Summary: We are to please God with our bodies.


I Corinthians 6:12-20

S: Holiness

C: Our bodies are to be used to honor God.

Th: Live the Difference

Pr: We are to please God.

?: How?

KW: Issues

TS: We will find in our study of I Corinthians 6:12-20, three issues that we must act on in order to please God with our bodies.

The _____ issue we must act on is…

I. WISDOM (12-14)


III. WORSHIP (19-20)


· Recognize our bodies are not separate from our soul/spirit.

· Practice sexuality the way God has designed it.

· Fulfill our purpose is to please (satisfy, glorify) God.

Version: ESV

RMBC 16 May 04 AM


Have you ever noticed that certain adults get nervous around kids?

Do you know one of the most common times it happens?

It happens when the topic of sex comes up!

For example…

ILL Notebook: Sex (parallelogram)

New to teaching, Craig Maginnis was finishing up his fourth-grade class’ unit on genetics when Robert raised his hand. “I understand how a mother gives the baby her genes,” he said, “but how does the father do it?”

Unprepared for the question, Mr. Maginnis told him to ask his parents.

“They won’t know,” he said.

“They’ll know,” Mr. Maginnis assured him.

“No, they won’t,” he persisted.

“How can you be so sure?”

The boy’s answer, “They don’t even know what a parallelogram is.”

Well, when it comes to this subject, we parents do get a bit tongue-tied.

But, at the same time, we recognize that it needs to be talked about.

There is something very precious and very sacred about sexuality that must be communicated to our children.

For frankly, they are not going to get it from our culture.

Instead, they are going to hear the opposite from the media, from friends, and even the educational system.


Our study today is about sexuality.

But we are considering it under the heading of our larger theme for the year.

1. Our theme this year is “Live the Difference.”

To “live the difference” means that we have the ability and the responsibility to live differently than we did before we received Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Before we were believers, we had no choice.

But now that the Holy Spirit lives in us, we are able to live differently.

We can, by God’s power, live a life that is holy and righteous.


2. During our last study in I Corinthians (which was way back in March), we discussed our rights as Christians.

The particular topic was lawsuits.

Apparently, there were members of the church that were taking each other to court, demanding that their rights be satisfied.

It was during this study, we identified the lies that we often believe.

For example…

Sometimes we believe that when a disagreement occurs, that we can’t settle it on our own.

It’s not true.

Sometimes we say, “I have my rights!”

It is a lie, for if we stopped to consider what we really deserve, we would show more consideration for others.

And sometimes we believe the lie that people should just take us the way we are.

But what is important, is not just who we are, but who we are called to become.

As we move into this next section…

3. Paul continues to challenge the church about its freedom.

Now that Paul has demonstrated to the Corinthians that they were not free to take each other to court, he also explains that their application of freedom in regard to sex is also askew.

You see, as believers…


And more specifically, we are to please God with our bodies.

When it comes to sex, God has given us some fairly specific instruction.

We are instructed to be sexually pure.

This means that if we are not married, we abstain from sexual activity.

Sexual activity, though, does have one rightful place.

And as I like to tell my kids, you need to have a license for it.

It is in a heterosexual marriage.

This is God’s design.

God has designed a man and a woman to be fully committed to one another.

And when we do this according to His design, we discover something really great.

It works.

As he writes about these matters, we should note that…

5. Paul is speaking to a sex-saturated culture (cf. Ecclesiastes 1:9).

This may surprise you, but the “Sexual Revolution” was not invented in the 20th century.

You see, the testimony of Ecclesiastes rings true here:

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

So what we experience today is not new.

The Corinthian church existed in the midst of a permissive society, where the philosophy of “if it feels good, do it” was the norm.

The general population of Corinth was fully committed to self-gratification.

In the center of Corinth was the temple of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sex.

The building dominated the skyline.

And the practices that accompanied the worship dominated the economy.

For the worship of Aphrodite was fully integrated with the practice of prostitution.

