1st Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 42
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1998|
|We’ve seen that choosing immorality is harmful and choosing immorality is demeaning. But choosing immorality is also a sign of spiritual ignorance to a believer.|
1 Corinthians 6:15-20
The Terrible Sin of Immorality – Part 2
It’s amazing how many people can sit under biblical teaching and still end up so upside down. It’s amazing some of the things they say and some of the things they do. It’s amazing how this happens. I was in a meeting once and it was cold outside. The Minister of Music was not there that day. The fellow who was filling in really meant well. I honestly believe his heart was as sincere as possible, but he did something that overwhelmed me. He got up and said, “Folks, as we enter into the praise time today, Jesus is outside and He’s in the cold. Now we want to invite Him in this morning and give Him some hot chocolate and warm Him up.”
I was standing there looking straight ahead. The pastor was standing beside me. I was grateful I was in the congregation and not up front looking at the people. I saw him quickly ease his head over to see what I was going to do. And I knew that if I looked either way I was dead in the water. It struck me so funny what he said. I was thinking as we were singing. Do you realize now the way to be spiritual is just get some hot chocolate and invite Jesus in and warm Him up?
That came from a man who had been sitting under biblical teaching for seven and a half years. In fact, the preacher told me afterwards, “What is next? What can you do? I teach and teach and then this kind of thing comes out.”
You know, the church of Corinth was the same way. They had two of the best teachers ever known to man. They had the apostle Paul and Apollos, two of the greatest teachers at that time, and yet they still just didn’t get it. They sat up under teaching. They had factual knowledge, but they did not have that spiritual perception that they needed. In chapter 5 we saw that they wouldn’t even deal with a man in an incestuous relationship in the church, a man sleeping with his father’s wife. They wouldn’t deal with it. It appears that they were going around saying, “We don’t fellowship with the immoral people of the world.” That was their idea of separation. They wouldn’t even deal with sin in their own camp.
Well, in chapter 6 they were suing each other at the drop of a hat. Whatever was going on, it didn’t matter. That was the culture of Corinth. They drug it right into the church. But in the last part of chapter 6 he starts dealing with the sin of immorality. It appears to me from looking at the text that this immorality is soliciting prostitutes. We’re going to see this. I told you that I don’t like this, but these are the next verses. We’re going to look at it as God has put it before us.
Now Paul has shown us so far that to choose immoral sin is very harmful. By immoral, I mean an illicit sexual relationship with anyone outside of the marriage bond. That’s what he specifically is talking about. Immorality can be much broader than that, but that’s the context of what he’s dealing with. We need to understand this.
Look down at verses 19 and 20. We’re going to see these verses later on, but let’s look at them right now. Perhaps when we see them later you’ll really see how all this fits. Verse 19 of chapter 6 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” He says in verse 20, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
Choosing immorality is a sign of spiritual ignorance
So, in review, we’ve seen that choosing immorality is harmful and choosing immorality is demeaning. But choosing immorality is also a sign of spiritual ignorance to a believer. Look at what he says in verse 15: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” Now the word “know” here may surprise you. It’s the word eido. It comes from the word horao. It has the idea of to perceive and to understand something.
Isn’t it amazing? You know Paul and Apollos taught them these things, but still they did not have the spiritual perception to discern them. They couldn’t see the depths and the seriousness of this immoral sin. Many times we forget that we can hear truth and hear truth and hear truth, but all we have is fact until we’re willing to obey truth. Then the spiritual perception begins to set in. We begin to see the depths of it. We begin to see the reality of it. Paul wants them to know and he wants us to know and to perceive the truth of verse 15, that our bodies are members of Christ. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” We’re attached to Christ. Our bodies are members.
Now you may ask, “How are we attached to Christ?” Well, he lives in these bodies. But more than that, He is a part of these bodies. He’s not in a little compartment in the body. He indwells us from head to toe to the end of our fingertips. He is a part of us now. The old man that we used to be in Adam no longer exists. Christ has come. He lives in us. Our bodies are members of Him. He is a part of us.
