Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 months ago

Glorify God in Your Body

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

1 Cor 6:12-20

All right, let's give our attention now to God's word. Fir Scrinthians, sixth, verse twelve. All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything. Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body, and God raise the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her, for, as it is written, the two will become one flesh, but he who has joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him? Flee sexual immorality, every other sin a person commits outside the body, sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you are bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Amen. You maybe seated. Well, every ethic, every moral decision that we make has a starting place. Right there's an idea of value, some sort of core belief that forms the decisions that follow. Like a domino in a string of dominoes, you click the one and then they others follow right as a result of the first, or like the cornerstone for a building. Right, you set the cornerstone and then that determines the direction and size. I'm maybe not the size but the direction in the angles of the of the foundation in the rest of the building. So let's say you're in a classroom or a doctor's office and you see a bowl of candy and you decide to take one without telling anyone. Well, if you believed, if you had a belief, that they bowl of candy was intension only left for you, well then not telling anyone this just fine, especially if that bowl of candy was intentionally left to share with you, because it's you're not taking something that doesn't belong to you because it was given to you. If, however, your teacher has a desk of a little bull of candy in her in her drawer and her desk and you go take a piece of candy out of that, knowing that it belongs to her and not to you. Right now, you've told so are you've taken something without telling someone, and of course you've sinned. That's called stealing. So, though the action might be relatively the same, taking candy without telling, where the starting place begins is, in a large way, what determines whether it's moral or not. Both what actually is the case and how we think about it is important. The point is that what you believe about the candy and what is actually true about the candy matters, and it affects the decisions that you make. Well, Paul deals with sex in a similar way in this...

...passage. He helps us to think about the starting place for the choices we make about sex and our body in general. Ultimately, the key is in the last verse. So if you leave with nothing, leave with this glorify God in your body. That's the starting place. That's where Paul wants us to start to think about why it's that and not something else. Let's first think about how the Corinthians were making their decisions about morality and around sexual issues. They came and we're speaking with a certain set of assumptions and Paul deals with those in a few different ways and particularly at the beginning of this passage he deals with them through a couple proverbs. Like you can think of them as Corinthian proverbs, right. The first one we read is I turn my page back here on the first one we read is in verse twelve. It says all things are are lawful for me. There's other ways you could put that. You could translate it something like all things are permissible for me, or liberty for me and all things or maybe just freedom. Right. This is what this is the first proverb. The second one is food is meant for the stomach and stomach is met for the food or for food, and we'll come to each will take each of those in turns. So let's first look at the first assumption that the Corinthians have this starting place for how they thought about sexual morality, liberty and all things freedom, all things are lawful for me. When Paul says this, he's not speaking about the law just in general. Paul is against the idea that the law can bring righteousness, the righteousness that it requires, but he's not against the law as a rule for righteousness. Paul speaks affirmatively in many places about the importance of honoring both God's law and the law of Rome, as long as it doesn't counter God's law. So, for example, in Roman nineteen we hear him saying this. For just as you once presented your members, so think body parts. Just as once as you presented your members of your body as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your member, your body, your body, as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. So this is what Paul thinks. Paul doesn't say a law doesn't matter, you can do whatever you want. He says you are to be a slave to righteousness. Another way people sometimes take this phrase is by thinking that Paul's thinking about the ceremonial law or the Judicial Law. Now, Paul does say that we in other places that we are under a new covenant and that he or any believer is bound any longer to the civil and ceremonial laws of Israel, but that's not what he's talking about here. Why would we say that? Well, because he says nothing about that here. There's nothing here in the context to indicate to us that he's making distinctions about one law one kind of law of the old covenant over another. So if Paul isn't affirming the proverb in other way, in other words, what is he doing? Well, he's correcting it. That's what Paul's doing. He takes this Corinthian proverb and he says, basically, you all say this. However, that's what he's doing here. He's correcting this proverb. And notice first how notice his first counterpoint that he offers. The first counterpoint is but not all things are helpful. Liberty and all things or all things are lawful for to me. And then he responds, but not all things are helpful. He says the same thing in chapter ten, versus in Chapter Ten Verse Twenty Three. And here he points...

