1 Corinthians chapter 6, beginning at verse 12. The Lord really enabled me to get this work done for Corinthians and Jude this week, even though I was gone. And so, I really believe that this is His message for this time, because He so superintended the time and the study that we were able to finish what we felt we should have for you this morning.
I’ve entitled this section “Christian Liberty in Sex,” because that really is what it talks about, and you’ll see that as we begin. We’re continuing in our study in 1 Corinthians to see the problems that plagued the Corinthian church. One of them was the problem of sexual immorality, and that is the one dealt with in 1 Corinthians 6:12 through 20, and we’ll look at it this morning.
And in this passage, he presents the Christian’s perspective on morality. Now, let me say at the beginning, I remember when I was speaking out at Cal State Northridge one time, in Rabbi Kramer’s class, he asked me to speak on the subject of the Christian morality. And he said he wanted somebody to come in there and speak on Christian morality and defend it.
And I knew that I was going into the lion’s den, because nobody’s going to buy a Christian moral standard, in this world, who isn’t a Christian. So, at the very beginning of the class, I said, “Now, I want to say something to begin with; I want to say that I recognize, before I start, that none of you are going to agree with this. None of you will accept it. None of you are at all going to feel that this is proper. You’re all going to violently disagree with me.”
And, of course, you know what that does? Immediately they were all saying, “Oh, yeah?” See? You put them on the right defense, see? They’re all ready defending Christianity, and they don’t even know what it is. See? That’s the college students.
So, I got all done, and I said, “The reason none of you are going to buy this morality is because you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ; and because you don’t know Him, you don’t have any motivation for this.”
So, immediately a student puts his hand up and says, “How do you know the Lord Jesus Christ? We might as well start there.”
So, we spent – so, we spent about 40 minutes talking about that, and the rabbi kept saying, “We must get back to the subject.” We never did get back to the subject, much, but it was kind of a great time.
I say that just to say this: unless you really know the Lord Jesus Christ, unless you’re a Christian, unless you understand what it is to live for God, this kind of a morality is going to seem a little bit in left field, but this is what the Bible teaches.
You see, the Corinthians had rationalized their sexual activity just like people today do. There are plenty of people who, in the name of religion, say, “Yeah, everything’s taken care of. We’re free in religion. Christianity’s made us free, so, we live it up.”
There are plenty of other people – don’t you hear this all the time? – say, “What’s the big deal about sex? It’s only biology, right? We’re only animals. You don’t get upset when dogs do it; why do you get upset when we do it?” You hear this all the time, “Man, it’s just a biological thing. It’s there. You go; you do it; you don’t get all uptight about it. It’s amoral.”
Well, the Corinthians had done the same thing. And, of course, they had a problem, too, because they lived in the city of Corinth. And Corinth was synonymous with sex. In fact, the verb “to corinthianize” meant to have sex with a prostitute. That’s how attached Corinth was to that kind of life.
So, they were saying, “Hey, our environment is overwhelming, and, man, we figured out theologically it’s all right, and philosophically it’s just a biological act, and no big deal. So, we’re doing it.”
So, here are the Corinthians, carrying another one of the cruddy things of their former life into the church. And this is the problem with every single difficulty the Corinthian church had.
In the first four chapters, what problem did Paul deal with? Division in the church. You know why they were divided in the Church? They were divided over human leaders and human philosophers. Both of those were carryovers from their former life. In chapter 5, the evil in the church was the evil of failing to discipline sin, a carryover from their former lives when they were tolerant of sin.
In chapter 6, the sin that we saw the last time we studied it was the sin of suing one another. And you remember the Corinthian society loved to have lawsuits, and they just carried that over into their Christian life. And here they were immoral before they were Christians; they just carried that over into their Christian experience.
So, all of the evils there were just dragged in from their former life, and Paul’s going to hit another one of them. Here it is: he’s going to hit the sin of immorality, and he’s going to take apart their rationalization.
