Studies in John’s Epistles – 1 John 4

After telling us how we can be certain that we are in the faith, John proceeds to give us a “litmus-test” to be able to judge whether others are in the faith. This test harkens back to what he has told us about Christ in the opening verses of this epistle, and to his warning concerning the Antichrists which are arising in our midst. He has already warned us of those who claim that Christ only “appeared” to be human, and now he nails it down with a sure-fire “litmus-test”. Call this a “spiritual pathology-report”. He now equates believing that Christ only “appeared” to be human with the spirit of the Antichrist (the Docetic view).

Testing the Spirits
4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (1 John 4)

Test the Spirits
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)

Oh my word, what a timely text! With the previous chapter ending by saying that we can know that Jesus lives in us because of the (Holy) Spirit He gave us, now John takes another step forward in our experience. How can we tell who is right and who is not?

Simple! Test the spirits!

There are many Christians, who, while they will give mental ascent to Jesus’ humanity, can’t wrap their heads around the “nitty-gritty” of His humanity because they believe that this somehow “demeans” His deity. We see this subtly expressed in a phrase in the popular Christmas Carol, “Away In A Manger“; “But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.” If Jesus didn’t cry, He wasn’t human.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a three-part series of articles entitled; “How Human Was Jesus?” approaching His humanity from a real-world perspective. I wanted to ground my own perspective in facts, not some “sanitized-version“. Part 1 of that series is included in today’s study packet, and for those joining us online, I invite you to read the whole series.

Well, it is actually simple, but at first it sounded a little creepy to me. On closer examination, however, it isn’t creepy and it isn’t hard. Does a teacher or commentator acknowledge that Jesus Christ came in the flesh? Do they acknowledge Him at all? If they do, they are from God; if they don’t they are not from God. If they don’t acknowledge Jesus, they aren’t from God, they are Antichrist. If this is so, would we consider them a reliable source of insight? Well, you can decide that one…

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. (1 John 4:4-6)

John finishes this thought in these verses, making his point even clearer. We have overcome the spirit of Antichrist, because the Holy Spirit within us is greater by far than the spirit of Antichrist could ever dream of being. Interesting point to bear in mind when reading commentaries, blogs and books! These false teachers speak from the viewpoint of the world, not from the viewpoint of God, and the world will listen to them. Yes, and while the world will listen to the false teacher, the spirit of Antichrist, the world will not generally listen to us, for they simply can’t fathom what we are talking about, so let’s not be surprised by this.

I’ve spoken with many Christians who fear that they might be tricked and led astray, and I always tell them that they will not be tricked and led astray if they have a strong relationship with Christ. That is precisely what John is asserting here. It’s so simple to tell the difference, and when you were little, your mother or father probably told you how to recognize who is credible and who is not, for I’ll bet they told you to “consider the source.” To put it another way, I wouldn’t recommend that we take spiritual advice from an atheist, nor would I suggest that we should take Bible instruction from a non-believer.

See how simple this stuff is?

This is Love
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:7-10)

We are now beginning the central core of this letter, and this core runs from verse 7 to the end of this chapter. It is not only the central core of the letter, but it is also the central core of Christian theology. All of those comparisons at the beginning of the letter, and all of the discussion of evil, Antichrists and the testing of spirits comes back to this theme, for without it, the rest of the theology of our faith is rendered meaningless. In short, what is written in this section is the one thing that gives Christianity its power and authority, and against which the gates of Hell itself cannot, and will not stand.

John is giving us another “litmus-test” which demonstrates the reality of God’s love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. God hasn’t left us to question His love, He has graphically-demonstrated it so that we need not ever wonder whether God loves us. God has demonstrated His love for us by providing the WAY that we can be restored to fellowship with Him. He has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. If you ever doubt whether God loves you, look at the Cross, because it is the most graphic-evidence of God’s love for you. Furthermore, the Cross was no “Plan-B”. It was part of God’s plan for redemption even before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.

The last sentence in this text is the key: God loved us. In fact, he loved us while we were lost, and not loving Him at all. Yet God loved us anyway! He loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us. Yes, you’re right, this has already been pointed out in this letter, but here it is again, as the core of everything else; that is how important it is that we grasp this simple concept!

How could God love us so much in spite of everything? Because God is love! Love is an integral-part of God’s very nature. God cannot NOT love us, because to NOT love us would violate everything God is.

Because of God’s love, demonstrated on the Cross, we are to love one another just as God loved us. Nobody can do this unless God is in that person, which is to say that person is in Christ. Loving one another as God loved us runs counter to every teaching of this world, as it also runs against our natural human inclinations. Therefore, if a person does not love, it is because God is not in him or her.

More Love
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:11-12)

John is continuing his thoughts that we looked at in vv. 7-10, and as I mentioned last time, this is the central core of Christian theology, the part that everything else is built upon. Simply stated, this love core flows like this:
1. God loved us while we were still sinners.

2. God sent His Son to die for our sins.

3. We loved God and responded to the Gospel.

4. God loved our brothers and sisters in Christ.

5. Therefore, so do we.

We see this pattern at work once again in verse 11. God loved us, so we should love each other. Then John, as was his custom, takes one more step. Since no one has ever seen God, and since God loves all of us and we love Him, if we also love each other, God’s love will be complete in us and visibly expressed within His Body, the Church. This is as far as John has gone so far…

At this point, we can infer that there is another step. The other step is implied in John’s mentioning that “no one has seen God.” OK, why did he choose to write that? Think…

No one has seen God, but if we love one another as God loved us, then His love will live amongst us, and through us, all will see it.

During a recent debate about Evolution and Creation, there was an assumption that if we cannot observe some “evidence” that God exists, then we can determine that He does not exist. I’m no scientist, but this seems to be a natural inclination on the part of people who are educated with regard to the Scientific Method. Remember that one from your school days? It was the one about observations, and testing theories with observable evidence?

Back to John. Have you ever thought that it would be nice if you could find the positive “proof” of God’s existence? Yes, something that can be observed and studied?

Are you sitting down?

John just gave it to you! The proof is God’s love at work in our lives and within the Body of Christ. At least it should be! Maybe if we started taking these verses to heart and putting them into our everyday manner of living, like we are commanded by God to do, more people would notice that the greatest “proof” of God, the observable evidence is right there in front of us all: Love for one another as Jesus has loved us, and gave His life for us.

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Consider this question: Do you ever wonder if it is a coincidence that the whole concept of Godly love has been corrupted and demeaned in our culture? After all, doesn’t society use the word “love” to mean just about anything other than Godly love?

