Sermons

Summary: Five of the reasons that we need to take sexual sin seriously.

What Were Their Excuses For Their Sexual Exploits?

1. “You can’t tell me what to do.”

- v. 12 - “All things are lawful for me. . .”

- This is an abuse of the idea of Christian liberty. They took the genuine freedom that we have in Christ and used it as an avenue to pursue sin.

- As Paul points out, we do have freedom in Christ, but that doesn’t mean that everything is “helpful” or that some actions won’t leave me enslaved to sin (“brought under the power”).

- Paul speaks elsewhere in his letters of Christian liberty in terms of putting behind us the legalism of the Old Testament law and living instead in the freedom of following the Holy Spirit. The Corinthians have taken his words and misused them to suit their ends, which happens to be uninhibited sexual freedom.

- You’ll notice that the excuse used by the Corinthians so long ago is the same excuse being used today to justify our sexual experimentation. “I can do what I want - it’s my body!” A close cousin is the statement: “As long as no one else gets hurt, then there’s nothing wrong with what I’m doing.”

2. “I’ve got to express what I feel.”

- v. 13.

- The saying of the Corinthians that “food is for the stomach and stomach for food” basically puts forward the idea of biological determinism. That is to say, if I feel an urge from my body, then naturally I am supposed to fulfill that urge. They’re saying: just like my stomach’s hunger is a sign of the right and good biological urge to eat, so sexual hungers are signs of right and good biological urges to have sex.

- This is one of the primary arguments made in the homosexuality debate that’s ongoing today. The presumption is that if they feel an attraction toward someone of the same sex, then that is naturally something that needs to be acted upon. (“It’s the way that God made me.”) Of course, it is never mentioned that, by that same standard, we should give assign no blame to a husband who commits adultery. After all, he just felt a biological urge to have sex when he saw his secretary in that outfit. If all sexual urges are to be fulfilled, then he was just acting on something that was good and right.

- All this, of course, is ridiculous. When this line of thinking is employed, what is being left out is the Fall of mankind. We cannot blindly pursue all of our biological urges because we are sinners and therefore many of our urges are bent toward what is wrong. Sex is a beautiful gift from God, but it has been tainted by the Fall, leaving us in a situation where must be careful with what we pursue, even if the urge emanates from within us.

Why Should Christians Run From Sexual Sin?

- Paul counters these two assertions by the Corinthians with a lengthy discourse about the importance of the body in Christian life. Although the immediate context of the situation is sexual sin, there is really quite a bit here that points to the high regard that we as Christians should hold the human body. We, like so many others, too often act as if the spirit is supremely valuable and the body is of no eternal significance. Here, Paul puts those ideas to rest.

- There are five points that I want to bring out about why Christians should run from sexual sin. Each of them has to do with Christ and His claims on our physical body.

- To try to simply a difficult passage, I am going to use a piece of paper as an example for each of these five. [Have ushers give each person a piece of expensive paper (the kind with a watermark on it). Each sheet should have the word “porneia” (the Greek word for “sexual immorality” (see v. 18)) prominently printed in the middle of the sheet.] The piece of paper will serve as our symbol for our physical body.

- I am going to begin at the end of the passage and work my way forward.

1. This is expensive paper.

- v. 20 - “you were bought with a price”

- The paper you hold in your hand is not cheap copier paper. It is not a sheet of recycled paper pulled out of the bin. This is high quality paper that cost a lot to purchase.

- You (including your body) were purchased at a high price. It cost God His only Son in order to secure your salvation. Knowing what a high price that Jesus paid, we are to be diligent in our faithfulness, both with our spirit and with our body. Our gratitude at having been given so expensive a gift should translate into a desire to live radically in obedience to Jesus.

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