Now, you have your outline. Look at it and I’ll show you the three things that the sin of sex does to the body. And these are the things that Paul points out. Three clear-pointed principles that show why sex sin must be excluded from the Christian life, even though we are free in grace: it harms, it controls, and it perverts the body. Sexual sin harms, controls, and perverts the body. That’s Paul’s three-fold argument.
Point number one, it harms. Verse 12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient” – stop right there. Now, he says, “All things are possible within the area of grace, but all things not expedient.” That word comes from a Greek word, sumpherō, which means to profit – P-R-O-F-I-T. “All things are allowable, but they’re not all profitable.” God will forgive, but, man, the price is high. Immorality is one of those things that God forgives.
If you, as a Christian, do that – some of you undoubtedly have committed adultery or fornication as Christians – if you have done that, God has forgiven totally and completely by the blood of Jesus Christ in His grace. But there’s a price to pay. There’s a high price, because there’s harm built into that sin.
I want to show you that by taking you to Proverbs chapter 5. There is no other sin that a man or a woman commits that has built into it the deep-rooted damage that the sin of sexual immorality has. It has destroyed more people than drugs or booze ever together could have destroyed.
And I want to show you Proverbs chapter 5. This is really interesting, and it’s very, very practical. Proverbs 5, verse 3. We’ll start here. And we’ll stay in Proverbs awhile, so join us there if you have your Bible.
Proverbs 5:3, “For the lips of a strange woman drop as a honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil.” Oh, listen, that stuff is very enticing. Honeycomb lips and smooth – you know? And the opposite comes in verse 4, “Her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on Sheol.” You see, what you see is not what you get.
Now, he gives a little advice because of this, “Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of her life, her ways are unstable, but thou canst not know them. Hear me now, therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.” Now, listen, you can’t figure this out. She’s subtle; she’s sneaky. Now, listen to me, “Remove they way far from her and come not near the door of her house” – you know, you’re not going to have a problem committing adultery with somebody if you don’t go where they are; take a lot of brains to figure that out - “lest thou give thine honor unto others and thy years unto the cruel.”
You know what happens when a person gets into that problem? They lose their honor; they lose their respect. Instead of being with honored people, they wind up with the cruel people.
“Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth” – a person could actually come to the place where he loses his fortune. Many a man has destroyed his life over women. Many a man today is saddled with paying so much alimony he can hardly live himself, and all of his money is going out. “Even strangers are filled with your wealth, and your labors be in the hands of an alien, or the house of an alien.” People have lost their life and their livelihood through immorality.
“And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed” – when you get old, and you can’t function anymore physically or sexually, and you have absolutely nothing but the pain and the agony and the remorse – “And then you will say” – verse 12 – “‘How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof, and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine year to them that instructed me!” What a fool that I did what I did.
Look at verse 18. Now, God isn’t against sex. Oh, no; He invented it; He’s for it. Verse 18, “Let thy fountain be blessed” – and that’s talking literally about a man’s ability to procreate – “and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” Live it up. That’s God’s design that sex is a fabulous thing, a beautiful thing. “Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe” – speaking of deer-like animals – “let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” I mean this is great, you know, live it up. Enjoy. See?
“And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman and embrace the bosom of a foreigner? For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his goings.” Why would you go off and commit adultery when you know that the Lord is – what? – watching? He’s watching.
Well, look at chapter 6. Interesting section, verse 24. Now, this is practical, listen to this – verse 23 we better start, “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light, and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” Now he says, “God’s law is going to give you the right path, and the right light, and you’re going to see the truth” - here it comes - “keep – to keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a foreign woman.” Foreign simply means other than your own.
Now watch, “Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.” Oh, you got to watch those eyes. always sex symbol, you know, with the half-opened eyes. Oh, that’s sneaky.“- let her take thee with her eyelids” – see, nothing new, folks. You know? Maybelline hasn’t changed anything.
