This is the fourth week in our ‘Christians are wrong about…’ series – see the rest of the series here.

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These are the sermon notes for  ‘Christians are wrong about… Sex Before Marriage’


Some studies suggest as many as 80% of Christian young adults have been sexually active, 64% in the last year, and 42% currently. (source)

– if sex is a big deal then these stats are a big deal!


About sex…

1. the joining of a man and a woman

– Gen 2:24, Mark 10:8, & Eph 5:31 all resound.. ‘Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh – so they are no longer two, but one flesh’ (therefore/for this reason – because God made them to go together)

– primarily, sex is for bonding a husband and wife

– it’s unifying, it’s healing, it’s fun, it’s pleasurable (we want to be honouring of sex today, not the way some might speak about it)

– studies found that in the 24 hours after having sex, you emotionally bond with the person you had sex with.

–  In researching this bond, Bryan Sands shows that Oxytocin is a big factor… It’s produced mainly in the hypothalamus [which is in the Deep Limbic System part of the brain], where it is either released into blood via the pituitary gland, or to other parts of the brain and spinal cord, where it binds to oxytocin receptors to influence behavior and physiology.”  (DeAngelis) Oxytocin has been dubbed the “cuddle hormone” or “love hormone” because it does simply that. It creates bonds, trust, and generosity in us. (DeAngelis) In fact whenever you feel comfort or security, oxytocin is involved. It is involved in every form of human bonding. (Horstman, 23) (source

– it’s the same hormone that mothers produce at childbirth – to help the process go smoothly, but also to help in bonding mother and child.. do you see what a powerful hormone this is!

– This is the hormone released during sex.. by both the man and woman, creating a strong bond between them.

– one of the prominent figures in neuropsychology – Dr. Daniel Amen, who writes in his book,Change Your Brain Change Your Life, page 41:

“Whenever a person is sexually involved with another person, neurochemical changes occur in both their brains that encourage limbic, emotional bonding. Yet limbic bonding is the reason casual sex doesn’t really work for most people on a whole mind and body level. Two people may decide to have sex ‘just for the fun of it,’ yet something is occurring on another level they might not have decided on at all: sex is enhancing an emotional bond between them whether they want it or not. One person, often the woman, is bound to form an attachment and will be hurt when a casual affair ends. One reason it is usually the women who is hurt most is that the female limbic system is larger than the male’s.”

– Sex is just one small piece of a broader classification of relational intimacy, both with God and man. Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:5 say that a man and a woman become “one flesh” through sex in marriage. Paul echoes this concept in 1 Corinthians 6:16 when he says that a man who has sexual intercourse with a prostitute unites himself to that woman. The Bible discusses sex with the language of intimacy, portraying it as a way that husbands and wives bond powerfully.

2. Making Babies

– Back to our passages, sex is to bring together a new family, and secondly, if possible, to have kids.


What does the Bible say about sex before marriage?

– treat like sister – 1 Tim 5:1-2

     – “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.”

– Treat your current/future girlfriend/boyfriend how you’d like your future wife/husband’s current/future boyfriend/girlfriend to treat them before they marry you!

– Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,

14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

– 1 Corinthians 6:15-20

          15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

– ‘sexual immorality’ translates to ‘any sex outside marriage’ (including adultery)

– 2 Corinthians 12:21

     – I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

– Ephesians 5:3

     – But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God

– (outside marriage) Hebrews 13:4

     – Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

– 1 Corinthians 7

“Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.”

– We must remember that sex isn’t the highest experience of humanhood

– We KNOW that the single person in Jesus misses out on nothing.


Why Christians have sex before marriage:

1. we don’t trust God (to provide for us, to know what’s best for us, with our future,

2. we think that pleasure

3. Dating someone who doesn’t believe in God, or doesn’t have Him as their Lord.

– you know, i’ve seen this situation sooo many times.. especially with young Christian women, and I can tell you exactly what will happen over the next 2 weeks to 4 months:

– he’ll start off being super supportive of you and your faith.. he might even visit church a few times.

– you’ll say things like ‘I think my faith is even stronger because he supports me in it so much’

– then physical boundaries will start to get compromised and pushed

– you’ll eventually start sleeping together

– you’ll start to feel convicted when you are around your Christian community

– so you stop coming to church

– and you stop hanging around with your Christian friends (the ones who challenge you, anyway…)

– then you’ll start to turn it around and say the reason you aren’t going to church is because you are constantly ‘judged’ by your church and christian friends.

