Summary: Message 18 in our exposition of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. This message reminds us of how our behavior as new creatures in Christ should reflect our new heritage.

Chico Alliance Church

Pastor David Welch

“New Creatures” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

I. Reproof for fleshly behavior 1-6

A. Reproof for a divided church 1-4

B. Reproof for a defiled church 5

C. Reproof for a defeated church 6

1. Defeated by lawsuits before unbelievers 1-8

2. Defeated by improper behavior 5:12-20

a) Principles of freedom 12

(1) Will it benefit me or others?

(2) Will it dominate me?

b) Bodyguard truths “Don’t you know that” 13-20

(1) The body is for the Lord and the Lord is for the body 13-14

(2) Your bodies are joined with Christ 15-17

(3) Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? 19

(4) You are not your own but have been bought with a price? 19-20

Flee immorality! Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

God designed the temple as a place where people could encounter the presence of God.

Therefore God prescribed every detail even for the portable temporary tabernacle in the wilderness. Each dimension and piece of furniture illustrated some aspect of God’s glory.

Perhaps God prescribed the temple to reflect His glory after man squandered the honorable privilege at the fall. Yet somehow by the time we enter the era of the New Testament, individual followers of Christ are called temples of God and those individual members are also part of a grand temple continually being built into a holy temple unto the Lord.

Shortly after the apostles time in 72AD, the physical temple was destroyed and has never been rebuilt. The place where God longs to display his glory and character is the body of each believer. God longs to once again use his grand creation, once marred by sin, to reflect his very nature. The soul and spirit find expression though the physical body. We sometimes only know the immaterial parts of a person by the affect on the material part. Our bodies then becomes a reflector of sin, self and Satan or the presence of the God who created it. Paul calls all Christians to glorify God in their bodies. The body is the instrument by which we not only reflect our true nature but it is also the gateway to the soul. No one can get to you without first going through some physical aspect of your body.

Eyes, ears, nose, physical touch, taste buds

These temples will resemble what they have been exposed to most. Garbage in, garbage out. If a dog does his “business” in your house it becomes apparent that a dog has been there. If we allow unclean things to enter God’s temple and deposit their garbage it will soon become evident to others. We are to glorify God in our bodies.

We must continually connect to God in such a way that His becomes evident in every smile, every word, every touch, and every deed, every thought and attitude.

We are to be a fragrant aroma of Christ to those who are perishing. How do we draw people’s attention to God through our bodies? When we function according to the Creator’s design, we bring glory to the Creator. When we live like Jesus.

When we allow Him to direct all that we do. When we allow His character to function through out lifestyle. When people encounter God’s character by what they see in our bodies. Paul reminded the Corinthians that the unrighteous have no place in God’s kingdom because they do not reflect the character of the King.

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, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 6:9-10

Those who fail to repent of their sin reflect the wickedness of the evil one.

For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find…strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances… from those who have sinned in the past and have not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced. 2 Cor. 12:20-21

The one who functions by the demands of the sinful flesh will clearly demonstrate who controls the body.

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

The one who embraces Christ and invites Him to be Lord of their life will become a beacon of God’s character to all who see.

For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 2 Cor. 4:6-7

The fruit of the Spirit (in control) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Gal 5:22-25

As fumbling as the Corinthians were, Paul called them temples of the Holy Spirit.

Listen to what he called them in the first chapter.

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor. 1:2-9

Paul reminded them that they at one time only reflected the selfish nature of the evil one but something happened.

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. 1 Cor. 6:11

How are we transformed from temples of the tempter to temples of the living God? We too must be washed, sanctified, justified.

Because Jesus paid for our sin, we can be a vessel that is cleaned by God.

By trusting Christ we can be a vessel that has been designated as something special.

By trusting Christ we can be a vessel that reflects the righteousness of Jesus.

When we attach to Jesus and He lives in us, the fruit that results is His character. Even though the members of this church struggled with living out their character, Paul recognized them as temples, vessels set aside by God to reflect his nature.