Sexual relations with prostitutes were so pervasive in Corinth, that the practice was known in the Greek and Roman world as “Corinthianizing.”

Now some of you may find this hard to believe, but in this atmosphere of intellectual arrogance, moral depravity, and unrestrained materialism, there were believers that believed that there was nothing wrong with continuing with the practice.

Some in the church were going to prostitutes and thus, arguing for the right to do so.

They believed that since they were people of the Spirit, they had moved to a higher plane.

They were now in the realm of the spirit, therefore what happened to the body was irrelevant.

This is what Paul is facing in our text today.

He knows that the Corinthian conclusion is incorrect.


6. We will find in our study of I Corinthians 6:12-20, three issues that we must act on in order to please God with our bodies.


I. The first issue we must act on is WISDOM (12-14).

(12) "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything. (13) "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food" — and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (14) And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

The phrase of “all things are lawful for me” was probably a Corinthian slogan.

We don’t know for sure, but Paul may have applied it in reference to the concept of Christian freedom.

For when he had been teaching them about the nonessentials, he was teaching freedom.

There was no longer a legalistic following of rules and regulations so as to attain salvation.

But Paul wants the Corinthians to truly show wisdom here.

There is no open invitation to sin, because nothing ever good comes from it.

And so we learn that…

1. We are to use our freedom to build.

The Christian is not free to do as he or she pleases.

That really isn’t freedom, but rather, it is a form of bondage.

For example, if I want to skydive without a parachute, you certainly could say I have attained freedom from the parachute.

And at first, it feels great – no restraints, no restrictions, no hang-ups…

But I can’t fight the consequences, even if I change my mind.

Gravity is going to work.

And I will, in the end, go splat.

So Paul is saying that the question is not whether it is permissible or lawful.

The issue is whether it is good.

Is it helpful to those around me?

Does it build me…does it build others…spiritually?

Or does it do the opposite?

Sin never brings a profit to our lives.

It never works for our benefit.

It always tears down.

It always destroys.

It always brings a loss, one way or another.

This being true, then…

2. We are not to indulge that which shackles us.

Again, Paul is speaking in regard to our sexual desires.

If we do not master them, they will certainly make us their willing slaves.

You see, sexuality outside of God’s design, brings multiplied pitfalls and problems.

It breaks up homes.

It causes heartache.

And disease accompanies it.

Then you add in what inevitably comes with it…lying, cheating, stealing, bitterness, hatred, slander, gossip, unforgiveness…and you have to wonder why individuals don’t demonstrate more discipline in regard to their sexuality.

Let’s be clear here…

3. We are meant to be sexually pure.

In Randy Alcorn’s book, The Purity Principle (which I highly recommend to anyone struggling with sexual sin, whether you have committed it or not), he says this…

“Purity is always smart; impurity is always stupid.”

You know…God is not against sex!

Believe it or not, He created it and He blessed it.

Our sexuality is a part of all that is good.

And so, when it is found exclusively in marriage, sex is beautiful, satisfying and stabilizing.

It becomes the proper expression of intimacy and lifelong commitment.

And when this expression occurs, our Creator smiles.

You see, the sexual act is more than physiological.

This is much more complicated than “food for the stomach.”

God has designed our sexuality to be much more than just a simple act of biology.

It is an act of the whole person.

Sexual activity is designed to be expressed thoughtfully and carefully.

This means that…

4. The body is not a non-issue.

If that was so, Jesus would not have had one.

We have bodies, just like Jesus.

This means that we are men and women who are eternal instruments through which the grace of God is displayed.

And not only that, we are vessels that contain the very character of God – created in His image.

Even when we die, this is not the end of the story when it comes to our body.

In the final consummation, when we look forward to a new heaven and a new earth, we will once again have a body to experience the final wholeness that God intended.

Which directly leads us to…

II. The second issue we must act on is WHOLENESS (15-18).

(15) Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! (16) Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." (17) But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. (18) Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

ILL Notebook: Marriage (cut off circulation)

Soon after Paul and Marilyn were married, Paul stopped wearing his wedding band.