God is Love
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:16b-18)

This short text is tricky; we need to be sharp to get the full benefit of it. “God is love.” OK, so far, so good, this part is easy. Then John says, “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them”. For us to live in love is to also live in God, and when we do that, God lives in us because God and His love are inseparable. Here comes the curve: John is building again. Because of the inseparable nature of God and love, living our lives in love will make love complete, and ensure that we will be confident on the day of judgment: This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: OK, this one is really interesting…

John finishes this way: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Did you catch that? If we live in love, we live in God, and God lives in us. This is because love and God cannot be separated. If we live this way, we live like Jesus lived. Jesus did not fear death, why should He? He knew exactly where He was going! When we live in love, we need have no fear of judgment, for that love drives fear of judgment out of our lives.

When a person dies, the next step is judgment. You might believe that we die and immediately go to judgment, or you might believe that we die and sleep until judgment day, but to be honest, it doesn’t matter. Judgment is the next step either way. Just as Jesus knew exactly where He was going, so do we, we are going to be at His side.

So what really happens?
When we go to judgment, there are two sets of books. There is the Book of Life and there is the Books of Deeds. If your name is in the Book of Life, that’s it, you’re in! If not, the other books are consulted, and you are judged by your deeds. You don’t want to be involved in those deeds books! The judgment is not a horrifying ordeal if you are in the Book of Life. Your name is read and that’s it, “Welcome home!” What John is telling us here is that living in love means that our names are in the Book of Life.

Let’s put it another way: We read about this day in Revelation 21:11 ff. If you are in Christ, living in love (they are the same thing) your name is in the Book of Life. That being the case, you are not being put on trial or accused of anything at all, for your sins have been taken away entirely; they are as far from you as the east is from the west. There is no sin to even discuss: Period. That is why John can say here, that perfect love drives out all fear. The love God has always had for you terminated all discussion and your appearance at judgment is a welcoming ceremony, you might say.

We love because He first loved us
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:19-21)

This just about sums it all up, don’t you think? God so loves us that He went to extreme measures in showing it, sending His Son to die for us… because so great was God’s love. (John 3:16)

If God loves us, and we in turn love God, then we must also love our brother or sister. As you can see from these verses, there is no negotiating to be done. In fact, John says that it is a command from God that we love our brother. End of discussion!

In verse 20, John gives us yet another “litmus-test”. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. We cannot claim to love God if we don’t love our brother also. Period!

Well… almost. It may strike some as odd that God has commanded love. It is really a fair question to ask if someone asked it… How can I be commanded to love? I see my brother or sister, and I don’t feel anything for them. As I’ve written before words are funny things; they mean stuff. In English, we only have one word: “Love.” John wrote in Greek. Greek has five words for our “love” and they mean different things. The word that John used here is agapaō which is the word used in the New Testament for God’s love. It is not the word for romantic love. When we are commanded to love one another, this command has nothing whatsoever to do with emotions. Instead, it has everything do with attitude and actions.

To love your brother or sister in Christ means to put their interests ahead of your own. If your brother or sister is in need, we are to take care of their need before we take care of our need. We are to be willing to set aside our cares and hurts to see to the needs of others… just like Jesus did. If we see our brother or sister hurting, we do something about it. Jesus saw us hurting from sin and death, so He did something about it, setting aside His own personal needs…that is, unless you’d claim that He really needed to be tortured and murdered.

This is the attitude that makes the Body of Christ possible. If we were to approach the Body (church) as our little plaything or as our chance to be important, or in the way humans often approach things, then the Body will fight and divide. Hmmmmm, we might think about that one! If we approach it as people who love one another and put others ahead of ourselves, the Body is the most amazing and awesome thing this side of Heaven, as they say.

History is rife with religious-persecution, Jews versus Christians, and Catholics versus Protestants, and yet they have always claimed to love and serve the same God. Muslims and Christians claim to serve the same God of Abraham, and yet Muslims slaughter Christians frequently, and Christians can’t get let off the hook either. Which one really loves God, and which one really loves their religion instead?

So, can we do it? Sure we can! We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. It begins with a commitment to follow Jesus, and it carries on when we are more satisfied in His presence than when we are any place else. Need help or guidance in this? No problem, seek Him, and follow where He leads. You’ll know what to do.

Sola Deo Gloria!

How Human Was Jesus? Part 3

In the previous segments, we have looked at the physical evidence of His humanity, and built a “photo-album” of His early life. Now I want to examine Jesus through the eyes of the Apostle John, who wrote extensively in his gospel and in his epistles about Jesus. John adds a dimension to our beliefs about Jesus’s humanity which few really take to heart.

Does it really matter if we believe that Jesus was truly and fully human? Does it really matter if we believe that Jesus is the Christ?

His divinity…
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

The Word became flesh…
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Seen, heard, touched…
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3)

First warning…
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that Antichrist is coming, so now many Antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. (1 John 2:18-25)

Second warning…
4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. (1 John 4:1-3)

Third warning…
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the Antichrist. (2 John 1:7)

Conclusions…
People have believed many things about Jesus, both when He walked this earth, and since. Many will still say that “He was a great teacher“, or “He was a good man“, or even “He was a great prophet“, but none of these descriptions of Jesus even scratches the surface of who He really was and is.

It is hard to ignore the importance of what we believe about Jesus Christ. John, one of His closest disciples, opened both his gospel and one of his letters with affirmations of His humanity. After he gave us these solid affirmations, John gave us three warnings, warnings, that if we fail to heed them, our eternal destiny is at stake.

Are YOU willing to bet your eternal-destiny on a less-than-Biblical belief about who Jesus was and is? That is what is at stake.

In Christ,
Steve

How Human Was Jesus? Part 2

In my first segment on the humanity of Jesus, I focused on the physical evidences of His humanity. While it may be uncomfortable to some to think of Jesus in this way, if He was less than fully-human, displaying all the physical attributes of His humanity, He could not have been our Redeemer. Because some in His day believed that Jesus only “appeared” to be human, the Apostle John focused in one His humanity, not only in the Gospel of John, but also in 1st and 2nd John.

We only get a few snapshots of His early life in Scripture, as if we are only seeing pages ripped out of the photo-album of His life, but those snapshots paint an incomplete picture of Him. What about the rest of His thirty years before His baptism by John the Baptist? Jesus didn’t simply get born, and voila, He was a man. He experienced life as any child does as he or she grows into adulthood.

As a baby…

Jesus entered our world as every child has since Adam and Eve had their first child. He was born, and His birth was in a filthy, smelly stable. Nothing clean or sanitary about His birth. He was wrapped in whatever rags were available. Scripture calls them “swaddling cloths“. There were no Pampers, He had no “baby-clothes“. He was simply wrapped up with what was available.

We are told that He was circumcised and named on His eight day of life, as was the custom. There had been no “baby-shower“, so He didn’t have some cute outfit for this ceremony. When He was forty days old, His parents took Him to the temple to dedicate Him to the Lord, and offer the sacrifices which were required for His mother’s ceremonial purification. His “baby-album” ended with this snapshot.

