Faithlife Sermons

Self-gratification & The Believer

Our Blueprint for a New Testament Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Our text for this morning is 1 Corinthians 6:12-18. We are continuing our journey through the book of 1 Corinthians. A journey that I hope is helping you know what God expects of us and our church. It definitely is helping me. Now, remember, the overall theme of 1 Corinthians is God’s Blueprint for a Local, New Testament Church.
Last week, we examined verses 9-11 which read...
1 Corinthians 6:9–11 KJV 1900
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
In that message, the Holy Spirit reminded us about our position in Christ. We learned that a legitimate local church is one that consists of a saved membership. You may recall that we examined the fact that sinners sin. Thus, the “unrighteous” aka unbelievers are those who commit all sorts of sin. None of us should be surprised by what sinful men and women do. They are sinners. In fact, “such WERE some of you.” You know as well as I do that we also lived under the bondage of sin. However, praise God, we are now washed (cleansed), sanctified (set apart), and justified (declared righteous) by Christ’s finished work at Calvary.
Ephesians 2:5–10 KJV 1900
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
That is the great news of the gospel. God takes those who were dead in sins and trespasses and makes them alive with Christ. And, now, we are new creatures with a new position before Him.
Thinking back to our study in 1 Corinthians, we know that all of us still battle with our old flesh aka this body. Our biggest struggle as believers is the continued pull of the flesh. James tells us...
James 1:14–15 KJV 1900
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
If you take that passage and combine it with 1 John 2:15-16, we get a complete picture of that battle we all deal with on a daily basis.
1 John 2:15–16 KJV 1900
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Each believer contends with temptation that comes from within as well as the temptation that comes from without. All of these temptations are solicitations for us to please ourselves and gratify the lusts of the body. It is something that we will contend with until the moment we receive our redeemed bodies at the Lord’s appearing.
The entirety of I Corinthians provides us with examples of other believers who were also dealing with these same temptations. That is why when we come to 1 Corinthians 10:13 the Holy Spirit says...
1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV 1900
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
And, as we already know, these believers in the church at Corinth were dealing with pride, strife, materialism, and immorality. Thus, they needed to be reminded, as we saw last week, of their position in Christ. It is a position of freedom and not of bondage. The Holy Spirit reminds them to stop yielding to unrighteous and start yielding to righteousness.
So far, over these last two chapters, the Holy Spirit addressed immorality in chapter 5 and then began chapter 6 with materialism. As we read today’s text, the Holy Spirit comes back to the issue of immorality.
As you will see, in today’s text, the Holy Spirit provides us with a Distinct Perspective concerning Self-gratification and offers us a Divine Principles about Sexual Immorality. In doing so, He helps us to understand how serious it is when a believer engages in such conduct and warns us about its devastating consequences.
Let’s read the text and we will get right into the heart of the message.
1 Corinthians 6:12–18 KJV 1900
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
Let’s begin with seeing a...

Different Perspective about Self-gratification

Look again at verses 12 and 13a.
1 Corinthians 6:12–13 KJV 1900
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
The Holy Spirit gives us a distinct perspective about making choices as a believer. All of which is related to our desire to gratify ourselves. There are three things noted here as we gain this fresh viewpoint.

First, there is without a doubt some things we as believers can do that are permissible and quite harmless.

The Holy Spirit uses Paul as an example to us. Paul admits that “All things are lawful unto me.” One might say that as a believer, a person can do anything as long as he/she does so within the bounds of God’s law. Unfortunately, too many believers take this a license for them to engage in self gratifying activities. Certainly, God does not grant such a license. The word “lawful” without doubt limits the scope of what a believer can or should do. Yet, even within that scope there are even some things that are not “expedient.”
ILLUSTRATION: Food is a great illustration. In fact, it is the illustration provided by the Holy Spirit. Note again verse 13.
1 Corinthians 6:13 KJV 1900
Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
We know that food is required for us to live and sustain a healthy life. The stomach is that part of our body that processes the food providing the rest of the body with the necessary nutrients to live. Food is necessary or “lawful.” Eating food is definitely within the scope of what God allows us to do each day. Thus, it is “lawful” for me to eat healthy so that I might live. It is also lawful for me to eat unhealthy foods like ice cream, donuts, pie, cake, etc. But, is it “expedient” for me to eat those things. The word “expedient” means advantageous, beneficial, or profitable. Eating ice cream, donuts, pies, and cakes as very self gratifying. They taste wonderful. Yet, they are not “expedient” for me in terms of a healthy lifestyle. Lawful? Yes. Expedient? Not really.
The point is that we must be careful about what we do even within the scope of what is allowed. If we are engaging in something simply for self-gratification, we are doing something that is NOT EXPEDIENT.
The second aspect of this distinct viewpoint is this.

