GOSPEL OF MARK – ROBBY GALLATY – Program 32
By: Dr. Robby Gallaty
|By: Pastor Robby Gallaty; ©2011|
|How can a young person keep himself or herself pure before marriage? How can a married couple keep their marriage free from immorality?|
The title of the message this morning is this: Pure Intentions. God’s design for marriage, as we have seen over the past two weeks, is for a man to leave his parents and hold fast or cleave to his wife, to stick to his wife. This morning I want to talk about the enemy that will devastate your marriage. Single men and women, I want to talk about the enemy that will destroy your relationship with the Lord. And the enemy I’m talking about is sexual immorality of any kind in your life. Because you are bought with a price—as we’ll see in the text this morning—through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, you and I are commanded to glorify God in our bodies by being pure and holy to him. Let me say it again: because you and I have been bought with a price through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are commanded to glorify God in our bodies through purity and holiness. And that’s what I want to talk about this morning.
John MacArthur says, “No sin that a person commits has more built-in pitfalls, problems, and destructiveness than sexual sin. It has broken more marriages, shattered more homes, caused more heartache and disease, and destroyed more lives than alcohol and drugs combined. It causes lying, stealing, cheating, and killing as well as bitterness, hatred, slander, gossip and Unforgiveness.”
It’s important for you and I this morning to hear a word from the Lord. Let’s go to his Word; 1 Corinthians 6:12. We’re going to walk through the passage as we hear from God: “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything. ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Let me give you where we’re going. The first aspect of the text—and we’ll take three of them—is this: the purpose of your body. We’re going to take some time here; I want to develop kind of a foundation, a bit of groundwork if you will in order for us to understand where we are before we know where we’re going. So look at the purpose of your body. And the first aspect Paul talks about is he says you are free in Christ. Look at verse 1: “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful.”
Now what Paul is doing here the next two or three phrases, he’s quoting a popular saying that was found in Corinth. The people would quote this phrase, “All things are lawful for me.” But Paul says all things are not profitable. That word profitable is another word for helpful. Paul’s saying yes, in Christ you are free. You’re not bound by the law. But it is not to your advantage to enter or engage in such practices. Yes, you’re freed by grace but Paul says you should not—look at the second part—be enslaved to anything. Yah, I can do anything in Christ, but you shouldn’t let anything master you.
The mentality was the prevailing view of the Corinthian church and I believe it’s the prevailing view that we see today in the world. What they were saying is this: “I’m free to do what I want. I can engage in sexual immorality if I will.” Now, why would they think that? See, in that time in the church of Corinth, there was a belief call Gnosticism that had infiltrated and invaded the church. Have you heard of Gnosticism before? It’s the idea that the body and soul are separate, that the body is evil, it’s not of God and so it should be destroyed or put to the side. But the soul is of God and it should be preserved. And so there was this dualistic view in the first century.
And so you had two different people on two different sides of the extreme. You had some that said since the body is bad, it should be denied. You shouldn’t get caught up in aestheticism, you shouldn’t feel anything, you shouldn’t please the body if you will. And so you should deny the body of any pleasure. And that’s where we get the group of monks who went to live in the monasteries. You’ve heard of this before.
Just a side note, there was a time as a new believer when I actually considered going into the monastery. Believe it or not, I visited a monastery in 2003 and I thought, “You know what? The Apostle Paul could do. Then I can do it,” right? And I met a guy in seminary in 2003 in October, and we made a pact. We said, “You know what? For the glory of God, we’re going to be single unto the Lord, bachelor to the rapture.” You ever heard that before? And we made a deal. I’ll never forget. We shook hands outside the house in October. Well, lo and behold, in December he met a girl that he would go on to marry and then in March, Kandi changed my mind. And you know how it turned out.
But the other extreme, right? The first extreme is to be single or celibate. The other extreme was if I’m free in Christ then I can give in to any pleasure I desire. I have this sexual appetite and so it needs to be fed. Hey, listen. The body has nothing to do with religion. If you were to go around Corinth in that day and if they were to have bumper stickers, you would have seen on the back of one of those chariots, If it feels good, do it. That was the mentality. If it feels good, do it. Boy, it sounds familiar to America today, right? We give in to all sorts of indulgences in this world. We treat sex as an appetite to be desired.
Yes, you’re free in Christ but why are we freed in Christ? Look at what Paul says secondly. You were free in Christ because you were created for the Lord. You were created for the Lord. Look at verse 13:
“‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’ —and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality [here’s the key phrase] but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.” This is another popular saying in the first century. And Paul obviously brings us back to the order of creation. See, what the Corinthians were saying is this: the body and the stomach will be destroyed and so there’s no need to please the body. And what Paul gives us an indication of is that, not only will the body be preserved, but the body will be preserved because Christ’s body was preserved.