Now, you see, what happens when this occurs, in verse 26, “For by means of an unchaste woman, a man is brought to a piece of bread” – something as elevated and high and lofty as a man, designed in the image of God, is brought down as if he were nothing but a piece of bread – “and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned?” Do you think you’re going commit sex sin and get away? You’re wrong. You can’t take fire in your bosom without burning your clothes. That’s pretty clear. “Can one go on hot coals and his feet not be burned?” Verse 28.
Verse 29, “So he that goeth in to his neighbor’s wife, whosoever touches her shall not be innocent.” Verse 32, “But whoso commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding” – you know, it is stupid to commit adultery. Why? Because – “he that doeth it destroyeth his own” – what? – “soul.”
God may forgive it, but that doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t make it smart. Chapter 7, verse 5, this is interesting, “Say unto wisdom, ‘Thou art my sister,’ call understanding thy kinswoman, that they may keep thee from the strange woman” - wisdom will keep you from the strange woman – “from the foreigner who flatters with her words.”
Now he gives an illustration: “For at the window of my house I looked through my encasement” – he looks through his window frame – Solomon – “and beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths a young man void of understanding” – stupid young person, and the world is full of them, just full of them. I’ll show you why they’re stupid, “Passing through the street near her corner” – do you know that this old trade of prostitution hasn’t changed a lot? They’re still on corners; they’ve always been on corners, wherever people are. So, here’s this stupid guy going down the street. A young guy. He doesn’t have any sense. Has no wisdom, so he thinks this is the way to live.
And he comes – “near her corner; and he went the way to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night” – isn’t it always? “And behold, there met him a woman with the attire of a harlot” – that’s usually – you can tell them by the way they dressed in those days, and even today – “subtle of heart. (But secretly loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house” – she’s always out stirring up trouble – “now is she outside, now in the streets, and lies in wait at every corner.)”
Verse 13, “She caught him and kissed him” – that’s what’s known as a direct approach – “and with an impudent face said unto him, ‘I have peace offerings with me; this day have I paid my vows.’” My religion is all taken care of. Got that out of the way. “‘Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.’” Getting a little thick. “‘I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with embroidered works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning; let us comfort ourselves with love.’”
It all sounds great, doesn’t it? Very enticing and alluring. The truth of the matter is in verse 19, “‘For my husband is not at home’” – let’s get back to brass tacks – “‘My husband’s not at home; he’s gone on a long journey, and he’s taken a bag of money with him’” – in other words, he’s gone to do business – “‘and he’ll come home at the day appointed.’”
Now, this is a stupid kid, remember? “With her much fair speech, she caused him to yield; with the flattering of her lips, she forced him. He goes after her straightway” – now watch, like a lover to his love? No – “like an ox to the slaughter” – like a wise man to his fulfillment? No – “like a fool to the stocks, till an arrow strike through his liver, as a bird hastens to the snare and doesn’t know that it is for his life.” Fool.
Listen, for a Christian, God will forgive, but it isn’t going to help you to do this. It will harm; it will destroy; it will tear. Look at chapter 9, verse 17. This is kind of practical, too, “Stolen waters are sweet” – “Stolen waters are sweet” – there’s a certain adventure in adultery, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there, and her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” Devastating.
1 Corinthians 10:8 says that of the Israelites 23,000 dropped dead in one day from committing adultery. Twenty-three thousand dead in one day. I think of David. And I love David, and God forgave David, and God loved David. And David’s going to occupy a special place in heaven, because God forgave his sin. But poor David committed adultery. He went up on his roof, looked over, saw Bathsheba on a lower roof taking a sun bath, and flipped out, and said, “That’s for me,” and went through the process and committed adultery. And then he wrote Psalm 51. You don’t need to look it up, but you remember it? The man was absolutely devastated to the roots of his being. He paid for that sin every waking day of the rest of his life. He never forgot it; it destroyed him and his family.
You read 51 – Psalm 51, and you find that David was alone; he was totally lonely. Because that sin in particular has a way of making you lonely. It immediately isolates you because you’re afraid somebody might find out. You feel all alone in your evil. David was sick, physically ill. Sick literally. And he was guilty, and his conscience was creating havoc. And he poured out Psalm 51 in agony. God forgave him. Yes. He expresses it at the end of 51. God forgave him. That didn’t change what it did to him. He paid a high price.
