Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 4 months ago

Glorify God in Your Body

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

1 Cor 6:12-20

All right, let's give our attentionnow to God's word. Fir Scrinthians, sixth, verse twelve. All thingsare lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things arelawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything. Food ismeant for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy bothone and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, butfor the Lord, and the Lord for the body, and God raise theLord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not knowthat your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members ofChrist and make them members of a prostitute? Never or do you not know thathe who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her, for, as it is written, the two will become one flesh, but hewho 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 ownbody. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of theHoly Spirit within whom you have from God? You are not your own, foryou are bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.Amen. You maybe seated. Well, every ethic, every moral decision thatwe make has a starting place. Right there's an idea of value, somesort of core belief that forms the decisions that follow. Like a domino ina string of dominoes, you click the one and then they others follow rightas 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 thefoundation in the rest of the building. So let's say you're in a classroomor a doctor's office and you see a bowl of candy and you decide totake one without telling anyone. Well, if you believed, if you hada 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 wasintentionally left to share with you, because it's you're not taking something thatdoesn'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 herdrawer 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'vesinned. That's called stealing. So, though the action might be relatively thesame, taking candy without telling, where the starting place begins is, ina large way, what determines whether it's moral or not. Both what actuallyis the case and how we think about it is important. The point isthat what you believe about the candy and what is actually true about the candymatters, and it affects the decisions that you make. Well, Paul dealswith sex in a similar way in this...

...passage. He helps us to thinkabout the starting place for the choices we make about sex and our body ingeneral. Ultimately, the key is in the last verse. So if youleave with nothing, leave with this glorify God in your body. That's thestarting place. That's where Paul wants us to start to think about why it'sthat and not something else. Let's first think about how the Corinthians were makingtheir decisions about morality and around sexual issues. They came and we're speaking with acertain set of assumptions and Paul deals with those in a few different waysand particularly at the beginning of this passage he deals with them through a coupleproverbs. Like you can think of them as Corinthian proverbs, right. Thefirst one we read is I turn my page back here on the first onewe read is in verse twelve. It says all things are are lawful forme. There's other ways you could put that. You could translate it somethinglike all things are permissible for me, or liberty for me and all thingsor 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 metfor the food or for food, and we'll come to each will take eachof those in turns. So let's first look at the first assumption that theCorinthians have this starting place for how they thought about sexual morality, liberty andall 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 theidea that the law can bring righteousness, the righteousness that it requires, buthe's not against the law as a rule for righteousness. Paul speaks affirmatively inmany 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 yourmembers, so think body parts. Just as once as you presented yourmembers 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 righteousnessleading to sanctification. So this is what Paul thinks. Paul doesn't saya law doesn't matter, you can do whatever you want. He says youare to be a slave to righteousness. Another way people sometimes take this phraseis 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 anew covenant and that he or any believer is bound any longer to the civiland 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 distinctionsabout one law one kind of law of the old covenant over another. Soif Paul isn't affirming the proverb in other way, in other words, whatis 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 noticefirst how notice his first counterpoint that he offers. The first counterpoint isbut not all things are helpful. Liberty and all things or all things arelawful for to me. And then he responds, but not all things arehelpful. He says the same thing in chapter ten, versus in Chapter TenVerse Twenty Three. And here he points...

