A teacher who was single told how he had just finished
conducting a class at a retreat for single Christians.
The subject that the spoke on was: “Maintaining Sexual
Purity.” He felt his message had been well received,
and he was packing up his notes and his transparencies after
the those who attended the class had left. Then he
heard her voice: “Hi, I'm Sally.” He turned to find an
attractive young woman who was smartly dressed and carrying
a well-worn Bible. She continued: “I just wanted to
tell you how wonderful your talk was. I've been
divorced for two years, and I've really had to fight my need
for physical companionship. Your presentation was
exactly what I needed!” “I'm glad I could help you in
some way,” he responded politely. She explained how
what he had said really struck a chord, and that her
ex-husband had really never understood her spiritually.
He nodded understandingly. Then she reached out to
touch his arm and said, “It's so wonderful to find a man who
is so spiritual.” Then he saw that look in her eye
which enticed: “You're that spiritual man that I've needed
in my life. Why don't we get a little closer?”
He knew that it was now his turn to play or to pass.
He reflected for a moment how special appreciation in a
vulnerable moment is heady wine, and how special attention
when two are alone in a room is also so intoxicating
(Smith). We'll see the outcome at this sermon's close.
The members at the church in Corinth had problems with
immorality. There were brothels and pagan temples
everywhere. Part of the worship at a pagan temple
often included having sex with one of the many temple
prostitutes. Such was done to promote fertility of the
land and to show loyalty to the god or goddess being
worshiped. Sadly and shamefully, the Christians at
Corinth had not broken with these immoral practices.
Paul has already admonished them to be a surrendered church,
a pure church, and a spiritual church. Now he
challenges them to be a moral church, and our text shows
four ways that he emphasizes this. Let's look at 1
First of all, Paul admonishes: Keep an eternal outlook!
Let's read verses 12-14: “All things are lawful fro me, but
all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for
me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God
will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for
sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the
body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also
raise us up by His power.” The Corinthian members were
using this slogan: “All things are lawful for me,” and some
versions have this in quotation marks. They were using
the slogan to justify their immoral conduct, but Paul
quickly points out that all things are NOT helpful and that
they should not make themselves slaves to their passions.
The Corinthians members were reasoning “that sexual desire
is the same as the desire for food. Both are natural;
both deserve to be satisfied. Whenever either urge is
felt, one should move to satisfy it!” (Shelly). Paul
shows clearly that this reasoning is flawed: God has no
permanent plans for our stomachs, but not so for our bodies
since they will be raised, transformed, and glorified when
Jesus comes again (Morris). “God did not design the
body for sexual immorality as He did the stomach for food.
... Just as food is necessary for the body to function, so
the Lord is necessary for the body to function as well. ...
If our body is to be raised, it is not to be put into the
category of things that will be destroyed. There is an
exact correspondence. Food is for the stomach and the
stomach is for food, and both will be destroyed. The
body is for the Lord and the Lord is for the body, and
resurrection is the destiny for both” (Ibid.)! Notice
how verse 14 affirms that God raised up Jesus, and He will
raise us up by His power! We will be raised; it will happen
in the future! The inspired apostle Paul also writes
at 1 Corinthians 15:44-45 and 49: “It is sown a natural
body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a
natural body, and there is a spiritual body. As so it
is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being.'
The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. ... And as we
have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear
the image of the heavenly Man!" Paul also affirms in
Philippians 3:21: “[He or Jesus] will transform our lowly
body that it may be conformed to His glorious body,
according to the working by which He is able even to subdue
all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:21)! Keep an eternal
Our generation has a unique perspective: “Our ancestors
believed in two worlds and saw this to be the poor, nasty,
short one. We are the first generation who expected to
find bliss here on earth, and our search for it has caused
such unhappiness” (Noonan). We need to remember the
immortal over the immoral. Someone noted: “Nations,
cultures, arts—these are mortal, are gnats. But it is
immortals whom we joke with, marry, and exploit--immortal
horrors or everlasting splendors” (C. S. Lewis). Which
of those two are you? Keep an eternal outlook! A
grandma was looking forward to keeping her two grandsons
while their parents celebrated their fifteenth wedding
anniversary. The first day was filled with rain, and
the parents called at bedtime. The boys were tired,
and the tears flowed. After that, things got better,
and the parents called earlier in the day. After five
days, the parents returned, the boys had huge smiles, and
stayed close to their parents. Grandma knew that home
was now home once again. Brethren, Jesus is away right
now, but He has promised us that He will return, and we'll
be able to stay near Him, and enjoy our eternal home!
Two girls were excited about going to kindergarten.
One was just starting but the older one was returning.
The older one fell and skinned a knee, and her sister said:
“Don't worry. If you die, you'll go to heaven.”
