Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


The Bride and Christ

Part 6: Who are you?

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(12/1) The honest truth is that when it comes to the issue of sex… well, it’s kind of an issue for a lot of people. I don’t believe that any couple comes into marriage with a perfect view of marriage and sex. You know… where they walk down the aisle with nothing but a clean slate… "The Sound of Music" soundtrack is ringing in their ears… the anticipation is overwhelming… but most… most of us came into the marriage, and walk down the aisle, particularly on the issue of sex, from very different places.

Sex is the distinctive characteristic of marriage. It’s what differentiates other relationships from marriage, like fishing buddies or racquetball partners. Sex is the distinctive characteristic of marriage, according to the Bible.

Now some of us grew up in a conservative, Bible-teaching, Christian homes and there was quite a bit of naivety. Some of us learned things the hard way. Some of us have been sexually assaulted, raped, and abused. Others of us grew up as non-Christians… grew up in a rough neighborhood… grew up near the strip clubs and prostitutes… some of us were exposed to pornography at a young age. So we come from completely different backgrounds regarding sex.

Many of us, when we married, we weren’t pure… not virgins. In our dating relationship, we were, in fact, sleeping together. We were playing house… we had a world view of sex… instead of a biblical view of sex.

Well God says, "Do not be deceived." (1 Corinthians 6:9).

And in Genesis chapter 2, verses 18-25, we find the first marriage, the first wedding, and the first account of a sexual relationship… before sin was even introduced to humanity. It’s the first love story in the Bible and the story goes that God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (vs. 18)

So in verse 21, "The Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man" (Genesis 2:21-22).

So it’s a big day for the ladies. You just got made. It’s a big day. You’re going to get married naked. That’s how they say it in Texas right… that’s a big day.

So, God brings the woman to the man. And verse 24 says that he was united to his wife… that’s the covenant of marriage. And they "became one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). That’s the consummation of the covenant. Verse 25 says, "The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame." (Genesis 2:25). Adam received his wife as his gift from God. God was glorified. They were satisfied. And that’s before sin.

So let me just say this before I get too carried away. God created our bodies for sexual pleasure and called it very good! It wasn’t after Adam and Eve got married and God went for a walk in the garden… you know, like he went to Starbucks, came back, and was, "What in the world are they doing? I never, ever thought that that would happen." Right?

Now I want you to grasp this, because this could change your whole perspective of marriage. Your standard of beauty is your spouse. You see God does not give us a standard of beauty. He gives us a spouse. He didn’t go to Adam and ask, "Well, what do you like? Tall, short, white, black, young, old, long hair, short hair, skinny, or used to be skinny? What do you like?" No he came to Adam and said, "Meet Eve." Adam said, "Eve looks amazing. That’s amazing right there." So Adam’s standard of beauty was Eve. Eve’s standard of masculinity was Adam. And they received each other as God’s perfect gift.

Today, you and I, are inundated with images from the media, marketing and promoting, pornography, coveting, and lust… what Jesus calls "adultery of the heart" It is having or embracing a standard of beauty other than your spouse, comparing your spouse to them, becoming dissatisfied, and then ultimately becoming an adulterer; if not just in your heart, also with your body.

Your standard of beauty is your spouse, so here’s what this means. Whoever you married… that’s what you’re into. Okay? If you marry someone short, you’re into short! You love short! You’re thinking about short! You’re glad for short! Yeah for short! Right?

God does not give you a standard of beauty. God gives you a spouse. So, how does Jesus play into all of this? At this point, we don’t have good news, right? You need some good news. So far, all we’ve got is news.

Let’s read what John writes in his first letter to the churches. 1 John 1:5, "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." NIV

1. What have you done?

I want to tell you three things from this passage of Scripture related to Jesus, and that is, number one, that Jesus forgives all sin.

1 John 1:7… "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." NIV

"If we walk in the light…" is about openness, honesty, and authenticity, which requires a lot of humility to say, "Okay, here’s who I am. Here’s what I’ve done." It’s being honest and transparent. What the Bible is telling us is that communicating with transparency… talking about sin we’ve committed… talking about sin that’s been committed against us, enables us to walk in the light. We have fellowship with one another. We actually build relationships.

The key is that "the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." The idea here is this, that because of the sins we’ve committed, we all deserve death and hell. And I know it’s not popular to say that, but maybe some of you are in grave danger. Maybe you’re headed toward hell. You are living in the path of the wrath of God. And the good news is that God comes as Jesus Christ. God comes as a man. He lives as we do, yet without any sin, and he substitutes himself on the cross, and he suffers and dies in our place for our sins, so that at the cross of Jesus, justice and mercy kiss, and our sin is paid for through the blood of Jesus, through the blood of Jesus.

We’re all sinners by nature and choice, and we need to know that our sin is such a big deal that it required the death of God. So, it’s a great travesty for even a victim to say, "Yes, what happened to me did, in fact, occur, but it wasn’t that big of a deal." Yes, it was. God had to die for it. That’s how big of a deal it is. But Jesus can and does forgive all sin. He doesn’t just forgive people; he changes them so that they stop sinning and start serving.

Do you know Jesus?

Is your sin forgiven, or are you living in the path of the wrath of God? Jesus does forgive all sin. But we need to talk about it. You need to talk to God about it. That’s that word, "We walk in the light." It’s being honest with God, it’s being honest with others; and if you’re married, it’s being honest with your spouse. Who are you, and what have you done?

