: What do you think went through her mind when Jesus didn't walk away?

There is the possibility that she thought to herself, Jesus just gave whoever is without sin the permission to begin stoning me, to initiate my judgment, but they all walked away, but Jesus is the only one still standing here. Could it be that He is going to be the one that will judge me? Is He going to be the one that will give me what I deserve? How is it He is still standing here and yet I am still alive?

And Jesus interrupts what she might be thinking and says, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

To which, she most likely is looking around, and seeing that no one is there, she says, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus responds, so unlike the people wanted Him to, by saying, “Neither do I.”

How is it that this woman, who was sexually broken, who cheated on her husband, that did sexually immoral things, that lusted after someone that did not belong to her, that might have thought that a man could cure her loneliness and her lust, how is it that this woman can be free from the consequences of her sin while standing before the holy and sinless God?

You know why?

Because she was not condemned because Christ was going to take her condemnation on Himself. He was going to be the one to pay the penalty for her sexual brokenness, and it wouldn't be by stoning at the hands of self-righteous men, because that's an easy death as compared to a crucifixion at the hands of an unrighteous God.

I want you to know tonight that you don't have to carry the shame of your sin. Jesus took care of that already.

You don't have to be afraid to confess the things that you have done in private.

You don't have to be like Adam by hiding behind the tree of your own making.

Jesus knows where you are, and He knows what you have done, but He has already promised that He is faithful and just to forgive you if you would only confess.

And also, I want to say to someone in this room that you are not what your sexual abuser said that you are.

You are not what your trauma says that you are.

You are a child of the living God.

Hear me when I say that. Just as God has dealt with your sin, He will also deal with the sins of those who have harmed you. He is a just God.

So never think that what has been done against you won't be dealt with. Their debt is not yours to handle or yours to hold, so you are free to forgive. You are free to trust again. You are free to love again. God will heal you and help you in time.

What the gospel of Jesus Christ has done to God's idea is that it has overcome the sin and the death that we are subject to so that we, like the woman caught in adultery, are able to actually go and sin no more.

And not only that, this gospel has given us a community. A community of other folks who all should have been stoned but who have all looked up and heard Jesus say that they are not condemned, either.

Just like it wasn't good for Adam to be alone, it is not good for you, either. We are a part of a body of people who will help us heal and grow and learn to love God and others. Sin might have tried to keep us from one another, but God has knitted us together by His love. We need the universal Church and the local church to help us love Jesus.

And if it couldn't get any better, God has given us eternal life. Eternal life does not start when you die. Eternal life began when you believed. But it is when you are at home with the Lord that you will finally be free—

  • free from temptation
  • free from shame
  • free from fear
  • free from the effects of sexual and physical abuse
  • free from feelings of loneliness
  • free from depression
  • free from everything that you think will be a part of your life forever.

It is there, where God will be in us and dwell with us. It is in heaven where there will be no more death and no more crying and no more pain, where all the old things will pass away, where we will get brand-new bodies that we can look at and call good again, where we will hear God say, while seated on His throne, that He is making all things new.

These words are trustworthy and true. (applause)

I know, we are still seated in between two worlds. On this side is earth as we know it. On that side is a new heaven and a new earth that we are yet to see. But we are in a season—I use that purposefully—where there is so much sin and so much confusion in us and around us. But guess what? It won't be like that always.

“And how do I know?” you ask.

It's simple. God, in His Word, has already told us.

Let's pray.

God, there is so much in this room today, but none of our sin is bigger than You. None of our temptations are stronger than You. None of these lies are more honest than You.

And so I pray that we would leave this place today loving You and believing You, and that in that, You will free us from the things that we didn't think were possible. I pray all these things in Jesus' name, amen.

Nancy: Well, after Jackie Hill Perry gave that message at True Woman ’18, we invited women to come to the front of the auditorium and pray. And right there in that Indianapolis Convention Center, God did a deep work in so many hearts. He put many women on a path of healing from hurt. And He brought women to a point of repentance and ability to receive His grace about sinful choices they had made in the past.

I hope you’ll take some time today to respond to whatever the Lord may have been saying to you through Jackie’s message.

At True Woman ’18, sisters gathered to pray with each other. I had the opportunity of kneeling and praying with some women who were deeply broken there at the front of the auditorium.

Maybe you need to make a call to a friend to talk about what the Lord has been putting on your heart or some of the struggles you’ve been going through and ask them to pray with you. And then I hope you’ll take whatever steps that God is putting on your heart to walk in the truth that we’ve heard today.

Jackie Hill Perry delivered that message at the True Woman ’18 conference last September, and you can hear or watch the messages from that conference by visiting us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, we’re able to provide these kinds of online resources and to bring you this program each weekday thanks to listeners like you who support Revive Our Hearts through your gifts. When you donate any amount this week, we’d like to say “thank you” by sending you a copy of our new Bible study called Elizabeth: Dealing with Disappointment.

As you remember, we read about Elizabeth in Luke chapter 1. She was the mother of John the Baptist, and until late in her life she dealt with the disappointment of an inability to have children.

The study on Elizabeth is a part of our “Women of the Bible” study series. Listeners have been asking Revive Our Hearts for more Bible studies, “Help us dig more deeply into God’s Word,” they said to us. And we’ve been listening. And I’m excited to see how the Lord uses this Elizabeth study to help women get to know His Word and to learn how to better handle disappointment in a way that honors Him.

Next month our team will be launching a new podcast called “Women of the Bible,” and the first season goes along with this study on Elizabeth. So I hope you’ll ask for a copy of the study when you make your gift of any amount today. And then be sure to listen to the discussion on the podcast coming up in February.

Ask for the study on Elizabeth when you donate any amount at ReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 1–800–569–5959.

Jackie Hill Perry will be back with us tomorrow, along with Dannah Gresh, Bob Lepine, and Mary Kassian, to talk about the events of the past year from a biblical perspective.

The “Me, Too,” movement has shown how big an issue sexual abuse has been and how much hurt is caused to countless women. So how can women who have been sinned against sexually find healing from hurt and freedom from bitterness and bondage? Be sure to listen to that discussion tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is helping you find your identity in Christ. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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