Was He a cranky baby when He was cutting teeth? Teething is not a pleasant experience for any baby, and I am sure that He was no exception. He experienced the pains of baby-hood just as every child does.

Did He ever have an ear-infection or runny nose? Only about half of all babies born made it to their thirteenth birthday. Infant mortality was very high.

What were His first words? Was He a “super-baby” speaking in whole sentences almost immediately, or were His first words “Ma-Ma” and “Da-Da“? Babies have been learning to talk since the first one was born, and He was no exception.

Did He crawl before He walked? How many times did He skin His nose or knees learning to walk? Floors back then weren’t well-padded carpet. The very poor had dirt floors in their homes. He didn’t enter our world to live in luxury. He left that behind so that He could experience life with the poorest of us. How old was He before He got His first pair of sandals? Did His parents have trouble keeping clothes on Him? Young children, who have never been taught that their bodies are shameful, will happily run around naked any chance they get.

As a toddler…

The next snapshot we get was when His life was threatened and His parents were forced to flee to Egypt. That was a long, hard journey, which may have taken several weeks to complete. They rode donkeys, and if they had a tent, camped in it. Otherwise, they slept on the ground under the stars. There were no motels along the way, perhaps a rustic inn or two, but nothing we would find appealing.

How many siblings did He have by then? Joseph and Mary didn’t consummate their marriage until after Jesus was born, and probably not until after her purification was complete. Did Mary get pregnant on their wedding-night?

Did they travel to Egypt with both a toddler and a baby? Scripture makes it very clear that Jesus had brothers and sisters. That was a journey unlike any we have ever experienced. They were also traveling to a foreign country. It is one thing to travel by car for hundreds of miles and stay with family and friends or in a hotel, but quite a different story traveling that same distance on foot or on a donkey with one or more young children.

Out of Egypt…

Once the threat was no longer there, God told the family to go back home, except that it wasn’t back to their hometown. They would have to start in a new community – Nazareth. Joseph didn’t have his old carpenter shop to go back to. It wasn’t easy starting all over again. There wasn’t a department store on every corner where they could get everything necessary to set up their new home.

Meanings…

You are probably thinking “Steve, why all the detail?”. Until we deal with the nitty-gritty of His life, we won’t really understand why He was described as “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief“. The nitty-gritty IS what makes Him one of us, fully-human. I grew up poor, but we were rich by comparison.

In the temple…

The next snapshot we find in Scripture is when He was twelve years old. His parents had journied to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. As they traveled back home with their friends and neighbors, Jesus came up missing. His parents asked around if any of their friends and relatives had seen Him, but no one could remember exactly where they saw Him last. They were panic-stricken.

It wasn’t safe to travel alone, which was why they traveled as a group. As a father, and as someone who has been involved with many missing-child searches, I can relate intimately with how they felt. There was only one thing to do, turn back and search until they found Him. That search took three days.

As a foretaste of His roles as our Prophet and Priest, His parents found Him in the temple in Jerusalem discussing Scripture with the religious teachers. They were amazed at His knowledge at such a young age, and they would continue to be amazed throughout His ministry.

Was He Just a rebelous almost-teenager, or was there a connection with God the Father that His parents didn’t understand? “And He said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) Jesus, Emanuel, God with us, was no ordinary child.

His parents didn’t understand, because the mystery of the Incarnation was as huge a mystery to them as it is to us today. “And they did not understand the saying that He spoke to them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:50-51)

As an adolescent…

Even though Jesus was no ordinary child in a spiritual sense, He still went through the trials of puberty. As the Creator of our bodies, He experienced first-hand what it was like to go through everything a young boy experiences. How old was He when His voice started cracking and deepening? Did He go through a precocious puberty, or was He normal for His age? Did He ever have pimples? How old was He when peach-fuzz turned into a real beard? Babies don’t become men overnight, and He was no exception.

Questions…

Have you confronted His full humanity yet, or are you content with the sanitized version of Jesus Christ? If we ignore what it actually took for Jesus to go from being a new-born baby to being a grown man, it is quite easy to see Him as a “super-human“. Turning water into wine, walking on water, feeding thousands of people, healing sick people and even raising the dead are more the marks of a “super-human“, not what we would expect of an ordinary guy, and yet, as a human, a man, He was totally-ordinary. God didn’t come down and merely inhabit a human body. God became human. He was the God-Man, and He often celebrated His humanity by using the title “Son of Man“, not the exalted titles of His deity.

As a teen…

What was the first thing He built in His dad’s shop? Was it as perfect as He was? Did He struggle with learning all the languages of His era? Many Jews of His day were multi-lingual, and even though Hebrew was the national language of the Jews, Greek, Latin and Aramaic were also in common use. The Roman empire had conquered all of the know world, and all of the languages of the various countries in the empire could be heard in the streets, particularly in Jerusalem.

Manhood…

When did Jesus have to become the man of the house? How old was He when His dad died? Joseph is never mentioned in the accounts of His ministry. I am sure that He mourned the loss of His dad as any other young man would. One of His tasks as the oldest son was to make sure His mother was well cared-for, and even as He suffered on the cross, He commissioned John to be His mother’s care-taker. As He bore our sins on the cross, He didn’t neglect His human responsibility. How many other family-members did He lose on His way to the cross? Had He already lost some of His siblings?

What if…

What if we could look at a complete photo-album of His life? What uncomfortable truths would it reveal? How would our perceptions of Jesus of Nazareth be changed? Would we still worship and adore Him, or would the nitty-gritty of His life scare us away? Would we, like His brothers and sisters, think that He had lost His mind when He claimed to be God?

Why?

Why have I tried to build a photo-album of word-pictures of Him? God didn’t see fit to provide us more details, but that doesn’t mean that those details aren’t important. The Apostle John told us the purpose of his gospel; “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31). John ended His gospel with these words; “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) Your redemption, your salvation, and mine too, depends on His full humanity.

Your turn…

Are you ready to kneel beside that manger and adore the Great I AM? Would you kiss the face of God? Would you cry with the Word who became flesh as His tender foreskin was cut and removed? Would you crawl around on that dirty floor with the Prince of Peace? Would you hold out your hands as the Everlasting Father took His first few steps? Would you play hide-and-seek with the Mighty God on the dusty streets of Nazareth? Would you listen intently as the Wonderful Counselor spoke His first few words? Would you marvel with the teachers as Emmanuel, God with us, spoke wisdom way beyond His years? Would you admire that beautiful wooden sculpture which He made with His own hands?