2. What do you do?

Now the gospel tells us, "We’re sinners, and if we repent of our sin and trust in Jesus, that he will save us," but what about those who are not just the sinners, but the victims of others’ sin? What do you do? What do you do when you’re the one who was beaten, betrayed, molested, or raped? What do you do? You don’t repent of that sin. You’re the victim of sin. You didn’t sin. You were the victim of sin. What do you do?

Well here is one more characteristic… one more quality… that is so amazing about Jesus Christ. Here it is in verse 7; Jesus not only forgives sinners, "the blood of Jesus… purifies us from all sin." So what Jesus does is he cleanses victims and he takes their shame. You see, all sin produces shame. So this can be sin we’ve committed or sin that’s committed against us. And it creates shame. We see this early on in Genesis chapter 2 don’t we? God creates our first parents and it says that they were naked and without any shame. So, before sin enters the world, there is no shame. As soon as they sin… as soon as Adam and Eve sin… they cover themselves, they hide from one another, and they hide from God!

Do you know what that is? It’s shame. "I don’t want God to see me. I don’t want you to see me. I don’t want to be discovered." People who are ashamed, they tend to withdraw, retreat, or hide, but "the blood of Jesus… purifies us from all sin."

Now don’t raise your hands, but how many of you feel shame by what you’ve done? How many of you feel shame by what has been done to you? You feel dirty… and you’re ashamed.

Well Hebrews 12:1-2, encourages us saying, "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." NIV

Is your shame, your sin, or the sin committed against you, holding you back? Is it feeling like a burden? Does it feel like an emotional anchor? Well throw it off… and run!

You see, if you’re just looking at yourself as a sinner… maybe looking at yourself as a victim… and you’re not looking to Jesus, you’re not going to be able to run… you’re not going to know the freedom that Christ purchased for you with his own blood… and you’re going to limp for the rest of your life. So we need to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame."

For those of you who struggle under the load… who struggle with the shame of your sin… or the sin that’s been committed against you… I want you to know that we have a God who came into human history and of his own will, Jesus Christ chose to identify with you… chose to be shamed… and chose to be victimized. Jesus was emotionally, verbally, spiritually, and physically abused. He was assaulted, went to the cross, and he was shamed. They slandered his character, publicly stripped him naked, and condemned him as a criminal. He was beaten. He was cursed. He was spit upon. He was mocked. He was crucified. And He was shamed.

But the Bible says that he went to the cross, "scorning its shame." You need to know that when Jesus went to the cross, he took your sin. You need to know, that when Jesus went to the cross, he took your shame. And on that fateful day they both died in the body of Jesus Christ. You’ve got to understand and embrace this truth… otherwise, you’ll feel forgiven but ashamed… you’ll limp along… rather than running the race that’s marked out for you.

3. What has he done?

Number three, "What has he done?" As we read the Bible, in the Old Testament, you have to wonder, "Why do God’s people have to keep cleaning their homes? Why do they have purification rituals and methods by which they rid their homes, their bodies, diets, and clothing of filth and dirt?" Well, it’s showing them and showing us what sin is like. You see, sin gets into everything, it makes it dirty, and our lives become tarnished, corrupted, and ruined… that sin is repulsive to the holiness of God. And so in the Old Testament they would labor to keep their bodies and homes clean, all of which was pointing to Jesus, pointing to our need for him to purify us from all unrighteousness. And today some of you feel very dirty… you feel damaged, and broken.

So First John 1:9 says this, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." We confess it; we talk about it with God and trustworthy people, beginning with our spouse, and pray. Whatever sins you’ve committed, Jesus can and will forgive, if today, you turn from sin, and trust in him. He will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." And if you’ve been the victim, I want you to memorize this phrase, "purify us from all unrighteousness." All of it… the repressed memories… the feelings of dirtiness and guilt.

Jesus cleansing is from all unrighteousness, every bit of it. In the Old Testament the people of God are often told, to wash their clothes, to show what Jesus does. To show that Jesus cleanses from all unrighteousness… and this is shown in Christian baptism… that Jesus lived, died, was buried, and rose. And as water cleanses us from filth, Jesus "purifies us from all unrighteousness."

We’ve been talking about the Bride and Christ. In Revelation 19 at the end of the age the church is pictured as a bride. And it says that fine, white linen, pure and clean, was given the bride, the church, to wear. The church is dressed in white to show that Jesus purifies from all unrighteousness. So, in Revelation, Jesus is like a groom, and there’s this enormous celebration and wedding feast that ends human history.

Jesus has changed world history and Jesus can change your personal history. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you. Traditionally, on the wedding day, the bride wears white, and in the same way, if you are in Christ, you’re clean. That’s your new identity… fine, white linen, pure and clean. You see, if you’ve trusted in Christ, you’re not determined by what you’ve done or what’s been done to you. You’re determined by what Jesus Christ has done for you, and he purifies us from all unrighteousness.

Two things as we wrap up.

Number one, repentance is not getting caught, but coming clean. Verse 9 says if we confess our sins. How many of you, you’ve not really told the truth to your spouse? There’s sin in your life that they are unaware of… its a secret, but God sees and knows all. So, don’t wait to get caught, come clean. Don’t live under the anxiety of being exposed. Repent. Invite Jesus to purify that, so that there might be healing and hope.

Number two, Lets be real… let’s be honest… you know "It’s my fault. I’m sorry." Just be honest. Give that sin… that relationship… that whatever to Jesus and received his righteousness, become a new creation in Christ. As we go forth into the coming week, let’s rise up and walk the road God has set before us, let’s be the people he intended us to be, and let’s leave the legacy that by his grace we can. God bless you!

Read past sermons by Pastor John Talcott

Learn more about the Christ's Community Church