I want you to turn to Romans 6:5. Here Paul is talking about how God now has united Himself with us. We’ve been united in His death. Now we’re united in His resurrection. These are important things to understand. The moment I get saved something exciting happens. It is very mysterious to the human mind and is only revealed as God reveals it to our hearts. Look in verse 5 of Romans 6. “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
You’ve got to understand the phrase “united with Him.” The word is sumphutos. It comes from two words, sun, which means together with, and phuo, which means to spring up or to grow up. So sumphutos means to grow up or spring together with. He says, “We’ve been united together with His death, also in His life.”
There are two words for the word “with.” I want to go over it one more time. There’s the word sun which means the intimacy of being with one another, inseparable. But there is also the word meta. We are together today; therefore, when we finish, after a while everybody will go their separate ways. We can disassociate ourselves. The with of association is meta, but sun is the with of intimacy.
Remember the analogy of baking biscuits? You bring out a baking pan and on that baking pan you put the different ingredients. Flour, baking soda, salt, and whatever else you put into it. All these ingredients are on that little baking sheet. At any moment you can remove them or add to them, because why? Because they’re meta. They’re “with by association.” Nothing’s happened to them. Anything could happen at any moment. You can remove them. However, take those same ingredients and mix them together into a big biscuit and put that into an oven. Turn the oven on and those ingredients bake together. Scientists tell us there is a molecular change that occurs, and no scientist has ever yet been able to separate the ingredients of a biscuit once baked. Now those ingredients that were meta before they were baked are now sun. Now they’re intimately together, inseparable. That’s the word that’s used right here. We’re now biscuits for Jesus. God has baked His life into us.
Now, that is a crucial point to understand. That’s what he’s talking about. Our bodies are members of Christ in the sense that He indwells these bodies. He’s a part of these bodies. Well, this is a wonderful truth, but it can be a terrible thing when you don’t understand it.
When I was in youth work, we used to have services on Wednesday night. We would have skits sometimes. I found that once you taught the truth, and they had a chance to see it, sometimes it sort of set in. We tried a few of these things. One of the skits that we did was a fellow who received Christ. The drama started with him on his knees bowing to receive Christ. He said, “Oh, Lord, I ask You to come to live in my heart.”
When he stood up, immediately, another young person walked into the picture. Now there’s two of them, whereas before there was one of them. He becomes a shadow and shadows this guy in everything he does. We had certain scenarios set up and here was this guy right behind him. Have you ever gotten right behind somebody and walked in step with them? That’s the way it was. Whatever he did, he was there.
We had a setting for school; we had a setting for doing his homework. We had all these kinds of things. One day the phone rings and he’s asked to go someplace that he doesn’t want this person, Jesus, to hear about. So he says, “You wait here while I talk on the phone.” But the person just wouldn’t go away, because it doesn’t work that way anymore. You’re a brand new creature. There are two of you now. There’s someone living in you.
Well, he continued to try to get the other person away. In the skit, in the drama, he finally turns around, pushes him up against the wall, takes his hand out, nails his hand to the wall, nails his other hand to the wall, takes his feet and nails them to the wall, and says, “Now, you stay there. I’m going to do what I want to do. I’ll come back and get you when I’m ready.”
Now, you can’t do that. The problem is that just doesn’t work. In the skit that’s what we were trying to show the young people. Once you get saved, Christ comes to be a part of you. Our bodies are members of Christ. He lives in us. Wherever I am, and particularly when I’m by myself, I’m not by myself. Christ lives in me.
Paul is saying that we are one with Christ and our bodies are His. He indwells them. Therefore, we cannot do with them as we please. We think we can, but we can’t. They’re His property. He lives in them. He owns them.
Now, with this in mind, look in verse 15 of chapter 6. He says, “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 harlot? May it never be!” Now, it is important to understand the sin of the Corinthians, particularly the Corinthians believers. It appears they have entered into this kind of sin. It seems they’re soliciting prostitutes. The word “harlot” means prostitute.
Remember the culture of Corinth there on top of the big Acropolis, that big rock mountain that overshadowed the city of Corinth. On top of it was the temple of Aphrodite, or the temple of Venus, the “love goddess.” There were 1,000 prostitutes up there. They called themselves priestesses and they would come off that mountain at night and on the bottom of their shoes they would have written, “Follow me.” Wherever they would step that was not in stone there would be a track there with “Follow me.” Evidently, some of the Corinthians believers had followed them.