Are you ready to step down to the edge of the river to be baptized with the Lamb of God? Would you gladly introduce your friends to Jesus? Would you forsake everything to follow Him? Would you dine at the table of a tax collector with Him? Would you have had a heart-attack when you saw Him walking on water? Would you weep with Him in front of the grave of a close friend? Would you throw your garment down before Him as He rode that donkey into Jerusalem? Would you vie with John for the place closest to Him at that Last Supper? Would you be embarrassed as He laid aside His garments to wash your feet, taking on the role of a servant? Would you weep at the foot of the Cross as the Messiah bore your sin and shame, naked, battered and beaten? Would you be grief-stricken with Mary Magdalene when you found that His tomb was empty? Could you contain your joy when you received word that your Lord was alive, risen from the dead? Would you run to the empty tomb with Peter and John? Would you offer Him that bread and fish? Those who knew Him best were never the same. They had been with Jesus.

Do you want the healing of spirit and soul that only comes from the Great Physician? Come to Jesus. Come to the God-Man. Embrace and adore the Son of Man. He is the KING of kings and the LORD of lords, and our own flesh and blood is at the Father’s right hand, forever. You will never be the same.

Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels.
Oh come let us adore Him,
Oh come let us adore Him,
Oh come let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord!

In Christ,
Steve

How Human Was Jesus?

Throughout the history of the church, there has been a faction in the church that believed that Jesus only appeared to be a human – a man, and the question of Jesus’s humanity has serious implications for both our life and for our salvation.

This question was so important to the Apostle John, that after he proclaimed Christ’s full deity, he also proclaimed His full humanity. John also devoted large sections of 1st John to Christ’s humanity, and then reiterated it in 2nd John. Let’s start by looking at these pivotal Scriptures:

The Eternal Word

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

The Word Becomes Flesh

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

What Was Heard, Seen, and Touched

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:1-4)

Could He have been “the King of the Jews” if He hadn’t been fully-human? So, just how human WAS Jesus?

Christ’s Birth Announced to Mary

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38)

His Conception…

The mystery of the Incarnation, God, in Jesus Christ, taking on human flesh, begins with His miraculous conception. If order for Him to be fully and truly human, He had to have a human parent, who was His mother. In order for Him to be human, yet sinless, required that His Father be divine. We aren’t told anything about the mechanism of His conception, except that it was by the Holy Spirit. Did God create one perfect sperm with human genetics, but without a human source? If so, did God create that sperm to replicate His earthly “father’s” genetics, so that He looked just like “one of the boys“? During His earthly ministry, those around Him had no problem matching Him up with His siblings. What we do know is that His mother Mary was a virgin, and that He had no human biological father. Those are questions which will have to wait for Heaven. Mary knew that what was going to happen was not humanly-possible, since she was a virgin and not yet married.

Christ Born of Mary

2 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)

His Birth…

Jesus came into the world the same way every other human has, with the exceptions of Adam and Eve. The only thing out of the ordinary was His conception, and the fact that His mother was a virgin. She was a young Jewish peasant girl, who had gotten pregnant out of wedlock. His step-father was a Jewish carpenter.

The “Bethlehem Maternity Center” was a stable, a place where animals could retreat from the weather. We are not even told that Mary and Joseph had a mid-wife to help with that special delivery, let alone doctors and nurses. His first “crib” was a feeding trough (manger), and His first set of clothes were “swaddling cloths“, whatever was handy to wrap a baby in.

His life…

Jesus was circumcised eight days after He was born, as all boys who were born into Jewish society were. Circumcision was no sterile medical procedure with all the conveniences of the modern hospital. Knives were crude at best, not exactly Wilkinson Sword quality, so they did more tearing of the flesh, rather than cutting it cleanly. He bled, He cried when it was done, and it hurt. Yes, Jesus was born a fully-equipped male baby, and that fact would become important during His crucifixion.

While we have little information in the Bible about His early life, I believe it is safe to assume that He grew up like any other Jewish boy of His day and time. He played in the dusty streets of whatever town they were living in when He wasn’t in school or learning to be a carpenter. How many times did He skin His knees up? Did He ever trip and fall? Was He a real child…

As a teen, did He ever have a “wet-dream“, or as He grew into adulthood, did He ever wake up with a “morning-glory“? Those things sound too “crude“, too “vulgar” for the Incarnate Son of God, but as the architect and creator of our male bodies, He gave us those physiological responses to help keep ours AND His equipment in good working-order. Have we forgotten that His favorite title for Himself was “the Son of Man“? He called Himself “the Son of Man” more times than all of His other titles combined. I seriously doubt that He ever said “Why, Oh why, did I create men this way?”.

How often did He smash His thumb while learning to drive a nail? How many splinters did He get from the rough-cut wood that they used? We see many references throughout His teachings to things relating to construction and His trade as a carpenter. As He hefted one of those crude, rough nails, could He almost feel it tearing through His flesh? Was His shadow shaped like a Cross, knowing that He created the tree He was going to be crucified on?

Our problem…

Our “Jesus” is too “clean“, too “sanitary“, too “unearthly” for Him to really have been “one of us“. We can’t imagine a “Jesus” with diaper-rash when He was a baby, or that when He was young, He ran around “naked as a jaybird” like real children do if they get the chance. He ate, He drank, He pooped, He peed, just like we do, but those things just don’t seem “God-like” enough for Him. He got tired, He got hungry, He got thirsty, and He even cried. How “unmanly“, and yet Scripture affirms all of these to be true. He experienced the complete “human experience” while He walked this Earth. He was tempted, but He never succombed to temptation. He was sinless, although He always attracted a crowd of sinners around Him, and He certainly enjoyed a good glass of wine.

We have strapped our own body-shame issues to Jesus, as if He had the same kind of body-shame that we carry around. We can’t imagine a “Jesus with a penis” because we have been taught to be ashamed of our own sexual equipment, and yet, had He not been born “fully-equipped“, penis and all, Pilate could not have declared Him to be “The King of the Jews” when He was crucified. No penis=no “king“, not circumcised=not a “Jew“.

Why does His humanity matter?

The short answer is that, if Jesus wasn’t fully-human, He could not have brought salvation to us. His death, burial and resurrection would have been a fraud if He wasn’t fully-human, and we would be miserable, hell-bound idiots for believing this fairy-tale. If Jesus wasn’t human, I, and my fellow Christian bloggers, writers, pastors, teachers, missionaries and evangelists are perpetuating a hoax, a lie, but we aren’t. Jesus was, and still is, as human as you and I, and as we prepare to celebrate His Incarnation, God taking on human flesh, this is the greatest story of the most wonderful event in human and redemption history.

I invite you to kneel before the manger, and bow before the KING of Kings and the LORD of Lords, Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. He is worthy of ALL of our worship and adoration.

God bless and Merry Christmas!
Steve

The God of Sex…

Caution: This topic deals with human sexuality and our organs of reproduction, our genitals. Parents: If you allow your children to view this article, be prepared to answer their questions openly, honestly and truthfully. Children deserve and need the truth about their sexuality and what is between their legs. God created ALL of our parts.

