Summary: Sexual immorality mutilates the believer’s body and the Body of Christ through attitudes of control, impulse, and ownership.
SERIES: PRESCRIPTIONS FOR A HEALTHY & HOLY CHURCH:
A Study in 1 Corinthians Applied To The Church Today
II. DEALING WITH OBVIOUS DISEASES
(1 Cor. 6:12-20)
Rev. Todd G. Leupold, Perth Bible Church, March 8, 2009 AM
One of the fastest-growing and more disturbing trends in our society today is that of self-mutilation. This is especially common among teens and can take many forms, the most popular being cutting, burning and piercing. Most of us, if we hear or see pictures about such things, and can only shake our head and wonder, “what could possibly motivate anyone to do that to themselves?” The short answer is a perceived need for a feeling of control, self-determinism, and expression of pain in a world in which they believe these things are either not otherwise possible or permissible. It truly is very sad.
What is even more sad, perhaps, is how common and accepted this practice is within and upon the Body of Christ! Oh, it takes different forms, looks different, and is thought of differently, but it’s really not so different. We just aren’t as quick to recognize it for what it is or the attitudes that lead to and produce it. Christians too mutilate themselves and the Body of Christ.
In addressing this issue of disrespecting our bodies and, thus Christ’s Body, the Holy Spirit-directed Apostle Paul focuses on 3 Key Attitudes which Mutilate:
1.) CONTROL (v. 12)
Notice that Paul begins not by condemning specific behavior, but rather the underlying attitude that leads to such behavior, the first of which is the attitude of control.
“Everything is permissible for me” was apparently an oft-spoken theology and defense of the Corinthian Christians. The argument, presumably, was that “because we are saved, we are free to do as we please and nobody else has the right or authority to in any way restrict us from our own judgment and choices.”
. . . but not everything is helpful. Scripture’s first qualifier is that the real measure of what we do is NOT what we can, or have the right to do, BUT rather whether it is helpful or beneficial (in the eyes of God, our Judge)!
. . . but I will not be brought under the control of anything. This second qualifier is a reminder that there is no true or genuine freedom in that which ultimately masters us – except the freedom we have in Christ as our only Master! Any other master is a slave-master.
Yes, we have the freedom to choose in all of our attitudes and actions, but that in itself does not make us free! We have freedom to sin, but that sin will then immediately claim us as it’s slave.
ILLUSTRATION: College Ministry Leadership Camp. Already had one torn ankle from soccer. Finally able to put some weight on it while wearing my supports. Decided I could play B-ball and just make sure if I jumped I always landed on my ’good leg.’ I jumped. I landed on my good leg. My good ankle, having been overburdened the past 4-6 weeks, tore. Even with help, I could not walk or even stand. After being carried back to our cabin, I realized I needed to use the bathroom. Let’s just say he proved himself a very good friend! I had the right and even physical ability to try to play B-ball then. But doing so sure was not either smart or beneficial! I thought that doing so would be a way to re-assert some more control back into my life after being so limited. Instead, I ended up further losing control!
ILLUSTRATION: Matt Thornton interview. “I used to keep my sins and struggles hidden. But I learned that it is much easier, better and more free-ing to just be upfront and honest with them at the start.”
Though not a Christian, even Mark Twain observed: “It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them” (emphasis mine)
2.) IMPULSE (v. 13)
The Second Key Attitude which mutilates is that of automatically following our impulses.
“Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods” was, apparently, another common analogous argument for bodily license. This slogan was the first century equivalent to our saying “If it’s natural, it must be okay,” or “If it feels good, just do it.”
More specifically, they have been concluding that in the same way that all edible food has been permissible through Christ as a natural need, function and ’fit’, then so should all other physical activities of the body. In particular, sexuality activities. Engaging in any sexual activity, they would argue, is no different than feeding your stomach and lusting after sexual images and activity is no different than hunger pangs. They are both natural bodily functions and therefore should not be limited or condemned.