- Sermon Notes
Spirituality and Immorality
1 Corinthians 6:9-20
Paul writes to the church in Corinth, they were babes in Christ, they were spiritually immature, and so he writes to build and strengthen their faith, but also to correct their course.
Their spiritual immaturity was already getting them off track and so there’s a strong sense of correction to what Paul writes. There was division and strife and jealousy as they formed little mini denominations within the church. “Are you not walking like mere men when there is such division and strife among you?” Paul is asking.
What does it mean that they were mere men? It means that they were just men, only men; in contrast to what? In contrast to being spiritual men. That’s the spiritual maturity Paul wants to build in them.
The transformation from being mere men who have received Christ and are saved, but are not spiritually mature; to mature men who are spiritual in nature is important for all of us to understand because God wants the same for us.
The church in Corinth came to Christ out of a culture that was very similar to the times in which we now live. Corinth was affluent and was a major center of commerce in the Roman Empire. It was also a major center of immorality. The Greek port of Corinth was the free-living “Amsterdam of the ancient world.”
After landing at the Corinthian docks, sailors would climb the thousand steps or so to the top of a stunning crag of rock called the Acrocorinth, which offered 360 degree vistas of the sparkling Mediterranean. There they would pass through the marble columns of the Temple of Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love, where a thousand temple prostitutes worked around the clock receiving funds for their deity.
Aphrodite was the patron goddess of Corinth and it was the very center of immorality in the Roman Empire. The Greek men of Corinth were terribly chauvinistic and regarded their wives suitable only for raising families. For pleasurable sex they went to prostitutes and young boys. Those who came to Christ, came out of this culture.
There lies the difficulty. You came to Christ out of this world also and it is common to bring some of the world with you. But why did you come to faith in Christ at all? Because the end of those things is death and we gained no benefit from the things of which we are now ashamed – Romans 6:21.
Paul shows them the way of maturity, the way of the Spirit. Do you not know, Paul is saying, that you’re not what you used to be, you’ve been washed, you’ve been sanctified, you’ve been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
Therefore, walk in the light of who you are now in Christ and not the way you lived when you were in the world. We are in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit, and we are called to walk in a new life, transformed by the renewing of our minds.
I. Be Mastered by Christ
- Paul begins by listing those things which will enslave a person through the desires of the flesh.
- This was not a theoretical list. “Such were some of you,” Paul said.
Illus - That reminds me of the story of a man who felt out of place in church, thinking that everyone around him looked so put together, yet he was a broken sinner. The pastor just happened to be reading these verses and when he heard, “Such were some of you,” and saw people nodding their heads in agreement, he knew he was home.
- God called us out of those things and washed us in the blood of Christ. We were drowning in a muddy quagmire, but God pulled us out and washed us clean.
- The point is that there is a distinction between the kingdom of heaven and this polluted world in which we live. God wants to change our perspective and renew our minds so that we see the way He sees this world; these things must be spiritually appraised.
A. All things are lawful
- Paul repeats this phrase twice. Paul had taught them about Christian liberty and no doubt it was something they had taken hold of, but they had completely misunderstood its meaning.
- It shows the importance of understanding and rightly dividing God’s word.
- The fact that we are no longer under the law is an essential aspect of the gospel, but to use that as a way to justify living like the world is what mere men do, it’s certainly not spiritually mature.
- Paul gave us another principle that helps us understand…
Galatians 5:1, It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Romans 14:23, Whatever is not from faith is sin.
Habakkuk 2:4, Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within them; but the righteous will live by his faith.
- “Not all things are profitable,” Paul said. These things have power over you and that’s not good.
- Then Paul gives another principle, “I will not be mastered by anything.” Spiritual men are led by the Spirit, they are not mastered by anything in the world; not by immorality, not by greed, not by anger, not by their flesh, and not by their emotions.
B. The body is for the Lord
- “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food.” Paul here is quoting a common saying that was used to justify sexual desires.
- The common thinking was that eating is just a natural process so there’s nothing wrong with it. Well, sex is also a natural process, so there must be nothing wrong with it either, or so they thought.
- But their thinking was off, they needed God’s perspective. There’s a huge difference between food and sexuality.
- It’s true that the eating requirements of the law no longer applied and they were free to eat whatever they desired.
