Summary: An exposition of I Corinthians 6:12-20

Islington Baptist Church June 17, 2001

Series: Big issues/problems for Christians

Text: I Corinthians 6: 12-20

Scriptures: Romans 6-8, Ephesians 4-5, I Corinthians 5

Sexual immorality

As you might know, we are in the midst of a 6 week series entitled “Big problems for Christians—the reality is they are not just big problems for Christians—they are big problems for everybody. So far we have considered these two topics: the tongue and forgiveness.

Today we are going to talk about sexual purity. It just so happens that we live in a culture that has sexualized just about everything in sight. It’s gotten so bad that even the Ontario Milk Board uses sex to sell milk. Everywhere you and I turn sex is being peddled and used to attract our attention.

To a degree we have become desensitized to this continual bombardment. Evidence of such is this: What used to be scandalous is now passe, acceptable, and tame. Children born out of wedlock, people living together in sin, common law arrangements, sex education—or should we call it sex promotion in the schools, acres of flesh visible on 90% of the women walking on the street and sometimes even in church, illicit sexual behavior in T.V show after T.V show.

We accept these things almost as if nothing is wrong. This is not right.

Today I come with a basic assumption in mind: My assumption is this: If you are anywhere past the age of 10, sexual purity is most likely an issue for you.

It could the magazines and books you read (men—visual porn, men: verbal porn—romance novels, Cosmo magazines, etc). It could be the conversations you have and your speech. It could be television. It could be the relationships you are in or have been in. It could have to do with your computer use. It could have to do with your mind as walk down the street or through the mall. It could be the clothes that you wear and the attitudes towards sexual behavior that you have or are forming.

Today we are going to consider I Corinthians 6:12-20. As you might be guessing: this is a text that calls us to sexual purity.

Before we read this passage though I want to make one important point: This is not a sermon that makes sex into a bad thing. The sex drive that God gave you is a good thing. However, with that said, sex is something that God invented exclusively for married people, and for their enjoyment.


As you may or may not know, Corinth was one morally bankrupt city. Corinth was a city known for sexually immorality. 1000 temple prostitutes plied their trade each night on the cities streets. Every imaginable sexual perversion was practiced in the city of Corinth.

By the grace of God a number of the citizens of Corinth came to Jesus Christ and faith in him alone. Unfortunately, their past sins continued to haunt them and the church of Corinth began to be known as sexually loose church. Paul, who founded the church was obviously distressed by this and as the books of Corinthians indicate, he spent much time correcting them in this area.

I. WHY THEY WERE DOING WHAT THEY DOING- a consideration of the reasons they had for sinning sexually. v.12-13

When you and I act we always have reasons for why we do the things we do. Sometimes the reasons we have and the rationale we have is sound and good, sometimes not.

When it came to what Paul and the Bible terms as “immoral sexual practice –and here the term in our text refers to a wide range of sexual sins”, the Corinthians, believe or not had reasons for they were doing what they were doing—and of course they thought that their rationale and reasons were good and sound—but they weren’t.

In v.12-13 of our text Paul takes them head on in respect to the reasons they had for involving themselves in sexual immorality—which by the way—they didn’t completely see as a spiritual problem.

Reason #1 for their rampant and immoral sexual practice: Christian liberty: “All things were lawful for them”

Over and over again Paul had preached to them and to us (Romans 6-8—encourage you to read if want a fuller understanding of this discussion), that in Christ, we are no longer under law. The Corinthians took this message to heart and became so “liberated” that they found themselves enslaved to sin all over again.

In this text Paul does not rescind or shoot down his teaching regarding Christian liberty—for indeed we have been set free and liberty is an important subject. But note this: he does temper it by saying two things “all things are not helpful” and, “I will not be brought under the power of anything”.

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