The older one wailed: “I don't want to go to heaven, I want
to go to kindergarten!” Some members are so
short-sighted and also wail: “I don't want to go to heaven,
I to go to the rendezvouses!” Verse 14 declares once
again that God will also raise us. Go for the immortal
rather than the immoral! Keep an eternal outlook!”
Next, Paul admonishes: Recall your identity! Look at
verses 15-17 and 19-20a: "Do you not know that your bodies
are members of Christ? Shall I take the members of
Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly
not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a
harlot is one body with her? For 'the two,' He says,
'shall become one flesh.' But he who is joined to the
Lord is one spirit with Him. ... Or do you not know that
your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,
whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For
you are bought at a price ..." So, these passages tell
us that we are Christ's bride, the Spirit's temple, and
God's slave. Now these roles have consequences.
Notice what these commentators say. The first
observes: "There is a horrible profanation of that which
should be used only for Christ” (Morris). Another
explains that since we are joined to Christ, we take on His
personality. Let's call it a blue one. A
prostitute, however, has a red personality. In
intercourse, these personalities are intermingled, and one
commentator sustains: “So much so ... they would take on a
purple hue” (Smith). A third commentators states that
God's temple belongs to God, and one must conform their
activities to its sacred nature (Coffmann). One other
comment was: “But we are God's slaves. He has bought
us to be His own, and we belong to Him” (Morris).
When the pressures on, will you live up to your identity?
Christ's bride, the Spirit's temple, and God's slave makes
sense now, but will you remember this identity when the heat
is on, the hormones are raging, and the violins are playing?
A father once told his teenage daughter who was about to
leave with a young man on a date: “Remember Whose you are
and be a blessing!” Recall you identity and act
accordingly. There was a sheriff in Florida who told
his deputies that they would be suspended if they were
caught committing adultery. Here was his reasoning:
“Adultery affects other people in the workplace, and
people's ability to do their job, and I think that is
relevant” (Fowler). A preacher was once having
difficulty in resisting temptation. He was away from
home and staying in a hotel. He called a friend with
whom he was going to have breakfast the next day and
confessed his struggle. He then said: “Pray for me and
ask me what I did last night” (Smith). You see, he was
forcing himself to recall his identity and live accordingly.
A writer made this good observation: "The bottom line
is fleshly desire uncontrolled ... a battle between flesh
and spirit ... Spiritual leaders fall sexually because they
work in God's temples but forget that our bodies are
temples. 'Be holy for I am holy' is still the challenge”
(Smith). Recall you identity: you are Christ's bride,
the Spirit's temple, and God's slave! Based upon what
Paul says in this text, we can see that there is no such
thing as “casual sex” because what we do bodily does affect
our relationship with God and does have a bearing on our
eternal destiny! Notice what Paul says in 2
Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the
things done in the body, according to what he has done,
whether good or bad.” Our judgment and our eternal
destiny will be determine by those things that we did in our
bodies! Recall your identity as Christ's bride, the
Spirit's temple, and God's slave! Christ gives you the
freedom NOT to sin (Barclay). Be a moral church!
Thirdly, Paul admonishes: Flee sexual immorality!
Verse 18 commands: "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin
that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits
sexual immorality sins against his own body." "Flee"
means “to escape, to seek safety in flight, to shun that
which is detestable." And a better translation might
be: “Keep on fleeing sexual immorality!” We
continually flee and shun it so that it becomes a habit.
How do you sin against your own body? Commentators
usually respond: “Because you deny your personhood or
destroy your personality. This sin can leave you
emotionally scarred and psychologically scorched, and that
takes a toll on your personality.
Flee sexual immorality! That not a long verse to
remember. Can we memorize it and put it into practice
when necessary? A football coach once had some
professional snake handlers bring a cage to his locker room
where the boys were gathered. “Show 'em what you got
there!” They opened cage, and out slithered a diamond
back rattler that slowly began to work its way into a coil.
Guess what those tough and stocky college boys began to do?
Yes, they all started scrambling for the exit. The
handlers then got the rattlesnake back into the cage, and
the coach called the boys back into the locker room.
“Boys, let this be a lesson to you. If anyone offers
you any illicit drugs, you flee from them, just like you
fled today from this rattler!” Those boys didn't
hesitate to run, and when we hear Satan's rattlers behind a
seductive offer, we need to start post haste heading for the
nearest exit! Consider these awful consequences the
next time you are tempted to commit immorality:
* Your mate will experience betrayal, shame, and heartache
* Mistrust and suspicion will increase
* Your children's outlook on God and holiness will be
* The heartache to your parents will rise
* The confidence and respect of other Christians will be
injured or eroded
* Others will be influenced to act the same way
* You'll never forget it, and neither will Satan
This sin can wreck havoc upon your personhood in the same
way that the tsunami wrecked havoc on Japan this past week!
