The BIG IDEA:
Followers of Jesus live differently in how they see themselves and their sexuality.
We see sex as something we experience just to make us happy. We don’t realize that God wants our sexual views and choices to come from our connection to Jesus.
Because we’re connected to Jesus and his Spirit lives in us, we run from sexual immorality and instead see our sexuality as a way to put God on display in our lives.
Sometimes standing with God on a certain issue can make it feel like you’re the only one. It can feel like you’re in a stadium watching the big game but everyone around you is cheering for the other team.
- What I want the group to know and understand: There is a contrast between our world’s view of sex and God’s heart for sex. God’s heart is for our choices about sex to flow from our relationship with him.
- What I want the group to experience: Joy and excitement in the beauty of God’s heart for our personhood and choices about sex.
- How I want the group to respond: With confidence that moves us to run away from sexual immorality and embrace God’s vision for sex. This means either singleness that displays the passionate sacrifice of Jesus, or marriage between a man and woman that displays the unconditional love and lifelong faithfulness of Jesus.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
Our culture says it’s OK to have sex with anyone at any time in any way. Sex is a way to make us happy. It may be the biggest god in our world today. It’s one of the most common ways we define ourselves. In contrast, God calls us to define ourselves by what he says is true of us as people. Once we do that, we express our sexuality in a way that displays his beauty, love, and faithfulness. It’s critical that we don’t let our culture be the dominant voice in shaping our view of ourselves and our sexuality. We need to see that God wants to shape us by our relationship to him in a way that changes everything about us, including our sexuality.
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leader like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
Imagine that you’re at a college football game. The stadium is a sea of blue (the color of the home team). However, you’re wearing red because you’re cheering with the few who are cheering for the visiting team. How do you think you might feel, act, and cheer for your team differently because of being in the minority?
Allow the group to discuss. Draw out the challenge of being true to yourself when others are on a different path. Explain that it’s an even greater challenge to live this way when your beliefs and actions about sexual purity are different than those around you.
1. Read 1 Corinthians 6:15-17. How should we see ourselves if we’re followers of Christ?
We should see ourselves as members of Christ, as a part of his body.
2. What question does Paul (the writer of 1 Corinthians) ask in verse 15?
– What’s the problem with taking a member of Christ’s body and joining it sexually to a prostitute or anyone you’re not married to (verses 16-17)?
He asks if it would be right to take a member of Christ’s body and join it sexually to a prostitute. The answer is “no!” It’s a problem because joining a member of Christ’s body sexually to a prostitute creates a union that’s not appropriate. It’s outside the bounds of a committed marriage relationship.
3. Verse 17 says followers of Christ have joined themselves to the Lord. This means our greatest satisfaction comes from our connection to Jesus, not from sexual connection. How does this affect our thinking and choices about sex?
Allow the group to discuss. Connection to Jesus gives us a satisfaction unlike anything else, even sex. Since our most important relationship is with him and since he satisfies us like nothing else can, this moves us to line up our thinking and choices about sexuality (and everything else) with what he says is true.
4. Read 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. How should we handle it when we have the chance to be sexually immoral?
–What are some good ways to respond when faced with specific temptations like pornography or being sexually active with a boyfriend or girlfriend?
We should run fast in the opposite direction! “Sexual immorality” in the Bible refers to any kind of sexual intimacy outside marriage between a husband and wife. This includes pre-marital sex, sex with someone other than your husband or wife, and sex with someone of the same gender. Based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:27-28, it also includes impure sexual thoughts fueled by pornography and other means.
(the below paragraph is in the student notes. Share the RUN strategy with your students)
When specific temptations arise (like viewing porn or being sexually active with a boyfriend or girlfriend), remember to RUN!
R – Realize that Jesus is better. Being connected to Jesus is way more satisfying than any pleasure that could come from these things. Sinning will break your fellowship with God and make it harder to connect with Him.
