Summary: This message looks at Who or what is the Temple of God and how we need to protect it.
The city of Corinth was rife with temples, the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, stood atop the Acrocorinth, which means the Acropolis of Corinth, but you probably knew that. Acropolis is simply a fancy word for high ground. And so Aphrodite’s temple held an honoured place high above the city.
And before you get all mushy and romantic about the idea of there being a goddess of love, historians tell us that the temple was supported by the proceeds of “Priestesses” who were in reality prostitutes and not necessarily by choice, the majority of them were slaves.
And that wasn’t something that only happened 2000 years ago. The Wesleyan Church was founded in the fight against human trafficking 175 years ago and that fight is still going on. If you would like information about the Anti Human Trafficking movement in this area you can talk to Amanda Windsor or Pastor Deborah.
And while Aphrodite may have been the primary deity of Corinth she certainly wasn’t the only one and while her temple may have held the highest place it certainly wasn’t the only temple in the city.
Scholars tell us that there was also a temple for Poseidon, god of the sea as well as temples for Apollo, Hermes, Venus-Fortuna, Isis, and just to make sure no one felt left out there was a temple dedicated to "All The Gods" (Pantheon).
The city of Corinth was rife with temples.
Here we are winding down our 3:16 series, we began back in June with John 3:16 and since then we have been in 1 Timothy, Joshua, Daniel, Colossians, Revelation, Philippians, Ephesians, Acts and James. This morning we are looking at 1 Corinthians 3:16 where we read 1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
1 Corinthians is part of Paul’s letters to the early church, in this case it is to the church in the city of Corinth, which was a city in Greece, which was rife with temples.
And so as Paul looks for an illustration to use to describe the church he settles on the word “Temple”. After all there were temples everywhere and everyone, even the most disinterested knew what temples were for. They were where various gods dwelt or were worshipped, even if you were in doubt of the existence of that particular god you couldn’t ignore their temple.
The temple that was missing of course was the Christian temple. At this point in church history there were no church buildings, the early believers met in the synagogue sometimes, and in the public square and in homes.
And perhaps that was a matter that was being discussed, “How come we don’t have a temple to worship in?”
And in the New Testament letters the early believers are told that God dwelt in three places. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Don’t you realize 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, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body.
So the first thing that the early Christians are told is We Are the Temple of God And in this case Paul is referring to the individual Christians. This is often taught when the church is preaching about the evils of cigarettes and whiskey and wild, wild women.
You have to be careful with what you are putting into and doing with your body, because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
That’s good preaching, if you bring it up when you talk about other areas of physical health, like weight and exercise you go from preaching to meddling.
And Paul was serious about this, verses 19 and 20 don’t stand by themselves, because in order to really put it in context you need to include verse 18 as well. Because you all know that a verse out of context is a pretext. So let’s try that.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Run 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. Don’t you realize 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, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body. How’s that for meddling in 2016. That’s not Denn or Cornerstone that is the Bible, the word of God.
Within the biblical framework, sexual activity outside of marriage is considered sexual sin. And Paul, writing the words of God, condemns it. We’ll come back to this later.