Summary: In this sermon we look at Paul’s arguments in 1 Corinthians 6 about the damaging effects of sexual sin. Then we discuss how to overcome sexual temptation and sin.
A. One Sunday morning, the preacher began his sermon by telling the congregation that he was going to say a series of words, and he wanted them to sing the song that came to mind when he said each word.
1. The first word he said was "rock" They immediately started singing "Rock of Ages."
2. The second word he said was "Blood" and they sang "Power in the Blood."
3. The third word was "Cross" and they began singing "The Old Rugged Cross."
4. The fourth word he said was "Sex", everyone gasped and it got very quiet.
5. After an uncomfortable moment of silence a voice was heard from way in the back of the church an 87 yr old widow stood up and started singing "Memories."
B. Sex is not a word that we say too often in church, and there is certainly a time and a place and a manner for discussion of this subject.
1. I will try my very best to be sensitive to this fact while at the same time addressing this much needed subject.
2. Like the 87 year old lady who sang “Memories,” sex is a wonderful and powerful gift created by God himself.
3. It is to be treasured and protected and blissfully experienced by men and women in loving marriages.
4. Tragically, Satan has ripped it out of its intended context and is using it to enslave and destroy humanity and spirituality.
C. As you know, we live in a sex-saturated and sex-crazed culture.
1. Every day we are bombarded by sensual images used in the advertising of everything from cleaning supplies to clothing to cars.
2. The message of most of the media – whether it be the print media, Television, music or movies – is that sex is fun and should be engaged in without reservation and without relationship or commitment.
3. The big movie that premiers this weekend is “Sex and the City,” a much awaited film based on the hugely popular HBO series. It is not hard to guess what its overall message will be.
4. Today pornography has become a multi-billion dollar industry and there are more internet sites devoted to pornography than any other subject matter.
5. Today young people are getting involved sexually at a younger and younger age. And waiting for marriage before becoming sexually active is becoming laughably old-fashioned.
6. Today more and more teachers, both male and female, are getting sexually involved with their students in public schools.
7. Today the right to engage in any kind of sexual relationship is becoming more and more protected by law as we just saw the sanctioning of gay marriage announced this week by our new governor.
D. So this is the context we find ourselves living in as we attempt to obey the Scriptural imperative for sexual purity and to honor God with our bodies.
1. In 1 Corinthians 6, the apostle Paul confronts the issue head-on as he writes to a church made up of men and women living in a society every bit as sexually distorted as ours, if not more so.
2. Let’s take a close look at Paul’s argument and his instructions for the Corinthians and then apply them to our lives.
A. Paul’s argument in today’s verses is a little hard to follow. For years I found it very confusing.
1. It helps to understand that Paul adopts the diatribe style, in which he constructs and imaginary dialogue between himself and his Corinthian readers.
2. To understand the progress of the conversation, we must reconstruct the different voices in the imaginary dialogue.
3. The Greek conception of wisdom placed a great emphasis on personal freedom, and so a favorite slogan must have been “I am free to do anything.”
4. In order to counter that attitude, Paul opened this section (verses 12-20) by quoting a series of three Corinthian slogans, each followed by his own counter-slogan in rebuttal.
5. Certainly there is some guesswork involved in reconstructing this dialogue, because the ancient Greek manuscripts do not use quotation marks, so the translator must decide where Paul is quoting a slogan and where he is offering his own rebuttal.
6. Here is a slide showing the Corinthian slogans side by side with Paul’s counter-slogans.
B. In Paul’s first rejoinder to the slogan, “Everything is permissible for me,” Paul cleverly counters their “wisdom” with another philosophical term – “beneficial” – “not all things are beneficial.”
1. Even apart from any specifically Christian reasons, Paul suggests, the extreme Corinthian position is a bad philosophy.
2. The truly wise person will not act in self-indulgent ways but will seek to act in accordance with an enlightened understanding of what is beneficial.
C. Paul then restates their slogan and offers a second rejoinder, “Everything is permissible for me…but I will not be mastered by anything.”