1 Corinthians 10:25-26, Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience sake; “For the earth is the Lord’s and all it contains.”
- But it can also be wrong to eat food if it’s not yours to eat…
Illus - If you’re eating out and order a salad, but the person next to you orders lobster, you just can’t put a fork in it and start eating their lobster. It’s not right because it’s not yours.
- But the body and food are only temporary, God will do away with both of them. The body was made to have sexual desire, but it was not made for immorality, it was made for the Lord.
- In other words, if it’s not given to you by the Lord, then it’s not yours. And if it’s not yours, it’s wrong.
II. Glorify God in Your Body
- The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, says Paul, and the Lord is for the body.
- In other words, God gave us our bodies as a gift that we might use them for His glory and His purpose.
Romans 12:1-2, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
- And the Lord is for the body. There is an eternal aspect to your body. When you go to heaven, you will be recognized because you will look as you do now, although, hopefully, new and improved.
- Paul says in chapter 15 that we will receive glorified bodies, eternal and imperishable.
- Paul is changing their perspective. They came from the world and they brought the world’s perspective on sexuality with them, but God has a completely different perspective that’s higher, more honorable.
A. Sexuality and spirituality are connected
- "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” This is a powerful argument. If they could take hold of this truth it would truly transform their thinking.
- They were taking sexuality too lightly. Yet from God’s perspective, sexuality and spirituality are interconnected.
- Verse 17 - we are joined together to the Lord in one spirit.
- Verse 15 - our bodies are members of Christ.
Ephesians 5:30-32, We are members of His body. “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I’m speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
- In other words, the relationship of husband and wife represents the relationship of Christ and the church. Because husband and wife become one flesh, they are connected in their souls.
- Notice that Paul quotes from Genesis 2:24 both in Ephesians 5 and here in 1 Corinthians 6. It’s the same point. God’s intent from the creation of man is that sexuality represents the intimacy and closeness of God and man.
Isaiah 54:5, “For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; and your Redeemer is the holy One of Israel, who was called the God of all the earth.”
- God places His Spirit in us. In other words, there is a connection to God that is deeply spiritual. There is spiritual and soulful intimacy.
- Verse 19 - if your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, then sexual immorality, which is done, of course, through the body, is an offense to the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16, Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.
- This would have made sense to them since the temple of Aphrodite was where much of the immorality happened.
Illus - There was a time in Israel’s history where idolatry had gotten so bad that they actually had idols set up in the temple in Jerusalem. Imagine the offense to God. In the same way, imagine the offense when a Christian brings immorality into the temple of God.
C. Know when to run
- The answer, Paul says, is to flee immorality. There is a time to stand and fight, but when it comes to immorality, the response is to run. Don’t walk; run.
- This is important because many people want to see how close they can get. No, God is saying, just run.
- One of the sayings I have that captures this truth is this, “If it’s not right, I don’t want it.” That can apply to many things. In regards to sexuality; it is not right, I don’t want it. In business matters; if it’s not right I don’t want it.
- One of the best biblical illustrations of knowing when to run is Joseph who, when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, ran as fast as he could.
2 Timothy 2:22-23, Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
- The reason it’s so important to run is because immorality has such a devastating spiritual impact.
- But the problem is that the flesh doesn’t consider the consequences, it wants what it wants and it wants it now. The flesh says, “Me want food… me want woman.”
- I’ve seen the consequences of immorality over and over… First, it drains a person of spiritual life, then faith grows weaker and weaker, then comes depression, emptiness, and fear…
Romans 6:21, What benefit did you gain from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
- You are not your own, you’ve been bought with a price, therefore glorify God with your body.
- “I will not be mastered by anything,” Paul said.
Title: Spirituality and Immorality
Text: 1 Corinthians 6:9-20
Date: June 20-21, 2015
First Corinthians Chapter 6 beginning in verse 9 picking right up where we left off last week. First Corinthians 6:9. Our message this morning is Spirituality and Immorality. Very, very important understanding from the scriptures. Father, thank You for blessing us with Your Word. Thank you for sending the Word to transform our lives and by sending it by the power of the Spirit. God, we open our hearts this morning to receive from You. God strengthen us in Your name we pray, Amen.