Why do we struggle? What causes us to stumble and sometimes fail in our walk with God?

This is a question that needs to be asked and finds an answer from the first chapter of second Peter.

I. Prayer for increased realization of grace and peace

A. God’s Powerful resources 2 pet :3

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

Grace (power) and peace (calmness in difficulty) increase and God provides everything needed to live a meaningful and godly life through a deeper relationship with Christ who called us

B. God’s Precious promises

How do we get to know Jesus like this?

For by these (His glory and excellence) He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises

Out of His own glorious nature and moral integrity Christ granted us precious and magnificent promises that can be trusted.

“Magnificent” = mega, great, large, loud, high, strong, big

“Precious” = valuable, costly, honored, esteemed, dear

God made those promises at a point in time and they have not nor will ever be revoked.

for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29

These are promises regarding the sharing of eternal life and becoming like Christ.

so that by them (promises) you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2 Peter 1:4

Trust in God’s promises results in sharing God’s nature.

The promise made to sinful man relates to a restoration of relationship and a sharing in God’s nature. God promises that those who believe in Him will be transferred out of the kingdom of darkness in the kingdom

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:13-14

“partakers” = sharers, associates, partners

“may become” it is important to observe the verb tense here.

We would have a tendency to understand this as a process of becoming like Christ. If that were the case Peter would have used a present tense verb. The fact is that Peter used a “point in time” verb. These promises relate to an event that happens at the moment of salvation. At the moment of faith we escape the corruption caused by unbridled desires and are transformed into a new creation with a whole new set of desires for godliness.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Cor. 5:17

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephes. 2:10

How is this possible? We are His children. He puts his nature in us. He invites us into community with the Godhead. We are the dwelling place of God, His temple. Not only do we right now possess the divine nature of God through the transformation of the Holy Spirit but our entire nature is on line for transformation.

II. Exhortation to Godly Character

Once we understand the basis of our salvation and the true meaning of faith in Christ we are able to experience growth in our character. Peter prayed to God for an increase in grace and peace. Peter also urged an increase in character.

Now that you understand God’s part. Now that you understand the basis of spiritual growth.

for this very reason also,

On the basis of God’s work in you and the fact that you BY FAITH share in God’s nature, live like it by diligently applying diligence in your faith.

applying all diligence,

This exhortation is similar to Paul’s command to the Philippians

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philip. 2:12-13 (NASB-U)

It takes work to fully appreciate and apply faith to life. When someone gives you 100 million dollars it will take work to fully invest and utilize such wealth. God has provided everything we need for a meaningful and godly life. It will take energy and diligence to fully utilize all he has provided.

“apply” = to bring along side, introduce

Now that God has done a great work of salvation we are to introduce or bring along side our faith, all diligence.

“diligence” = eagerness, haste, speed, care, earnestness.

Peter urged his readers to be serious about supplying the outward signs of an inward faith.

Supply behavior to belief; conduct to creed, actions to affirmation. Having applied diligence to what God has done, we have something to do. We are to “supply” something.

“Supply” = to furnish, aid, contribute from your own expense.

The picture was one who provides the full support of another. Those training for a chorus were assigned a benefactor who fully funded the cost of their training. When it comes to adding such virtues as Peter will list, we are to give it all we have. Many Christians look for the minimum requirements. Peter calls all believers to go for the max!

Peter lists seven aspects of godly character that define what it means to live godly. This is the natural bent of the believer. We think that we have a natural bent to evil and we have to work at godliness. Actually, God has instilled new desires; godly desires in every believer.

A. Moral excellence

in your faith supply moral excellence,

Peter used the word in his first letter. Peter used the in this letter earlier in relation to Christ’s glory and virtue or moral excellence.

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9

The best way to proclaim those excellencies is to let them show through our life. Paul identified this as something that should occupy our thinking.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philip. 4:8

The concept most likely has to do with a moral excellence or even a spiritual dynamic. Peter urged a strong faith and a moral purity and mastery of God’s life principles to match. An urgency to be like Christ. A desire to live godly.

