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Marriage, Sex & The Blood of Jesus!

September 1, 2013

Proper 17 (Pentecost 15)                                  Trinity Lutheran Church

1 September 2013                                               Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

Click here to listen to this sermon.

Hebrews 13:4


I’m not sure I want to preach today.  There are some Sundays when I don’t want to preach God’s Word and there are many days and weeks when I don’t want to be a pastor called by the Lord to proclaim it.  Sometimes, I’d rather do something else.

Why?  Didn’t you hear the reading from Hebrews today?  It’s really dicey.  If I dare to preach what it says about marriage and sex as well as anything else from the Epistle … I fear that all hell will break loose.  There might be motion or two to muzzle the pastor.  Or worse.  Put him out of the holy office for good.  Run him and his family out of town on a rail.  All with the approval and blessing of the ecclesiastical authorities.

I know how the old Adam works.  I have a sinful nature like all of you.  When it comes to marriage and sex, the old Adam will not stand for a preacher to tell him what to do.  The old Adam will bullishly insist on doing what he wants!  Damn the Word of God!  And damn the preacher who mouths it!  Isn’t that true?  You know that’s absolutely true.

In addition, the old Adam, rounds up a couple of reliable friends, two BFFs — the world and the devil.  They form a triple tag team, an unholy trinity, in order to violently oppose God’s Word, ridicule it, neuter it or eliminate it completely.  Your old Adam, my old Adam, cannot stand to hear God’s Word in general from a preacher let alone about the untouchable and unassailable subjects like marriage and sex.  The old Adam would rather pull a Miranda Lambert “White Liar,” or a “Two Black Cadillacs” kind of life.  Pull of an HBO “Big Love,” a TLC “Sister Wives,” an Anthony Weiner, a King David and Bathsheba, a VMA Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, a Kim and Kanye, an Ellen DeGeneres, a Rosie O’Donnell, a Neal Patrick Harris or an Elton John.

What is one to do with the old Adam who’s fine with all that?  Leash him?  Medicate him?  Indulge him?  No.  To be quite honest the old Adam has to be put to death.  Daily!  Your Baptism needs to be operative and bear fruit in your life.  You and I need to repent of despising preaching and God Word regarding matrimony and sex so that we hold God’s Word sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

So I beg you.  I beseech you.  Be like Aaron and Hur in Exodus 17 who held up Moses’ arms and hands so that Joshua and the Israelites could defeat their enemies the Amalekites.  I entreat you to hold up my arms and hands today (as well as my mouth) so that we, the new Israel, may do battle and defeat our enemies, our sinful flesh, the devil and the world with regard to marriage and sex.

Will you do that?  I implore you to give ear to God’s Word today so that instead of all hell — ALL HEAVEN may break loose in our midst as we confess our sin in these matters, receive Christ’s forgiveness, and with the help of the Holy Spirit live holy lives according to God’s Word including the first words of Hebrews 13, “Keep on loving each other as brothers.” 

Well, you’re still here.  You haven’t walked out yet.  I’m very thankful.  Better get to the text.  Hold on tight.  Here we go.  In order:

MARRIAGE:  “Marriage should be honored by all.”

SEX:   “And the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Marriage.  How do we “honor” it?  Well, one would think that’s a no-brainer.  But it’s not anymore.  So I’ve got to preach it.  We honor marriage when we live in that estate according TO GOD’S WORD.  That means precisely what the text says:  “keeping the marriage bed pure.”

Faith receives marriage as a gift from the Lord and honors it as the holy gift that it is.  But we are confused – that’s putting it politely.  We’ve taken the “holy” out of matrimony!  Who of you ever thinks and works with the presupposition that marriage is “HOLY”?  That it was instituted by the Lord Himself in the beginning?  Instead, we operate differently, don’t we?  We believe and act like marriage belongs to us.  And since it’s ours, we can do anything we want with it, right?  Of course!  Our actions betray us!

We need to repent of that!  Holy marriage does not belong to you or to me.  Holy marriage is the Lord’s gift for a man and a woman.  This estate established by the Lord is to be used properly.  So God’s Word defines holy marriage as a public, lifelong, one-flesh union between one man and one woman.

The old Adam, state legislatures, or a majority of black robes in state supreme courts and the Supreme Court can and will continue to redefine marriage in total opposition to God’s Word.  The President’s position on marriage has progressively “evolved” in a very “religious” and “spiritual” way.  And if you paid any attention to the celebration of the 50 year anniversary of the “I Have A Dream” speech last week, you will have noticed that the upper crusts and talking heads claim that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was all for redefining marriage according to the LGBTQ[1] agenda.

The big question is:  Will you evolve too or will you live by and trust in God’s Word?  Will you compromise God’s Word and good will for you for the sake of getting along or achieving greater worldly wealth and prestige?  Will you dare to think differently?  Will you have the nerve to speak against the mythical “civil right” of gay “marriage”?

If you compromise, the worldly elites and the highbrow, utopian, ecclesiastical authorities will hail you as herculean heroes in the struggle to create a heaven on earth.  However, if you do not bow down to these little divinities, you will suffer.  Prepare for it.  The persecution is coming.  You will, as the text in verse 13 states, “bear the disgrace” for confessing the truth of God’s Word and living accordingly.  Not only for your words and actions but even for your “inappropriate” and “dangerous” thoughts.