Alright, so Paul is writing there to the church of Corinth. He calls them babes in Christ. They’re immature in their faith and so he is writing of course to bring maturity to them but he is also writing to correct them because their immaturity has already gotten them off course. He started out by saying look, here is where your immaturity is seen. All these divisions and strife and jealousy as they formed these mini denominations and groups. He says ‘are you not like mere men when you have these divisions and strife?’ Now what does this mean when he says are you not mere men? It means just or only men, in contrast to what spiritual men and spiritual women led by the spirit in what they’re doing. And so Paul wants to build them into that maturity and the question for us is, how much do we want that maturity ourselves. He is calling us to see it. The value of spiritual maturity, the blessing of God, the fear of God, all that he has. I want to grow into the deeper things and grow spiritually but that’s a transformation process.
How does it happen that a man or woman is transformed from a mere man? They say they received Christ but they’re spiritually mature to the one led by the spiritually immature. How does that happen? It happens when God changes our perspective. These things are spiritually appraised. It means to assess the value of the thing spiritually. See the value of the thing as God sees it. Now you look at the church in Corinth. The church of Corinth came to Christ out of a culture that was very similar to the times in which we are now living. Corinth was affluent and a major center of commerce under the Roman Empire. I am convinced we’re living in the most affluent country in the world and, of all the places to live in the country, we’re living in the best part of it. I mean it’s glorious; what we have here, we are blessed. It’s true we have a lot of similarities there, but Corinth was also a major center of immorality. The Greek port of Corinth was the free living Amsterdam of the ancient world. If you know anything about Amsterdam, you know exactly what I am saying.
So after landing at the Corinthian docks, sailors climb the thousand steps or so to the top to a stunning crag of a rock called the arc of Corinth which offered 360 degree vistas of the beautiful and sparkling Mediterranean. There at the top of the crag, they would walk through the marble columns of the temple of Aphrodite and there a thousand temple prostitutes work around the clock receiving funds for their deity. Aphrodite is actually the patron goddess of the city of Corinth. I mean this is just spelling trouble for the whole thing. It was the very center of immorality in the Roman Empire and the Greek men were terribly chauvinistic and regarded their wives as only suitable for raising children. If they wanted pleasurable sex, they went to the temple where they could hire a prostitute - young women or young men. So where do these slaves or temple prostitutes come from? They were slaves who were given as offerings by wealthy people.
Now, there lies a difficulty. Can you imagine that environment, that culture, that time, and there is a church born out of it? I mean here comes the church out of that culture? Oh yes. Here is the thing, God loves to take sinners and take them out of that mess they were living in. Draw them out of that, wash them clean, then sanctify them, justify them, transform them, give them new life, give them a relationship to the living God, give them a holy relationship to God because he has forgiven all of that mess. And, in fact, we can put ourselves in the story because that’s what happened to every one of us. God does not save holy people. God is not saving righteous people. The only person God has saved was a sinner. And, if you are saved, then you were a sinner. I mean let’s be honest, you know Paul is being straight forward. You gotta love Paul, he is straight forward, pulls no punches, pulls it straight out and sometimes you know that we need it. We need to be straight forwardly honest and he takes the truth of the gospel like a splash of cold water. We need to be woken up with a splash of cold water sometimes because what we find is the opportunity for transformation for revival.
See, we have a similar thing. We came out of a culture, when you came to Christ. You came out of a culture that is inundated with immorality and it’s very common. when people come to faith out of the world, to bring some of the world with them. They did in Corinth, that’s why they were immature. Many people that come today, come with that perspective of the world with them. But maybe it’s good for us to step back and say, why did you come to the faith at all? Answer, because the end of those things is death. That’s why I came. I don’t want death, I want life. Isn’t that why you came to faith in Christ? In fact, God says, “I set before you life, and I set before you death, now choose. But I want you to choose life, I love you.” I want to see that favor of God, that blessing of God, I want to see that revival because it’s just better and I want that, I love you. And not only do we become Christians, because the end of those things is death but we gain no benefit. There is no gain. ‘What benefits did you get of the things which you are now ashamed?’, he says in Roman 6:21. So Paul is going to show them a better way, the way of maturity, the way of the spirit.
