(Much of this discussion was taken from the Leaders Guide for the study. Discussion commentary was added throughout.)
Jonah made plans with his girlfriend over the weekend and sent out cryptic text messages to his friends, if his parents contacted them to let him know. His friends were confused and didn't know what was going on until Monday morning at school. Trevor asked what Jonah did over the weekend...
"We did it," Jonah said with a grin. "Ruthie and I had sex last night."
Trevor tried not to look surprised. Both he and Jonah had heard a talk at church a couple of years ago that motivated them to make a decision not to have sex until they got married. Trevor wondered "What happened?"
"We love each other," Jonah said. "We finally woke up and figured out that there was no reason to hold back any longer. What could be wrong about something so natural?"
This was the opening story from our study last night. This was a topic I thought we wouldn't get much conversation about, but the youth in attendance talked about it with more candid conversation than the past topics. Sex is everywhere around us, whether we acknowledge the role it plays in our life or not, we cannot hide from it.
The first question on the topic was related to the "What could be so wrong about something so natural?" There was wide ranging thoughts on this aspect of the topic and led us into our next question, "What are the pros and cons of having sex outside of marriage?" This brought up a lot of comments both on the pros and cons side of the spectrum. From the emotional damage of having sex too young, to the sexually compatible idea of knowing what to expect before marriage.
A couple of points we talked about regarding sex:
1) People are entering puberty earlier. Becoming sexually mature earlier means people will want to become sexually involved with other earlier.
2) People are getting married later. The culture is waiting longer to marry, and cohabitation without marriage is more common.
3) Our culture is sex-saturated. Past generations can't relate to the accessibility of sexual messages that today's teenagers have.
We don't bring these up as a way of saying there isn't hope of abstaining from sex, but as a means of acknowledging the challenge.
Here are a few points we made during the night:
Sex Is God's Idea
Don't let anyone tell you sex is wrong. The truth is that sex is God's idea and it is good.
While there is no verse that specifically says, "Don't have sex before marriage," Paul consistently speaks against all forms of "sexual immorality" (see Ephesians 5:3, 1 Corinthians 6:18, and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). New Testament scholars typically affirm that this term "sexual immorality" includes sex outside of marriage.
The main way marriage is spoken of in scripture is a covenant relationship. A covenant is more than a promise; it's a deep commitment to be kept until one or both parties die. In fact, both the Old and New Testaments often use marriage as a metaphor to describe our relationship with God. In this covenant, God promises to be faithful to his vows forever.
Matthew 19:4-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” 5 And he said,“‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’
What do you notice about Jesus' words on marriage?
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
What does it mean that your body is a "temple of the Holy Spirit?"
If my body is God's temple, how far is too far?
We ended the discussion with the question: "What happens if I mess up, or if I messed up (even a lot) already? Our hope is that youth will feel like they have a place to come to in the church to feel loved and lifted up, even when/if they make a mistake. God's love doesn't leave them. God's forgiveness and grace is beyond anything we can imagine.
What is this?
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