Word had gotten around, and the apostle Paul said, “What are you doing? You cannot use your body that way. Your body is a part of the plan of redemption. God dwells in your body and you cannot do with it as you please.”
Well, in verse 15 he says, “Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? May it never be!” That little phrase, “May it never be,” is used 10 times in Romans, three times in Galatians, and once here. Paul seems to like that phrase. It means that is absolutely absurd. It’s like my son saying, “Daddy, can I borrow your golf clubs?” May it never be! You borrowed my last set and I didn’t get them back. May it never be! In other words, that’s absurd. It would take an absolute imbecile to think that way and then say he’s a believer. That’s what he’s saying. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s totally ridiculous. May it never be! To make ourselves members of a harlot by sexual relations is an absurd act of the believer.
Paul is reminding them now of the seriousness of sexual sin. Folks, I’ll tell you what. We live in a world probably a little bit better than Corinth, maybe not quite as bad. I don’t know. But we live in a world like Corinth. It’s all around us and we need to understand what he’s saying.
He says in verse 16, “Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her? For He says, ‘The two will become one flesh.’” This is important. The origin of that phrase, “The two will become one flesh,” is in the garden in Genesis 2:24. I want to remind you that God’s plan for marriage was never man with man, it was man with woman. God did not create Adam and Steve, He created Adam and Eve, and that’s the picture. In this bond of marriage, the phrase is made, “The two shall become one flesh.” You’ll never find that phrase anywhere except in the bonds of marriage which God created. So he begins with that phrase that’s in Genesis 2:24. It says, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
Jesus, in teachings concerning divorce in Matthew 19:5-6, brings that phrase right into His teaching, taking them back to the original design, taking them back to what it’s supposed to be. He says in verse 5, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother [quoting Genesis 2], and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.” Then verse 6 of Matthew 19 says, “Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together [Now notice, God has joined together. That’s very significant. The two cannot become one flesh unless God joins them together.] let no man separate.”
Mark 10:8 is a quote of basically the same text. Paul picks up on this in Ephesians 5:31. He talks about how a man ought to love his wife. He talks about the family relationships. And Paul says, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.” Again he brings back into the picture the original design that God had of how the home should be. The sexual union is a bonding union. God has put it together between man and woman and it is something far deeper than a physical, external experience. So many people in the world say, “No, no. It’s just external. It’s just physical. Nothing to it. It’s just sex. It’s not love.” No, not the way God designed it. It is not that way. It is not just an external act. It is a tremendously deep act, emotionally, spiritually. It’s the deepest area of intimacy a human being can have with that of another sex. It’s only permitted in situations where God has brought it together and caused the two becoming one flesh.
You see, marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. This is so important, because when a marriage is broken and men and women go outside of marriage in adulterous and immoral relationships, they mess up and continue to devastate the picture of what it should be with Christ.
Do you realize in the Old Testament when you find the word “to know God” it is the same word in knowing your wife in a sexual relationship? So it shows you that this is a deep, deep becoming one with one another. It’s a tremendous show of love and so many things built into it. It’s not just an external thing to do and forget about. You cannot. God designed it that way. So you see, marriage is a picture of Christ and His church.
Look at 1 Corinthians 6:17. Paul brings this picture out. He says, “But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” Two are coming together to be one in the intimacy of a relationship which is in the spiritual dimension. He is gratified by that which God offers in Himself, no one else.
The sin of immorality should be avoided at all costs
So there’s your picture of Christ and His church. Marriage is the example of that down here on earth. So the sin of immorality, particularly the immorality of Corinth, is first of all harmful. Secondly, it’s demeaning to the very purpose that God has for the body. He’s going to resurrect it one day. And thirdly, it is actually ignorant. It is spiritual ignorance for a person to say, “I’ve been immoral and yet claim to be a believer.” But the fourth thing about the terrible sin of immorality is that it should be avoided at all costs.