B. Knowledge

and in your moral excellence, knowledge,

Along with “moral excellence” we need to fully supply “knowledge” to our faith. This word referred to knowledge or understanding in general or had a specific focus. In this context, it most likely referred to a deeper knowledge about God and His ways. Our quest to know God must be a lifelong quest. As we live godly we gain a greater ability to understand God’s will and ways. Just as Paul prayed for the Colossians, to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will lead to a deeper knowledge of God which led in turn to a stronger influence of God’s will.

C. Self-control

and in your knowledge, self-control,

The Greeks viewed this virtue as the ability to keep one’s passions under control. It described one who was not self indulgent but self controlled. It is obvious that such an inner control is a result of one who is yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit.

D. Perseverance

and in your self-control, perseverance,

We find this word quite often in Scripture. It combines the preposition “under” and the word “remain” thus the meaning to remain under is derived.

To endure is not just to grit out teeth until it is over because I don’t have any choice. This endurance voluntarily endures the suffering with purpose and hope realizing that God is in control and that there is a purpose greater than my happiness or comfort at stake.

E. Godliness

and in your perseverance, godliness,

It is made up of two words, “well” and “to worship” thus to worship well or respond well to God and people. This word generally had to do with those who exhibited complete devotion to God and concerned duty toward human beings. This is the virtue mentioned earlier that God has made abundant provision to develop. It has the idea of proper response to God and men. Godliness describes one who exhibits proper response to worth both in God and men. It is worthship. We are to eagerly cultivate such honoring response first to God and to others. People have worth that demands worthship because they were made in God’s image.

Later Peter calls the false teachers “ungodly.” They demonstrated no devotion to God or a sense of duty toward their fellow man but only a drive to satisfy their base passions.

F. Brotherly kindness (philos)

and in your godliness, brotherly kindness,

Here, Peter urges believers to cultivate, by faith, a sense of companionship or partnership with one another.

G. Love (agape)

and in your brotherly kindness, love

This is an unconditional commitment to pursue relationship with someone and do all we can to support them.

III. The benefits of Godly character

A. Useful and fruitful in the knowledge of God

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing,

Peter identifies the condition by which the addition of these virtues upon one another will be beneficial. They must be “continually in you” and “continually increasing” If they are, they will continually make you useful and fruitful in your relationship with Christ.

they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Does our relationship with Christ make a difference in how we live?

What if we do not possess these qualities or are not growing in them?

Our relationship with Christ will be neither useful nor fruitful.

What keeps us from developing these virtues?

For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

The reason we miss the boat is because we have forgotten what Jesus did.

We forget who we are. We forget what He did for us.

We forget what He promises us. We forget what is really important. We forget that we are not the same. We forget that we are purified saints. We forget that we no longer need to be slaves to sin but are alive to God.

B. Stability (never stumble)

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you;

for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble

“stumble” = error, fall, offend, fail

C. A glorious heavenly reception

for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 2 Peter 1:8-11

Remember who you are and what Christ has done!

Only as we realize that we have been made partakers of divine nature through faith in the promises of God will we live differently. When we forget, we stumble. When we remember, we realize and increase godly character. We have escaped the corruption that is in the world through evil desire. We share in God’s very nature. We are no longer children of Adam but Christ.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:13-19

True life, true freedom is to live as God intended. To live any other way is bondage.

Bondage to our own evil desires.

Bondage to sin.

Bondage to sin’s consequences.

Bondage to Satan’s purposes.

You are God’s temple. You are the one place where God longs to show His character to a dark world. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. That is what it means to glorify God in your body.

What kind of temple are you?

Whose nature do you reflect to those around you?

Have you forgotten who God made you?

Have you forgotten your purpose to proclaim His excellencies by practicing His excellencies?

What are you allowing to defile God’s temple? Remember since you are the body of Christ every action you do in the body affects Christ. You have been cleansed, you have been set apart as special vessels, and you share in Christ’s divine nature. Work out what God has worked in. Diligently trust God to add and increase character to your faith.