Epiphany 2 (2015)
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
January 18, 2015
Central Passage
John 2:1-11

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Here is a hard topic: sexuality and marriage. But because the Lord has brought up the subject today He also wills that we should consider marriage and sexuality. Moreover, it is only a hard topic because we have let the world teach us about marriage and sexuality and have not stood firm on the word of God concerning it. It is also a hard topic, difficult to navigate and master because we are so perverse in our sexuality and so bad at marriage. So we always feel condemned in both, unclean and godless. Even when we are at our best we know that it is only for a short time and that soon we will be at our worst.

It is also difficult because it is the one topic we cannot hide from, though we do our best. We can’t hide from it because it is everywhere and involves every living soul on earth, even the celibate and unmarried. They, too, are affected by sexuality and marriage. So what can we say about it in these few minutes that will help us navigate the ways of life and avoid the ways of death? In truth, we can really say no more about that what has been said in God’s word about it. What is perhaps more fruitful is to discover ourselves, that is to let the Lord open our eyes so that we see ourselves in relation to His word. Then we will know the good from the bad and be able choose the good and avoid the evil. Or at least we will know what to pray for.

Marriage is instated by God and so belongs to Him. Therefore it is holy to the Lord. Even when an unbeliever is married their marriage remains holy to the Lord. An unbeliever can no more defile marriage than he can defile holy Baptism by his unbelief. And just as the Lord God will defend His blessed sacrament from all lies and misuse and vindicate His holy Name, and doesn’t need us to defend it, so He will defend marriage from all lies and perversion and vindicate His creation and doesn’t need us to do it. However, that does not free us from giving a right confession about marriage and sexuality. Ours is not to defend but to confess. Ours is not to wage war but to stand firm knowing that we are as sheep led to the slaughter. But that’s okay with us because we know the One in whom we hope and He will raise us from the slaughter and stand us on our own two feet.

God made woman, drawing her out of the side of man, so that man would not be alone. For he is in the image of God and God is not alone but is Himself Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So man is not alone but has a helper fit for him, which is woman. And this man and woman, like God Himself in whose image they are made, create life. This is the purpose of marriage. But it might be said, so too do animals create life. Yes, but they are not in the image of God so the life they create is not the image of God but the image of beasts. Therefore the life they create is not of the same value as the life of man. The world says otherwise. The world tries to convince us that animals are just as valuable as humans, perhaps even more so. Nature is so often described as anything except humanity so that when people say “in nature” they exclusively don’t mean “in humanity”. But this is twisted. For man is the pinnacle of God’s creation, what we call nature.

God brought this woman made from man to the man that they would be one flesh and be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Notice that there is no emotion here. This is descriptive of the way it is. Although many things in creation elicit and emotional response – like sunsets and puppy dogs and majestic mountain tops – nothing is created to serve our emotions. Our emotions, one might say, serve creation. So that when we see a person in need we feel for them and have compassion. Without the emotion of compassion we would care for nothing. But nothing is created for compassion but rather compassion for all things.

So with the emotion we call love, which is really better called strong desire. Love is truly a duty not an emotion but we have let the word be high jacked. Men have a strong desire for women. In Paradise this was good because the man would desire the woman God gave him. The desire for her would cause the man to cleave to his wife and become one flesh. But after the fall into sin and shame our desire became king and ruled over us so that what once would have satisfied us in having a wife no longer satisfies and we give way to lust, which is the perversion of desire and leads to sexual immorality.

Sexual immorality, simply put, is the perverted desire to find satisfaction in that which God did not give for our satisfaction. The categories of straight or gay or any of the other nearly twenty categories given to sexual orientation are made up labels slapped on the core truth of sexual perversion. So that now men let desire reign and think to find satisfaction with other men or with many women or other ways not fit to be mentioned.

Women, too, are perverted, but in a different way. For a woman the curse was that her desire would be for her husband, as it is read in English. But the gist is that woman will want to ruler her husband. If we don’t see this in women’s lib and feminism then we are blind, deaf, and dumb. Now of course it would be remise if it was not quickly pointed out that men and women are equally human and so equals before God. But then so to are we equal to Christ in our humanity though He is our Lord and Master. He is a man and we are men; we are equal in that respect. But we are not the same nor shall we be nor can we be. For He is also the Son of God and holds the place of King and Lord over all. So a man and a woman are equal in humanity but they are not the same nor shall they be nor can they be. For man is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the Church.

It is our perverted desire that causes sexual immorality. And none of us are immune. Even those of us who have no husband or wife, which in itself is not a bad thing at all. The Scriptures, even Christ our Lord praises what He calls celibacy. And that is truly what being without a husband or wife is: celibacy. And it is the natural order of things. For before the Lord brought Eve to Adam, Adam was celibate. It was the Lord who gave Adam his wife so that celibacy was not for Adam. And it was the Lord that brought Eve to her husband so that celibacy was not for Eve. But without the Lord’s doing both would have remained celibate. Not by choice but by design. Which in Paradise would have mirrored their choice but now design is attacked by choice and choice, led by lust and the king called Desire, runs over and murders design just as Cain murdered Abel, whom he was to keep as the older brother.

But all of this, as true and godly as it is, is a picture of Christ and His Church. For the Man of Heaven left His Father with His Father’s blessing to find and cleave to His Bride so that the two became one flesh in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. And being raised from the dead the Lord Jesus washes us in the cleansing bath of His blood so that we would be presented to Him as a spotless Bride, holy and undefiled. This is necessary because our desire has turned to lust and we have abandoned our Husband and sought the comfort of many false gods and idols, even the gods of emotion and desire.

And, as the Church has preached for 2,000 years, the Bride of Christ begets the children of God, living beings. Not mortal but begotten by the Spirit, born again through water by the Spirit of God, having the Breath of God breathed into us we become those from whom the Spirit shall not depart but with whom the Spirit shall remain so that we would live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

+ In Nomine Iesu +