What image does “The God of Sex” bring to mind? Perhaps some ancient Greek or Roman deity? Would you believe that “The God of Sex” is the God of the Bible, the creator and sustainer of all things? By now, you are probably thinking “Steve, have you lost your mind?“, but bear with me, because if God isn’t Lord of our sex-lives, He is not our Lord at all. If He didn’t create our sexual parts, He didn’t create us at all.

Far too many Christians have compartmentalized their lives to the point that they think that God is only “interested” in certain parts of their lives, such as worship and devotions, but He isn’t interested in the more “mundane” things like their occupation, or what they do in the bedroom – sex. This is an entirely-false way of looking at our lives, because God is interested in EVERYTHING, and PARTICULARLY in what we do in our bedroom. If you haven’t done so already, you may want to read “Secular…or Sacred?” and “Sex…Holy-Pursuit, or “Guilty-Pleasure?“, because this whole essay will make more sense with that material in mind. Another foundational study is “Image and Likeness“.

Purpose…

When I got married the first time, my only “sexual education” had come from men’s magazines. Yes, I knew what those parts looked like and where to put my penis, but I really knew very little about those marvelous “lady-parts” that my wife brought with her. My parents had essentially given me zero sexual education, so what I knew, I had gotten from all the wrong sources. Yes, we muddled our way through our first few times, but the learning-curve was very steep. Was I an “expert-lover“? Not by a long shot. I have read quite a few books since then on sex, written by Christian authors and other recognized experts, which I wish had been available thirty-six years ago when we said our “I Do’s“. I would have been a much better lover much earlier in our marriage.

With that in mind, I believe that Christians should be the “sex-perts“, because we serve an awesome God, and He, as our Creator, was the designer of our sexual parts and the author of our sexuality. Why should Christians muddle through sex when they can enjoy the very best God has created us for? Getting educated about our sexual equipment is only the beginning. There will be a list of resources at the end of this article.

God made us…

Imagine, if you will, what our humanity would be like if God had taken the easy way out, made us asexual and genderless, and simply created the variety of humans that fit His plans and goals. Would we all be “Barbies“, minus the breasts of course, or would we all be “Kens“, or a mixture of both? Barbie and Ken are genderless, distinguished only by body-shape and facial features. That certainly would have saved Him a LOT of trouble, because there would be no issues of sexuality, relationships and all the problems that go with those things. All humans would truly be equal, because all would come directly from the same source – God, but He didn’t, not that all humans aren’t equal otherwise.

Do you really think that our genitals, our sex organs, were an after-thought when God created Adam and Eve? Do you really believe that, after God created Adam and Eve, He realized that He had “forgotten” something – their ability to reproduce and their organs of reproduction? Au contrere! Our genitals, our sex organs, our organs of reproduction were an integral part of His original design. Our bodies, our genders, are uniquely suited for our respective roles in both creation and society. God, in His original plan, included mankind in His plan to populate His creation. HE made us male and female. God could have also created us to merely mate or breed, as the animals do, only showing sexual interest when the female is in “heat” and fertile, but He didn’t. We are created to be in relationship, not only with God, but with one-another also, and the most important human relationship is marriage. Imagine how boring a marriage would be if the only time the couple had sex was during those two or three days a month when she is fertile. If conception took place, there wouldn’t be any more sex until after the baby was born and she became fertile again. God didn’t create us that way, because He wanted our sexual relationship to be a vital part of our marriage. HE is the originator of our sexuality, so He IS “the God of sex“.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

The Song of Solomon…

Following hard on the heals of this beautiful description of God’s intimate knowledge of us and our bodies is the most erotic story in the Bible: The Song of Solomon. Why would God inspire Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, to write this intimate protrait of two lovers, complete with explicit descriptions of their bodies? Why would God choose to preserve this decidedly “racy” story and prompt its inclusion in the Canon of Scripture? Could we be missing the point? Is God trying to tell us something?

God formed our parts, including our genitals, and they are an integral part of our humanity. So also is our sexuality, which God commanded us to use for our good and His glory. If our body-parts and vivid descriptions of them and their use are “good enough” to include in the Bible, God must think pretty highly of us. That, my friends, is why I have no problem with sharing the graphic descriptions which follow.

Terminology…

I believe that we should use the appropriate terms to describe our sexual parts. There are a lot of slang terms for our parts, but they aren’t really honoring to God or our parts, so I will use the appropriate terminology throughout this treatise. I know that are some people who are even embarrassed by the proper terms, but if you are one of them, you have two choices: abandon ship, or get used to them.

Pubic hair…

No discussion of our genitals is complete without mentioning that, during puberty, pubic hair starts growing on and around our genitals. Pubic hair growth is one of the first signs of the onset of puberty. The following descriptions are assuming, but won’t describe, normal distribution of hair. Many men and women trim or shave off their pubic hair.

Ladies…

Would your body make sense if there were only women in the world? Of course the answer to that question has to be a resounding “NO“. A woman’s body doesn’t make sense without there being men in the world. Do you realize that the flower between your legs, your vulva, is the most exquisite flower in all of creation? Do you say “yuck” when you look at your flower? God created that flower, and it is capable of doing far more things than the most beautiful flower growing in nature. Let’s take a tour of your little flower:

Nestled at the top of your vulva is a little bud, a bundle of nerves called a clitoris. It is the most sensitive organ in your body, and its only purpose is sexual pleasure. God gave it to you expressly so that you can enjoy sex. Many women can’t even stand direct-stimulation of their clitoris, as it is far more sensitive than the head of a man’s penis.

On both sides of the inner parts of your flower are meaty folds of flesh called the labia majora, or major lips. While these parts are somewhat sensitive, they serve to surround and protect the inner parts from friction and damage. On a woman with small labia minora, or inner lips, the only thing that may be visible unless her legs are spread may be her labia majora.

As we progress inward towards the center of the vulva, the next obvious part is the labia minora, the inner or minor lips. These are very sensitive folds of flesh on each side of the center of the vulva, which start at the top of the vulva, joined to the hood of the clitoris, and wrap down and around the entrance to the vagina. Lacking direct stimulation to the clitoris, the labia minora give the most stimulation to the clitoris during sexual intercourse. Some women have little “petite” labia, and some are at the other end of the spectrum and have huge labia, but whatever you have, it is NORMAL. There is no such thing as “perfect” labia. Each of you ladies are unique, and that includes your lady-parts.

In the center of your vulva, and about halfway between your clitoris and the entrance to your vagina, is your pee-hole, or urethral meatus. That small hole would seen unremarkable if it weren’t for one small fact – that women have a set of glands, which are located along your urethra, are similar to a man’s prostate, and some women “squirt” or “ejaculate” during intercourse. While we are on this part of your anatomy, it is worth noting that your urethra, or pee-pipe, is quite short, which is why women get far more urinary tract infections than do men. That, combined with the close proximity to your anus, makes urinary tract infections (UTI’s) a greater problem for women. The most common bacteria found in UTI’s is E Coli, which is also in your digestive tract, so if you do get a UTI, make sure that it is completely cured, each and every time, because you do NOT want recurrent infections, with the likelihood of that infection spreading farther up your urinary tract.