Second thing, the sin of adultery not only harms, it controls. Look at 6:12 again, “All things are lawful for me” – the middle of the verse – “but I will not be brought under the power of any.” The Greek verb “to be brought under the power” means to come under the domination of, or the power of something. And it really means to enslave. “I will not be enslaved.” And there is no more enslaving thing than sexual evil. This thing wants to subject, and it does.
You know, there is in sexual activity a certain progression that enslaves. I can look back at just the first time I ever had any kind of relationship with a girl at all. And I remember I wanted to hold her hand. I thought, “It’s time for me to, you know, make some advances.” After all, it was my third year in college. No, not really. But anyway, there was this girl I liked, and I remember as a kid – I’ve never forgotten this, but I wanted to hold this girls hand. And so, it took me about an hour to get up enough nerve, and I finally grabbed her hand. I’m sure I broke her knuckles, I just – you know? And I held her hand for a while, you know, and, man, you know, whoa-oh, little things were going oh-oh. You know? And lightning was in my head and everything.
So, after a while, it got to be kind of, you know, sweaty hands, and it wasn’t a whole lot of thing. You know? So, I thought, “There’s got to be more to life than this.” And then, you know, there was a progression. You desire to touch, and you put your arm – and I’ll never forget the first time I kissed a girl. I mean, you know, just bells and the whole thing. You think back at that first experience.
And all of a sudden, you realize you’re in a trap, man. And you’re caught on this deal, and where are you going to go? Mm-mm, see? And you just get further and further on this thing. This is how the sexual thing works. It becomes and enslaving thing. And even people who go all the way, all the time, are always looking for the full gratification which they never find. But they become slaves of this thing. Here are the Corinthian Christians, in the name of liberty, losing their freedom and becoming slaves. In the name of Christian freedom, they had become slaves to their own desires.
Paul says in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, “This is the will of God concerning you, that you be sanctified. Even your sanctification, that you stay away from sexual sin.” The next verse says, “That every one of you know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor,” and the word “vessel” means body. Every one of you know how to possess his body. Some say that word “vessel” refers to wife, but I studied it again this week, and I’m convinced more than ever it refers to the body. “That you know how to possess your body if you’re going to stay away from sex sin,” 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says. Then verse 4 says, “You have to control your body. You have to get control of your flesh.”
In Romans 8:13, Paul put it this way. He said, “Kill the flesh, mortify the flesh, master the flesh, gain control.” And, you know, you can get in a situation where you’re not in control at all. Whoa, you’ve lost control. You get to the place where you’re victimized by your drive. “Keep it in control,” Paul says. Possess your vessel; control your body so you don’t become a slave.
Paul put it very interestingly, 1 Corinthians 9:27. Very vivid. He was talking about boxing here. He says, “I fight not like one that beats the air.”
You say, “Who are you fighting?”
He says, “I’m fighting my body.”
Have you ever faced that? You ever fight your body? You know, “Whoa, body, hold it right there.” Something starts tempting your body, you fight your body.
Then verse 27, “I keep under my body” – that verb “to keep under,” it could probably have been translated worse than it’s translated there. I don’t know why they translated it – the word is a – is a very interesting Greek word, very picturesque. It’s the word, for you Greek students, hupōpiazō. It means to give a black eye to. He says, “I’m fighting.”
You say, “What are you fighting, Paul?
“My body. And I just gave it a black eye. I got a straight shot in there, and knocked it out. I have to beat my body into subjection.” Why? “Because even as a preacher, I could become a” – what? – “castaway.”
There are a lot of castaways – aren’t there? – around. A lot of people who once named the name of Christ, some who even once preached, and because they didn’t give their body a black eye, and their lust ran away with them, and they sinned, they have become castaways, set apart from usefulness to God. Sin is a slaving thing, and particular this sin of lust becomes a driving, compelling, dominating passion, and men are taken captive.