...to the reality that even if yousay I'm free from all things, good doesn't necessarily result from that. Inother words, it's maybe not necessarily helpful. One dictionary defines the word, theGreek word for helpful here is something that gives benefit, confers and advantage, is profitable or useful. In other words, he's asking the Corinthians tojust slow down a little bit and examine this, examine their own suppos orpresuppositions, examine their own experiences. If you say sexual freedom in every way, ask yourself what are the results of that? And we know that theresults of complete freedom and sexual matters are awful. People get histories, aswe say, stds and broken hearts, babies that don't have a mom anda dad to belong to, abortion and many other things come as a resultof people saying I can do whatever I want in matters of sex. Letme ask you this. In which area of life does limitless freedom go wellfor you? You just tell me right which one, and and then we'lltalk. Of course none. Can you imagine liberty in all things when itcomes 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 dominatedby 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? BecauseI want freedom. I will not be dominated by anything. What Paul isremembering here and bringing to our attention is something that we often bury in momentsof temptation, and it's this. When you let your result, your desiresrun wild, the result is not freedom. When you let your desires run loose, the result is not freedom, but domination by those desires. Letan untrained animal in your house and just go free and see how things gofor you. You will spend all your time devoted to managing the aftermath ofthat animal. When people who try to abstain from sex, who are verypracticed in letting it run free, when they describe their experience, as theytalk about going crazy, feeling overwhelmed, incapacitated, controlled by their thoughts,feeling enslaved, feeling addicted, that's language of enslavement, that's language of controland 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. OhNo, you're not. That's what Paul reminds us here, and this istrue, 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 meuse another animal example. Have you ever seen a dog that wanted something reallybadly? You knew they wanted it, but they controlled their desire and justwalked away. We're talking about a well trained dog, right. You placethe piece of cheese or meat on the counter and they look at it andthey just moved to the other room, right. They kind of sniff theair, 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 letsits desire go free. Right, uncontrolled, extreme in every way. It sitsthere at the kitchen counter, whining and whining and crying and shaking andupset and wishing it could have that thing. Let me ask you, which dogis more free? The one that can't move, the one that isattached to this thing it cannot have, the one that's body is physically shakingbecause of this desire, or the one that's hanging out in the couch orplaying or getting pat or whatever? which dog is more free? Well,sometimes when we see an attractive person, we think here's an opportunity, Ican 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 havethem, which is frustrating, but I can let the desire go free aslong 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 hasyou in its grip when you could be doing something else, having a goodtime, glorifying God with your body. My friends, when we tell ourselvesthat we can do whatever we want, it's not helpful. It's not helpfulto 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 apartyour relationship with other people and tears apart your relationship with God and all hisgood things. So when someone tells you, or you're telling yourself, all thingsare lawful for me, or I can do whatever I want, orno one's the boss of me, or liberty in all things, see itfor what it is. It's a trap, it's a snare. This kind ofSOC 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 andthe stomach is meant for the food or for food. I don't know whyI keep inserting the word the other. On one level, this proverbs obviouslytrue, isn't it? In a way that we wouldn't say for the firstproverb? Breakfast Burritos and my stomach are a match made in heaven. Right, these two things go together. They're always been to go together, theyalways will be together. However, asking Paul is asking us to think aboutthis a little more carefully. Yes, God designed food in the stomach togo together, and that's good. Asks Fourteen. Let's emphasize this just alittle bit more. Acts Fourteen seventeen even tells us that God's witnesses to thewhole 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 bygiving 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 tothe whole world about his goodness. Isn't that wonderful? I love that ecclesiastesnine seven says, go eat your bread...

...with joy, drink your wine witha merry heart, for God has already approved of what you do, andJesus 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 stomachis meant for food. So what's the problem then? What's the problem thatPaul 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, hisgoodness. They were using the this proverb as a way to excuse bad behaviorregarding sex and, as we'll see in future chapters, also food. Butconnected with what he says here and the idea of liberty, you could preparaphrase the pre suppositions that the Corinthians were using something like this. All thingsare lawful for me, and this hunger for sex is natural, so obviouslyI'm going to get what I want. Let me ask you, does thatsound familiar at all to you? Does that sound like a merely ancient thingthat just the Corinthians had to deal with? Of course not at all. Thisis the kind of reasoning that people make all the time today. Ican 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'sthe correct of the poem makes? Well, he starts by saying and God willdestroy both one and the other. In other words, fine, Goddid design the food for stomach and stomach for food, but that doesn't makethe food and the stomach some kind of new deity. God is still incontrol over both. He made both, and just as food decays and diesunder his command, so too does the human body. God is the onein 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 thenit gives a reason, their god is in their belly and they glory intheir shame, with minds set on earthly things. Notice he doesn't say necessarilysinful things, although perhaps he could mean that. But it could be eventrue of just earthly stuff, good stuff, food, wine, things that Godhas made for us to enjoy. But if we set our minds onhim, if we focus them on them, if they become our gods, ifour 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 notruled 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 onewho made them, the one who made their bodies. Listen again to Romanschapter six. This is versus fifteen through eighteen. Now do you not knowthat if you present yourselves to anyone is obedient slaves? You are slaves ofthe one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death,or of Obedience, which leads to righteousness. But thanks be to God that youwho are once slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart tothe standard of teaching to which you were committed and, having been set freefrom sin, have become slaves of righteousness. So, when someone tells you tojust relax and be free, you're...