If you stand up and declare:  “Thus says the Lord,” you will bear the cross.  The tyrannical bullying will come.  Sensitivity training directives from on high.  Mandated reeducation seminars.  Fines.  Pink slips.  Eviction.  They will do to you what they did to Jesus.  Arrest you for subverting a self-deified secular state, bring forward a battalion of false witnesses, kangaroo court you, and then either chain you up for life in a “Siberia” of their own making, or if they really get their way, eliminate you for good by any means they deem the most pious.  All because you want to keep marriage “holy” according to God’s Word and by doing so “honoring” it!

This also means that faith keeps the marriage bed pure and undefiled.  Do you know what that means?  Here’s where the rubber really hits the road.  But I pray you’re willing to hear it.

Are you ready?  All right.  Here goes.  This means NO SEXUAL ACTIVITY outside the confines of holy marriage.  Just in case that doesn’t compute let me be as plain as I can be.  Keeping the marriage bed pure and undefiled means living in either single celibacy or marital fidelity.  It means no divorcing, no homosexuality, no “fooling around” with the hunk you met at the gym, or the hot chick across the hall at work.  It means no twerking, tonguing, or sexting.  No living together sexual relationships before the wedding as well.  All this is prohibited by the Sixth Commandment that exhorts us to lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do.

You’re a bit uneasy now, aren’t you?  Your old Adam is outraged, isn’t he?  Grinding his teeth.  Clenching his fists.  Silently preparing for rebellion.  Ready to stomp out of here, slam the door and never come back.  After all, what I just said, based on God’s clear and unchangeable Word here in Hebrews 13, goes against everything that our old Adams want and love!

Now I think you finally understand why there are times I really don’t want to preach or be a preacher.  But a preacher I am and a preacher I will be.

So, I warn you.  Watch out for sexual sin.  Beware of it.  Sexual sin that adulterates marriage in any way is the idolatry of the self.  Sexual sin that adulterates holy marriage does not show love for others.  It’s only loving yourself.  Sexual sin is all about living only for your personal pleasure without any regard for your family, your congregation and especially without any regard for God Himself.  His Word, however, is very clear.  God judges sexual sin severely:  diseases of all kinds, broken and devastated families, despairing and rebellious kids, brutal violence against women and children, pornography (which comes from the Greek word for immorality) and even death.  These are God’s warning shots of the Law across our bow.  These are God’s alarms and alerts warning us to turn away – to run away – from whatever adulterates God’s good gift of holy marriage.

Brothers and sisters, where you have failed to honor marriage, where you have defiled the marriage bed, I beg you to repent.  Go ahead.  Confess your sin.  Admit it.  This is the beginning of living a mature Christian life.  However, there is something much worse than failing to honor marriage and adulterating the marriage bed.  It is this:  purposely withholding such sin or any sin outside of Christ’s forgiveness.  Not using Jesus the way He wants you to use Him.

That’s why you’ve been given a preacher.  So that all heaven will break loose in our midst!  I have been sent by the Lord to announce His new and creative word that may just bring tears to your eyes and grant you great joy, new life, and freedom.  What’s that?  What else could a preacher sent by Jesus have left to say?  I sure hope you’re still listening and have ears to hear at this point.

It’s this:  Be of good cheer.  God is gracious and merciful to you.  Jesus died for you.  He took all your sin in His Body on the cross and answered for it.  Hanging between heaven and earth on the tree Jesus took your place.   Carrying your sin in His crucified Body, He was reckoned by God to be the adulterer of all adulterers and maximum sexual sinner!  Name your sexual sin or any sin for that matter.  It all belongs to Jesus.  Your sin is His.  Your sin is forgiven!  Totally!  All of it!

No need to pull a Carrie Underwood “Blown Away”.  You know the words:  “There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma to wash the sins out of that house.  There’s not enough wind in Oklahoma to rip the nails out of the past.”  Oh yes there is!  The Blood of Jesus that flowed from His crucified Body, the Blood Jesus splashed all over you in your Baptism, and the Blood of Jesus for you to drink with your mouth in the Lord’s Supper today IS ENOUGH TO WASH AWAY ALL SIN!  His absolution is the blowing wind of the Holy Spirit “rips the nails out of the past!”  I tell you that nailed-to-the-cross-Jesus didn’t leave out any sin, even the sin that desecrates holy marriage and the marriage bed from His Good Friday dying.  And more!  His Good-Friday-nailed-to-the-Tree-death includes any sexual sin that someone or perhaps others have committed against you.  That includes rape, incest, or some other unspeakable act that was forced up you.

I tell you that Jesus “suffered outside the city gate to make YOU holy through His own blood.”  His shed Blood purifies you.  His Blood cleanses you from ALL SIN!  You are restored to a right relationship with God through Jesus!  And to others as well.  The Lord has good use for you in this world, with your family, congregation and community.  The good use He has for you is that you honor marriage and keep the marriage bed pure.

In the Name of Jesus.

     [1]LGBTQ is the acronym for “Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgendered-Queer/Questioning.”

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