All sin has a progressive element. You read in Psalm 1:1, for example, that, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly or standeth in the way of sinners or sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” And you see the progression of sin: first he’s walking, then he’s standing, finally he’s – what? – he’s sitting. That’s the progression of sin. You play around the edges, you get involved, and – plunk – you’re stuck.
And James 1 talks about lust conceiving and bringing forth sin, and then sin conceives and brings forth death. There’s this continuum. In 2 Timothy 3:13, it talks about evil men growing worse and worse and worse.
Paul says, “Yes, all things are lawful, but you do that and they’ll enslave you. You’ll become a slave.” And I have never seen anything so enslaving in the lives of individuals as that particular area of sin.
A third thing, and this is the major part of that passage, and believe it or not we’ll run through it quickly. Sin not only harms and enslaves – sex sin – but it perverts. Verse 13, quickly we’ll look at it. And he gives three distinct purposes and designs for our bodies that are perverted by sexual sin. “Foods for the body” – verse 13 – “and the body for foods.” That was their little statement. He says, “Wait a minute, but God shall destroy both it and them.” You can’t say, “Well, look, the body’s for food, and food’s for the body; and sex is for the body, and the body’s for sex. It’s just – that’s all there is to it; it’s just biologic.” You can’t say that, because God is going to destroy food, and God is going to destroy stomachs. That’s the real word here, “stomach.” God is going to wipe that out. “But the body is not for sexual sin; it’s for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body” - and I’ll prove it to you – “because God has both raised up the Lord, and will also” – what? – “raise up us by his power.”
Do you know why your body is different? Because your somebody is going to be – what? – raised up. Your body isn’t just a temporal commodity. You know, there’s coming a time in this world when we’re going to be raised. The rapture some – we’re just going to go from the grave. The bodies are going to be brought out of the grave.
You say, “What if there’s nothing left?”
That’s no problem for God. He just makes them all come together. We’re going to be in heaven in bodies. Literal bodies. And so, he’s saying, “Look, food” – that is eating, the necessity for eating, the digestive processes of the stomach – “that’ll all cease. God will wipe that all out. But the body, you, the total man incorporated in that flesh, that is going to be glorified and transformed into heaven.” So, don’t think that the biology of eating is equal to what you do with your body in terms of its union. There’s a big difference.
Now he gives three distinct purposes. First of all, he says, “Your body is for the Lord,” verse 13. It is for the Lord. Eating is a natural function, but sex is far more than a natural function, people. Sex – listen to this – is a spiritual union. It transcends the biological.
C. S. Lewis says in The Screwtape Letters, “Every time a man and a woman enter into a sexual relationship, a spiritual bond is established between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.” God says, “I’m going to destroy stomachs, and I’m going to destroy food. But bodies? No. The Bible never says God’s going to destroy eternally the body. That body is going to be glorified. The body of a Christian is going to spend its eternity with Jesus Christ in a glorified state. Our bodies are not just biological commodities. They have biological aspects and biological functions, but they are far beyond that. Between food and the stomach, there is a horizontal line. Between my body, my person, and the Lord, there is a vertical relationship. And it must not be defiled, because God wants me presented to Jesus Christ a chaste virgin. Right? Spiritually.
For a Christian to commit sex sin breaks and destroys the vertical relationship. The two are incompatible. Paul says, “You can’t use that argument; it doesn’t make it. Your stomach was made for food, but your body wasn’t made for sex; it was made for God. And within God’s will, sex is included in marriage; outside of that, you violate it.
And the proof of it is in verse 14. God’s going to raise your body out of the grave. Don’t defile that thing which was designed to spend eternity with Him. You can’t say sex is for the body and the body for sex. The body is for the Lord.
Second, he says, “Not only is your body for the Lord, but it is one with Christ. Look at verses 15 to 18, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Melē the normal word for the member of a physical body. “Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of a prostitute? Mē genoito, God forbid, may it never happen.