‘Do you not know’ he says ‘you’re not like you used to be. You’ve been washed, you’ve been sanctified, you’ve been justified in the name of Jesus and in the Spirit of our God. Therefore walk in the light of who you are. Do you know who you are? Walk in the light of it. Don’t live the way you used to live. You’ve been drawn out of that life. We are in Christ, now we have the Holy Spirit, now we’re transformed by the renewing of our minds now’. He’s got something more glorious for us. He says, ‘I set before you life and walk fully in it, because you have that life in your own heart and soul’. Let’s look at First Corinthians six beginning in verse 9. ‘Do you not know?’ And he uses this phrase a lot, and suggests you ought to know, you need to know.
I. Be Mastered By Christ
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? You want to inherit the kingdom of God, you want to understand the distinction”, he says, “between the world and the kingdom of God? The unrighteous don’t inherit the kingdom of God so don’t be deceived which is helpful because they were deceived. Neither fornicators, nor adulators, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor drunkers, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God”. And that’s an interesting list. Verse 9, that part of the list is sexual in nature and it’s interesting because he uses all these different words to describe sexual immorality and each of them has very specific meanings. The depth of which I don’t want to delve into because it is really very worldly in nature, what he is describing there.
For example, fornicators. You might have thought about what that meant. Well, it means way worse than that. An idolater, yeah, because they were living in Corinth. The temple was right there at the top of the hill. Adulterers, absolutely, because it was very common for a guy to have a wife just for kids and go up there for pleasure. Effeminate and homosexuals, you can’t be more clear than that. The church is going to get in trouble for that verse, but Paul doesn’t care. He lived in that culture. He says you know that we need truth here. Let’s just speak the truth of what God is saying and, then, he says in verse 11, ‘And such were some of you.’ But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God.
A. All things are lawful
Then, he builds his argument, he builds his case. Verse 12: “All things are lawful for me”, he quotes as saying, “but not all things are profitable”. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. I love that phrase. There is a punch of power in that phrase. There is a declaration I think we all need to see as a really great word for us. I will not be mastered by anything. So he goes on, “food is for the stomach, stomach is for food”. This is another famous quote. “But God would do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, the body is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body”.
“Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power”. Understand that. He is changing their perspective. “Do you not know? You ought to know that your bodies are members of Christ”. He is changing their perspective. “Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? God forbid it. May it never be. Do you see what’s happening here? Do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one with her?” And, then, he quotes from Genesis 2:24. The famous husband and wife, where he says, “two will become one flesh. But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with the Lord. Flee from immorality flee from it, run. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body but the immoral man is sinning against his own body. And don’t you know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own man? You have been bought with a price therefore glorify God with your body”.
Now that’s straight forward. Paul is pulling no punches here. He is going straight after it. He is going after it with solid absolute truth. That is exactly what we need because it’s just what we need to wake us up. To give us a perspective of God on this that we might spiritually appraise it because when we can spiritually appraise it, revival comes. There is a transformation that’s good and godly. So let’s go over its great perspectives. Here is the first one: Be mastered by Christ. He says I will not be mastered by anything, that I might be mastered by Christ is his point. So he begins by listing those things which will enslave a person to the desires of the flesh. And this is no theoretical list. He says such were some of you. This reminds me of a story of a man who came into church and felt very out of place. Looked around him and everyone seemed to be put together, like everyone had a righteous glow about them. And he said, but I looked at myself and knew that I wasn’t, that I was a sinner, they were so put together, so beautiful. But the text that day was First Corinthians six and the pastor read it and said, “and such were some of you.” And the man looked around and realized the people were nodding in agreement and he realized, I’m home here. Because, if God can take them who were once that, and transform them, then God can take me, who is that, and change me too. There is the point of it all, that God called us out of those things, washed us in the blood of Jesus Christ. Do you know what he’s done for you?
You’ve been sanctified, you’ve been justified. You were drowning in a muddy quagmire of mess. God pulled us out. God washed us clean. The point he’s trying to make is that there is a distinction from who you used to be, to who you are now in Christ. There is a distinction between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world polluted in all of it. God wants to change our perspective. God wants to renew our minds that we might see it the way He sees it. These things are spiritually appraised so he builds his case. Now let’s go though it because it’s a really powerful argument. He quotes back to them a famous saying, “all things are lawful”, and he says it twice. No doubt Paul, when he was there in Corinth, he was there teaching them, he taught them about Christian liberty. Christian liberty is a wonderful understanding and no doubt they have taken all of it. But they have misunderstood it and misapplied it.
