‘God’s design for sexuality’ best learned in church, not TikTok, couple teach

Sexuality is a topic that has become “more and more neglected,” Nick said. Talking about it can be awkward, and in a church it can carry “a condemning tone.” But what’s needed, Nick said, is a God-focused “Kingdom mindset.”

“If you have a boyfriend that wants to have sex (but are) scared to say no and just break up, what do you do?”

The teen’s question, submitted anonymously via an app, was read to 100-plus of her peers and their parents.

“You need to be focused on God’s plan for your sexuality,” her pastor, Nick Moore, replied. The boyfriend “doesn’t sound like the kind of person who is pursuing that same design.”

“Eventually he will break you down,” Moore’s wife Kyndra added, commending the teen for “trying to do what is right.” Agree with God in prayer “that sex is for marriage,” she counseled, “(and that) ‘I believe you have a man for me who will love me and cherish me and take care of me.’”

The Moores led a Wednesday evening session on “God’s design for sexuality” — and Satan’s “war on sex” in his hatred of God — at First Baptist Church Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where Nick is the lead pastor.

Sexuality is a topic that has become “more and more neglected,” Nick said. Talking about it can be awkward, and in a church it can carry “a condemning tone.”

But what’s needed, Nick said, is a God-focused “Kingdom mindset.”

A ‘spiritual’ reality

“If there’s any place you should be learning and growing in your knowledge of what this topic is about, it should be in the church,” Nick said. “What we’re dealing with is not just a biological reality. We’re dealing with something that is deeply spiritual. … It’s part of who you were created to be … something that goes to the core of our being.”

God’s design for the “one-flesh union of marriage” began with Adam and Eve, Nick noted in the mid-February session, and is evident throughout Scripture in such passages as 1 Corinthians 6 stating that “the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. … Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body … that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? … So glorify God with your body.”

“There is no such thing as casual sex,” Nick stated, noting that the one-flesh union of a husband and wife reflects Christ’s union with the church, which the apostle Paul described by writing, “This mystery is profound” in Ephesians 5 in the New Testament.

One teen posed a question on the app: “If we’re sexual beings and were made to be that way in God’s image, does that mean God and Jesus are also sexual?”

‘Oneness’ of the Trinity

“God created sex,” Kyndra volunteered, “so that humans can work toward experiencing the oneness … in our marriages that is modeled in the Trinity between the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, that nothing they do is apart from each other.

“Everything Jesus does is for the glory of the Father. Everything the Father does is for the honor of the Son. Everything the Spirit does is to point you to both,” Kyndra said. “Sex is part of getting to that oneness. I don’t know if that means God is sexual, but he created sex as a reflection of that oneness.”

And the bond of marriage, Nick said, is the framework for God’s childbearing instruction to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply,” as well as providing for the physical and moral protection of each family member and for pleasure between a husband and wife, which is celebrated in the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon.

‘Not hearing the truth’

Sex is “a good gift” that “God has given to his children,” Kyndra said, “but you guys are being lied to and you’re being stolen from because you’re hearing all the lies about it and you’re not hearing the truth.

“I would venture to say that most of what you think about sex is a lie,” she continued, “because where are you getting it from? You’re getting it from your friends who know nothing about sex. You’re getting it from TikTok … from Snapchat … from Instagram … from pornography.

“Guess who’s behind all of that? Not the God of wisdom,” Kyndra said. God’s design for marriage “brings life and it brings joy. It doesn’t bring STDs and abortion and broken marriages.”

From “the earliest pages of Genesis” continuing throughout the Bible, Nick noted, “Satan and his demons (have been) making war against God’s design” because the one-flesh union is “such a beautiful picture” of God’s redemptive purposes.

Satan’s hatred is manifested by stirring people into “pornea,” which Nick explained as the New Testament Greek word for both fornication prior to marriage and adultery after marriage, and into rape, incest, homosexuality, prostitution and polygamy.

Repudiating God’s design

Pornea before or outside of marriage, or even sexual sin that stops short of intercourse, is “a repudiation of (God’s) design,” Nick stated.

“If you are a man or woman created in the image of God, you are destined for either marriage, which is the general rule, or celibacy, which is an exception to the rule,” he said. “Either of those things pornea breaks. You’re breaking the vow of your future marriage or you’re breaking the life of celibacy that God has called you to.”

