My preaching philosophy is centralized on expository preaching, which is a commitment to preach in such a way that the big ideas of the text are drawn out of the text rather than the individuals personal ideas. Every preacher brings their bias to the text but our role is to discover the original sense and meaning of the passage we are dealing with and communicate it in a way that best represents the authors and ultimately God’s inspired and original intent.
My normal modus operandi is to preach through books of the bible as led by the Holy Spirit, as well as considering the needs or vision of the congregation. Apart from the Old Testament book of Song of Songs (Solomon) the issue of sexuality is laced right throughout the bible beginning in Genesis and finding considerable focus in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 6-7).
Sex is a thematic or topical doctrine to preach on and so I’ve had to study the bible for the variety of ways the issue of sex is dealt with in the text. Sex can also be a difficult topic to preach on, as there is so much cultural baggage, people carry with them into the sermon event. As well as this many people carry weights of sin, shame and pain into the sermon event and these can often preclude them from opening their hearts to hear what God wants to say about the issue.
For all the same reasons, preaching on sex is also easy because people are primed to hear God’s perspective on the issue due to the amount of confusion and secrecy there seems to be about the unspoken topic, especially in church circles. There are only a few times you don’t need to work hard to keep people’s attention, talking about sex is guaranteed to be one of them, where people are very attentive.
Here are some of my thoughts on approaching the topic of sex in the preaching context:
- Prepare thoroughly – Too many of us preachers shoot from the hip and underestimate how educated our audience really is. Read widely and keep up to date with the current stats and trends of all things sexual in our culture. Some of the books and articles I studied for the series, included, “Real Marriage” by Mark and Grace Driscoll; “Sex and the Supremacy of Christ” by John Piper and Justin Taylor; “From Good Man to Valiant Man” by Dr Allan Meyer and several online articles. As well as this I did my exegesis on the texts used throughout the series and listened to several sermons preached by other trusted sources on the sex texts concerned.
- Seek advice – None of us knows everything and I have learnt to lean on mentors like Dr Allan Meyer who completed his doctoral studies on the issue of sexual addiction.
- Just say it – Too many of us shy away from unpacking the issues surrounding terms like, masturbation, oral sex, cybersex, sex toys, etc because of the ‘blush’ factor involved. However, the spirit of the culture is more than prepared to have the conversation and pervert God’s original intention for sex in marriage. Be prepared to go there, your audience will appreciate it. In talking about God creating sex for pleasure, I talked about the woman’s ‘clitoris’ and God’s intention for it to be a pleasure organ, not useful for anything else other than a wife’s pleasure in sex with her husband.
- Help people don’t condemn people – Sex tends to be an avoided preaching topic and if its is touched on, it’s talked about in a condemning way, which gives people the idea that God is dead against it. I have tried to not only inform people as to what the text is saying but apply it for people in a practical way that has left me receiving some of the greatest feedback I’ve ever had on a series. God is for sex and created it for several reasons in the marriage relationship (protection, comfort, pleasure, pro-creation, oneness, healing, theology…) to name a few.
- Move the sermon from the pulpit into the church community – Giving people helpful resources like books to compliment the series as well as sermon outlines and study guides for the life group meetings during the week.
- Practice what you preach – This is the fun part. As always don’t simply be a mouthpiece but be a practitioner of what you are learning and growing in. Needless to say the pastors personal marriage should benefit from a focused series on this topic.
Our outline for the “Lets talk about Sex” series looks like the following:
- Week 1 – Theology of Sex (am) and Sexual Healing (pm)
- Week 2 – Sex: God, Gross or Gift?
- Week 3 – Christians response to homosexual marriage
- Week 4 – Porn again Christian
- Week 5 – Special guest Sy Rogers: Seminar and Outreach