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Bought at a Price January 15, 2012

Posted by sandhandrews in Sermons.
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1 Corinthians 6:12-20

 Epiphany 2

January 14-15, 2012

Focus: God has bought us at a price.

Function: That the hearers glorify God with their bodies.

Structure: Textual: do you not know?

 

Bought at a Price

            Superbowl Sunday is just a few weeks away.  I’m one of those who prefers to watch it for the game itself, because I love football.  But certainly you know people, perhaps you are one of these types, who watches the game for the commercials.  Let’s face it, it’s one of the few times Americans won’t change the channel during the commercial break.  Well, do you remember the Doritos’ commercial from a few years ago that won commercial of the year?  The one where there’s a couple of coworkers in the break room, and one of them is holding a snowglobe?  He calls it his crystal ball, and asks it whether or not there’ll be free Doritos in the office that day.  Then he chucks the snowglobe through the glass of the vending machine.  His coworker later tries out this “crystal ball” by asking if he’ll get a promotion in the near future.  But when he goes to throw the snowglobe, he ends up drilling his boss in the hallway.  Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial.

In reality, both of those employees probably lost their jobs, one for vandalism, and the other for sheer stupidity.  They had the right to throw the snowglobe, they were capable of it, but it wasn’t in their best interest.  Apparently by this point in the Corinthian church, “everything is permissible for me” had become a slogan.  We are free from the law because of Christ; we can do whatever we want!

This sounds familiar with Paul.  Remember Romans 6?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound?  By no means!  May it not be!  So here we are again.  Never!  Paul rattles off the reasons for us.  In fact, he’s quite ashamed and disappointed in the Corinthians.  He begins a series of six “do you not know” questions.

Prior to our text, talking about lawsuits, “do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” “Do you not know that we are to judge angels?”  “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?”  We’ll take a closer look at the three from our text.  But Paul is disappointed in having to ask these questions.  These are things that he must have shared with them already.  It’s like raising a child.  You lay down the rule, and it’s broken.  Do you not know that you have a curfew?  Do you not know that you’re not supposed to hit your sister?

He starts with the problem.  It’s the sayings in their community.  Everything is permissible for me.  Sure, you can do whatever you want, but that doesn’t make it beneficial for you.  As Pastor told the Bible class, you can beat your head against the wall.  You can skydive without a parachute.  Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

But their second phrase takes it a little farther.  “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food.”  I can eat whatever I want.  If I want to have a few Big Macs every day, what’s the problem?  Do you not know about the documentary “Supersize Me?”  You can eat 5000 calories in a day, but it will ruin your stomach.  As Paul reminds them here though, God will destroy them both.  Food and stomachs aren’t eternal things.

We could go on here with a list about healthy living, steps to taking good care of your body, but Paul pushes these things aside and moves on to the bigger problem among them: sexual immorality.  He’s already talked about some of these problems in this letter.  Some of them were taking their father’s wives.  And he reminded them in a “do you not know” that the sexually immoral, the adulterers, and the homosexuals, among others, will not inherit the kingdom of God.  In other words, pay attention those of you who are stuck in sexual immorality, because your everlasting life is in jeopardy!

“The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”  God created us in His image and we see numerous times that as His children we are His servants, created in Him to do good works.  “By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also.  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ Himself?”  Being members of one body is something Paul felt they should already know.  He talks about being one in Christ all the time.  He even does it in this text; we just lose it in English.  Everywhere that we read the word body in the text, it was singular; but everywhere we saw the pronoun “you,” it was plural.  You all are one body.  We are all together members of one body, that is, of Christ.  Paul brings that out more fully in some of his other letters.

“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.’”  Do you recognize where that quote is from?  It’s Genesis 2; it’s marriage.  Two will become one flesh is marriage language to the very core.  God created Eve in the very beginning to be a helper for Adam; God created marriage in the very beginning to be the basic unit of a family.  A man and woman, two becoming one, together until death do them part.  Sex is a part of that marital bond.  It is a blessing given to a husband and a wife to share together, to strengthen their relationship and to draw them closer to each other.

So Paul lays it out clearly: to engage in prostitution is to bind yourself with the prostitute.  Two become one flesh. It is an unholy union, defiling the person, and leaving them confused.  Studies have been done through the years that try to figure out just how sex affects the body and the relationship.  They’ve discovered that it releases certain hormones and triggers events in the brain.  It has proven to create emotional connections between the two people involved.

