Summary: All Christians should refrain from any activity with their body that does not honor it as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
John 8:31-32 (NIV)
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The messages in this series on Real Life Christianity have been a bit heavy. Paul deals with some pretty tough subjects that hit pretty close to home for a lot of us. I was thinking about maybe doing a “lighter” message this week – but then during our Thursday AM prayer time one of the people there brought up the verse I just read. “You will know the truth – and the truth will set you free.” They reminded me that unless I speak the truth – even though it may be a hard truth – people like you will be in bondage. And if I want to follow my calling as God as given it to me, I MUST tell the truth from God’s word.
So before I actually begin today’s message, which I’m pretty sure is going to make a lot of us feel uncomfortable at some point, I’d like for us all to pray for the fulfillment of John 8:32 in our lives – that we would know the truth, but more than that, the truth would set us free! Let’s pray….
Error in Corinth: God has saved me by grace and has freed me from the Jewish law. Because salvation is free Christians are free to do whatever they want with their bodies. After all, salvation is a “spiritual” thing, and our bodies are only “temporary”. They believed that as long as they loved the Lord with their spirits – it really didn’t matter what they did with their bodies.
This kind of living was especially “convenient” for the Corinthian men who had converted to Christianity from the pagan religions of Corinth. Many of these pagan religions considered it an act of “worship” to have sexual relations with a shrine prostitute, and so the city was filled with opportunities for sexual immorality that was acceptable to the culture. But evidently many of them did not consider this a problem, since sexual immorality only involved their bodies and not their spirit or soul.
This kind of thinking crops up all over the place in 21st century America. Thousands of people in America claim to be “Christians” and yet their lives are no different than the people around them who are not Christians. They have been “saved” or so they think – but their behavior has never changed. They still follow any desire their physical body has, with little thought of how this type of living is actually in opposition to the type of life Christians are called to live.
Paul addresses this in 1 Cor. 6:9-20, leading them to the conclusion that in everything they do they are to HONOR GOD WITH THEIR BODIES.
1 Corinthians 6:9-20 (NLT)
9Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, 10thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers--none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. 11There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you.
12You may say, "I am allowed to do anything." But I reply, "Not everything is good for you." And even though "I am allowed to do anything," I must not become a slave to anything. 13You say, "Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food." This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them. But our bodies were not made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14And God will raise our bodies from the dead by his marvelous power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead. 15Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16And don’t you know that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, "The two are united into one." 17But the person who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
18Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.