Verse 18 of chapter 6 says, “Flee immorality.” I don’t see how you can get any clearer than that. “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” Oh, man, listen to what he’s saying here. The definite article is used before the word “immorality,” and it appears to be pointing to the specific immorality of having relationship with these priestesses of that cult that was there in Corinth. He says to run away from these immoral women. Run away from the temple of Aphrodite. Run, flee. Don’t get around them. Run as if you’re afraid for your life.
The verb there is present imperative. Always be running. You don’t have to think about it. Always be ready to flee. Sometimes I go walking and try to exercise. In my neighborhood there are a lot of dogs. Most of them are little dogs. But there’s one dog on my block. He’s a Rottweiler. The dog is not a very nice dog. As a matter of fact, one day it chased my son’s friend up a tree. Now, these other dogs, I can just ignore them. I can just go on. They don’t bother me. But this dog, I run from. I want you to know I’m always fleeing from this dog. That dog scares me.
What Paul is saying here is, “Sin is sin. But there’s one sin that ought to scare the wits out of you. That’s the sin of immorality.” Most of them, in the enabling grace of God, are so easy to say no to and turn away from. But somehow this particular sin has a lure to it and has a seductiveness to it that entraps you to the point that you always should be of a mindset, “Run, run, run!” If I could say it to our young people one million times, I’d say that one thing: When you get anywhere around immorality, run, run, because you are not strong enough to handle it when you put yourself into that kind of situation. Paul is warning these Corinthian believers, many of whom have already found the truth of what he said. They’ve already fallen into this.
Well, when one flees, he ought to be headed toward something. That’s always important. Don’t just run from, run to. That’s always important. Paul says to Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Now flee from youthful lusts [Look at this], and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” I love this. He says, “Listen, man. Take the energy that you’re using to chase after this other stuff and, by the enabling power of God’s grace, channel it a different way and pursue righteousness and those things others seek for with a pure heart.” We’ve got to be pursuing it that way.
Paul shows us the truth here of how the sin of immorality is worse than other sins. He says, “Flee immorality.” Why? He says, “Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” This is interesting. Since the body is Christ’s possession, we not only sin against our body, we sin against Christ. We sin against our wife or our husband who are a part of that which God has joined together, and the ripple effect just continues to go. But the main thing is he sins against his own body. When the sexual act is committed with anyone outside the marriage relationship, he has sinned against his own body.
I’m not sure everything Paul’s talking about here because I’m not so sure my mind has grabbed all the truth that’s in this verse. But I’ll tell you this. He’s telling us that when we sin this way it has an effect on us that other sins seem not to have. The consequences of this sin go far deeper and are more far reaching than other sins in our life. And the main sin is you’re sinning against that part that has been reserved for redemption.
You see, our redemption covers three things, deliverance from the penalty of sin—that was when we were acquitted; deliverance from the power of sin—when Christ came to live in our life in the person of His Spirit; and then, thirdly, the deliverance from the presence of sin—when one day we’re given a glorified body. What we’re doing is we’re making a mockery out of what our salvation experience was all about.
That’s why Paul said, to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.” You think about the Gentile world. They don’t have any choices, folks. They fall right into it. But the Christian does. When we choose to sin against our body, we act just like the Gentiles and we can absolutely devastate our testimony.
This is why Peter had the same instruction. First Peter 2:11 says, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.” That’s important. The mind, the will, and the emotions are affected by this immoral sin. The author of Hebrews said in Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” That’s interesting to me. We’re living in a day when people say that we really are one with God in our spirit, but our bodies are just fleshly cartons that we have to put up with. In other words, we’re not really responsible for what they do. The body’s evil in itself and therefore it’s going to sin. But when it does you just learn more about it. There’s nothing wrong with that. We inwardly are one with God. And when we do sin it’s really the devil and demonic forces around us. Have you heard that kind of teaching? I want to show you something, folks. That is wrong and the Word of God proves that it’s wrong.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Paul says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit, and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” They can’t see the unity here. They seem to denote the spirit as a compartment where God’s spirit lives in. But the rest of it is all evil and it’s all flesh and does its own thing. That’s ridiculous. This is Gnosticism. It was prevalent in Paul’s day and it’s carried itself right into the 20th century. People say they’re not responsible for sexual sins of the body, but they call themselves believers. They’re either so ignorant they don’t know how to get in out of the rain or they’re just not saved, period. We’ve got to understand that we’re responsible for all parts of what the flesh does. The Gnostics say, “Hey, nothing to it.” But when you understand the Word of God, you can’t do it.