U – Understand that God has given you the power to resist the temptation. The power of God’s Spirit and the support of others can help us make right choices sexually. Only God’s Spirit can give the power we need to live in a way that honors him. And it’s good to involve friends who share your faith in Christ as you seek to flee these temptations. Text or call to let them know what’s going on and ask for prayer and encouragement.
N – Nip temptation before it turns into sin. Examples include turning off your phone when you’re tempted to use it to view porn, or choosing not to be alone if you’re facing temptation with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
5. Verse 18 says that one reason to live differently in our sexuality is that sexual immorality is sin against our own bodies. How does knowing that sexual immorality hurts you rather than helps you motivate you to live differently?
Although our culture says any kind of sex is the best thing ever, God says we’re actually hurting ourselves when we’re sexually immoral. We’re hurting ourselves because we’re going against God’s plan for us to flourish. We’re missing out on his best. We’re also hurting ourselves because we’re missing out on the truest and best intimacy Jesus wants us to have through our connection with him (see verse 17). No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I want to hurt myself today.” When we see sexual immorality as hurtful to ourselves, it moves us to avoid those hurtful choices and pursue sexual choices that benefit us instead — choices that line up with God’s Word.
6. Verse 19 says another reason to live differently in our sexuality is that we belong to God. Explain what you think this means in your own words.
Allow the group to discuss. Verse 19 says we should flee sexual immorality because we belong to God and his Spirit lives in us as followers of Christ. The most important person in the universe — God himself — lives within us as our guest of honor. So we should treat our bodies with the highest honor and respect and make sexual choices that honor him. When we choose to take our bodies into a sinful sexual situation, we’re taking God there too since he lives in us.
7. Verse 20 says another reason to live differently in our sexuality is that we want to honor (i.e., show off) God in our bodies with the sexual choices we make. What difference does it make in our sexual choices that we’ve been bought with a price, the price of Jesus giving his life for us?
This verse says we should show off God in our bodies with the sexual choices we make because we’ve been bought with a price. God brought us into a relationship with himself at the cost of his own Son’s death. Since he gave his life for us, we should draw on his power to give our lives to him in our sexual choices.
Since God has bought us at the price of his Son’s death for us, and we’ve committed our lives to him, it’s like we’ve sold ourselves to him. If we live in light of this, we realize we don’t have the right to make our own decisions about what we do sexually anymore. We’ve given those rights to God to provide leadership in this and every other area of our lives.
8. In contrast to what God says, how does our culture encourage us to see sexuality?
Allow the group to discuss. Our culture encourages us to see sexuality as something at the core of who we are. Our culture also encourages us to do whatever we think will make us happy sexually in the moment.
9. What difference does it make for our identity to be in our relationship with God instead of in our sexuality (i.e., whether we’re married, single, gay, straight, or dating someone)?
Allow the group to discuss. If our identity is in our relationship with God, it serves as a foundation for every other part of our lives. It becomes the basis for how we think, believe, and act sexually. It moves us to want to please and honor him sexually and in every other area instead of living for ourselves. Finding our identity in our sexuality puts the emphasis in the wrong place. That’s because God made us to get our identity from him. Finding our identity in sexuality sets us up for disappointment since God didn’t create sexuality to give us ultimate satisfaction.
10. What are the hardest things about living for God in your sexuality?
Allow the group to discuss. Responses might include the disapproval or rejection of friends and family that don’t share your point of view, the loneliness that comes from others that aren’t choosing this path, and the pressure to give in to the way the people around you are choosing to believe and live. For some, the greatest challenge may be giving up a pleasurable but destructive habit like viewing pornography or sleeping with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
11. What from this study motivates you to live differently in your choices about sex and find your identity in God?
– How could the Holy Spirit help you live differently in this area?
Allow the group to discuss. Answers might include wanting to avoid hurting yourself, desiring to glorify God in your body, and knowing that you’ve been bought with a price. The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to live differently by giving us the same power within us that raised Christ from the dead (see Romans 8:11). This power is greater than any temptation or struggle we face.
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.