...going to remind yourself of the standardof teaching to which you are committed, that not all things are helpful,that so called freedom is often sin and actually slavery, and that, whensomeone 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 submitto him and not to your body. Now, I know we've done alot already, but shall we give up on this train of thought when wealready know what the devil will say next? How will we defend ourselves when hesays, well, if God gave you the body and these desires,then why does he not let you have the freedom that you want? IsGod really good? And there it is, right there it is the old liar, the liar from the beginning. Kind of one hit wonder, butthe lie is tricky nevertheless, isn't it? He twists the truth just like hedid with Adam and Eve, when he spoke to eve and he wantedher 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 toapply it to sex, as though it was the same thing. The stomachis meant for food and it's a desire. Therefore, the body is meant forsex and it's a desire. So eat what you want and sleep upwith whomever you want. But where did God say that the body was meantfor 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 marriagebetween 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 forthe Lord. And what counts as sexual immorality anytime we feed our sexual desiresoutside the bounds of marriage. Or, to put it another way, Goddesigned these desires to be acted upon in a baby making bond enforcing communion betweena man and a woman that are committed to life to death. To uspart 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 backto 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 apound of ransom meat. You, I desire intimacy, but that doesn't meanyou 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 Paulsays in Chapter Seven, verse Thirty Seven. If his passions are strong, andit has to be, let him do as he wishes. Let himmarry. It is no sin. Now, of course this is not always easyand 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 ormaybe 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'tmean that the command has changed. So,...

...for example, let's say the onlything you have in yourself house is rants of meat. It doesn't meanyou eat rants of meat. Means you go to the grocery store and ifsomebody says, well, I got to get up, I got to thestore and I don't have enough money and I got to work that money andwell, you know, well, don't even ransom meat. It doesn't meanthat 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 courseI know, and I speak with great sensitivity here, great getting married isway 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 muchmore consequential than acting on one's desire for food. There's a reason it's harderand a reason that Paul says what he says in verse eighteen. Sex isin a different category, he says in Verse Eighteen. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside of the body, but sexuallymore 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 verypowerful 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 saysin 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 youknow, in so that, in a spiritual say, he'll say, bythe Holy Spirit, are physical bodies, are members of Christ's body. Nowthat's a great mystery, right. That's an amazing thing, and that couldonly be accomplished by God, Divine God, who himself was able to take onhuman flesh. Another great mystery, right. So our bodies are unitedto his body in such a way that we can be described as the bodyof Christ, where you are members of that body. Okay. Going on, he says, shall I then take the members of Christ and make themmembers of a prostitute? Should the Lord's body be united with the body ofa prostitute? Right, like that's repulsive. When we think about the holiness ofthe Lord, the goodness of the Lord, his his perfect her hisperfection in every way, to be united in such an intimate way with inin this kind of sexual immorality. The answer is, of course, whatPaul says right before Verse Sixteen. Never like, let's just stop talking aboutthat and read on. He says in Verse Sixteen. Or do you notknow 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 marriedto, I can become almost like one flesh or one body, I'm unitedto that person? Why is that intimacy that close, when it was whenmaybe somebody else said this was just a financial transaction or pleasure thing or somethinglike that. But like, why is it touching at such a deep andintimate spiritual place with someone that is unknown...

...or even despised? Well, heanswers. As it is written, the two will become one flesh. That'show God designed it. You go by, you go to the hardware store andyou buy a really powerful, really sharp saw. That saw is goingto 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 asone flash that you can speak about it as like one body. So theLord has placed around that rules to protect a right. You don't when you'reoperating 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 goand you're super happy that it was so easy. But if you letthe electrical cord, you know, sort of sit there in front of yoursaw, or it's plugged into the wrong thing or half plugged in or yourblades doll, you can lose a finger, you can lose an arm, somethingcan go really, really wrong. It's similar with sex. It's apowerful thing, it's meant to be powerful, it's designed for this. And sowhen we just say well, whatever, tragedy happens, tragedy happens, andnot only sinning against our own body. But as Paul continues and just keepsimpressing and impressing this point on us, verse nineteen now, or do younot 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 youhave 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 HolySpirit. For those of you who have been listening to the evening Sir momentsthrough Ezekiel, you remember how Zekiel was placed in a vision outside the templeand God gave him in this tour. He got to go inside the templeand 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 sethis name and his presence and his his people in this place, and theyhad brought in all of these abominations. That's why the prophets talk about horroringafter other gods. They use this language to describe their idolatry. Well,in a similar way, we could use it to describe our adultery or oursexual immorality in general. When we take our bodies, which are united tothe son of God, the second person of the Trinity, which are templesfor the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity and all and bringit and and bring ourselves into union. That is illicit. Well, asPaul says, may it never be. It's a tragedy and there are consequences. Paul's conclusions, then, are very straightforward and memory able. Flee sexualimmorality. Glorify God with your body. Take your body and don't present ittwo members for sin. But to God,...