...to the reality that even if you say I'm free from all things, good doesn't necessarily result from that. In other words, it's maybe not necessarily helpful. One dictionary defines the word, the Greek word for helpful here is something that gives benefit, confers and advantage, is profitable or useful. In other words, he's asking the Corinthians to just slow down a little bit and examine this, examine their own suppos or presuppositions, examine their own experiences. If you say sexual freedom in every way, ask yourself what are the results of that? And we know that the results of complete freedom and sexual matters are awful. People get histories, as we say, stds and broken hearts, babies that don't have a mom and a dad to belong to, abortion and many other things come as a result of people saying I can do whatever I want in matters of sex. Let me ask you this. In which area of life does limitless freedom go well for you? You just tell me right which one, and and then we'll talk. Of course none. Can you imagine liberty in all things when it comes to driving, or liberty in all things when it comes to surgery? Paul second counterpoint to liberty in all things, or all things are lawful for me, is really clever and really true. He says I will not be dominated by anything. Paul saying something something like this. Liberty in all things, no way. I'm going to keep my freedom. Isn't that interesting? Liberty in all things, no way, not for me. Why? Because I want freedom. I will not be dominated by anything. What Paul is remembering here and bringing to our attention is something that we often bury in moments of temptation, and it's this. When you let your result, your desires run wild, the result is not freedom. When you let your desires run loose, the result is not freedom, but domination by those desires. Let an untrained animal in your house and just go free and see how things go for you. You will spend all your time devoted to managing the aftermath of that animal. When people who try to abstain from sex, who are very practiced in letting it run free, when they describe their experience, as they talk about going crazy, feeling overwhelmed, incapacitated, controlled by their thoughts, feeling enslaved, feeling addicted, that's language of enslavement, that's language of control and domination. That's not freedom. That's the thing that we often suppress. And moments of temptation is Ah, I'm just going to be free. Oh No, you're not. That's what Paul reminds us here, and this is true, beloved, even if it doesn't get expressed outwardly. In other words, there can be a kind of internal enslavement when it comes to our desires, even when everyone else around you things you're just doing great. Let me use another animal example. Have you ever seen a dog that wanted something really badly? You knew they wanted it, but they controlled their desire and just walked away. We're talking about a well trained dog, right. You place the piece of cheese or meat on the counter and they look at it and they just moved to the other room, right. They kind of sniff the air, plop down on the couch,...

...maybe get a toy, whatever. Then imagine the other dog that we've all seen that sits there and just lets its desire go free. Right, uncontrolled, extreme in every way. It sits there at the kitchen counter, whining and whining and crying and shaking and upset and wishing it could have that thing. Let me ask you, which dog is more free? The one that can't move, the one that is attached to this thing it cannot have, the one that's body is physically shaking because of this desire, or the one that's hanging out in the couch or playing or getting pat or whatever? which dog is more free? Well, sometimes when we see an attractive person, we think here's an opportunity, I can let my desire go free, but I'm going to keep it in check, right so that nobody will know that I'm actually lusting. I can't have them, which is frustrating, but I can let the desire go free as long as it doesn't show up on the outside. But is that helpful, to use Paul's corrective? Of course not. We end up just like the dog, frustrated, distracted, white knuckling it through an illicit desire that has you in its grip when you could be doing something else, having a good time, glorifying God with your body. My friends, when we tell ourselves that we can do whatever we want, it's not helpful. It's not helpful to us, it's not helpful to others. It's not real freedom. In fact, it's exactly the kind of freedom that the devil wants you to have, a freedom that ultimately enslaves you and tears apart your heart and tears apart your relationship with other people and tears apart your relationship with God and all his good things. So when someone tells you, or you're telling yourself, all things are lawful for me, or I can do whatever I want, or no one's the boss of me, or liberty in all things, see it for what it is. It's a trap, it's a snare. This kind of SOC socalled freedom, is not helpful. It'll dominate you, it'll grab you, it'll hold you. So that's the first proverb Paul Brings Up, and the counterpoints and corrections and ways he helps us understand what actually is true. Let's consider the second. Now the food is meant for the stomach and the stomach is meant for the food or for food. I don't know why I keep inserting the word the other. On one level, this proverbs obviously true, isn't it? In a way that we wouldn't say for the first proverb? Breakfast Burritos and my stomach are a match made in heaven. Right, these two things go together. They're always been to go together, they always will be together. However, asking Paul is asking us to think about this a little more carefully. Yes, God designed food in the stomach to go together, and that's good. Asks Fourteen. Let's emphasize this just a little bit more. Acts Fourteen seventeen even tells us that God's witnesses to the whole world about his goodness in what we eat. so as fourteen seventeen, yet he did not leave himself without a witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons. Satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. So are eating food is one of the ways that God witnesses to the whole world about his goodness. Isn't that wonderful? I love that ecclesiastes nine seven says, go eat your bread...