It shows the importance of rightly understanding and rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Never take the Word of Truth and try to press it into what you want. Let the Word of God press you into its truth. The fact that we are no longer under the law is a beautiful and essential part of the gospel. But to use that as a way to justify living like the world is what mere men do. That’s not the spiritually mature who are led by the Spirit. Paul gives this principle here and in other places. For example, in Galatians 5:1, I love this verse, he says, “it was for freedom that Christ set us free. Therefore, don’t be subject again to a yolk of slavery.” Isn’t that a powerful statement? You were enslaved to that man but God set you free. And He set you free for freedom. Be free of that and know that, who the Son sets free, is free indeed. Be free man, don’t go back to that.
How about Romans 14:23, “whatever is not from faith is a sin”. Couldn’t be clearer. Can you do that thing by faith? Is God blessing that thing? Well, then, why are you doing it? Don’t do it. It’s not from faith. God is not blessing it. And what he’s saying to you is, can you live in the light of God’s favor? Can you in the light of God’s blessing? Is God blessing that thing? Then, do that which He blesses. How about this one, Habakkuk 2:4, “behold as for the proud one his soul is not right. There is something not right in the soul but the righteous one will live by his faith”. Live by your faith, man, he is saying. He said all things are lawful but not all things are profitable.
And, then, he gives his powerful principle, I will not be mastered by anything. Spiritual men and led by the Spirit. They’re not mastered by anything. They are not mastered by immorality, they’re not mastered by greed, they’re not mastered by anger, they’re not mastered by their flesh, they’re not mastered by their emotions. I will not be mastered by anything, Paul says, “but I might be mastered by Christ”, that’s the distinction. And, so he goes on to give his case, and he says, “the body is given for the Lord. Food for the stomach, stomach for food”, he quotes. It’s a famous saying, common saying, that was used to justify sexual desires. The common thinking was this, eating was just a natural process, so, therefore, there is nothing wrong with it. Your body gets hungry, you eat food, so there is nothing wrong with it. Now take that, and extend it in sexual things. Sexuality is a natural process, there is a desire to be satisfied, and so it’s a natural process, so it can’t be anything wrong with it either. Or so they thought. But they were wrong. Their thinking is off; they are not seeing it the way God is seeing it. They are not appraising this thing spiritually. They need God’s perspective because there is a huge difference between food and sexuality. I mean you can mess up your life with food but it’s just food. You can have a diet of, let’s say, Doritos and Snickers Bars. I bring that up on the day that we’re going to get Snickers Bars, Ding Dongs, Twinkies, Potato Chips and chocolate cakes for breakfast, put a little milk on it just for good sake, and wash all that with a diet coke. You can do that if you want to, but the end result of that will be you’ll be sick. But it’s just physical, you’re sick. It was a bad choice, it was done now, you’re sick, okay.
B. The body is for the Lord
It’s a vast difference between food and sexuality because they have spiritual impact. He takes apart their argument. I mean it’s true that eating requirements of the law no longer applied that’s true. They were free to eat whatever they wished, that’s true. First Corinthians 10 verses 25 to 26 “eat anything that’s sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscious sake, for the earth is the Lord’s and all that it contains”. It’s true. But even eating food can be wrong, if it’s not yours, if God didn’t give it to you, even that can be wrong. Let’s imagine you go out to eat and you’re looking at the menu, and you decide to be healthy, and you order salad and the person next to you decides not to be healthy, and wants to go for taste and flavor, and orders a butter soaked lobster. So the dinner is served and you look at your silly salad, and you look at their amazing garlic butter lobster, and you look at your salad and you look at the lobster, and you think I want that. And so you take your fork and take the lobster and put it on your plate. You can’t do that it’s not yours. God didn’t give it to you, it’s not yours. Even food can be wrong.