Maybe you are wondering why I am giving this anatomy lesson, but it is for the benefit of the men also. Men need to know as much or more about YOUR sexual anatomy than you do, particularly if that man is your husband, and is responsible for YOU and your sexual pleasure, so bear with me. We aren’t done yet…

The centerpiece of your reproductive anatomy, and the “holy grail” for men, is your vagina. This canal, which is at the bottom of your vulva, is designed for both the comfortable entrance of a man’s penis, and to allow a baby to enter the world. Imagine a canal which is so versatile, and so stretchy, that unstretched, it is capable of gripping a finger, but it will stretch to six inches or larger in diameter during childbirth. What is even more amazing is that your vagina will return to close to its original diameter not long after the baby is born. Yes, it will become somewhat larger as you birth more babies, but guys, that doesn’t mean that sex isn’t fun anymore. A few more fun facts about your vagina: It is self-cleaning and self-lubricating. During intercourse, your vagina also grows longer and balloons out at the inner end, forming a “bowl” for semen, so that your cervix can be immersed in a pool of semen for insemination and conception. Your cervix forms the inner end of your vagina, and is the gateway to your uterus or womb. The small “doorway” through your cervix is the cervical os, and in childbirth, it opens up from about the size of the end of a pen to over four INCHES. Your uterus is the muscular organ which is designed to house and nurture a baby as it grows from just a few cells into the little bundle of joy you will birth. The other internal reproductive organs are your fallopian tubes and your ovaries. At birth, your ovaries are already equipped with all the eggs you will ever need and then some, so you can’t run out. Your fallopian tubes are the pathways between your ovaries and your uterus.

Your anus is the exit-end of your digestive tract. Some people enjoy anal stimulation during sex, and even anal intercourse, but I am not going to go into sexual technique. One note of caution: If it goes into your anus, whether it is a toy, a finger or a penis, it DOESN’T go into your vagina until it has been washed, because cross-contamination can result in a nasty vaginal infection.

Has your flower gone from “yuck” to “WOW” yet? God created you not only to be able to reproduce, but also to gain immense sexual pleasure from lovemaking. Yes, human sex is for pleasure also.

Men…

Would your body make sense if there were only men in the world? Do we REALLY need a penis in order to drain our bladders? Of course not. Women do just fine with just a pee-hole, but God wasn’t just thinking about our need to pee when He created our penis. Men’s sexual parts are just as amazing as what God gave women. Our is just different, and complimentary.

How well are you “hung“? Are you satisfied with the size of your penis? Do you wish that you were “hung like a horse“? There is one man who IS “hung like a horse“, but he wishes that he wasn’t. At nine inches soft or flaccid, and over thirteen inches hard or erect, and as thick as a wine bottle, women are scared to have sex with him. No woman’s vagina is both that long and that large in diameter. So, to put penis-size to rest – what is in your jeans was determined by what is in your genes. If you can get the job done and enjoy it, you have enough, and yes, you are NORMAL. A three-inch-long penis is long enough to inseminate a woman…

What about this amazing organ we call a “penis“? How does it do what it does? Would it surprise you to learn that approximately one-half of your penis is inside your body? There is a ligament which ties the base of your penis to your pelvis, and some “penis-enlargement” surgeries sever that ligament so that you can have more of your penis outside your body, however you will lose your ability to “steer” your penis. SO, let’s look at the anatomy of a penis:

From Encyclopedia Britannica:
Penis, the copulatory organ of the male of higher vertebrates that in mammals usually also provides the channel by which urine leaves the body. The corresponding structure in lower invertebrates is often called the cirrus.

The human penis is anatomically divided into two continuous areas—the body, or external portion, and the root. The root of the penis begins directly below the bulbourethral glands with a long cylindrical body of tissue known as the corpus spongiosum (or corpus cavernosum urethrae). This tissue extends through the body of the penis to the tip, where it expands into a mushroom-shaped structure called the glans penis. Running through the centre of the corpus spongiosum is the urethra, a common passage for semen and urine; the urethra ends in a slitlike opening at the tip of the glans penis. Beginning alongside of the bulbourethral glands are a pair of long cylindrical bodies called the corpora cavernosa penis. These continue through the body of the penis, occupying the sides and upper portion directly above the corpus spongiosum; they terminate immediately before the glans penis.

The corpora cavernosa consist of empty spaces divided by partitions of tissue. The tissue consists of muscle, collagen (a fibrous protein), and elastic fibre. The corpora cavernosa are termed erectile tissue (see erection), because during sexual excitation, their fibrous tissue is expanded by blood that flows into and fills their empty spaces. The blood is temporarily trapped in the penis by the constriction of blood vessels that would normally allow it to flow out. The penis becomes enlarged, hardened, and erect as a result of this increased blood pressure. The corpus spongiosum is also considered erectile tissue. This area, however, does not become as enlarged as the other two during erection, for it contains more fibrous tissue and less space; unlike the corpora cavernosa, the corpus spongiosum has a constant blood flow during erection.

The corpora cavernosa and corpus spongiosum are enclosed by a circular layer of elastic tissue. This in turn is covered by a thin layer of skin. The skin, which is slightly darker in color than the rest of the body, is loose and folded while the penis is in a flaccid state. At the beginning of the glans penis, a circular fold of skin, commonly called the foreskin (or prepuce), extends forward to cover the glans. At birth or during early childhood, the foreskin may be removed by an operation called circumcision.

Hanging below your penis is your scrotum, which is a temperature-sensitive, muscular sac containing your testicles. The reason that your testicles hang below your body is that they must be kept slightly-cooler than your body-temperature. There is a direct correlation between tight pants and low sperm-count and low testosterone. Speaking of sperm – your testicles create sperm, which is the male gamete. Sperm production in the testicles must be a high-volume process, because a healthy man is capable of ejaculating 300-500 million sperm per ejaculation. Just think about it for a moment… your testicles can produce enough sperm in just a few day to inseminate every woman in the world. Seminal vesicles are responsible for storing sperm and making part of the fluid which becomes ejaculate. They are also where sperm join semen before joining the prostate and ultimately the urethra. The testicles also produce testosterone, which is the male hormone which makes a man a man and turns boys into men.

Another major gland in the male reproductive system is the prostate. It is located at the bladder-end of the urethra, and the prostatic-urethra runs through it. The prostate is normally about the size of a large walnut, and produces approximately a third of the ejaculatory fluid in the semen. Other glands, including the seminal vesicles, produce the rest of the fluid. Normal semen is slightly alkaline to help counteract the acidic environment in a woman’s vagina.