– then you’re in a full blown sexual relationship, and no longer in Christian community, or only hanging out with those “Christians” who are supportive of your drift away from your Christian community, and supporting your ‘follow your heart’ or ‘do what feels right’ approach to faith.

– often, when that relationship breaks down, and you returns to church… until the next guy comes along…

– your primary goal in life is to find joy in your relationship with God… all helpful relationships AID in that mission.

– so judge/discern your relationships by this measure.. and how are they going?

– this is why you can’t ‘go out with’ a non Christian AND please God – it just can’t be done.


What does the research say about sex before marriage?

– see below


What do we do from here?

1. realise that sex is an expression of intimacy meant for our good, our joy, our pleasure, and to strengthen us in marriage.

– Alice Frying writes ‘sex is an expression of intimacy, not the means to intimacy. True intimacy springs from verbal and emotional communication. True intimacy is built on a commitment to honesty, love and freedom. True intimacy is not a primarily a sexual encounter. Intimacy in fact, has almost nothing to do with our sex organs. A prostitute may expose her body, but her relationships are hardly intimate.’

– sex is fun, but it isn’t just for fun. Sex is bonding, but it’s incredibly bonding… not for casual relationships.. we just aren’t made for that!

– Too often, though, we portray sex as the ultimate avenue for intimacy, similar to the way the world elevates sex. Knox Seminary professor Jono Linebaugh puts it like this; we “dangle marriage out there like a carrot,” telling kids that one day they will enjoy this supreme gift of intimacy. (source

– Everyone struggles with loneliness and isolation, and they desire intimate communion. We should affirm a desire for sex as a reflection of their deeper longings for intimacy with both God and other people. When we fail to help  people understand how sex fits within the broader category, we do nothing to help alleviate these longings.

2. Christians don’t ‘test drive’, we trust God.

– R.C. Sproul – “It is one thin to believe in God; it is quite another to believe God”

– “God is not a killjoy; he just opposes what kills joy” John Piper

– If you really know Jesus, you know He has your absolute best in mind.. not necessarily what YOU want, but if you knew everything, if you had all the facts , you’d want what He has for you.

– What about the people who never will marry? What about the person who experience same-sex attraction and want to pursue celibacy? By elevating marital sex and failing to properly contextualize it, we suggest that their struggles with loneliness and longings for connection never will be satisfied… but this is not true for those who find their greatest joy in knowing God.

– Tim Challies – “Temptation is anything that promises satisfaction at the cost of obedience.”

3. Having sex, or not having sex before marriage is NOT the indicator of ‘purity’ – we are all in desperate need of a saviour!!

4. Remember that no sexual sin is beyond God’s forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 promises that if you confess your sins, He is faithful to forgive and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness! (Psalm 103 – as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us”!

– That doesn’t mean that we just go have sex with whoever we want whenever we want though – 1 Peter 2:16 “Live as people who are free, not using our freedom as a cover up for evil, but living as servants of God”

5. How far is too far? Wrong way to think.. let’s think instead ‘how holy is too holy’.. and move in that direction!

– “Nothing makes God look as beautiful as when we, who have tasted his goodness, would use our lives to testify that we will forego any momentary joy in order to taste more of Him”

6. Some boys go straight from their mums house to their marriage, and they just go from one mum to another… Men, take responsibly for yourself and others.. Your family, your church, your city… This is a man.

7. no ding ding without the wedding ring – Bek added this one.


just on marriage…

– For the first time, maybe ever, more Aussies are unmarried than are married. Only 49 per cent of Australians are now living in a registered marriage, a figure not seen since 1901. (source)

– As to the question of “waiting?” Matures (63%) are the only generation with a clear majority in favor; about half of all others agree (47% Millennials, 48% Gen Xers, 52% Baby Boomers (source)

– so weird that so many recognise the benefits of waiting, but still don’t do so.

– A recent ABS analysis concluded that 33 per cent of all marriages entered into between 2000 and 2002 would end in divorce. It found that the number of marriages that ended in divorce had increased since the 1980s, with 28 per cent of marriages that occurred between 1985 and 1987 expected to end in divorce.

– Marriages overall – 72% of people are still married to their first spouse. (not the ‘half marriages end in divorce’ stat you’ve heard)

What about Christian marriages?

Shaunti Feldhahn partnered with Barna and re-ran the numbers (to see if it was people identifying as Christians, or people actually involved in a Christian community): and if the person was in church the prior week, their divorce rate dropped 27% compared to those who weren’t! Many studies have found that church attendance drops the divorce rate 25-50% compared to those who don’t attend. It also increases happiness in marriage and has several other dramatic life and marriage outcomes that we cover in the book.

