Grab your Bible and let’s go deeper into 1 Corinthians 6.
1 Corinthians 6:13b-20 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.
This is such a needed warning and counsel for both men and women. The temptation to flirt with and/or participate in sexual immorality is always present and a true enemy of God’s design for these things. Everyone is susceptible to the longings of the flesh and the temptations to do or think sexually immoral things. Just this week it was announced that one of the true great modern preachers was caught in a sexually immoral relationship and its fallout is impacting so many people not only in his church, but worldwide as his impact and following has become significant. So, how do we ALL be sure to heed Paul’s counsel here in 1 Corinthians 6 and live out all that God has saved us and called us to regarding these things?
Let’s start by looking at God’s design for intimacy.
Genesis 2:24-25 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Here we see God’s definition for marriage and our first insight into his wonderful gift of sexual intimacy that He gives to a husband and a wife. This is a joining of two lives to become one that is unlike any other in creation. This is what Paul is getting to in 1 Corinthians 6. He is saying there is a wonderful Christ-centered reason why God made marriage for a husband and wife.
He is also saying there are terrible repercussions for our lives when we look for sexual intimacy outside of marriage.
There is an ever-increasing temptation for the bride of Christ to compromise her testimony by looking to sinful, worldly entertainment or sexual engagement outside of marriage for her satisfaction and joy instead of in Christ or the one place God gave us to exercise our sexual intimacy, in a committed marriage.
God designed sexual intimacy for marriage alone. When it is enjoyed in this context, it is like a raging fire that is enjoyed as it burns safely in the hearth of your home’s fireplace. Outside of God’s ordained context of marriage, sexual immorality will reap great destruction in your life, like a raging fire burning anywhere else in your house but the fireplace.
The problem is sin and society have really stolen God’s intention for marital intimacy.
What this has meant for the people of God is we have removed talking about and celebrating this wonderful gift from our lives. It has become a taboo subject! Rarely do we talk about marital intimacy within the church family and rarely do we talk about it at home.
We have essentially left this topic to be learned, discovered and celebrated on the world’s terms.
If the church is not talking about it and married couples are not talking about it, who is? Movies, TV, music, internet, books, magazines, co-workers, news media. Enter in Fifty Shades of Grey and all the other garbage that is constantly out there.
The problem is, when we remain removed from rightly talking about, acting on and celebrating God’s design for marital intimacy, the world continues to teach us the wrong thing.
In the vacuum left by the silence of our church family and in the home is that our kids and even our spouses are shaped with a view of sex and intimacy that is not at all what God intended.
How does this apply to you and those you run with in Christ?
Do you love each other enough to bring up this topic so that you can be an encouragement to each other? To help each other when struggling with temptations to lust or unhealthy engagement outside of marriage or an unhealthy absence of sexual intimacy within your marriage. Are you willing to go so far to even get professional counseling if needed to address this area of unhealthiness in your life? If we hear the severity of consequences that Paul is speaking of in our passage that comes from sexual immorality then we will be willing to take it this serious.
We must talk about it because if we don’t we will be left to the endless flood of godless ideals to convince us to partake or engage outside of God’s perfect plan for this area of life.
Understand: The world’s agenda when it comes to sex is to “profane” it.
Profane = to make it common! To treat something sacred with irreverence.
So, profanity comes from the word profane.
So, when we say “Oh, God” in just a flippant common way, instead of exalting his name and worshipping the true God, we use it as a casual response to life and make it common. Or we use it as a swear word to illustrate the emotion of disgust. Like saying, “Jesus Christ”.
Like this, our cultures agenda is to profane sex removing all mystery and holiness and sacredness and selflessness and make it common and casual. This only causes the mind to think about it as something that is simply for personal selfish pleasure, or status, or adventure.
Our culture wants to make sex simply about physiology and biology.
And so when they teach it to our kids in sex ED, it is all about mechanics.
We have been convinced by our culture that they get it and we don’t.
This is why for far too many people they are captured by the world’s casual, mechanical, free-market idea of sex.
This is why so many struggle with pornography.
Many have come to believe that it is purely mechanical and, therefore, ok. Or that “THEY”, the world out there, understands sex more than we the church or God does and so we go investigating on the web or in movies or with other people to get a taste of what is perceived to be the good life, sexually.
This will only continue to happen until we take back sexual intimacy for marriage alone and truly begin to enjoy intimacy the way the Creator designed it to be enjoyed.
As our Scripture today states, the consequences are major when it comes to sexual immorality. The emotional and spiritual scars that lust and sexual intimacy outside of your marriage brings is as deep as it gets according to the Bible. And I have never seen anything in my almost 20 years of pastoral counseling to be more true.
Stop and meditate on a few other exhortations from God’s word regarding this area of our life:
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God
-1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
- 1 Peter 2:11
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Let me ask you, what are you exposing yourself to lately? Are you engaging in a relationship that is crossing sexual boundaries outside of marriage? Remember sexual intimacy of any kind is for marriage alone. It is not for love, commitment, fun, or whatever other reason one can think of to justify it.
Do you struggle with pornography? Do you have accountability on your phone or computer? Do you have access to unhealthy cable TV or Netflix? Many of these should be considered when fighting this fight. Access is a huge part of our ongoing temptation.
http://xxxchurch.com is a great resource for accountability software that doesn’t limit your access. It just brings others alongside to see what you are seeing. Maybe it is time to get rid of the smart phone and go back to a flip phone.
Consider Proverbs 5 and replace the “immoral women” with “pornography” and read it again.
Proverbs 5:1-14 (NLT)
My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned. The lips of [pornography] are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn't realize it. So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say: Stay away from her! Don't go near the door of her house! If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved. Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor. In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body. You will say, "How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! Oh, why didn't I listen to my teachers? Why didn't I pay attention to my instructors? I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.
Brothers/Sisters: There is too much to lose to not fight this fight. Are you letting those God has put into your life in to fight this fight with you? We must confess, repent and grow from any ungodly practices of sexual immorality.
Read it again: 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. -1 Corinthians 6:18-20
I am praying for you. I am praying that you look to honor God with this area of your life. I am praying that you risk and ask your brothers how they are doing in this area? That you work together to seek God and put up measures of real accountability and fight together to honor God in this way.
I leave you with the words of Paul in Romans 12:1-2:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.