...sex is God's gift. Food isGod's gift and these are great within their parameters. But the body,as he says, he is not meant for this. So when the worldtells you you're free and it's natural, we say no, that's not freedomand my body is for the Lord. He rules over me, not mydesires. Now, as we bring this to a conclusion, we've heard muchof the law thus far and that's very good that we've had. It's importantthat we think about the decisions behind the decisions. It's important we think aboutwhere we're starting for our morality. The world tells us these lies. You'refree and everything, it's natural, do what you want. But where didthose come from? What do they lead to. We have to ask ourselvesthese things. But it's also important that, as we conclude, we remember theGospel, the Good News, about where our hope comes from, whereour strength comes from, where forgiveness comes from, because all of us atthis moment are going, oh, wretched person that I am, man orwoman, these desires in me and I keep giving myself over to them andit's struggle and it's hard and it's this and it's that. I want tofinish 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? Itcomes 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, butresource. But if you're looking for help, look to God who is dwelling insideof your body. That's an amazing thing. If you're looking to fightthe temptations of the flesh, which is a different thing in some ways thanthe body, it describes that sinful nature inside of us that our body sometimesfalls into. When we're fighting that, let us also remember that we fightin the spirit and that God is on your side. God didn't accidentally comeinto your life right. You didn't sort of grab him down or pull himout of a book. He came into your life to help you, tosanctify you, to forgive your sins and to remind you, day after dayafter day, you are my son and you are my daughter and I've gotyou and I love you. Our purpose in this life is not for thethings of this world. Our purpose in this life is not to grasp andhold fast to our desires. Our purpose in this life is to live forhim, to glorify and enjoy him, and that is also his purpose forus, and Paul reminds us of that here in many ways. One ofmy 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 theLord 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 andwell. Let me step back for a...

...second. He limited his he limitedhimself by taking on a human body right now. He was somebody who gottired. Now. He was somebody who faced temptations, just like you donow. 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 cameand how he died and all that he emptied himself of the glory whichhe set aside, and that he did that for you, for your soul'sto not denying that, but for the moment, for your bodies, theemphasis there which means that you get to hope because of what Jesus did foryou on the Cross, in a resurrection from the dead, that the struggleand the pain and the way you desire things that are disorderly and inordinance andall the rest, you can look forward to this day, because of whatChrist has done, that he's going to set everything right and that one dayyour body will not be at war with itself and your soul will not beat war with itself, but everything will be at peace, everything will beat rest. When we think about what the Lord did for our bodies andwhat 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 thedevil, we can fight against the temptations of the flesh. We can fixour minds on the things that have been committed to us, knowing what hehas 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, thatis he says, was bought with a price, the price of his ownbody. When we think about our union with Christ, our union with thefather, our union with the spirit, keep these things in mind, andI'm finishing this with this now, when your body and your soul is temptedand tried, remember the command glorify God with your body and remember the commanderwho came into this world to live and to die for you, to drawyou into himself, into his own body, to have an intimacy with you thatis mysterious and wonderful and deeply connected, filled with joy and compassion and friendshipthat isn't wavering in back and forth. That's the one who gives you thiscommand, that's the one who loves you, and that's the one who, even now, dwells in you and empowers you to stand strong, andhe's the one, our God, who will also raise you from the dead. As Paul says, the body is not meant for sexual immorality, butfor the Lord, and the Lord for the body, and God raise theLord and will also raise us up by his power. If you're not usedto thinking in moments of sexual temptation about the resurrection, maybe this is agood time to start. That's what Paul points us to, among many otherthings. Praise be to God that God has designed us and this world insuch a perfect way. Maybe repent of our sins, where we have fallenshort and where we have brought all kinds of trouble on ourself. Maybe repenteven of our original sin in us, which is inherited from Adam and eveand their fall into stand and maybe look...

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

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