II. Glorify God with Your Body
Isn’t it also true sexually? God didn’t give you that. If God didn’t give it to you, it’s not yours. Now this is a very powerful point we need to understand. And so he goes on to say, “listen, glorify God in your body”. Changing their view, this is spiritually appraised. “The body is not given to you for immorality”. Your body is given to you for the Lord. “And the Lord is for the body”. God gave us our bodies as a gift. If you have health you have been blessed but use what you have for His glory. I was thinking, have you seen the testimony of this man who is born with no arms or no legs? He uses his body for the glory of the Lord because he uses that opportunity to speak of the glory of God and the power of God to transform his condition into that which is a victorious life. And he speaks with the confidence of the name of the Lord Jesus and I’ll tell you what, he is speaking to the millions of people and leading thousands and thousands to faith in Jesus Christ. He’s using his body for the glory of God. And it’s a powerful understanding.
Romans 12 verse 1 & 2,”I urge you brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies in living and holy sacrifice which is your spiritual place of worship”. What a powerful understanding I am beseeching you. See this as worship when you are offering your body for the glory of God and His purpose, and then he says, “and the Lord is for the body”. There is an eternal aspect to the body. Notice what it says in verse 14, “God is not only raised in the Lord but will also raise us up through His power”. There is an eternal aspect of your body. You have a glorified imperishable body in heaven. You will be recognized for who you are because you will appear as you appear now. You will be recognizable because you have the same body but glorified. It’s a new and improved version which is wonderful. Because the older we get, the more we realize that new and improved is needed, because this is old and intrepid. When we get to heaven, no more glasses, don’t even put them in the coffin, I don’t need them. We’re going to have new and improved bodies.
I was thinking the other day… don’t you wonder sometimes, what age you’re going to be in heaven and how you’re going to look in heaven? Of course we are having these long conversations with our granddaughter, you know, will I recognize my mom etcetera? Yes, you will absolutely. The glorious understanding of what we have in heaven. You know our son in law is home, you know, he just got back from deployment in Afghanistan. And my son is here on leave. He’s about to be deployed. And so they’re back, young boys and so, hey, let’s go running. I said sure I’ll go running, you run very fast? ‘Not really’. ‘Good’. So we go out to stretch and we take off. And pretty soon his idea of running slow is not my idea of running slow. I mean he just takes off and I am running with him and I was like ‘huh uh huh uh huh uh’ and he is like over there ‘uh huh uh huh’ and he is like ‘are you even breathing hard’? We have to run all the way to the church and that’s where we we’re going to take a break. And I’m like dying and he’s like ‘I love what you guys are doing here’ (motioning to the scenery/building). This is making me sick. So then my son, he goes for a run yesterday and comes back and I said ‘how far did you run?’ ‘Almost 8 miles’. ‘Really, how long did it take you?’ ‘About 43 minutes’. That’s like a dead sprint the whole way and I thought, well, when I get to heaven I’m going to out run my son. New and improved version.
See, there is the whole thing, chapter 15 of First Corinthians tells us there is an eternal aspect of the body. It’s eternal in aspect glorified. The whole point is to see the value of what you have. See the value is changing their perspective. They came from the world, they brought their worldly perspectives with them. They came from Corinth, they brought the Corinth view with them. God is going to change them because God’s view of this thing is higher. God’s view of this thing has more honor. It’s got more honor. Think of this word. Honor is a very powerful way to live. Live with some honor. It is a glorious understanding. I will give you that which has honor. I’ll give you that which has strength. I’ll build in your life that is glory. It’s just a better way to live. Honor is better than dishonor, my friends.
A. Sexuality and spirituality are connected
So he builds his case. He says now, listen, the point he is trying to make, is that sexuality and spirituality are interconnected. Spirituality and sexuality are connected. “Do you not know”, he says, “that your bodies are members of Christ?”. This is a powerful understanding that your bodies are members of Christ. If we could only take in all of this; it’s transforming to spiritually appraise it. See, they were taking sexuality lightly. Like food, no, no, it’s not like food. There is no such thing as casual sex in the definition of God. The reason there is no such thing is because sexuality and spirituality are interconnected. Notice in verse 17, we’re joined together in one spirit. Our bodies are members of Christ. Now he says this in other places. For example, Ephesians 5:30-32, “we are members of his body” he says similarly.