...with joy, drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved of what you do, and Jesus taught us to pray. Give us this day our daily bread. Right, this is God's design. Right. When we think about this proverb, we thumbs up. Right, the food is meant for stomach. The stomach is meant for food. So what's the problem then? What's the problem that Paul sees here? I'll put it this way. The corincy the Corinthians, were not using the proverb to remember God's beautiful design, his approval, his goodness. They were using the this proverb as a way to excuse bad behavior regarding sex and, as we'll see in future chapters, also food. But connected with what he says here and the idea of liberty, you could pre paraphrase the pre suppositions that the Corinthians were using something like this. All things are lawful for me, and this hunger for sex is natural, so obviously I'm going to get what I want. Let me ask you, does that sound familiar at all to you? Does that sound like a merely ancient thing that just the Corinthians had to deal with? Of course not at all. This is the kind of reasoning that people make all the time today. I can do what I want and it's natural right. But again it's a trap. We've talked about the first part, but what about this second? What's the correct of the poem makes? Well, he starts by saying and God will destroy both one and the other. In other words, fine, God did design the food for stomach and stomach for food, but that doesn't make the food and the stomach some kind of new deity. God is still in control over both. He made both, and just as food decays and dies under his command, so too does the human body. God is the one in control here. God is the designer, not the food, not the stomach, not our desires. But people do make their desires their God, don't they? Philippians three nineteen says that their end is destruction, and then it gives a reason, their god is in their belly and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. Notice he doesn't say necessarily sinful things, although perhaps he could mean that. But it could be even true of just earthly stuff, good stuff, food, wine, things that God has made for us to enjoy. But if we set our minds on him, if we focus them on them, if they become our gods, if our desires become our God, then our end is destruction. Well, of course Christians are not destined for destruction. Destruction, and that's because they're not ruled by their desires, but they ruled by Jesus, their Lord. When the rest of the world says it's natural, you were born this way, Christians submit themselves not to their desires but to the designer, the one who made them, the one who made their bodies. Listen again to Romans chapter six. This is versus fifteen through eighteen. Now do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone is obedient slaves? You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of Obedience, which leads to righteousness. But thanks be to God that you who are once slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. So, when someone tells you to just relax and be free, you're...

...going to remind yourself of the standard of teaching to which you are committed, that not all things are helpful, that so called freedom is often sin and actually slavery, and that, when someone says it's natural you can do whatever you want, whatever you desire, remind yourself that your body and its desires were made by God and you submit to him and not to your body. Now, I know we've done a lot already, but shall we give up on this train of thought when we already know what the devil will say next? How will we defend ourselves when he says, well, if God gave you the body and these desires, then why does he not let you have the freedom that you want? Is God really good? And there it is, right there it is the old liar, the liar from the beginning. Kind of one hit wonder, but the lie is tricky nevertheless, isn't it? He twists the truth just like he did with Adam and Eve, when he spoke to eve and he wanted her to apply what was forbidden to what was allowed. In a similar way, the Corinthians were taking this proverb about food that's generally true and trying to apply it to sex, as though it was the same thing. The stomach is meant for food and it's a desire. Therefore, the body is meant for sex and it's a desire. So eat what you want and sleep up with whomever you want. But where did God say that the body was meant for sex with whomever you want? He didn't say that. In fact, he tells us that is meant in the context of a relationship, a marriage between a man and a woman. Paul corrects it here and he says, I'll read it. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord. And what counts as sexual immorality anytime we feed our sexual desires outside the bounds of marriage. Or, to put it another way, God designed these desires to be acted upon in a baby making bond enforcing communion between a man and a woman that are committed to life to death. To us part that's what those desires are intended for, and when they're used for that, it's great, and when they're not, it's called sexual immorality. Go back to food, to think, to think about this for a moment. You might desire to eat right, you might have a desire to eat, but that doesn't mean you should sit down in front of a movie with a pound of ransom meat. You, I desire intimacy, but that doesn't mean you should sleep with someone who's not your spouse. If you desire marital intimacy, and it's a strong desire, you should get married. That's what Paul says in Chapter Seven, verse Thirty Seven. If his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes. Let him marry. It is no sin. Now, of course this is not always easy and sometimes we wine and we say, but I'm not married. That's hard, it takes time or it's impossible. Well, that may be true or maybe not. That's something to think about with good counselors and friends, but it doesn't really change anything that it's difficult. Just because it's difficult doesn't mean that the command has changed. So,...