He says, “Look, you are one with Christ. You are the members of Christ. When you were saved, you were joined to Christ.” Every one of us is a member of his body, isn’t that right? Ephesians 1:22 and 23, 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Romans chapter 12, verse 5. We are all made one with Christ in His body, and if we are committing acts of sin, we are joining Christ to that prostitute. God forbid. Sex sin is sickening. It is unthinkable that I would use Jesus Christ in a sex relationship.
Could you imagine if Christ was on earth, going to Him and saying, “Lord, I am going over here to commit adultery. Would you please come and partake with me?”
You say, “MacArthur, that’s blasphemous.”
You better believe it, but it’s no more blasphemous than a Christian committing adultery because he’s dragging Christ into it. Right? You’re a member of Christ. Sex is a union of two becoming one. Thus, in a Christian’s immorality, there is the most gross, profaning of making Christ one with that sin. Sex is not just biological. No, it is spiritual; it is two becoming one. That’s the way God designed it. It unites two people. That’s why the Old Testament says when there are two single people, if a man lies with a woman, then he marries her. Why? Because they’ve consummated a spiritual union. And that’s why the Bible says that when adultery is committed, that’s grounds for divorce. Why? Because they have consummated a union outside the marriage. Two becoming one is not just biological as the integrating of two people in the deepest parts of their being. And that’s why C. S. Lewis says, “What you have is an eternal, spiritual bond, either to be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.”
The Corinthians or any Christian who commits an act of sexual sin drags Jesus Christ into it. Well, look what he says in verse 16, “What? Know you know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body?” Yes, that’s right, “For two shall be one flesh.” When you unite with a prostitute, you become one flesh with that prostitute in the deepest sense of communion of your beings. The sex act is not just biological; it is the uniting of two persons in the deepest, most intimate sense. And when you do that with a prostitute, you’ve drawn a union with that prostitute. When you do it with somebody outside your marriage, you’ve draw a union with that person. And if you’re joined to Jesus Christ, you’ve dragged him right into it.
Verse 17, “He that is joined to the Lord is one – one Spirit.” You’re one with Him. How could you ever drag Him into that? To be one with Him. The result, he says, in verse 18, “Flee sexual sin.” Get out of there. You know the smartest way to handle sexual sin? Just get out of there. I said you can’t have a problem if you’re not around. You know, Joseph was a smart guy. He got in there, and Potiphar’s wife started laying it on him, “Oh, Joseph, you big hunk of man,” and all this. And oh, Joseph just realized, “Only one way out of this,” he took off like a shot. She grabbed his coat, and that’s all she got. He was gone.
You say, “No, I’m going to face it and gain the victory.”
That’s ridiculous. Get out of there.
“Well, I must know how the world lives. Got to be aware of these things and show my strength.”
Just get out of there. In 2 Timothy 2:22 is says, “Flee youthful lusts.” Get out of there. Don’t sit there and take it in; get out. If you’re looking at something that isn’t good, get out of there. If you’re reading something that isn’t good, junk it. If you’re in a situation that’s going the direction of compromising, “Sorry,” go.
You say, “Well, they won’t understand.”
Well, who cares whether they understand; just get out of there. Some simple solutions, aren’t there? Everything isn’t complicated. Verse 18 further, “Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he that commits fornication” – or sex sin – “sins against his own body.” Now, that’s very difficult to understand what Paul meant, because he doesn’t really elucidate on it. But what I think he means is this: that while sexual immorality is not necessarily the worst sin, it is the most unique in its consequences. It has a way of internally destroying a man and a woman that no other sin has. Why? Because of all sins, it is the one sin that is the spiritual unions of two persons. You can commit other sins, and those other sins may be superficial; they may affect you at some level. But the sin of a sexual intimacy with somebody else is the deepest uniting of two persons. Therefore, it has the unique kind of sin that destroys a man at the very roots of his being.