Men also have an anus, and some men enjoy anal-stimulation. The most direct route for examining and stimulating the prostate is through the anus, because the prostate is located immediately in front of the rectum. The prostate exam is called a Digital Rectal Exam, or DRE for short.

Some problems…

I am NOT a doctor, but I have been married to women who have had some of the most common female problems, and I have experienced some of the most common male problems myself. I am just going to give a brief description of each problem, with, if I have experienced it personally, the most common treatment(s).

Female…

Urinary tract infections: I have already explained why women get more UTI’s than men, so I won’t go into that again. Symptoms of a UTI are: cloudy urine, burning-sensation with urination, and if bad enough, burning sensation all the time. If you suspect that you have a UTI, GO TO YOUR DOCTOR. The only treatment for a UTI is antibiotics. Guys, this one’s for you also.

Vaginal (yeast) infection: A woman’s vagina is always moist, and while it is normally self-cleaning, it is not unusual for a yeast (candida) overgrowth to occur. Candida is part of the normal “flora” of our bodies, but if it gets out of hand, it can make a mess in a hurry. The more you allow your vulva to “air out”, the lower the likelihood of developing a yeast infection. Treatment usually consists of a topical anti-fungal cream which is inserted into your vagina, and also applied to your vulva. Good feminine hygiene will go a long way to help prevent both UTI’s and yeast infections.

Male…

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia(BPH: Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate gland. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. As the prostate gets bigger, it may squeeze or partly block the urethra. This often causes problems with urinating.

BPH occurs in almost all men as they age. BPH is not cancer. An enlarged prostate can be a nuisance. But it is usually not a serious problem. About half of all men older than 75 have some symptoms.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is probably a normal part of the aging process in men, caused by changes in hormone balance and in cell growth.
BPH causes urinary problems such as:

Trouble getting a urine stream started and completely stopped (dribbling).

Often feeling like you need to urinate. This feeling may even wake you up at night.

A weak urine stream.

A sense that your bladder is not completely empty after you urinate.

In a small number of cases, BPH may cause the bladder to be blocked, making it impossible or extremely hard to urinate. This problem may cause backed-up urine (urinary retention), leading to bladder infections or stones, or kidney damage.

BPH does not cause prostate cancer and does not affect a man’s ability to father children. It does not cause erection problems.

Your doctor can diagnose BPH by asking questions about your symptoms and past health and by doing a physical exam. Tests may include a urine test (urinalysis) and a digital rectal exam, which lets your doctor feel the size of your prostate. In some cases, a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is done to help rule out prostate cancer. (Prostate cancer and BPH are not related, but they can cause some of the same symptoms.)

Your doctor may ask you how often you have symptoms of BPH, how severe they are, and how much they affect your life. If your symptoms are mild to moderate and do not bother you much, home treatment may be all that you need to help keep them under control. Your doctor may want to see you regularly to check on your symptoms and make sure other problems haven’t come up. (Web MD)

Why did I copy a whole section from Web MD on BPH? Because it is too common to ignore, and I want you to have the best information I could find. Reduced ability to urinate can also cause UTI’s, so guys, if you start having this problem, get it checked out. Yes, having a doctor stick his/her finger in your rectum may feel a bit strange, but it beats the alternatives.

PSA: The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test that is used to help detect prostate cancer or other prostate abnormalities. The jury is still out about whether the PSA test is really useful for diagnosing or ruling out prostate cancer. Where the PSA test really shines is in detecting prostatitis.

Prostatitis: Prostatitis is inflammation or infection in your prostate. While it is usually symptomless, that doesn’t mean that it is a non-problem. A couple of years ago, my primary-care doctor noticed that my PSA had risen dramatically, so he ordered another PSA test and referred me to my urologist. The second PSA test was even higher, so she diagnosed me with prostatitis. She also ordered a thirty-day round of Cipro to be mailed to me. After I finished the Cipro, I was supposed to have another PSA test two weeks later. By the time I had the final PSA test, my PSA had dropped like a rock, and has remained in the low-normal range ever since. Had my primary-care doctor not ordered that PSA test, my prostatitis would have gone unnoticed and undiagnosed. Having chronic urinary-retention, or being catheter-dependent, as I am, is a strong risk-factor for prostatitis.

Erectile dysfunction (ED): Does your penis seem more inclined to look down at your toes than point towards the ceiling? Are your erections more like a feeble-attempt at getting a real erection? If you are able to achieve enough of an erection to have sex, does your penis “droop” long before you both get real sexual-satisfaction? Unfortunately all those symptoms are the hallmarks of erectile dysfunction(ED), and while some “experts” would like for us to believe that having ED is a “natural part of the aging process“, there is more to it that just “getting old“. Because the arteries which feed your penis are very small, they start getting clogged-up even before the arteries which feed your heart. If you haven’t done so already, a good place to start in your understanding of these issues is “Reclaiming your Manhood“. You do NOT have to give up on having a fulfilling sex-life just because your penis doesn’t work quite as well as it used to. God also didn’t intend for our sex-lives to die on the vine after we turn 50 or 55.

ED Treatments: Who hasn’t heard of the “little blue pill” (Viagra)? Viagra is one of the oral medications which can help you feel like a man again, and Cialis and Levitra are the other two. Not all men are able to take one of the oral medications due to the side-effects and other risk-factors. I am not supposed to take any of the oral ED medications because I have had an eye-stroke. Never fear though, if you can’t take one of the oral medications, there are two other options. The first is MUSE, which is a tiny pellet of medication which you insert in your urethra, and if all goes well, it will induce an erection in just a few minutes. I tried MUSE, but it didn’t work for me. That leads us to the “court-of-last-resort“, which is EDEX. EDEX is a medication which you inject into your penis to achieve an erection. Yes, I know, even the thought of sticking a needle into your penis gives you the heebie-jeebies, but it works, and it isn’t as bad as it sounds. First of all, the needle is very small, and secondly, the amount of medication which you inject is very small. Do you want to wear both you and your wife out long before your erection finally subsides? EDEX will give you that kind of erection, lasting about two HOURS, on average. Yes, I have used it, and yes, those have been the best erections that I have had in the last many years. I wouldn’t want to use EDEX regularly, but once in a while to “remind” my penis what it is supposed to do naturally -BINGO! And that leads us to…

Sex…

Who likes and wants a “quickie“? Of course a “quickie” is fine once in a while, when you don’t have the time for more leisurely sex, but would you really want a steady “diet” of “quickies“? If all God intended us to do when He said “Be fruitful and multiply” was simply conceive babies, He certainly could have made us that way, but He didn’t. Guys, even if you might like to be hung like a horse, you really wouldn’t want the sex-life of a horse. Once a mare indicates her readiness to be bred, a stallion is done with the job in under ninety seconds. Where is the enjoyment of it? God made horses to breed, not enjoy sex. He made humans to not only be able to conceive children, but also to enjoy having sex. We don’t just have sex for reproduction only…

