Over all these years, I don’t think I have really heard preaching on sexual immorality that is so clear and sound as this:
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Do you use the CD drive on your computer as a cupholder? If so then you are going to put your cup of tea on it and break it. Do you use the computer mouse as a foot pedal? Then you will stand on it and break it. When you misunderstand what something is meant for then you are going to misuse it.
Similarly, if we misunderstand what our bodies are for- we will misuse it. At the root of sexual immorality is faulty thinking about our bodies.
(Sexual immorality= sex with someone or thinking about sex with someone who is not our spouse)
2 faulty philosophies
1. Indulging in desire= freedom
- “I have the right to do anything” (v12)– this is often used to justify sex whenever and with whomever.
- Saying that I should not have sex before marriage is depriving me of my freedom. Saying that I should not watch porn because I am married is denying me of my right to do what I want.
- However, Paul wants to turn the issue of rights into an issue of “what is beneficial.”
- Indulging in your desires can in fact cause you to lose your freedom (see below).
2. Sex is a bodily appetite.
- “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food” (v13)– the reason we have stomachs is because we need food. It is natural and right for me to feed it. Similarly, (sexual) appetite is a bodily desire– it exists to be satisfied.
- This view considers that the body is an animal and it needs feeding.
- God is going to destroy the body eventually anyway.
BUT don’t have such a low view of your body. Don’t abuse and misuse it by enslaving it to appetites.
4 greater truths:
1. Your body is for eternity, not just now.
- Is your body like a non road-worthy car that is destined only for the scrapyard? Is your body therefore something that you can feel licensed to thrash because it is but a transitory shell? NO. By His power, God raised Jesus from the dead– and we will be raised also (v14). Jesus had a physical body after he was raised… he was not a ghost or a hologram. He was real. Jesus did not ditch his body at the resurrection and so neither will we. Your eternal future will be in a physical body… not just as a spirit. Your body will one day be raised. It is not disposable. So stop and think– what will you use your body for today?
2. Your body is Christ’s, not just yours.
- v15 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?” All Christians are united in Jesus and become his physical body here on earth. He is the head and we are the body. You are a body part- a limb, an eye or a hand. Your body is part of Jesus’ body. When you misuse your body in sexual sin, you are misusing Christ’s body.
- Sexual sin is serious, because it is about uniting 2 people. When a man and a woman have sex– it is a profound act of joining together as “2 will become 1 flesh.” When you have sex with a prostitute, you become joined to the prostitute. If you take what is joined to Jesus (i.e. yourself, as a body part of Jesus) and join it with a prostitute, then you are joining Jesus to a prostitute (or any other person you are tempted to get sexual gratification from)! You are taking Jesus into that person– can you see the perversity of that?!
So flee from it (v18).
- Take active steps to go wholeheartedly in the opposite direction.
- Fleeing is NOT going as far as you can but stopping short.
- If you want to spend alone time together then do it in public. If you want to stay at home together then spend it with friends.
- Fleeing is moving yourself and your laptop/ phone to a public space.
- Fleeing is confessing a porn addiction to a friend.
- Fleeing is moving away to another room from the married person you are tempted to flirt with. Fleeing is going home.
Flee because your body is meant for more.
But what is more?
3. Your body is a temple, not a supermarket
- Our bodies are not places for getting. You go to the supermarket to get. To get all that I need– to get what will fulfil me.
- BUT no, our bodies are “temples of the Holy Spirit” (v19)– a place for giving. A temple is where God lives. It is a place of worship- where our best is given as an offering to God. A temple carries an amazing honour, dignity and reverence. Do not belittle your body.
- Change the question of appetite to a question of worship.
- Think: what is the best I can give as an act of worship? If you focus less on what you can get (i.e. how it will make you feel, how much you want it), and focus more on what you can give in order to honour God (v20)– you will not be sexually tempted as much.
4. Your body is free, not a slave.
- If you subscribe to the 2 faulty philosophies (“I have a right to do anything” and “sex is but a bodily appetite”), they will make you a slave.
- Surrendering to appetite and desires makes you a slave to desire, and a slave to the misuse of our bodies.
- As a slave, you need to be bought. And that is what Jesus has done through his death and resurrection. He saved us from the teeth of desire. “You were bought with a price” (v20), so you are no longer your own- you are ransomed and can know true freedom.
Please see that the Christian view of sex is not about being prudish or restrictive or traditional. Instead, it is driven by a very very high view of what Jesus has done for us and what that means for our bodies. The bible does not say “stop having sex.” Instead, it says that the message of Jesus is good news for our bodies. Our bodies are honourable, glorious and liberated. Be joined to Jesus and be transformed so you can know real freedom from desire.
The gospel of Jesus makes a difference to your body.
It makes a difference to how you should view your body in the world of sex.
Believe that your body is for eternity- don’t use it for whatever you want now.
Believe that your body belongs to Jesus and is joined to him, so be careful who you join yourself to.
Flee if there is a risk of joining it to someone else.
Remember that your body is a temple- use it for worship.
Your body is free- flee from sexual immorality and do not be mastered by your appetites.
Your body is SO MUCH MORE.