Some might say I know what that means, I’ve read it before. Paul says we are one body; one is an eye, one is a hand, one is a foot. That’s not what he means here. He uses as a proof text, the statement from Genesis 2:24, which speaks of husband and wife. We are members of His body and he speaks of husband and wife. Yes, “for this cause a man shall leave his mother and father and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh”. Now this mystery is great but I am speaking with a reference to Christ and the church. I’ll tell you what, if you step back and think through those verses, it is absolutely powerful. It is absolutely mind blowingly powerful. In other words, to see the relationship of husband and wife, even the sexual aspects of it, represents the relationship of Christ to the church. See both husband and wife become one flesh and, because they become one flesh, they’re connected in their souls. This is really important. Husband and wife, one flesh, are connected in their souls. Notice that Paul quotes from Genesis 2:24, the famous husband wife passage, both in Ephesians 5 and First Corinthians 6, because it is the same point.
God’s intent from the creation of man is that sexuality represents the intimacy and closeness of God and man. Even in the Old Testament. Here is another quote. Isaiah 54:5, “Your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of Hosts, and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth”. He places His spirit within us. He says we are joined together through the Lord in one Spirit. In other words, there is a connection to God that is deeply spiritual. There is a spiritual and soulful intimacy between God and His people. There is a spiritual and soulful intimacy between God and His people and if you can receive it, if you have ears to hear it, the Holy Spirit is called the holy seat of God. And, then, he goes on to say, “do you not know we are the temples of the Holy Spirit?”. Verse 19: “if your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, then sexual immorality is an offense to the Holy Spirit. Do you not know you are the temple of the Living God?”. Step back and see what it means.
B. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit
He says something similar in Second Corinthians 6:14-16. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers. What partnership has righteousness and lawlessness? What fellowship has light with darkness? What harmony has Christ has Belial, another word for sin. What has the believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the Living God”. Now this would mean a lot to them because the temple of Aphrodite is right there. You see you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Don’t you bring that temple up there. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Don’t you bring the temple there. Don’t you bring immorality into that. Do you not know who you are? Don’t you know that you have a soulful and spiritual intimacy with God? And sexuality is an intimacy of oneness. Powerful understanding. You know there is a time in Israel’s history when idolatry had gotten so bad, so bad that they had actually set up idols in the temple of the Living God in Jerusalem. I can’t believe that. Oh, it’s true, when Josiah brought revival, he said, get that out of there and take all high places out of Israel. That’s the revival we need. Get that out of there because it is to be filled by the Holy Spirit.
C. Know when to run
That is the place where God’s Spirit dwells. There is where the presence of the Living God is to be seen, in the temple. You are the temple, he says, don’t you see it? In the same way, when you imagine the offense that immorality brings into the Temple of God. This is spiritually appraised if we could only understand the depth of the meaning. If we could only understand sexuality from God’s point of view, it would change us. The world has no idea, they don’t understand it. They can’t understand it because this is spiritually appraised but you understand it. You can see it because you have the Spirit and you are the Temple of the Living God. And you have that honor and you have what God has given to you by His Spirit. And He is calling us to live by it; that we might have the revival that comes from it. And so he gives a very practical answer, he says, let me tell you what to do. Run, flee, get out of there. There is a time to stand and fight, but this is not it. Do not fight. Run. Run as fast as you can.
The Scripture says, ‘the Name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and are saved’. Why do you run? Why don’t you stand and fight? Reason you don’t stand and fight is because you are in the camp of the enemy. You are in the very tent of the enemy. You will not defeat the enemy in his own tent. You will not defeat the enemy in his own camp. You are on the wrong turf. Don’t fight there. Never fight the enemy on his own turf. You run to the Tower of the Lord and you run as fast as you can. The prevalent thing today is pornography. It is all around us. It has a power and a grip on many people. He is saying to you, ‘do you understand that you can be free?’. You run from there. Stop trifling with it. You run from there. You be set free because I have so much more than that for you. Do not be deceived. It is pulling you down. You’re missing out on that which the Spirit wants for you, which is victory that God has for you, and He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
Be filled with power, don’t be filled with that. You are the temple of the Living God. Be filled with Joy, don’t be filled with that. I’ll give you light instead of darkness. I’ll give you life instead of death. I’ll build your spirit rather than that which is draining you of life. I’ll build victory over you. Do you want victory? Run. One of the things, one of the sayings that I have that captures this truth, is ‘if it is not right, I don’t want it. If God is not in it, I don’t want it. If God isn’t blessing it, I don’t want it.’ Amen? That can be applied to many things. Sexually, if God is not in it, I don’t want it. Business things, if God’s favor is not in it, I don’t want it. One of the best biblical illustrations of knowing when to run is Joseph.