Read more here

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate some interesting trends. For example, the number of divorces have reduced in 2013 compared to 2012. The median length of a marriage was 12 years and spouses were most likely to divorce in their early 40’s. (source ABS Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2012)

Whilst divorces were down in 2013, so too were the number of marriages. People are also marrying later with males tending to marry at 31½ years and females 29½ years.

– The 2012 statistics also show that 77.6 per cent of married couples lived together before marriage. (source)

What Does the data say about sex before marriage?

1. Data from the National Survey of Family Growth indicate that “women who are sexually active prior to marriage faced considerably higher risk of marital disruption than women who were virgin brides.” These scholars explain that even when controlling for various differentials between virginal and non-virginal groups — such as socio-economics, family background as well as attitudinal and value differences — “non-virgins still face a much higher risk of divorce than virgins.” (Source Joan R. Kahn and Kathryn A. London, “Premarital Sex and the Risk of Divorce,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53 (1991): 845-855.)

2. National Health and Social Life Survey, found a marked connection between premarital sex and elevated risk of divorce. The authors explain:

“For both genders, we find that virgins have dramatically more stable first marriages…”

“The finding confirms the results reported by Kahn and London…those who are virgins at marriage have much lower rates of separation and divorce.”

Additionally, “Those who marry as non-virgins are also more likely – all other things being equal – to be unfaithful over the remainder of their life compared with those spouses who do marry as virgins.”

(Source Edward O. Laumann et al., The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), p. 503.)

3. In a study looking at factors impacting increased marital stability, Brigham Young sociologist Tim Heaton examined how premarital sexual experience, premarital child-bearing, cohabitation and marrying someone of a different religious faith were all associated with greater risk of divorce. Heaton explains, “Dissolution rates are substantially higher among those who initiate sexual activity before marriage.” Heaton asserts that divorce is more likely among the sexually active and cohabitors because they have established their life together on “relatively unstable sexual relationships.” (Source Tim B. Heaton, “Factors Contributing to Increasing Marital Stability in the United States,” Journal of Family Issues, 23 (2002): 392-409, p. 401, 407.)

4. Sociologist Jay Teachman examined how both premarital sex and cohabitation impacts risk of divorce among women. He found that “it remains the case… that women with more than one intimate relationship prior to marriage have an elevated risk of marital disruption. (Source Jay Teachman, “Premarital Sex, Premarital Cohabitation, and the Risk of Subsequent Marital Dissolution Among Women,” Journal of Marriage and Family 65 (2003): 444-455, p. 454.)

5. Another recent study looked specifically at first sexual experience in adolescence. This “research shows that adolescent sexuality/premarital sex is associated with marital dissolution”

Paik also found that females who first had sex in their teens had roughly double the risk of divorce later in life compared to women who had their first unmarried sexual experience in their adult years.

He found that teen girls who experienced their first sexual experience with a young man who would eventually be her husband did not have particularly elevated risk of divorce. However, very few of girls who lose their virginity before marriage end up having only had sex with their husband. The overwhelming majority of non-virginal adolescent girls – nearly all – end up having had sex with multiple partners before marriage, thus increasing their later risk for divorce. (Source Anthony Paik, “Adolescent Sexuality and Risk of Marital Dissolution,” Journal of Marriage and Family 73 (2011): 472-485, p. 483, 484.)


Belinda Hewitt, a senior researcher at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research says the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, which began in 2001 and is run by the University of Melbourne and funded by the Federal Government, shows “Overall, cohabiting relationships are more likely to split up.” She said that the detailed HILDA data showed that if de facto couples didn’t get married, they were six times more likely to split up than people who married after cohabiting. They were 7.8 times more likely to split up than people who married without cohabiting, she said. (23% less likely to divorce if no cohabitation before marriage)

2009 study by Dr Qu and colleagues from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Ruth Weston and David de Vaus, found that couples moving from cohabitation to marriage “believe that they have minimised the risks of entering a marriage that is likely to break down”.

But, The study, based on this data collected through HILDA and published in the Journal of Comparative Family Studies, said: “Despite its increasing prevalence, cohabitation is a relatively unstable living arrangement as evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of couples either marry or separate within the first few years of the union. Indeed, the probability of cohabitation ending in separation rather than marriage has increased.” And even if it leads to marriage, the couple face a significant increase in the likelihood of marital disruption.