This is the side that Hollywood and our media fails to show
us! In 2007, there were more single females than married
females (Larson-Elshof)! I just wonder how much of
that was due to men who broke their marital vows and
committed sexual immorality! Flee sexual immorality!
Proverbs 6:27-29 states it this way: “Can a man take fire to
his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk
on coals and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes
in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be
innocent!” Hebrews 13:4 declares: “Marriage is
honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators
and adulterers, God will punish” (Heb. 13:4)! Perhaps
my voice is like peashooter when compared to the tanks of
promiscuity that are firing all around us, but remember:
"Flee sexual immorality!" Remember your immortality,
recall Whose you are, and run from the rattlers of
immorality! Be a moral church!
Lastly, Paul admonishes: Glorify God in your body and
spirit! Note the later part of verse 20: "...
therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit,
which are God's." "Glorify" means "to honor" or "to
clothe with splendor". We honor God with our
obedience. Note what these commentators say. One
affirms: “There is no such thing in this world as a
self-made man. The Christian thinks not of his rights
but of his debts. He can never do what he likes; he
must always do what God likes, because He bought him at the
cost of His Son” (Barclay). Another observes: "The
prime motive is to please our Master. There's an
urgency: do it as if it's already a done deal" (Morris)!
PPaul says “therefore,” so glorifying God is the bottom line.
Will we put into practice this bottom line? Notice how
God's law is personal: “God gave the law with a personal
introduction: 'I am the Lord your God; you are My people.
Thus, you shall not ...' This isn't law for law's sake
but for people's sake” (Sproul). General Charles Duke
was part of the Apollo 16 mission who drove the “Rover”
lunar vehicle. Someone heard him give a fascinating
speech about the mission, and then he fielded and answered
questions. So that person asked, “Once you were on the
moon, could you sort of do what you wanted?” “Sure,”
he replied, “if I didn't want to get back to earth.”
He told about following precise instructions and having only
one minute's wroth of fuel left after their touchdown on the
moon. After hearing all this, the listener said: “I
got the distinct impression that a rebel doesn't fit inside
a spacesuit. Whoever represents the U.S. in the space
program must have an unconditional respect for authority.”
We might change that a bit an apply it to us as Christians:
“A rebel doesn't fit in the church, and a disciple must
respect authority” (Swindoll). Glorify God in your
body and spirit! To honor God doesn't make us mindless
fanatics. One writer states: “In God's Word, we find
rules for pleasing God. If we abide by those rules, we
aren't fanatics, but true children of the King” (Sproul).
One source said that 60% of American men will have an affair
and 40% of American women. Then ten ways were given to
affair proof your marriage. Here they are quickly:
* Nurture safe friendships BR>
* Pray together
* Stay off drugs
* Find a creative outlet
* Learn to listen
* Compliment your spouse often
* Learn how to fight fairly
* Hang out with happy couples
* Keep dating
* Communicate: “I'm taken!”
Now those were some practical ideas, but Paul gives you just
one that you always need to apply. Don't sing: “I did
it my way.” Just practice: “I did it God's way.”
Glorify God in your body and spirit! Let's be a moral
He reflected how special appreciation in a vulnerable moment
is heady wine, and how special attention is also so
intoxicating. But he chose not to drink, spoke coolly
that they needed to keep battling against Satan, wished her
the best in her Christian life, didn't make much eye
contact, and started walking towards the building's exit and
towards the parking lot where they parted ways. He
later wrote that this incident was a very forceful reminder
that sexual temptations could happen at the oddest of
moments, even after you had affirmed publicly your stance
against it! Keep an eternal outlook—it's immortality
over immorality! Recall your identity: you are
Christ's bride, the Spirit's temple, and God's slave!
Flee sexual immorality when you hear Satan's rattlers.
And glorify or honor God in your body and spirit.
Certainly, God wants us to be a moral church!
Let's pray: "Father, this is sin that affects each one of
us. None of us are immune. Help us to recognize
when the evil one is near and help us to flee. May all
that we do bring glory to You. In Jesus' name, Amen."
““... but as He who called you is holy, be holy in all your
conduct, because it is written: 'Be holy, for I am holy'” (1
Peter 1:15)! Our culture pulls us in the wrong
direction, but God's standard is still holiness. Are
your turning down the rendezvouses? Are we living up
to our identity and roles? Are you fleeing or flirting
with sexual immorality? Are you continually seeking to
glorify God with your body and spirit? Are you
striving to be holy just as God is holy? Immorality is
not the unpardonable sin, but it is one that we don't need
to take lightly! Do you need prayers for greater
holiness or do you need to repent of immorality, confess
Christ, and become a disciple who will be dedicated to the
holy conduct that Christ Himself displayed? Be holy
for I am holy is still the challenge.