Paul brings this idea of connection to creation. Look what he says. He says the stomach and food will be destroyed but since Christ rose from the dead, at the end of your life, you will rise from the dead on that day to be with Christ. Someone said Paul never promises redemption from the body, he promises redemption of the body, a totally different way to look at this. Now notice what Paul says here. The body is not meant for sexual immorality. In the Greek, that word sexual immorality is the Greek word porneia, where we get the English word what? Pornography. It’s anything that can be classified as a sexual sin including fornication. It’s intimacy with another person prior to being in the marriage covenant. Paul explains that the Corinthians were not created for immorality but they were created what? For the Lord. So the first one is we’re freed in Christ.
Secondly is we’re created for the Lord. Okay, we see that. Look at thirdly, we’re joined with Christ. We’re not only created for the Lord, but as believers, you and I, at the moment of redemption, at the moment of justification, we were joined with Christ. Verse 15: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” Paul discloses in this text the connectedness of our bodies and the body of Christ. Now he goes on to explain this argument in 1 Corinthians 12:12. Look what Paul says: “For just as the body is one and has many members [talking about the body of Christ], and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. [Here it is.] For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body….”
Independent individuals coming together to form the body of Christ is not the argument, though. This is what Paul’s concerned about. Paul is concerned not with an individual union with another person; Paul’s concerned about our individual union with Christ. And what he’s saying is this: When you and I were born again, we were connected with Christ. We were united with Christ and he reigns in our mortal bodies. Paul is not just saying this to say that your life points to Christ or that you should live for Christ or that you should point to the Lord in your actions. Paul is saying it is actually Jesus Christ who lives in you. Do you understand that? It is Jesus who lives in you through the power of the Holy Spirit. Rabbi Zusha of Hanipol says, “The Christ has not simply called me to be myself. He calls me to live in Him. His Spirit is to be the source of our life as well as the director of our path.”
Now, go back to 1 Corinthians 6. When Paul says you should never be joined to a prostitute, I don’t think he has in mind a specific woman or a particular woman in general. I think he’s talking about the whole evil system. He’s saying because you’re holy and righteous because of Christ, you should not join with the evil forces that wage war against Christ. Believers have no part in subjecting themselves to the evil forces of the world because God has called you and I to be holy. He’s called you and I to be set apart. “We understand that, Robby. We understand that we’re freed in Christ. We understand that we’re created for God. We understand that we’re joined with Christ.”
Here’s the final case that Paul puts together. We’re connected with God. We’re connected with God. Look at verse 16: “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”
Paul’s on a roll here. If Paul was preaching a sermon in the church, you would be “amening” him at this point, because Paul does the unthinkable. He creates this astonishing argument in the text. And what he does here is this: Paul says when a believer engages in sexual immorality with another person—another woman or another man, in this case a prostitute—he is actually joined together with that person. And this is what Paul says. He’s showing that the union between two people happens not when you say vows to one another on the altar. This is what he’s saying. He’s saying the actual union is established when the marriage is consummated together through sexual relationships. That’s what he’s saying. He draws from the Old Testament. He brings in that passage we’re seeing over and over and over. The two shall become what? One flesh and they are united with him.
Now this is a bold statement. What Paul is saying is this: the one-flesh union with a married couple is the same one-flesh union that you will enter into if you go into another sexual act with another person. It doesn’t matter if you intended it to be connected. It doesn’t matter if you were mutually wanting it to be connected. If you enter into a sexual relationship with another person pre-marriage or post-marriage, you are fused together with that person even if the two parties have no desire to do that. Boy, that gives new meaning to casual sex, right? He’s saying the same way you’re united with your wife is the same you’ll be united with this person.
Now, Paul’s not bothered in the text by how this behavior affects another person. What Paul’s beef is is this: he’s upset about how you are disjointed with the Lord because of your sexual immorality. See, believers, when you’re a new born-again believer, you are one with Christ. Let me show you. I could have picked a lot of passages. Go to John 17. Let me show you one of them. Verse 20.
“I do not ask for these only….” Talking about believers. This is Jesus praying moments before cross. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word [that’s us], that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Jesus says you and I are joined together with Christ. One commentator said since we are one with Christ and the sex partner is one, Christ is placed in an unthinkable position in Paul’s reasoning. Christ is not personally tainted with the sin we commit no more than a sunbeam that shines into a garbage dump is tainted. But His reputation is dirtied or polluted because of the association. This gives new meaning to an affair. It gives new meaning to pre-marital sex. It gives new meaning to adultery. It gives new meaning to casual sex. It has long term consequences. See when you, as a believer, enter into sexual immorality of any kind, it drags the Lord’s name through the mud and defiles your body.
