Category: Joel

Sex Is From God

“A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.” ~Genesis 2:24

The first explicit mention of sex in the Scriptures is in the second chapter of Genesis. This is the same line Paul quotes in Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 6 when he’s talking about marriage. Man and woman, husband and wife, are to be united to become one flesh.

You know, when we read this, it looks like it’s only talking about a physical, sexual union between two bodies. But it actually means a whole lot more. When Genesis 6:12 says all flesh had corrupted their ways, it doesn’t just mean bodies. It means all people. When Joel 2:28 says God will pour out his Spirit on all flesh, it means people, not just bodies. It’s like if I said I was going to “count noses” in the worship center on Sunday or do a “head count.” I’d say, “I’ve got 985!” (preacher count) and you would know I’m not talking 985 noses or 985 heads; I’m telling you how many people are in the room (more like 700). It’s very common to use a part of a thing to represent the whole thing.

So marriage is leaving your father and mother and uniting with another so profoundly that the man and woman actually become one new single person. We’ve talked about the word “united,” or “cleave” in the older translations. It means to make a covenant or a binding contract. Every aspect of the two lives are sworn together. The man and woman merge into a single, legal, social, economic, emotional, physical, spiritual unit. They give up a lot of their rights and their independence. They give themselves completely to one another.

To call the marriage “one flesh” means that sex is a sign of that personal and legal union and the means to accomplish it.┬áIt’s the God-created way to help you give your entire self to your spouse. Sex is God’s ordained way for two people to say to each other, “I belong completely and permanently and exclusively to you.”

Now, we’re not done with this. Today’s post just really sets us up for tomorrow and Thursday.



Everybody a Preacher

Day of Pentecost. Acts 2. There’s this mob in the street demanding an explanation for what’s happening in the upper room with the noise and the tongues of fire and the different languages. And Peter starts preaching from a passage in Joel:

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.

~Acts 2:17-18 (from Joel 2:28-29)

Through most of our history with God, Holy Spirit empowered talk (preaching) has been limited to a few select prophets. But when Christ comes, when the day of the Messiah and the coming of the Kingdom of God arrives, God’s Holy Spirit will be poured out on everybody! Young and old, men and women, rich and poor, educated and not, people who’ve never stood up to speak before, people who’ve never even looked at a microphone before, all God’s people will speak up and speak out. Everyone will preach the truth. Everybody’s a preacher! We are living right now today in the age of this promised free speech.

That’s why Jesus’ people are always big talkers. Have you noticed? We’ll talk to anybody. We love to talk. And we won’t shut up. No matter what our neighbors say. No matter what the government says.

Jesus was a preacher. And he sends his disciples out to preach. Faith comes from what is heard. That’s why when we get together on Sundays we mostly talk and shout and sing and read and speak. The most difficult part of my Sunday morning is standing before the crowd at Legacy at 10:00 and trying to get everybody quiet. We love to talk. And we won’t shut up. About Jesus. Because we’re all preachers, filled with the Spirit of Christ, re-created to proclaim the Gospel of salvation in all its eternal glory.

One of my favorite parables of Jesus, the preacher, is about the sower who went forth to sow. What’s the Kingdom of God like? A farmer goes out and just starts slinging seed. Hey, it’s the Kingdom of God! And he’s just throwing seed everywhere. Wasting lots of good seed with a reckless abandon.

That sounds like a really lousy way to grow a crop of wheat. But Jesus says it’s the best way to spread the good news. May our God bless us as we refuse to shut up.