If, for example, “you had a friend who you thought was a Christian, was baptized, maybe a member of the church, and all of a sudden that friend started saying something like, ‘Jesus Christ doesn’t really save you. Jesus Christ isn’t really God. Jesus Christ really can’t forgive you of your sins,’ you would be worried about that person on a spiritual level,” Nick said, “because that person is saying something that is not true about God and about the gospel.”

By engaging in pornea outside of God’s design for marriage, “we are doing the same thing,” Nick said. “We’re saying something that’s not true about God and not true about the gospel — only louder because we’re using our bodies to do it. We are blaspheming God’s truth through our actions.”

‘Saturated by porn’

Asked via the app about pornography, Nick described it as “the same kind of sin as fornication and adultery.”

Today’s culture, he said, is “saturated by porn,” distorting “our view of women, our view of men, what relationships should look like, how we should behave.” Many teens’ first encounters with sex, he lamented, come through pornography “objectifying people” not just in sexual intercourse but violence such as choking and other abnormal forms of sexuality.

“Is masturbation a sin?” another teen asked via the app.

“Does it make you feel ashamed?” Kyndra asked. “You know in your heart that something is wrong with that … because that act and that feeling were made for somebody else. You’re stealing from your future spouse what was made to enjoy in the context of marriage.”

Self-gratification is contrary to the concern God expressed in creating the world that, “It is not good for man to be alone,” Nick responded. Lust is a universal temptation but it needn’t turn toward sexual immorality when a teen is diligently asking, “What do I need to be doing to minimize my temptation to lust?”

‘Not too late’

The gospel, Nick stated, is “the answer to our sex issue” — “the good news that Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth and lived a perfect life, never sinning, being tempted in every way that we are. … He died a sacrificial death on the cross for all mankind that all of our sins can be paid for … not only paid for in terms of guilt, but we would be set free from (sin’s) slavery and delivered to newness of life.”

“Some of you,” Kyndra said, “have already started down the path” of sexual immorality and shame, yet “it’s not too late. … That’s the beauty of following Jesus, that you don’t have to stay where you’re at.” God has “good plans for you, and they’re within his design and in (his) season.”

Willpower alone will not deter sexual sin, Nick said, underscoring the importance of engaging one’s faith by “putting protective measures in place.”

“If you are a 16- to 19-year-old young man in a car alone or in a basement alone or in any context where you are unsupervised with a young lady, there is no sermon series … no Bible study … no memory verse … that is going to keep nature from taking its course. The battle was lost when you put yourself in that situation.”

Nurture a “countercultural” mindset, Nick advised, by giving thought and prayer to such questions as, “What am I watching? What kind of situations am I putting myself in? What are the ways that I’m thinking about the opposite gender that are not in line with God’s Word, that are leading me in a path of lust? And how do I guard against those things?”

In seeking “a new heart and a new mind” for God’s design for sexuality, Nick said, “You can be united with Christ. … You (can) be given his righteousness before God, and He will begin to cleanse you from the inside out.”

Nick and Kyndra were International Mission Board missionaries in Zimbabwe from 2015 to 2021 with their seven children (three boys and four girls, now ages from 9 to 18).

‘Increasingly burdened’

The couple recounted via email their motivation for addressing sexuality.

Since returning from Africa, Nick said he has been “increasingly burdened by the state of marriage and family in the U.S. Marriage rates are slowing down and delaying. Birth rates within marriage are plummeting,” The statistics are little different among professed Christians, he noted.

“The church must present a counterculture particularly in these areas if we hope to be salt and light along with our gospel preaching,” Nick said.

We have four, almost five teenagers and I am working in the public high school,” Kyndra said, “so the challenges our teenagers face in 2024 have fallen right in my lap.” Social media is having a “profound impact on the way they view the world, themselves, others, work ethic, emotions, money and specifically sex. Our kids are being indoctrinated by the lies that surround them and they do not have the discernment yet to know truth from error.

“It seems the light is cowering to the darkness, staying quiet on issues where Scripture speaks boldly,” Kyndra said. “Sex is in their faces every day, and they are learning about it everywhere except the places where they need to be learning about it — the home and the church.

“The only way to set these things straight is to confront them head on, talking honestly, openly and unashamedly” to counter “the lies of Satan that seek to destroy them,” Kyndra said. “If we do not speak out clearly …. they may never have a chance to repent and turn to our King who has wisdom and life to offer.”


Get The Scroll in your inbox!

Leave a Reply