Now, in that context and with that thinking, look at what verse 19 says: “Or do you not know that your body,” that’s the flesh and blood part of us. That’s the part the Gnostics said we are not responsible for. That’s ridiculous. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” Here it clearly shows we are responsible for what the body does. He owns it and lives in it and makes us aware of the fact that we have a responsibility of choice.
In verse 19 he uses the analogy of the temple. He says, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.” The word “temple” is a Jewish word. It’s not a word for the church. But he takes the Jewish thinking here and takes us back and helps us understand. When they built the tabernacle, that’s where we first got its pattern. The temple came later on. It was a permanent place. Outside the eastern gate of the tabernacle the tribe of Levi would camp. And the tribe of Levi had the responsibility not to let anything or anyone impure through that gate. Now, we are the temple where God lives and, therefore, we are to daily not allow anything impure to get inside this temple.
We saw this truth back in verse 5:8, if you want to turn back. He uses the Jewish Feast of the Passover which they only celebrated once a year. But look how he uses it in 1 Corinthians 5:8: “Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” That verb, “celebrate the feast,” is in the present tense. Let us be constantly celebrating this feast, getting the leaven of impurity out of our life.
I guarantee you one thing. You will not commit an immoral act or a sexual act with some other person outside the marriage bond if you will daily deal with the sexual sin as it enters your mind. As you deal with the thoughts, as you deal with that which feeds those thoughts, you won’t have to get that far. You won’t get that far. God won’t let you get that far. But the people who are not celebrating that feast daily, constantly getting the leaven out of their life, will fall into sexual sin.
I heard someone on television saying, “We don’t confess sin anymore. We confess who we are in Jesus Christ.” I thought, “My goodness gracious!” The Scripture never says to confess who you are. It says to pursue who you are, righteousness and holiness and those kinds of things. We pursue it by the enabling grace of God. But confessing sin is very important for the believer, constantly confessing and repenting of sin, getting the leaven out of us so that we can live pure and righteous before God.
Well, it’s all a question of ownership. Who owns who? Verse 19 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” How many times does Paul have to say it? In 2 Corinthians 6:16 he says, “Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people.’” In the epistle to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul says in chapter 3, “For this reason,” and then he goes on down to verse 14 and uses the same phrase. It seems like he starts his prayer in verse 1 and then comes back to it in verse 14. He says, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father.”
To look for context and find out what reasons he’s talking about, you have to go back to chapter 2, particularly verses 21 and 22. Here’s what he says, “in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;” verse 22 says, “in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” Paul is saying to the Ephesian church, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father. You Gentiles don’t seem to understand Who lives in you and Who owns you and what He wants to do through your life. You are a dwelling of God in the Spirit and He owns you because you’re not your own. You’re bought with a price.”
Peter said in 1 Peter 2:5, “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Folks, we’ve got to understand this. These bodies have an eternal destiny. They have temporary functions down here on earth. We don’t even own our bodies. He owns them, indwells them, and purchased them.
Acts 20:28 says, “He purchased us with His own blood.” For a person to make a choice to use these bodies to have sexual relations with a person outside the marriage bond is literally to spit into the face of God Who redeemed these bodies. We need to see this sin as heinous as God sees it. And if we don’t see it that way, it’s going to be license after license by people who just won’t get it. They continue to devastate not only their lives, but also their partner’s lives and other family’s lives. The ripple effect is overwhelming. Very rarely can they be healed of this sin in a short time. It takes a long time of counseling, of a lot of things when somebody has committed this sin.