We need to keep eternity in view.

Note again verse 13.
1 Corinthians 6:13 KJV 1900
Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
Food for the stomach and the stomach for food. This is the current state of our flesh. However, there is coming a day when both food and stomach will be totally unnecessary for us as believers. The words “shall destroy” does not speak of total destruction or annihilation as we so often think. Instead, in the Greek, it simply means no longer needed or necessary. All of which speaks to the day that we will receive our redeemed bodies. Then, food is will no longer be a necessity to live. We will have an eternal body. Thus, when we focus on things that gratify the flesh, we are focused on things that are temporary and will not last.
When you begin to look at it from God’s viewpoint, we realize a radical shift in the way we approach self gratification. Yes, there are some things that is lawful for us to do and those things do gratify us. Things like eating good food. However, in the light of eternity, eating good food means nothing because of the promised body of redemption.
However, there are some things that are absolutely off limits for a believer. Sexual immorality is a big one. The temptation from within and without to commit sexual sins can be quite strong ESPECIALLY in the day we currently live. Today’s society is fixated on sexual immorality. It is promoted, it is celebrated, and those who choose not to engage are constantly shamed.
For this reason, the Holy Spirit reminds us...
1 Corinthians 6:13 KJV 1900
Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
As believers, our body is the Lord’s. One of the biggest underlying problems with self-gratification is that it is a huge gateway for greater disobedience to God’s Word. At the center of all sexual immorality is self-gratification. It is the reason that the Holy Spirit deals with it first and the moves to sexual immorality and specifically fornication.
In these next few verses, the Holy Spirit gives us...

A Divine Principle Concerning Sexual Immorality

1 Corinthians 6:13–18 KJV 1900
Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
I am reminded of what the Psalmist said...
Psalm 139:13–14 KJV 1900
For thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Marvellous are thy works; And that my soul knoweth right well.
The body is a marvelous piece of divine engineering and God expects us to keep it clean and under control. The more modern science discovers about its member and its mysteries, the more marvelous it becomes. Take, for instance, the chemistry of the blood. Consider, for a moment, just one of its molecules, the one we call hemoglobin. It is made up 3,032 atoms of carbon, 4,812 atoms of hydrogen, 780 atoms of nitrogen, 4 atoms of iron, 880 atoms of oxygen, and 12 atoms of sulfur - a total of 9,520 atoms, each of which has to be hooked up to the other atoms in a precise and proper way. That is just ONE MOLECULE of one part of the body. The greatest genius in the world cannot give us the chemical equation for one complete, functioning body…The chemistry of a single cell is awesome in its complexity, yet the brain alone contains 30 billion of them. The veins contain 20 trillion blood cells, the skin contains a million cells. In all, it is estimated that there are more than a million million cells in the human body, a number which staggers the imagination. During any give moment, in the life any one cell, thousands of events are taking place. Indeed, a cell is a micro-universe of bewildering complexity. The nucleus of a cell, where all the complicated machinery is found, is actually less than four ten-thousandths of an inch in diameter. Moreover, the components of any given cell are enclosed in a membrane only half a millionth of an inch thick! - Excerpt from Exploring 1 Corinthians by John Phillips
Without a doubt, God created us with a purpose in mind. He through His omniscience and omnipotence planned and produced our bodies. It would stand to reason then that He had a purpose for it. That is the subject of the next few verses. The Holy Spirit lays out before us God’s plan for the believer’s body during the time that believer remains here on earth.
There are several key components of this principle. The first is...

A Believer’s Body is Not for Self-Gratification.

1 Corinthians 6:13 KJV 1900
Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
Romans 6:12–13 KJV 1900
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Romans 6:18–19 KJV 1900
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
The second component is...

A Believer’s Body belongs to the Lord

1 Corinthians 6:13–15 KJV 1900
Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
If you look down five more verses in our text, the Holy Spirit reminds us...
1 Corinthians 6:20 KJV 1900
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Romans 12:1 KJV 1900
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 14:7–9 KJV 1900
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
The next component of this principle is...

A Believer Engaged in Self-Gratification Violates God’s Original Design

1 Corinthians 6:16–17 KJV 1900
What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
Next is a very important component of this principle which is...

A Believer must FLEE from any form of Sexual Immorality.

1 Corinthians 6:18 KJV 1900
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
The last component is...

A Believer Engaged in Self-Gratification will experience Severe Consequences.

1 Corinthians 6:18 KJV 1900
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

Conclusion

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