Ladies, you don’t “need” your beautiful vulval-flower to simply reproduce, but instead, God gave all those super-sensitive parts of your vulva so that you can enjoy the experience. That is why God seems to have hard-wired your nipples to your vagina, so when your husband starts pleasuring your breasts, your vulva and vagina start getting aroused. Do you really think that God didn’t have your future sexual-pleasure in mind when He designed your body? Sure, and I have some real-estate for sale…

Masturbation…

Masturbation is simply self-pleasuring, or sex-for-one. There are a lot of opinions and there is a lot of controversy about masturbation in the evangelical church, but for the naysayers, they have no solid Biblical basis to forbid it, but they do. Many men, and some women also, have been shamed into believing that masturbation is “wrong“, and when they do masturbate, they carry around a boatload of false guilt with them. Sorry folks, but God never put a “Thou shalt not masturbate” commandment in the Bible. In fact, the Bible, hence God, is totally mum on the topic of masturbation, and regardless of what you are told, Onan did NOT masturbate. He simply pulled his penis out of his sister-in-law right before he ejaculated so that he wouldn’t impregnate her. His only sin was that he refused to perform his duties to her by giving her a child, an heir. Her father-in-law, Judah, finally took care of business with her, even though he thought that she was a prostitute. The sister-in-law’s name was Tamar, and she was in the lineage of David, hence Jesus Christ.

Have you shut God out of your bedroom?

That may seem to be a strange question, but for those who don’t believe that God is interested in EVERYTHING we do, including having sex, thanking God for their sexuality is the last thing on their minds. Men, why does it take losing your ability to get a usable erection regularly before you start thanking God when everything DOES work right? The same goes for the ladies also, because normal sexual responses aren’t guaranteed, particularly as you get older. I remember those days when I could achieve an erection at the thought of sex, but not any more. I thank God every time I can achieve a usable erection, because I know that the next one is not guaranteed.

Have you shut God out of your bedroom because you have been led to believe that God might not “approve” of what you are doing sexually? There are still some churches which still teach that the “Missionary position” is the ONLY acceptable position to have sex in, that “doggystyle” is for animals-only. Since Adam and Eve didn’t have anyone else to teach them how to have sex, the only examples they had were the animals…

Is there really any GOOD reason to shut God out of your bedroom? Do you really think that God hasn’t “seen it all“? If you do, you obviously haven’t read much of your Bible, because the Old Testament is full of messy sex and even messier relationships. I have already mentioned Tamar, who pretended to be a prostitute, and was in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Rahab, who was a harlot, was also in the lineage of Jesus Christ. All the great men of faith were polygamous, and Solomon, the author of Proverbs and the Song of Solomon, had so many wives, concubines and other women in his household that he could have had sex with a different woman every day and it would have taken almost three years to have sex with each one of them ONCE. Oh, he was also in the lineage of Jesus Christ. When was the last time you heard THAT story in Sunday-school? You probably also haven’t been told that God, after King David (the man after God’s own heart) stole Bathsheba from her husband Uriah and had him murdered, told David that if he wanted more wives, all he would have had to do was ask… BTW, Jesus Christ is called “King David’s greater Son“… Do you STILL think that you need to shut God out of your bedroom?

Homosexuality…

Homosexuality and same-sex marriage are two huge hot-button issues in America, and particularly in the church. On one side of the issues are those who believe that two people, regardless of gender, should be able to get married and live together, without any fear of negative consequences, and with full legal recognition. On the other side of the issue are those who believe that 1) only hetero-sexual marriage meets the Biblical definition of “marriage“, and 2) God gave clear instructions forbidding homosexual sex and relationships. I don’t pretend to be an “expert” on homosexuality, and as a man, I can’t understand why a man would want to have sex with another man. Women seem to be more “appropriately-equipped” than men. SO, lets look at the passages from the Old Testament and let God speak for Himself. We will look at these passages in their context.

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances.'” (Leviticus 18:1-3)

“You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. 20 And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her. 21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion. Leviticus 18:19-23)

If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed perversion; their blood is upon them. 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. 14 If a man takes a woman and her mother also, it is depravity; he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no depravity among you. 15 If a man lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. 16 If a woman approaches any animal and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:12-16)

The prohibition against homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22 is in the middle of a section dealing with the worship of false gods. The prohibition against homosexuality in Leviticus 20:13 is in the middle of a section dealing with incest. Women and children were the property of their husbands and fathers, boys until they reached manhood, and girls until they were sold to their future husband. Are these still general prohibitions against homosexuality? That is a question which I can’t really answer, because I don’t know the mind of God, so I will simply take them at face-value.

Would you be happy if you married the last person you had sex with?

Have you taken a potential spouse for a sexual “testdrive” before you married her or him? There is a lot of talk about “sexualcompatibility” these days, as if being “sexually-compatible” is a major determining-factor in who you marry. Unfortunately, short-term sexual-compatibility doesn’t guarantee long-term sexual-satisfaction, or the stability of a long-term relationship. I am not here to judge the merits, or lack thereof, of having sex before you get married. God is the only fully-qualified Judge, and last I checked, He still isn’t hiring subordinate-judges, regardless of what the church thinks. I believe that a far-better exercise would be for you to spend time together nude, not having sex, but just doing ordinary things together – minus your clothes. If one of you has a serious problem with that, how can you expect things to go smoothly when you have tied the knot, and it is time to consummate your relationship? “Marriage” is broken in America, and even among Christians, but that is the topic for another article.

Who is the enemy of our bodies? God created us in His own image. Satan has cajoled us into perverting God’s image.

Who celebrates when a baby is born? God said “Be fruitful and multiply“. God grieves when a mother exercises her “choice” and murders her unborn baby. Satan dances a jig.

God has a big grin on His face when a married couple has sex for the purpose of bringing new life into the world. Satan dances a jig when the husband can’t get an erection or the wife is infertile.

Final thoughts…

Do you still think that I have a few loose screws, or maybe that my elevator doesn’t quite reach the top floor? Or, have you come to the conclusion, as I have, that, far from being unimportant to God, our bodies AND our sexuality ARE important to God? God made us this way for a reason, and He is not only interested in us, He is the God of all we are, sex and all.

Resources…

The Act of MarriageThe Beauty of Sexual Love      Tim & Beverly LaHaye

Sheet Music – Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage     Dr. Kevin Leman

A Celebration of Sex – A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy     Dr. Douglas Rosenau, Ed. D.

Private PartsA Doctor’s Guide To The Male Anatomy      Dr. Yosh Taguchi, M.D.

Out in the OpenThe Complete Male Pelvis     R. Louis Schultz