- 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
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;
- 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.
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.
the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord
is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members
of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one
who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord
is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you
have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.