"Why don’t you ever wear your ring?" Marilyn asked.

"It cuts off my circulation," Paul replied.

"I know," she said. "It’s supposed to."

Marriage is meant to be an exclusive relationship.

We are no longer available to others.

We are committed fully to our partner, and the expression of that is found in our sexual relationship.


1. The sexual act brings unity to its participants.

This unity is not only physical.

It is also emotional.

It is psychological.

And it is spiritual.

In C. S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters, he describes the sexual relationship this way…

“Every time a man and a woman enter into a sexual relationship a spiritual bond is established between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.”

As Christians, we can never treat our bodies, or consider our sexuality, as something apart from our spiritual lives.

Simply, our body is not designed for sexual license.

You see, sexuality is intensely intertwined with our spirituality and our faith.

So, if a believer participates in sexual activity outside the marriage bond, such as prostitution in this text, it is the abuse of that which is meant to be tender.

That which is meant to be a relationship of commitment, is disregarded and treated flippantly.

And not only that, we have dragged Jesus into our sexual indulgence.


2. We belong to Christ (cf. John 15:4).

Jesus said, “Abide in Me and I in you.”

You see, the believer’s body is to be understood as joined to Christ’s own body that was raised from the dead.

We belong together.

It is a mutually exclusive relationship.

For example, you can’t be a member of the United States and al Qaeda.

It is an incompatible union.

It is a betrayal.

In the same way, we betray our Creator, and we displease Him, when we reject His design of sexuality.

It is a betrayal that also destroys us.


3. Sexual sin is unique and corrupts us on the deepest human level.

We are not trying to rate sins here.

But I believe it is fair to say that sexual sin is unique.

It rises from within the body, bent on personal gratification, and it drives us likes no other impulse.

And when we misuse it, it destroys us.

It dehumanizes us.

It animalizes us.

We become more coarse and less sensitive.

In effect, we become idolaters who have placed our desires in front of God Himself.

So, Paul’s directions are very clear at this point.

When it comes to sexual sin, we are to flee!

We are not to walk away casually.

We are to get out of there!

So, what are you feeding your mind?

ILL Notebook: Sex (pornography statistics)

The statistics regarding pornography are staggering with the advent of the computer and the internet:

There are now over 4.2 million pornographic websites.

There are over 68 million pornographic search engine requests made daily.

Each day, there are 2.5 billion pornographic e-mails.

40 million U.S. adults regularly visit pornographic websites.

And 47% of Christians say that pornography is a problem in their home.

This is the one time that I want to say that it pays to be coward.

For when it comes to our out-of-control sexual desires, he who runs, lives.

This is not to say that this is easy.

It is hard.

ILL Notebook: Purity (hard being a virgin)

Jeremy Bassett’s 5-year-old niece, Olivia, and her best friend, Claire, were participating in a nativity play at school. Claire was playing Mary, and Olivia was an angel.

Before the show, a young boy was going around the dressing room repeating, "I’m a sheep, what are you?" Each child responded politely, including Olivia, who proudly declared she was an angel.

The boy then turned to Claire, still struggling into her costume with her mother’s help, and repeated the question to her: "I’m a sheep, what are you?"

Claire simply said, "I’m Mary."

Realizing he was face to face with a lead character, he felt he needed to justify his own role. "It’s hard being a sheep, you know," he said with all the seriousness of a 5-year-old actor with a big part.

Claire’s equally serious response was humorously profound. "Yes," said Claire innocently, "but it’s also hard being a virgin, you know."

It is hard.

Because when passion strikes, it does not tend to be sensible or rational.

When you are in the midst of crossing the line sexually, your body doesn’t care about your Christian convictions.

The “urge to merge” becomes difficult to deny.

So this means that dangerous situations are to be avoided, not debated.

For with sexual sin, there is no winning.

One author that I read this week called it the “plutonium of the spiritual realm.”

You just don’t mess with this stuff.