You know, it is far more destructive than alcohol. It is far more destructive than drugs. It is far more destructive than crime. It is the deepest penetrating sin that a man can commit, because it unites him to another person in the vileness of that sin.
I’ll never forget seeing a girl who came to me at 16 years old and said she wanted to kill herself; she didn’t want to live another day. She hadn’t looked in a mirror in months, because she couldn’t stand her own face. I said, “Why?”
She said, “Because I’m so rotten from so many acts of sexual sin.”
She was distraught. She looked like she was 40 years old. Just distraught. And I’ll never forget the joy that was mine in leading her to Jesus Christ. And the first thing she said to me was, “For the first time in years, I feel clean.” Well, that’s grace. Thank God.
All sin blackens. All sin devastates. But this sin destroys a person at the roots of his being. It harms him. It devastates him. It enslaves him. And it just diametrically opposes everything God intended for the body of a Christian. It’s for the Lord, and it’s one with Christ.
Third, your body’s the temple of the Holy Spirit. Verse 19, “What? Know ye not” – that’s the sixth time he’s used that formula in this chapter, common knowledge – “Isn’t it common knowledge to you that your body is the shrine or the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, who you have of God” – you didn’t induce the Holy Spirit, you didn’t earn the Holy Spirit, you didn’t seek the Holy Spirit; He was given as a gift – “and you aren’t even your own?” You’re His temple.
You say, ‘How come I’m His?”
Because verse 20 says, “He bought you with a price?” and what was the price? First Peter 1:18 to 19, “For you were not redeemed with God and silver, precious stones, none of those things, but you’re redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ as of a lamb without spot without blemish.” What was the price he paid? His blood.
Listen, He bought you. You’re the shrine of the Holy Spirit; “you’re the temple of the living God” – 2 Corinthians 6:16. You’re the temple of the living God. God dwells in you. How can you drag the Holy Spirit into this?
I don’t think there’s anybody in this building who would come into this auditorium – you think of this as a place where we worship God – I don’t think there’s anybody here who would come in here and commit and act of sexual sin right here in this building. You’d say, “Got to be kidding.”
Well, let me tell you something folks. That isn’t the seriousness of sex; that’s no big thing. When you commit an act of sex sin, and nobody’s around, and nobody knows, you have defiled the temple of God. This is not the temple of God; this is nothing. You are the temple of God. The living God dwells in you. You are the sacred shrine. Don’t you know that? How could you desecrate, how could you mutilate, how could you defile the temple of the Spirit of God? That’s who you are, the sacred shrine of the Holy Spirit.
Man, some Christians have defiled the shrine, and it’s pretty bad. I always think of Ralph Keiper’s story about the guy that went to the cathedral, and he wanted to worship at a certain shrine. And there as a sign hanging around the idol’s neck that said, “Do not worship here; this shrine is out of order.” And an awful lot of Christians should have that sign around their neck, “Do not worship here; this shrine is out of order.”
Listen, are you defiling the temple of the Holy Spirit? Are you dragging your union with Christ? Are you dragging Jesus Christ into a – into a sinful situation? Are you making Him one with a prostitute?
You say, “Well, what’s a prostitute?”
Anybody who prostitutes the right meaning and use of sex. Are you using your body for biological expression? Forget it your body is for the Lord. You see, it’s just incongruous. And what is the result of all of this? Verse 20, he says this, “Therefore, glorify God in your” – what? – body” – the rest of the verse doesn’t appear in the best manuscripts. “Glorify God in your body.” That’s it.
What should you do with your body? Glorify God with it. Praise God with it. Make it a shrine where somebody can worship. How could you defile yourself? God will forgive you. That’s right, He’ll forgive you; He always does. But it will harm you. You’ll pay a tremendous price. And it’ll control you. And it’ll pervert the design God has for you.
And so, I say to you what Paul said to the Ephesians: sex sin, let it not once be named among you.
Father, thank You for our time this morning together in the Word, dealing with a very pertinent subject, one with which all of us struggle. Keep us pure as only You’re able, in Jesus’ name, amen.
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