Joseph, when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, he ran as fast as he could. She even wouldn’t let go of his cloak so he got out and ran. Very wise man, very wise. Second Timothy 2:22 to 23, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness.” Get the contrast. Flee from that and pursue. Run after this: righteousness, faith, love and peace. With those who call upon the Lord from pure heart. See the reason, this is so important, is because spiritual immorality has such a devastating spiritual impact. Immorality has a devastating spiritual impact because spirituality and immorality are interconnected. See, the problem with the flesh is that the flesh does not consider the consequences. The flesh is only living in the moment. The flesh wants what it wants and it wants it now. The flesh says me want. Me want food. Me want women. Me want whatever. That’s the flesh. It doesn’t think of the consequence, that’s your job. Your job is to say you want what? You know the consequences of that are devastating, you’re not getting that. So you need to stop it. Because I want that which is higher, I want that which has honor, I want that which is greater. So you can just stop it.
There is the victory that God wants. I’ve seen the consequences of immorality over and over. First, it drains the life, it just drains the spiritual life out of a person. It just drains their faith then depression, emptiness and fear. Roman 6:21, I love this verse, “what benefit did you gain? Did it help you in any way?”. Well, it was kind of fun at the moment. Yeah, but don’t you see what it did? It destroyed you. You didn’t gain anything. What benefit did you gain from the things of which you’re now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. Don’t you know you’re not your own? You’re not your own, you’ve been bought with a price. How dare you, do you not know who you are? You have the Holy Spirit of the Living God dwelling in your soul; live by that glory. You know what comes when assessing the value of something? Probably one of the best stories in the Bible is that of the twins, Esau and Jacob, sons of Isaac.
Esau was born first. So, therefore, because he was born first, he has the right of the first born. If you understand Jewish history, that’s a huge thing. First born rights weigh more than anything else. Esau loved the outdoors, loved hunting, loved game. One day he was out all day long hunting, famished he didn’t eat anything. Comes back from all day put in the field, and he smelled something rafting in the air. Jacob has made some stew, red stew. He can smell it, and it smelled good. When you are famished, when you are hungry, the drives of that appetite are very, very strong. He smelled that food, he was famished, and so he came in the tent, and said ‘give me some of that red stew there’. Jacob said, ‘okay sure, wait, wait, sell me your birth-right for it’. What? You can almost hear Esau saying, sell my birth right for a bowl of stew? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my entire life. Are you trying to suggest to me that my birth right is equal to a bowl of stew? That is ludicrous, that is how stupid that is. Actually, that’s not what Esau said. What Esau said was, ‘Okay’. But, then, Jacob said, ‘oh no, no, no swear it. What good is my birth right if I am famished?’. ‘Swear it’. ‘Fine’. Thus, Esau despised his birth right. Esau didn’t see the value. There is Jacob’s stew all around us.
We’re living in Corinth. He says, can you spiritually appraise this? Can you see from God’s perspective? Can you see the value of that which is honorable and good? I will not be mastered by anything, Paul said, because I want that which has honor. I want that which has glory. I want that which is of the Lord.
Let’s pray. Father, thank you for touching us with Truth, filling us by your Spirit. You have called us out of the same culture, the same influences, and You’re calling us to victory. God, I pray that today, each one of us would open our hearts to You, and say, I want more of the Spirit of Life. I want that which is glorious. I want that which has honor. I want that spiritual maturity in my life. Church this morning, would you open your heart? Would you say that to the Lord? God I want you to know this I want that victory. I want that revival. I want that honor. I want that life. Church is that what your heart desires? Would you just raise your hands and say boldly to the Lord, unashamedly, boldly, don’t resist the Holy Spirit. He is calling you to revival. I want revival too. God is moving upon us. His Spirit is touching us. He is the One who is pulling our life and He gives honor. Lord, thank You so much for how You’ve touched us. How You blessed us. We honor You through it all. In Jesus name.
1 Corinthians 6:9-20 NASB
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.