So, let me encourage you today…go for wholeness!

Refuse intimate relationships that are improper.

Refrain from dating situations that arouse too strong a sexual desire.

Avoid places that make pornography too easily observed.

Don’t experiment with sex.

Don’t ever fall for the line, “You will if you love me.”

And always remember…

“Purity is always smart; impurity is always stupid.”

Now we come to…

III. The third issue we must act on is WORSHIP (19-20).

(19) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, (20) for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1. We are the residence of God (cf. Leviticus 10:8-10).

What a tremendous truth this is!

God is in you!

In the person of the Holy Spirit, God is making each one of us His residence.

And as we study Scripture, we find that God has high standards when it comes to the place where He lives.

In Leviticus, we find this instruction about the tabernacle (which would later be applied properly to the temple)…

And the LORD spoke to Aaron, saying, "Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean…

You see, when it comes to God’s temple, His residence, there is a proper expectation of purity.

Since the temple is a place of worship and service, there is to be regular maintenance and cleaning.

Therefore, we are to be morally clean.

For wherever we go, we take Jesus with us.

It is unavoidable as a believer.

So, as crazy as this may sound, to commit sexual sin in a church auditorium is no worse than committing the sin anywhere else.

Because the offense is not the room or the building, but the fact that the sin occurred within God’s sanctuary…the human being.

We have been bought with a price.

It was an extremely expensive purchase.

We have been bought right off the slave block.

And now we are free…we are free to obey…in the recognition that our bodies are a trust from God.


2. It is the goal of the believer to satisfy God.

Our bodies have one supreme purpose…to glorify God.

He alone is worthy of our obedience.

He alone is worthy of our adoration.


I like how Larry Crabb describes this in his book Finding God (p.40)…

ILL Notebook: Worship (God and Me)

I must surrender my fascination with myself to a more worthy preoccupation with the character and purposes of God. I am not the point. He is. I exist for Him. He does not exist for me.



This is what we are made for…

We have been freed.

It is not so that we would be free to sin, but so that we would be freed from sin.

You may remember Tina Turner’s hit in the 80s, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”

Well, that title inspired our message title today.

And it makes us pause to ask the question…

“What’s the body got to do with it?”


2. God has given us bodies to use for His glory (Romans 12:1-2).

Paul will later write these familiar verses that really explain our present text.

He writes…

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The use of our bodies, including our sexuality, is to be a matter of worship.

It is for His glory.

So when our thoughts reflect His, He is worshipped.

When our passions reflect His, He is adored.

When our actions reflect His, He is honored.

So remember…

3. God is glorified when we follow His design of sexuality.

Sex is not bad or evil.

Far from it!

Sexuality is a great gift, to be enjoyed and celebrated.

There is so much to learn from it, whether we are single or married.

So don’t be afraid to meditate on it.

For the passion a man and a wife have for each other, is just a small sample of the passion God has for each one of us…His church.

To God be the glory.

Might each one of us please Him today.

BENEDICTION: [Counselors are Dan and Kathy Miller]

Be wise and please God…be discerning about sexuality – understand its goodness – refuse to abuse it…to the glory of God.

Be whole and please God…for we belong to Christ – and now we are given the ability and responsibility to be whole – following the creative design…to the glory of God.

Be worshipful and please God…for we have been bought with a price – and now He resides in us – so that we might live…to the glory of God.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.


Blomberg, Craig, The NIV Application Commentary

Fee, Gordon, The New International Commentary on the New Testament

MacArthur, John, I Corinthians

Alcorn, Randy, The Purity Principle

How to Know If Something Is Worthwhile Doing, Dave Hartson

Caring for God’s Temple, Carl Willis

The Danger of Taking Shortcuts, Tom Fuller

What Once Was – Now Is Not, Rick Stacy

Body Talk, Bradley Boydston

It’s My Life and My Body! Gerald Flury

Inattention to True Sexual Freedom, Doug Goins

What Are Bodies For? Ray C. Stedman