The Christian movie Fireproof provided a great example of this.  Trying to help his coworker avoid divorce, one of the firefighters superglued the salt and pepper shakers together in the firehouse lunchroom.  When his friend went to separate them, he stopped him and warned him that if he pulled them apart, they’d both break, spilling salt and pepper everywhere.  They’d be ruined.  So when sex is abused apart from marriage, people are damaged.  Relationships are torn apart.  And the people involved become lost emotionally, carrying excess baggage with them everywhere they go.

Prostitution, though it still exists, is almost an afterthought in our culture.  It’s been replaced with more prominent issues.  So before you start to think that we’re above this issue today, let’s rephrase it.  To unite yourself with someone who isn’t your spouse is to become one with them in body.  Thankfully, our culture still views cheating on your spouse, having an extramarital affair, as a bad thing, but I’m concerned about how much longer that will last.  How long will it be until a person’s “right” to happiness becomes more important than the wedding vow, than Scripture itself saying that the “two become one flesh,” or more than God saying that what God has joined together, let no man put asunder?

Our culture has detached sex and marriage.  Schools, when they teach sex ed, hand out condoms.  Most kids in our country our sexually active by high school.  Less than 20% of people in America are still virgins when they get married.  Sex outside of marriage is normal.  People sleep around as though there’s nothing wrong with it.  Teen pregnancies and abortions are through the roof.  Divorce is at a higher rate than ever before.

Some think they can avoid the trouble of divorce by cohabiting, by living together before marriage.  But studies have proven them wrong.  Cohabiters are 46% more likely to see their marriage end in divorce than those who didn’t live together first.  You can’t test-drive marriage.  That mindset is no different than divorce.  You simply can’t leave a marriage whenever you feel like it.  You can’t just leave because things aren’t working out.

Our culture may not be abundant with prostitutes, but we’ve still decimated the importance and value of marriage.  The family unit is gone.  A 50% divorce rate leaves a lot of children to grow up with just one parent.  And it’s an endless cycle.  Because most of these kids grow up with a different view of marriage than if they’d seen a healthy relationship between mom and dad.  Further destroying the family is the idea that marriage doesn’t have to be between one man and one woman.

We aren’t outside of Paul’s “do you not know” questions.  We’re not above his anger.  He calls sexual sins different than others.  The rest are all “outside” of our body.  But sexual sins we commit against our bodies.  To explain this, he says, “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 at a price.”

What makes our body a temple?  If you think of the Old Testament, the Tent of Meeting, the Tabernacle, and eventually the Temple, they drew their relevance, their significance from the idea that, in that place, God dwelled among His people.  That’s the place where they could be sure He would be.  In light of that, it makes perfect sense that our body is a temple, because God dwells in us.  We teach our children that Jesus lives in their heart.  More precisely, in our baptisms the Holy Spirit comes upon us and makes us His dwelling place.  We live in Christ, Christ lives in us.  We live in the Spirit, the Spirit in us.  Our bodies are the very temple of God.

This is part of what makes Paul so irate.  These aren’t just regular sins.  You’re uniting the body of Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit, with a prostitute, or an adulterer, or whatever the case may be.  You are defiling God’s temple.

So Paul tells us to refrain from sexual immorality.  “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”  That price is the body and blood of Christ on the cross.  It’s the sacrifice for the broken covenant.  It’s the payment for our sins.  We have been “purchased”/redeemed from slavery to sin.  We are now under new “ownership.”  We belong to God.  We are His children, His family and His servants.  Christ paid the price for us, not so that we can do whatever we want, but so that we could be a family, so that we could live the way God created us to live, as His precious, righteous children, who do good works simply because they’re there to do.  Being “slaves of Christ,” as Paul later says, isn’t a bad thing.  Remember in Matthew’s gospel where he said that Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.

As God’s temple, as His children who will be resurrected from the dead, Paul wants us to live our lives differently.  Because God lives in us, because our bodies are so important to God that He will resurrect them again on the last day, because we were bought at a price, we don’t live as the world around us.  As Paul says, we honor God with our body.  We treat our body with respect in all walks of life.  This includes the way we look at sex; it includes how we behave around food; it includes the way we think about most everything.  If you truly believe that Christ and the Spirit of God dwell in you, it changes the way you live your life and treat your body.  Take care of your bodies, the temples of God, because they were bought at a price.

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