Paul is trying to save them from a terrible mistake that many of them are about to make. Many of them have made it, but not all of them. Look in verse 20: “For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”
I did a retreat once in another city. Every night at the invitation this precious bunch of young people just came forward. But one night there was a little gal. She didn’t come forward, but I could tell God was working on her. Her name was Phyllis. She was fifteen years old. I walked over to her after everybody had left and said, “Phyllis, are you alright?” She looked up at me and the tears just shed forth. She said, “Oh Bro. Wayne, I’m not okay.” I said, “What’s wrong, Phyllis?” She said, “I just found out Friday before I came on the retreat that I’m pregnant.” You know, inside of me, even as I tell the story right now, something just ached all the way down through me. I said, “What happened?” She said, “My mama and my daddy don’t come home until late in the afternoon. They both work. I’ve been used to going home by myself. My boyfriend came over and one thing led to another, and it was only one time.” Do you know what? That little child is not a curse on her. God’s the giver of life. Don’t ever look at the child as a curse on her.
What I’m trying to tell you is, when you step outside the will of God there are consequences to pay. I’m thankful that the grace of God heals. I’m thankful that the mercy of God helps us bear up under. I’m in no way finding any problem there. That’s our hope. But what I’m trying to say, perhaps you are flirting with that very sin. Hate me, spit on me, or do whatever else you want to do. But if I could just stop you and make you think. You don’t understand how much destruction comes when this particular sin is committed with the body. Any counselor will tell you that. So all I’m trying to do is warn you. That’s what Paul is trying to do. The sexual sin of immorality is a terrible sin. When you go outside the bonds of marriage and your body is used in a sexual relationship with somebody else, that not only is harmful, it is demeaning to the very purpose of what redemption’s all about. It’s a sign of ignorance, total spiritual ignorance of a person who may have been taught and taught and taught but since they never obeyed, they don’t have the bigger picture of how serious this sin is.
It’s to be avoided at all costs. Run from it. Folks, I want to tell you. That sin is the most heinous of all because of the ripple effect and the fact that you’re sinning against your very body. You’ve actually taken Christ with you in that sexual relationship.
Our bodies are to be used to glorify God
Well, finally, our bodies are to be used only to glorify God. Look at verse 20 again: “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” That’s what these bodies are for, to glorify God. Now the word “glorify” is the key word there. It’s doxazo. What does it mean to glorify the Lord? It means to give proper esteem, the proper regard by putting Him into an honorable position. In other words, lordship. When my body’s willing to bow before Him and let Him have the rights over His temple on this earth, then I have glorified Him. I have given the proper estimate of His Word. I have surrendered to Him and I have told Him, “Lord, I don’t have a right to do with my body what I want to do. You have all the rights over this body.”
Paul said in his letter to the Colossians, speaking of Christ, “He is also the head of the body, the church, and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead so that He himself might come to have first place in everything.” That’s when you glorify Him, when He comes to have first place in everything. I want to tell you something again. That’s also the way to make sure you never commit this sin. Continually get the leaven out of it, constantly be celebrating the feast, as we saw, and continually bowing before Him, giving Him that proper estimation, letting Him be the absolute Lord over you. I guarantee you won’t have to worry about committing that sin. You’ll always have to be aware that it’s potential, but you won’t have to worry about committing it if you’ll live surrendered to Christ.
Lordship includes what we don’t do or what we do with our bodies. It’s His temple on earth. It’s His temple on earth. He must be esteemed and properly given respect by allowing Him to have control over it.
Let me go over the list again. The sin of immorality is harmful to those who participate in it and also to those who are involved with those who participate in it because it just has a ripple effect. The sin of immorality is demeaning to the eternal purpose of the body. The sin of immorality is a sign of ignorance as to God’s even dwelling in you. The sin of immorality is to be avoided at all costs. And our bodies are only to be used for His glory.
There’s a scripture that says if we won’t praise Him, the rocks will cry out. The trees will cry out. Near Beijing, China, there’s a 3,400 year old maiden hair tree. It’s 15 feet wide and 80 feet tall. Several times every night it emits a noise much like the sound of a human cough. Temperature changes cause it, presumably. “What else might do that?” the secular world asks. Gatherings of curious people flock to hear the noise the tree makes every night.
You know, folks, we think we’re so smart. But even the rocks and trees will cry out if they have to and praise Him if we’re not going to do it. The place we start by glorifying Him is bowing before Him and subjecting ourselves to Him.