Still, FAR more relationships where couples cohabitant and DON’T marry, end in separation. (source)


Girl vs woman 
1. A girl throws tantrums. When displeased, upset or angry, she reacts just as she did as a child when she didn’t get her way with her parents. This often consists of screaming, pouting, giving the silent treatment, being passive aggressive and/or punishing. A woman still feels the emotions of being upset/displeased, but has cultivated the skill of responding versus reacting. She comes to the table as an adult, and communicates clearly what is bothering her.

2. A girl perceives herself as a princess and believes people should treat her like so. She is entitled and feels that she is owed and therefore expects more than she appreciates. A woman, has standards (what she holds herself to) not expectations (what she projects on to others).

3. A girl uses her physical beauty as her currency and basis of value. A girl may be so used to feeling validated through her looks and sexuality, that she uses this as her primary tool to get what she wants in life. A woman, knows her worth is beyond her physicality. A woman bases her value on her intelligence, her strength, her integrity, her values, her contributions, her humanity.

4. A girl banks on someone else to be her financial strategy. A woman plans to be financially responsible.

5. A girl sees the world from a place of lack and scarcity. She competes and will even tear down another in order to secure resources or a mate. A woman helps other women. She knows that there’s plenty enough to go around and takes the high road of integrity to get what she wants.

6. A girl cannot be bothered with anything domestic and is proud of the fact that she cannot cook or clean. A woman understands that being domestic is not a duty, but understands that it is one way of taking care of herself and others. She also understands that in the event she wants to create a family, having a person in the household who can contribute domestically is important.

7. “A girl wants attention, a woman wants respect. A girl wants to be adored by many. A woman wants to be adored by one.” -anonymous

8. A girl does not respect herself.  She has not yet understood that her body and heart are sacred, and that it’s important to be mindful of how she treats them and who she shares them with.

9. A woman takes the time to reflect on the type of person she wants to be, the example she wants to leave and the vision for her life. She has put thought into her values and what she stands for. A girl has not established her moral compass or values and consequently, is often inconsistent.

10. A girl has a checklist that prioritizes superficial qualities above anything else. Here is an example of how this checklist may look: good looking, popular, wears skinny jeans, plays guitar, wears all white.. This is the checklist of what a woman may look for: Closeness to God, High integrity, intelligent, kind, good communicator, emotionally stable…

11. A girl plays games. A woman doesn’t


Boys to men

  • A man knows what he wants, and goes for it. A boy may have somewhat of an idea, but not really. He doesn’t think too much about it, and even if he does, doesn’t exert much effort to get it. A boy is passive, a man is assertive.
  • A man plans for his future and is working towards building a foundation and infrastructure in order to have a family (at some point in his life) or another purpose or passion.  A boy lives only in the moment and his plans are mostly around which gig, footy match, party, or LAN he’s going to hit up next.
  • A man looks for a woman who is passionately pursuing Jesus, someone who’s intelligent, supportive, grounded, and encompasses a shared set of values when choosing a wife. A boy cares mostly only for girls who are hot, wild and exciting.
  • A man knows a good woman when he meets one and will take initiative to get to know her. A boy may make an attempt if you’re lucky, but gives up before ever really trying.
  • A man has the courage to have uncomfortable conversations. He is honest with his intentions and lets people know where they stand. A boy avoids. He ignores confrontation or any serious talks about feelings. Instead of dealing with a situation, he runs away from it or creates drama or excuses to mask the fact he’s not that into you or a relationship.
  • A man knows when to invest in a woman and jump in with two feet. A boy is always “testing” – he doesn’t fully commit because he never knows if he is quite ready. But the truth is, because he is a boy, regardless of who he meets, he will never be ready due to the stage of life he is in.
  • A man knows how to have a good time and be social, but is often busy making strides in his career and building his life. A boy is getting crunk with his buddies at the bar every weekend.
  • A man takes the time to reflect on the type of man he wants to be, the example he wants to leave and the vision for his life. He has put thought into his values. A boy has not established his moral compass or values and consequently, is often inconsistent.
  • A man has integrity. He means what he says, and says what he means. He has follow through and actions his promises. And if he can’t he has the guts to tell you why. A boy makes promises but doesn’t follow through.
  • A man is afraid of rejection but will put himself out there anyway. A boy is afraid of rejection and acts passive so that his pride and ego won’t ever get too banged up.
  • A boy plays games. A man doesn’t


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