Secondly, “Robby, what is the purity of my body for?” Write that down: The purpose of your body. Paul gives a strong plea here for the purity of your body. And that’s why Paul says, “Dear brothers, flee sexual immorality.” Run from it. Don’t play with it. Don’t linger around it. Don’t hang around. Run from it. Flee from immorality. You know, some of the Corinthians saw no harm in engaging in prostitution. In the first century in the city of Corinth, there were over 1,000 prostitutes in the temple of Aphrodite that were available for any kind of sexual fornication that you desired. And the believers of the New Testament Church were engaging in this kind of immorality.
Now, immorality goes beyond prostitution. It happens when you’re intimate with anyone other than your wife or your husband. It happens when you look at magazines in the world. It happens when you visit websites that are not pleasing to the Lord. It happens when you have lust in your own heart. As Jesus has said, it’s adultery in your own life. “But Robby, you don’t understand, pornography’s not that bad. I mean, I’m just looking at a picture on a website or I’m looking at a picture in a magazine.” When you’re staring at an image on a screen or a magazine, you are worshipping that image and it is idolatry and to God, idolatry was unacceptable.
“Robby, how do you fee immorality?” You don’t put yourself in those situations, ever. You don’t entertain old friendships on Facebook with old girlfriends or boyfriends period. You don’t reconnect on Facebook. There’s no need for you to talk to an old girlfriend or boyfriend on Facebook period. You don’t text co-workers after hours of the opposite sex on your phone for any reason period. You don’t make insinuating comments or snickering comments that are not pleasing to the Lord to someone of the opposite sex at work. You don’t ride in the car of a person of the opposite sex for lunch by yourself ever
Ministers, you never, you never, you never counsel someone of the opposite sex ever. When you come to meet with me with a woman, there’s two options. You come into the office with the door open with my assistant outside or the assistant comes in. There’s just two options. Why? Because I learned a long time ago, John Maxwell said I, hurting people hurt people. Hurting people hurt people. Friends, I love the Lord too much and I love my wife too much to allow the enemy to come in my life and try to lead me into some form of sexual temptation and you should hold the same idea.
Why is sexual sin so damaging? Look at verse 18. Paul just lays it out: “Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
Now let me just lay some groundwork here. Sin is missing the mark, okay? God sets a standard. The idea is that you shoot an arrow against the bulls’ eye and when you miss the target, you miss the mark. That’s sin. In the eyes of God, all sin is the same. Now, I wasn’t taught that growing up. I was raised in a different religion that we were taught that God grades on a curve, right? So you have mortal sins and you have venial sins. Venial sins are like the little sins—white lies or hatred in your heart for another person. And those are minor sins. But the major sins are the mortal sins which is death or murder or immorality or idolatry. Unfortunately, as I started to read the New Testament, I realized that’s not the case. For God, all sin is the same. It’s missing the mark.
One of my family members had the hardest time with this. I’ll just be honest. She would say over and over, “You mean to tell me that a murderer is going to be in heaven next to me?” And I’d say, “Well, God’s not judging based on perfection. The only reason you’re in heaven is based on forgiveness. We’re all sinners whether it’s a big sin or a small sin.”
Now, with that being said, there are some sins—come in real close—that affect the body in a different way. Sexual sin, Paul says, is one of the worst. Of all kinds of sins, says John Calvin, do not leave the same filthy stain on our bodies as sexual fornication does. It permanently stains. It permanently defiles. I think that’s why Paul says or the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriages be held in honor among all,” listen to what he says, “and let the marriage bed be undefiled. For God will judge the sexually immoral and the adulteress.” See, when you enter into sexual sin—all other sins you do outside the body; you can lie, you can cheat, you can steal—but when you engage in sexual sin, it’s like drinking poison to the body because you can’t get rid of your body. You poison yourself.
Listen to what the ESV study Bible says on Hebrews: “This warning is addressed to the members of the church and, if they are genuine believers, this judgment of God does not mean final condemnation in hell.” What he’s saying is you cannot lose your salvation if you sin, “but it does bring disciplinary judgment in this life or loss of reward on the last day or both. However, in light of the earlier passages in Hebrews, it is possible that such sexually immorality or sexual immorality will be an indication that a person committing the sin is not a true believer to begin with.”
If you’ve never been in an intimate sexual relationship with another person, don’t start. Just don’t start. If the person you’re dating says he loves you or she loves you, he or she will wait. Amen? If you’re living together right now with someone who is not married, move out. Move out. “But, Robby, you don’t understand. We can’t pay the bills. But, Robby, you don’t understand. I have no place to live. Robby, you don’t understand. I don’t make enough money.” Do you not believe that God will take care of you for standing up for righteousness? Do you not believe God will take care of you for standing up for purity?
