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Jul 15, 2018

Wisdom is for free sex

Wisdom is for free sex

Passage: Proverbs 5

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Proverbs, Searching for Wisdom

Category: wisdom

The church is often criticized for an alleged obsession with sex. But, as others have written, if sex involves both the bringing forth of life and the nurturing of relationship--no less than life and love--how can the church be silent or indifferent to its practice? Where do we find wisdom between the two extremes of deeming it unmentionable and heralding it as an ultimate good?

* Please note, the content of this message in Proverbs 5 may be inappropriate for younger children. *

Order of Worship

Call To Worship: from Psalm 95
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 2:18-25
New Testament Reading: Matthew 5:27-30
Sermon Title: Wisdom is for Free Sex
Central Text: Proverbs 5:1-23
Benediction: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Post-Service Text: Revelation 19:6-8

07.15.22 Sermon Slides


Mad Men - Why Deny

Eternal Sunshine - Okay

Readings & Scripture

Pre-Service Text: Proverbs 5:1-2
1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.

Call To Worship: from Psalm 95
LEADER: 1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

ALL: 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

LEADER: 3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

ALL: 7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 2:18-25
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 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. 20 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. 21 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. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 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.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

New Testament Reading: Matthew 5:27-30
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Central Text: Proverbs 5:1-23

Prov. 5:1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.

7 And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
8 Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.”

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
21 For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD,
and he ponders all his paths.
22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
23 He dies for lack of discipline,
and because of his great folly he is led astray.

Benediction: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Post-Service Text: Revelation 19:6-8
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Related Scriptures

  • Genesis 2:18-25
  • 2 Samuel 11:1-27
  • Song of Solomon 4:9-15
  • Isaiah 54:1-8, 62:1-5
  • Matthew 5:27-30
  • 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; 7:1-5
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
  • 1 Peter 2:11-12
  • Hebrews 13:4
  • Revelation 19:6-9

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. What or who was your primary source on education about sex when you were younger? How do you now think about what you’d been told then? Was it helpful or not?
  2. The Center for Disease Control documents how marriages are more likely to remain intact than those which opt for cohabitation. Before you read the study (link on our sermon resource page), why do you think the results reveal that?
  3. Why can a relationship of trust and commitment--a covenant--be more conducive to a satisfying sexual relationship than one in which attraction is the primary driver--or one in which the relationship exists on something like a trial basis?
  4. If you’re single, how do these words about sexual fidelity in marriage help you think about singleness? (How does the study by Barry Danylak on singleness--accessible on this week’s sermon page--shape or reshape your thinking about it?)
  5. How and why does the Gospel factor into your thinking about both adopting the vision for sexual intimacy sketched here in the passage, and also when you might’ve detoured from that vision? What are the implications of God describing Himself as a Husband out to reclaim His wayward bride? Of Jesus dying to make His bride a people who were estranged from Him?


  • ...with my body I thee worship. . . . from the wedding liturgy in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer
  • It is a glorious thing to feel for a moment or two that the whole meaning of the universe is summed up in one woman — glorious so long as other duties and pleasures keep tearing you away from her. But clear the decks and so arrange your life (it is sometimes feasible) that you will have nothing to do but contemplate her, and what happens? Of course this law has been discovered before, but it will stand re-discovery. It may be stated as follows: every preference of a small good to a great, or partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice is made. - C.S. Lewis
  • It is a truism that humanity is deficient in humanity but who would dispute it? In the privacy of our thoughts does not any one of us feel the difference between our best impulses and our actual behavior? Marilynne Robinson
  • Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.  St. Augustine, Confessions
  • Contrary to Mrs. Grundy, sex is not a sin. Contrary to Hugh Hefner, it’s not salvation either. Like nitroglycerin, it can be used to blow up bridges or heal hearts.  Frederick Buechner  
  • The day of Jesus’s return will be a wedding feast—and Christians are invited to it not as guests, but as a bride. None of us will have to sneak into heaven through the back door—we’ll be walking up the aisle….If you want to understand how committed Jesus is to the church, here’s your answer. He doesn’t just create it and let it be. He marries it. . . . Church is not his hobby; it is his marriage. Sam Allberry
  • Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
    But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
    Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
    Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
    Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
    Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
    John Donne


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