...for example, let's say the only thing you have in yourself house is rants of meat. It doesn't mean you eat rants of meat. Means you go to the grocery store and if somebody says, well, I got to get up, I got to the store and I don't have enough money and I got to work that money and well, you know, well, don't even ransom meat. It doesn't mean that it's difficult. You still have to do what you have to do. Yes, it'll take time, but it's worth it. Now, of course I know, and I speak with great sensitivity here, great getting married is way harder than going to the grocery store. Right, five minutes, five years, you know, you know it, you know what I'm talking about, but keep this in mind. Acting on one's sexual desire is also much more consequential than acting on one's desire for food. There's a reason it's harder and a reason that Paul says what he says in verse eighteen. Sex is in a different category, he says in Verse Eighteen. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside of the body, but sexually more important. But the sexually immoral person sends against his own body. Yes, it's more difficult to get married, but it should be that way. Shouldn't it in a sense, like you were taking this super powerful thing, right, sex, and we're applying it in a particution, in a very powerful way? It should be within the bounds of commitment and and trust. Think about what Paul says here about the nature of this desire. He says in Verse Fifteen, do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Okay, so what is he saying there? He's saying that in you know, in so that, in a spiritual say, he'll say, by the Holy Spirit, are physical bodies, are members of Christ's body. Now that's a great mystery, right. That's an amazing thing, and that could only be accomplished by God, Divine God, who himself was able to take on human flesh. Another great mystery, right. So our bodies are united to his body in such a way that we can be described as the body of Christ, where you are members of that body. Okay. Going on, he says, shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Should the Lord's body be united with the body of a prostitute? Right, like that's repulsive. When we think about the holiness of the Lord, the goodness of the Lord, his his perfect her his perfection in every way, to be united in such an intimate way with in in this kind of sexual immorality. The answer is, of course, what Paul says right before Verse Sixteen. Never like, let's just stop talking about that and read on. He says in Verse Sixteen. Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her. Well, why is that? Why is it that a person I'm not married to, I can become almost like one flesh or one body, I'm united to that person? Why is that intimacy that close, when it was when maybe somebody else said this was just a financial transaction or pleasure thing or something like that. But like, why is it touching at such a deep and intimate spiritual place with someone that is unknown...

...or even despised? Well, he answers. As it is written, the two will become one flesh. That's how God designed it. You go by, you go to the hardware store and you buy a really powerful, really sharp saw. That saw is going to be able to cut through wood really fast. That's what it's designed for. Sex brings to people together in such an intimate way that they become as one flash that you can speak about it as like one body. So the Lord has placed around that rules to protect a right. You don't when you're operating a power tool. You make sure it's plugged into the proper extension cord, that you don't have the thing looped around right in front of your saw. Right you get at everything in place, you look carefully and then you go and you're super happy that it was so easy. But if you let the electrical cord, you know, sort of sit there in front of your saw, or it's plugged into the wrong thing or half plugged in or your blades doll, you can lose a finger, you can lose an arm, something can go really, really wrong. It's similar with sex. It's a powerful thing, it's meant to be powerful, it's designed for this. And so when we just say well, whatever, tragedy happens, tragedy happens, and not only sinning against our own body. But as Paul continues and just keeps impressing and impressing this point on us, verse nineteen now, or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God. You see how it keeps impressing this point, that your body is something special. This union in the soul that you have is something special. It's kind of in a different category than eating food, is wonderful as that is. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. For those of you who have been listening to the evening Sir moments through Ezekiel, you remember how Zekiel was placed in a vision outside the temple and God gave him in this tour. He got to go inside the temple and as he went in he saw abomination after a bombination, who after horror, as the Israelites had erected false gods in the temple of the Lord. They had brought into the temple of the most holy God, who had set his name and his presence and his his people in this place, and they had brought in all of these abominations. That's why the prophets talk about horroring after other gods. They use this language to describe their idolatry. Well, in a similar way, we could use it to describe our adultery or our sexual immorality in general. When we take our bodies, which are united to the son of God, the second person of the Trinity, which are temples for the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity and all and bring it and and bring ourselves into union. That is illicit. Well, as Paul says, may it never be. It's a tragedy and there are consequences. Paul's conclusions, then, are very straightforward and memory able. Flee sexual immorality. Glorify God with your body. Take your body and don't present it two members for sin. But to God,...

