Summary: Paul’s teaching on sexual immorality (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 12-20:
• One day a little girl asked her dad a question;
• “Dad, where did I come from?”
• An embarrassed Dad nervously replied; “Good question, when you were little a stork flew over our house and left you in a basket on our doorstep, one day we opened up the door and there you were!”
• Then she asked her mum a similar question;
• “Mum, where did you come from?”
• Mum replied; “Good question, well, one day a stork flew over your Grandma’s house and left me in a basket on the doorstep!”
• Still not convinced the little girl asked her Grandma the same question;
• “Grandma, where did you come from?”
• Grandma replied; “Good question, one day a stork flew over your great Grandma’s house and left me on the doorstep”.
• The little girl wrote in her school homework book;
• “There has not been a natural birth in our family for three generations!”
At times we may get embarrassed talking about sex:
• But the Bible isn’t!
• It speaks very straight indeed about the good use and the misuse of the gift of sex.
• In Corinth nobody got embarrassed talking about sex.
• It was in your face!
• The city was sex mad;
• ill: Similar today to say visiting Bangkok or certain parts of Amsterdam or Soho.
• As you looked over the city skyline your eyes would gaze upon;
• The temple to Aphrodite.
• And every evening the 1,000 priests and priestesses (male and female prostitutes);
• Would come down from the temple into the streets to ply their trade.
• Sex with prostitutes was part of their pagan religion;
• And therefore it was assumed to be the norm.
When the message of Christianity started to spread in the city of Corinth:
• It cut across the grain;
• With its different morals and its distinctive view of sex.
• New converts to Jesus Christ were facing tough choices;
• Their traditions and culture said one thing regarding sex.
• But their Bible (O.T. only) and their Pastor – the Apostle Paul taught something else.
The Corinthian Christians may have misunderstood Paul’s teaching,
• If not they certainly misapplied it;
• The Corinthian Church seemed to have divided themselves into two groups.
• There were some Christians who were outright permissive.
• In their views regarding sex.
• These Christians who were indistinguishable in their sexual morals;
• From the pagans round about them.
• They took the attitude; ‘Do whatever you want – God forgives us in Christ’.
• There were other Christians who were outright revolted by all this sexual licence;
• In fact they became abstinent;
• Taking on the attitude that sex was bad – best to be avoided;
• And Paul deals with that particular attitude in chapter 7.
• In this section of this letter (vs 12-20), Paul deals with that first attitude:
• That ‘grace’ allows us to live how we like and practice whatever we like.
• In most modern translations of the Bible (i.e. N.I.V.);
• Three phrases in this passage are enclosed in quotations marks.
• Verse 12a: “I have the right to do anything,”
• Verse 12b: “I have the right to do anything”,
• Verse 13a: “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food.”
• This is the editors’ way of showing us,
• That it appears the apostle Paul was quoting and then answering statements;
• That had been made to him, probably by the Corinthian Christians.
• That Paul quotes these phrases back to them:
• But he also adds his commentary and explanation as to what they mean.
• “I have the right to do anything -but not everything is beneficial.”
• “I have the right to do anything -but I will not be mastered by anything.”
• “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.”
• Paul then gives these Corinthian Christians some further instruction;
• Notice that the key word in Paul’s argument is ’body’.
• Body means a lot more in the New Testament than animal tissue.
• If you are an adult of average weight, here is what you accomplish in 24 hours:
• Your heart beats 103689 times
• Your blood travels 168,000,000 miles
• You breathe 23040 times
• You inhale 438 cubic feet of air
• You eat 3. 25 pounds of food
• You drink 2. 9 quarts of liquids
• You lose 7/8 pounds of waste
• You speak 4800 words, including some unnecessary ones
• You move 750 muscles
• Your nails grow . 000046 inch