If you’re living with another person right now and you’re out of marriage or out of wedlock, move out. That’s what Paul would say. If you’re dating someone and you’ve been sexually active, stop and repent. Ask God to cleanse you of all unrighteousness and commit your body to Him waiting for your future spouse to come. If you’re addicted to pornography, repent. Come to the Lord. Run to him and return to him. Maybe you need to bow down before him this morning. Maybe you need to seek counsel from one of my pastoral staff here. You come. As the Lord leads, you come.
“Why do we do this, Robby? I understand the purpose of the body. I understand the purity of the body.” But notice, finally, the purchase of your body. This is why we do this. We don’t do this because we care commanded to do this. We do this because of the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at verse 19: “…do you not know that your body is a temple [circle that word] of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Paul does the unthinkable. He describes your physical body with the same magnitude as the Old Testament temple. And what he’s saying is this: the physical body is where the Lord dwells. The first century hearers would have understood this. They would have had reverence for the temple. They would have had respect for the temple. It was the highest place that you could go. It was the most revered place that you could go in the first century. In the Greek, the word temple there is another word for a place where God resides. It’s another word for where the priests could go. It was a sacred place. It was a special place.
And notice what Paul says. It’s not your Holy Spirit. It’s who’s? It’s his Spirit. See, when you sin—come in real close—sexually, it is as if you walk into the presence of the Lord, commit that sexual act in front of God, and then walk out from him. Why do you say that? It is no different than sinning in the sanctuary since the offense is made within God’s sanctuary, which is your own body. That’s what he’s saying.
Galatians 2:20. Paul said, “I’ve been crucified with Christ. I no longer live. It’s Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” We no longer belong to ourselves. We were bought with a price.
You see, if you study the context of this passage, you’ll realize there were two options in the first century to purchase slaves. The first option was this: you would go to a slave owner. You would put a price up. You would purchase a slave and you would free the slave. That happened, but it was very rare. In this context, when Paul says you were bought with a price, what Paul is insinuating is this: that someone went to the slave owner, put a price down, and bought you for himself. You changed owners. You went from being dominated by this slave owner and now you are a slave to this person who, in this case, is namely Christ. See, formerly, you were a child of Satan. Now you are a child of the Savior. Formerly, you were a child of wrath. Now you are an object of favor. Formerly, you were following the enemy. Now you are lead by Christ.
God owns the deed to your body because of the Lord Jesus Christ and when Jesus died on the cross, what happened was this: He set you free from sexual immorality, idolatry, sensuality, enmity, strife, envy, rivalries, divisions, dissensions, drunkenness, orgies and things of the like. And what he did is he broke the bondage that the enemy has over life. Jesus didn’t just walk in a put a $100 bill down and say, “Hey, listen, I think I’ll take him or I think I’ll take her.” Jesus just didn’t bring a commodity to the table and say, “Hey, I will trade you what I have here for what you have there.” Jesus Christ went to the cross and said, “I’m going to take matters into my own hands and I’m going to put myself on the cross and give my body as a sacrifice for their body. That’s why Paul says you were purchased with a price. The price caused Jesus his life.
Boy that gives new meaning to sexual immorality. It gives new meaning to looking pornography on a computer screen. It gives a new meaning to text messages to someone of the opposite sex. You don’t belong to yourself anymore. You were bought with a price.
Friends, listen to me. When the temple is unclean, there’s no true worship. When the temple of your body is unclean, there is no true worship. “So what do I do, Robby? I’m in sin this morning. Sexual immorality resides in my heart. I’ve committed sins against the Lord and against my wife. I’m in sin now. What do I do today?” Here’s what you do. You do nothing. You can do nothing. Friends, if you try to clean yourself up from your sin, it’s like taking a bath in the mud. You can’t clean yourself up. You’ve got to confess to the One who can clean you up. You’ve got to get on your face before the Lord Jesus Christ and repent of your unrighteousness, of your selfishness, of your pride, of your immorality and say, “God, I need you to cleanse me. I need to embrace the gospel. I need to pick up my cross, deny myself, and follow Jesus every single day of my life.”
Is that what you need to do this morning? I don’t care if you’re sixteen in here or you’re sixty five years old. You struggle with sin. And if you don’t struggle with sin, you need to repent of pride because that’s a sin.
I want to give you four things to ask yourself every time you enter into any kind of situation. Here are the four things based on this passage. Four questions to ask yourself. Here are the walking points for you. Write them down. The first question is this: will this benefit my body or harm my body? The action that I’m going to enter in, will it benefit the body or harm the body? Second question: Will this practice control me? Paul says do not be enslaved by anything. Thirdly: will this practice prove that my body was created for the Lord, entering into this kind of practice? And finally, is what I’m about to do going to glorify God?