...sex is God's gift. Food is God's gift and these are great within their parameters. But the body, as he says, he is not meant for this. So when the world tells you you're free and it's natural, we say no, that's not freedom and my body is for the Lord. He rules over me, not my desires. Now, as we bring this to a conclusion, we've heard much of the law thus far and that's very good that we've had. It's important that we think about the decisions behind the decisions. It's important we think about where we're starting for our morality. The world tells us these lies. You're free and everything, it's natural, do what you want. But where did those come from? What do they lead to. We have to ask ourselves these things. But it's also important that, as we conclude, we remember the Gospel, the Good News, about where our hope comes from, where our strength comes from, where forgiveness comes from, because all of us at this moment are going, oh, wretched person that I am, man or woman, these desires in me and I keep giving myself over to them and it's struggle and it's hard and it's this and it's that. I want to finish by reminding you of what God has done and what God is doing. We think about where our sanctification comes from. Where does it come from? It comes from that Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. That's an amazing and I'll put it in this sort of silly way, but resource. But if you're looking for help, look to God who is dwelling inside of your body. That's an amazing thing. If you're looking to fight the temptations of the flesh, which is a different thing in some ways than the body, it describes that sinful nature inside of us that our body sometimes falls into. When we're fighting that, let us also remember that we fight in the spirit and that God is on your side. God didn't accidentally come into your life right. You didn't sort of grab him down or pull him out of a book. He came into your life to help you, to sanctify you, to forgive your sins and to remind you, day after day after day, you are my son and you are my daughter and I've got you and I love you. Our purpose in this life is not for the things of this world. Our purpose in this life is not to grasp and hold fast to our desires. Our purpose in this life is to live for him, to glorify and enjoy him, and that is also his purpose for us, and Paul reminds us of that here in many ways. One of my favorite ways is when he says your body was meant for the Lord, and the Lord was meant for the body. You see that in verse thirteen. The body is not meant for sexual in the reality, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body. Think about that. The Lord Jesus, fully God and fully man, who came into this world in massive ways, limited his freedom and quotes there freedom to do all that is good and well. Let me step back for a...

...second. He limited his he limited himself by taking on a human body right now. He was somebody who got tired. Now. He was somebody who faced temptations, just like you do now. He was somebody who could die and did die on a cross. The son of God came for your bodies. When you think about how he came and how he died and all that he emptied himself of the glory which he set aside, and that he did that for you, for your soul's to not denying that, but for the moment, for your bodies, the emphasis there which means that you get to hope because of what Jesus did for you on the Cross, in a resurrection from the dead, that the struggle and the pain and the way you desire things that are disorderly and inordinance and all the rest, you can look forward to this day, because of what Christ has done, that he's going to set everything right and that one day your body will not be at war with itself and your soul will not be at war with itself, but everything will be at peace, everything will be at rest. When we think about what the Lord did for our bodies and what he is doing from them now, we can breathe a sigh of relief. We can know who is on our side. We can fight against the devil, we can fight against the temptations of the flesh. We can fix our minds on the things that have been committed to us, knowing what he has done for us and knowing that he's done it for us in love. When we think about the indwelling spirit, the redemption of our bodies, that is he says, was bought with a price, the price of his own body. When we think about our union with Christ, our union with the father, our union with the spirit, keep these things in mind, and I'm finishing this with this now, when your body and your soul is tempted and tried, remember the command glorify God with your body and remember the commander who came into this world to live and to die for you, to draw you into himself, into his own body, to have an intimacy with you that is mysterious and wonderful and deeply connected, filled with joy and compassion and friendship that isn't wavering in back and forth. That's the one who gives you this command, that's the one who loves you, and that's the one who, even now, dwells in you and empowers you to stand strong, and he's the one, our God, who will also raise you from the dead. As Paul says, the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body, and God raise the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. If you're not used to thinking in moments of sexual temptation about the resurrection, maybe this is a good time to start. That's what Paul points us to, among many other things. Praise be to God that God has designed us and this world in such a perfect way. Maybe repent of our sins, where we have fallen short and where we have brought all kinds of trouble on ourself. Maybe repent even of our original sin in us, which is inherited from Adam and eve and their fall into stand and maybe look...

...to Christ every day, every moment, not just internally and emotionally, but even with our physical bodies, giving our hands and our feet and every part of us, every precious part of us, every wonderful part of us, over to the Lord and glorify him as he is glorifying us in Christ. Let's pray our.

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