EIGHT GUIDELINES TO ENCOURAGE BELIEVERS TO GLORIFY GOD IN OUR PHYSICAL BODY
Paul has been talking about the subject of avoiding sexual immorality; but this passage has a much wider application to how believers should view the physical body which the Lord has provided. Sometimes we get so caught up with the discussion of what happens with our spirit that we act as though the body is inconsequential. When you see the importance that God places on the resurrection it is evident that the physical body is quite important indeed. We have the opportunity to yield the members of our body as instruments to sin or as instruments of righteousness to glorify the Creator who has redeemed us with the precious price of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ understood the importance of His physical body:
“But a body you have prepared for Me . . . behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do your will, O God.” We need to actively harness our physical body to be the instrument by which we carry out the will of God here on this earth.
1. (:12a) PURSUE WHAT IS PROFITABLE, NOT JUST ALLOWABLE – IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR NEW CHRISTIAN LIBERTIES
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.”
A. What Things are Now Lawful that were not previously lawful under the OT Mosaic economy? What truly are our Liberties in Jesus Christ?
B. What Things May Not Be Profitable even though Lawful? And Why?
II. (:12b) AVOID ANY ADDICTIONS (MASTERIES) THAT WOULD COMPROMISE OUR FREEDOM TO GLORIFY GOD IN OUR BODY
“All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”
A. How can what is Good or Pleasurable or Allowable or Lawful actually become Bad for Me?
B. Is Jesus Christ the Lord over every area in my life and every appetite of my being?
III. (:13) AVOID ANY IMMORALITY – RESPECTING THE HOLY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BODY AND THE LORD
“Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.”
A. Certain Physical Appetites are Only Temporary (for this life)
B. Our Body is Designed as an Instrument to Glorify God for All Eternity
C. Therefore Immoral Sexual Union has far-reaching implications
Roper: “Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food”–another contemporary saying in Corinth. They were saying that nature demands satisfaction. If you’re hungry, you go buy a hamburger. That is a perfectly legitimate position. But you cannot infer from it that because you have a sexual drive you must immediately fulfill it. Because both food and the stomach are temporary, but the body is not. The body is not for immorality. God has a higher purpose for it. “The body is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.” Just as a perfect body was created for Jesus Christ and became an instrument through which he displayed the character of the Father, so a body is given to us to be used not as a plaything, not as an object for self-gratification, but as an eternal instrument through which we can declare the glory of Jesus Christ.
IV. (:14) LIVE A TRANSFORMED LIFE – CONSISTENT WITH THE RESURRECTION PROGRAM GOD HAS REVEALED
“Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.”
A. The Resurrection of the Physical Body of Christ has Significance for Us
B. Our Resurrection Will be Accomplished by the Same Power and is Therefore Certain
C. Therefore How we Use our Bodies Matters to God
V. (:15-17) AVOID SPIRITUAL ADULTERY (SEXUAL IMMORALITY) – RESPECTING THE PRECIOUS UNION WE HAVE WITH CHRIST
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’ But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”
A. Our Union with Christ Extends to Our Physical Bodies
B. Defiling Our Physical Bodies (Via Sexual Immorality) Should be Unthinkable
C. The One Flesh Relationship of Sexual Union Has Spiritual Implications
VI. (:18) FLEE IMMORALITY IN LIGHT OF THE UNIQUE DANGER AND DEFILEMENT IT POSES
“Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.”
A. There is Only One Way to Fight Sexual Immorality = Flee It
B. Sexual Immorality Presents Unique Dangers and Defilement
Roper: I think it is because in sexual sin we prostitute our bodies by using them for a purpose other than that for which they were intended. So such sin defiles the body in a way that no other sins can.
Stedman: That is why fornication is different from other sins. Here again Paul is reflecting on what we have just commented on that human nature is different than animal nature. It has a unique capacity: it is this marvelous capacity to hold God, to be intimately related to the greatness and the majesty and the glory of God, to have God in you. That is the temple — God dwelling in something transforms it into a temple. But fornication defiles that temple. It offers the temple to another. It brings the body of that person who is the temple into a wrong union and therefore, it is basically the sin of idolatry. That is why in Colossians and other places the apostle links together “covetousness, which is idolatry.” He means sexual covetousness, the desire for another person’s body, is a form of idolatry.
Now only idolatry, the worship of another god, the substitution of a rival god, defiles the temple. That is why fornication has an immediate and profound but subtle effect upon the human psyche. It dehumanizes us. It animalizes us. It brutalizes us. Those who indulge in it grow continually more coarse, less sensitive, have less regard for the welfare of another, more self-centered, more desirous of having only their own needs met — “To hell with the rest.” That is what fornication does.
Deffinbaugh: How is sexual sin uniquely a sin against the body, while other sins are just sins we commit in the body? Let me seek to illustrate this by using the analogy of a fine automobile. If I owned a magnificent Rolls Royce, there are many ways I could sin in that car. I could, for example, exceed the speed limit. I would be sinning in the car, but not sinning against it. If I were to rob a bank and use the Rolls for a getaway car, I would once again be sinning in the car. But if I needed a load of cow manure for our flower garden, and I opened the doors and shoveled that manure into the car to transport it from the barnyard to my home, that, my friend, would be sinning against the Rolls Royce.
VII. (:19a) LIVE A CONSECRATED LIFE – CONSISTENT WITH THE PRESENCE OF THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT WHO MAKES OUR BODY A TEMPLE (AND EMPOWERS US)
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God”
A. Our Physical Body Has become a Sacred Temple Housing the Very Presence of God
B. Do Nothing to Grieve the Indwelling Holy Spirit Who has been given as a Gift from God
VIII. (:19b-20) GLORIFY GOD IN OUR BODY BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN REDEEMED SO THAT WE BELONG TO GOD
“and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
A. We Belong to God
B. We Have Been Redeemed with a Precious Price
C. We Need to Glorify God in Our Body