Faithlife Sermons

Ripped Out of Context: Don't Defile God's Temple - 1 Corinthians 6

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We are looking at verses that are commonly ripped out of their context. Our goal, once again, of this series, has been to learn how we need to study passages within their context so we can properly understand what the author is trying to get through to his readers in a specific passage so that we are not guilty of misrepresenting not just the man who wrote the epistle, but the Spirit who inspired the men to write those books.
Our goal as disciples of the Lord is to speak as the oracles of God as Peter encourages those he wrote to in . We want to make sure that when we say, “God commands or God says _______” that this is actually what the author of the passage is teaching and not us turning our desired applications based on our traditions or opinions into a “thus saith the Lord,” which does often happen among God’s people…
The passage we will be looking at today is in .
[19] 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, [20] for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ( ESV)
This passage is misused in a few ways… It is used at times in order to show the Christian's obligation to:
Eat a “heathy” diet or to forbid eating some foods…
Exercise multiple times per week…
Completely abstain from things such as caffeine, alcohol, prescription drugs, etc…
This is just a few examples… These arguments are often made with pure motivations, many people may be concerned for the health of their loved ones or their brethren. I have heard this verse used very rudely also to shame those who are overweight and to tell them that they are sinning because they are not taking care of their bodies. Usually a lot of wrong assumptions are made about people’s lifestyles in making such judgments.
This verse is usually quoted and the argument is often made that if you neglect these things, you are defiling your body which is a temple of the Holy Spirit. There are some good reasons to exercise and to eat healthy, but these things are not what Paul is talking about in this passage.
So, as we have done in our other lessons, let’s go ahead and look at the context of this passage to see what Paul is talking about…
As we have talked about in out 1 Corinthians series, in chapters 1-6, Paul interacts with reports that he had received from brethren in Corinth about sins that were present among the brethren.
In chapters 1-4, he showed the foolishness behind their division and the arrogance and boasting associated with it.
In ch5, as we saw in our first lesson this morning, a man had a sexual relationship with his father’s wife & the church was not doing anything about it. So Paul tells them to deal with the sin and to remove the brother who was unwilling to repent for the sake of that brother’s soul and for the sake of the church also.
In ch6, Paul deals with the problem among the brethren in taking one another to court before unbelievers. Paul shows how they were bringing shame upon themselves by not dealing with these issues themselves instead of airing their dirty laundry for unbelievers to see.
He then reminds them in verses 9-11 exactly what the consequences for sin are. He is dealing with their arrogance here as we talked about in our first lesson this morning, using this phrase, “do you not know” to show that if they were so wise they should know this stuff. They should know better. The sins they are committing against one another will keep them out of the kingdom of God, no matter what their justification for the sin was. And their sin was showing that they were being like the culture they had been delivered from.
And he also deals with justifications they were making for sin in verses 12-20.
This brings us to the specific passage that our passage is in. There are a few statements in this section that make the most sense looking at them as statements of the Corinthians which Paul is interacting with
Their first justification for committing sin is given in v12. They were saying that they had “liberty in Christ.” They said, “All things are lawful for me.” They were turning sin into something they had a freedom to do. But Paul tells them that committing sin is not profitable for them and it enslaves them…
Then, in verse 13, they give the excuse for sin that is often used today… the “God made my body for this” excuse. God made the stomach for food and food for the stomach… doesn’t it then follow that since God created us to have sexual relationships that we can use our bodies to have any kind of sexual relationship that we want? Right?
Paul shows once again that their thinking was carnal… They need to keep in mind who they belong to and who will judge them for how they use their bodies. Even though men and women are designed by God to have sexual relationships does not mean you can do whatever you want. You still need to obey God in this area. Paul says, “the body is not for immorality.” It belongs to the Lord, and they need to be careful not to use what belongs to the Lord to commit whatever sin they wanted to commit – using what is the Lord’s to sin against the Lord…
Instead of trying to justify sin, they needed to instead, as Paul commands them in v18, to flee it. “Flee fornication.” Then we have our passage about our temple…
[19] 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, [20] for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ( ESV)
There is a common theme that goes through the first 6 chapters of this book and in chapters 5-6 specifically. Here is the argument that Paul is making in this passage: Do not sin with your body because your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit! And your body, ultimately, is not really yours! God purchased you with the blood of Christ to use your body to serve Him. Use your body glorify the one it belongs to!
Paul is not saying that if you don’t take care of your body by dieting and exercise that you are defiling your temple. Sin is what “desecrates our temple.” Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit so do not sin with it.
Paul is specifically dealing with fornication in this passage and how it defiles the body. Paul seems to be focusing primarily on this sin because:
1. It was a major issue in Corinth, obviously with what he talked about in chapter 5, as well as other temptations that they had in society with temple prostitutes.
2. of the nature of the sin of fornication, how you use the body for this specific sin
3. And Paul may also be focusing on this specific sin because it was the first sin that he mentioned in his list in verses 9-10. He may be using it to describe what all of these sins do.
Paul is primarily dealing with sexual sin and how it defiles the temple of God, but I do believe there is a broader application because all sin does defile us spiritually and can lead us to grieve or even insult the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. We see in that our words and actions can grieve the Spirit within us, and if we go on sinning willfully, tells us that we can insult God’s Spirit… Sin is a big deal, and we need to deal with it when we see it in our lives.
The only way I could see eating being an application of this passage is if a person is sinning, either in what they are eating, or if they were not showing self-control, being gluttonous. I do believe this passage can be fairly applied in this instance. But outside of this, Paul is not talking about making your body look good through diet and exercise in this passage. He is not saying here to not eat fast food or to eat more fruits or vegetables. He is not saying to be concerned about what your temple even looks like physically. He is talking about the purity and holiness of God’s dwelling place here. The context is talking about glorifying God in living a life that honors Him and to flee sin.
“[9] …Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
These things in v9-10 defile us (and this is by no means an exhaustive list). No matter what the sin is, there is no justification for sin in our lives, and we need to be careful not to deceive ourselves into thinking that any sin is safe to practice. Sin separates us from God.
If you are a child of God, God has blessed you with His presence so you can live for Him. He has bought you with the blood of Christ from the slavery you were in because of your sin, not so you could re-enslave yourself all over again. You have been saved to serve and glorify Christ with your body. How are you doing at this? Is there is sin in your life that you have not confessed and repented of? Is there a sin that has taken all the life out of you and has enslaved you?
If you have not yet obeyed the Gospel, take verses 9-11 to heart. All of these sins that Paul describes can keep you out of Heaven. The Corinthians were guilty of all of these sins before they obeyed the Gospel.
[11] And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (ESV)
They were guilty of all of the sins that Paul describes in verses 9-10, but they were forgiven of them. They were made holy habitations for God whenever they obeyed the Gospel. They had their sins washed away when they were baptized in the name of Christ and were given spiritual life by the Holy Spirit. No matter what sins you are guilty of, if you believe the Gospel and want to give your life to Christ to live for Him, you can be baptized into to Christ today and be forgiven by God.
If there is anything we can do to help you know the Lord and to be victorious over sin in your life, why don’t you make your need known as together we stand and sing?
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