Let us pray: Dear Savior, send forth Your Spirit to protect us! Send forth Your Spirit to keep us from temptation. Send forth Your Spirit to prevent us from backsliding into living and thinking like the rest of the unbelieving world. Yes, renew our minds so that we may clearly see Your way of truth, life, comfort, and joy. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE GIVER OF EVERY GOOD AND PERFECT GIFT!
TEXT: I Corinthians 6: 12-20
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
2000 years ago women flocked to the Christian Church. 2000 years ago the majority of members in any given congregation were women. And do you know why? Because Christianity valued and protected them. Christianity didn’t treat women like 2nd class citizens, slaves, or mere sexual objects. Christianity said that both women and men were special to God. That God had given His life to save theirs. Christianity provided women with a haven from the crude, rude, lewd sexually-charged atmosphere of both the Greek and Roman cultures. Christianity preached marriage, not one-night-stands. It preached lifelong commitment, not casual sex. Christianity didn’t want women for their bodies, it wanted them for their souls, their minds, their capabilities. Christianity taught that men and women were equal in the sight of God in so far as God’s love and salvation are concerned, while at the same time recognizing the unique gifts that both sexes bring to any table.
Contrary to the silly claims of the foolish that those many women who followed Christ were drawn to Him for sexual reasons, is the truth that He treated them with utmost respect. He sacrificed His life for them, and they sacrificed their time and energy to assist Him in His work of reaching out and helping the helpless.
Today, as the influence of Christianity upon our culture has waned, what do we see? Vile speech, crude language, and sexual innuendo are regarded as normal. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry—which treats women as nothing short of throw-away objects. Internet chat rooms lure kids into perversion. Sex is used to sell everything from toothpaste to cars. Lewd sex acts are graphically described on the radio, TV and “mainstream” magazines. Children throw around words on the bus that up until a few years ago only a few Marine Corps drill instructors had ever heard. The majority of “rap” music speaks of violence and physical abuse of women—of those who are our mothers, sisters, aunts, and friends. Should we be proud of all this? Does this prove that we’re advanced? Are we happy to share such information with our children? Does all this mean men and women respect each other more? Or has it all helped to destroy true happiness, marriages, and the entire concept of self-sacrificing love? Well, I think you get the point and know the answer.
HONOR GOD WITH YOUR BODY!
That is the concluding phrase of today’s lesson. And St. Paul makes it because that’s exactly what God wants all of His children to do. He wants us to honor Him by using our bodies in a positive, uplifting way. And since sexuality and the human body are intertwined, He expects us to use our sexuality in a way which honors Him and promotes respect among all we touch with our lives.
Corinth was as cosmopolitan as Boston. They had the local coliseum to entertain the masses with blood and gore—we have football and Wrestlemania. They had local gay bathhouses where slaves—both boys and girls—were abused, we have internet chat rooms. They had heathen temples for the occult, we have Wiccan witch worship down in Harvard Square at the Unitarian assembly hall. We have “escort services” and they had stone footsteps cut into the pavement leading from the waterfront ships to the local brothel.
The Corinthian church had to deal with all these sinful influences which tried to pull them away from Christ. And like so many today, people in that church got worn down. They got tired of fighting temptation. It was just easier to go along with the crowd. Then, too, they rationalized: “I’m forgiven. So as long as I don’t hurt anyone else by what I’m doing, what should it matter?” And so some of them began giving in to their flesh and visiting prostitutes. They rationalized: “Sex is as natural as eating or drinking. Smorgasbords are good for the stomach, so why not casual sex for my libido?—What’s the difference?”
Well, the difference is: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”
People are not merely sex objects to be used and then discarded when a new, more interesting version comes along. People are creations of God. Souls that Christ died for on the cross. Souls that He bought with His blood. As a Christian you know that. As a Christian you have benefited from the Holy Ghost working faith in your heart. As a Christian you know that your body isn’t yours to do with it whatever you wish, but that it belongs to God. You know that He has lifted you up to a higher level—toward heaven. He has put honor, self-sacrifice, thankfulness, and respect within your heart. He has shown you the joy of language that uplifts instead of pulling you into the gutter, of relationships that aren’t based on taking sexual advantage of another but instead are about sharing mutual respect and valuing each other’s Godly virtues.
So, “flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
Paul writes elsewhere: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Next time temptation comes calling. Next time crudeness is celebrated. Next time coarse speech and the lovelessness of sexual promiscuity are promoted remember who you are: A Christian! And honor God with your body….Amen