Glorify God in Your Body and in Your Spirit!
O Lord God, I dwell in a world that is living in rebellion against You. It denies Your law and defies Your will. It views human sexuality not as a gift from You to be used in accordance with Your will and with Your blessing, but rather as a means to satisfy lust and to bring momentary pleasure. Give me wisdom, Lord, to acknowledge You and Your will and to use all of Your gifts properly and with due gratitude for Your grace. Amen.
God has established a code of morality. This includes moral directives regarding human sexuality. Here Paul clearly describes homosexual activity not as an acceptable alternative to proper sexual expression within marriage, but rather as vile, unnatural, dishonorable, and shameful.
The world thinks lightly of sin—especially sins of thought. Our God, on the other hand, wants us to be chaste in thought, as well as in word and deed. Sin is so dangerous that Jesus suggests it would be better to lose a limb than to remain impenitent and lose our souls.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
“You shall not commit adultery.”
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God…. For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
In Christ Jesus, Who has redeemed us from sin so that we might be freed from its control and blessed by our heavenly Father, dear fellow redeemed:
Two weeks ago I had my furnace serviced for the winter. As I stood with the serviceman out by his truck after he had completed his work, he noticed my “Vote Yes” sign for the Marriage Amendment and commented, “It’s sad that it has come to this.” He was referring to the fact that our society is so confused spiritually and morally that it is considering redefining marriage—an institution created and defined by God at the beginning of time. In this, the second of three sermons dealing with topics inspired by that amendment, we want to consider what God has to say about human sexuality. What were God’s intentions when He created us as sexual beings? What guidelines has He established for the exercise of our sexuality? What are the consequences of abusing our sexuality? What blessings await us when we with repentant hearts seek in faith to follow the Lord and to keep His commandments regarding our human sexuality?
Those who wish to redefine marriage have framed their arguments in terms of human rights—seeking freedom for everyone and allowing people to love anyone. Those are powerful arguments that appeal to our minds and our emotions, but I would ask you this simple question to help clarify the situation: Do we have the right in the eyes of God to do wrong? You see when the argument over the redefinition of marriage jumps immediately to the matter of human rights, we bypass a very important step in the discussion. That step is a discussion about the proper use of our human sexuality—the morality or immorality of sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage. To avoid this step in the discussion and to ignore the will of God regarding our use of His gift of human sexuality, is to invite further confusion within and the ultimate judgment of God upon our society.
Let us consider, then, this morning three pivotal texts from God’s Word regarding these issues. Upon hearing what God has to say, I pray each of you will be moved to accept Paul’s challenge found in our last text—GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY AND IN YOUR SPIRIT!
Consider first this fact: God created your sexuality with a purpose and as a blessing! In the creation account of Genesis 1 we are told: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God created us as either male or female with specific purposes in mind. He also intended that His gift of sexuality be a blessing to us. Remember—everything God created was originally perfect. Adam and Eve were different with regard to their sexuality, but were both created in the image of God and were both perfect in His sight. Why did God create two different sexes, rather than one unisex? The answer seems rather obvious, because it takes both sexes to reproduce. That is the way God designed it. He could easily have designed reproduction to take place in some other way, but He did not. Why? He did not do so, because He is in His very essence love (cf. 1 John 4:8), and God was determined to give us men and women the capacity to express and to share love as well. He created both men and women with minds, emotions, and bodies. He designed their bodies to be compatible. Men and women fit together. They express their love emotionally through words, but they also express their love physically through actions leading up to an explosion of sexual pleasure. This was God’s intention, for He wanted men and women united through marriage to experience at least in some measure the closeness and the exciting nature of God’s love. God’s love for us is not cold, barren, and distant, but close, beautiful, and exciting!
It is through that physical expression of love within marriage that God determined to create new life. God did not impersonally create billions of human beings at one time, as He did the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. No, He told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” and so to fill the earth. His intention was carefully to craft each human being as a unique person whose life was to begin as an expression of the love of a husband for his wife and a wife for her husband. In so doing both would express the love of God. These men and women, then, who would be joined as one flesh were to “subdue the earth,” that is, they were to care for the world around them as stewards of God—men and women each contributing their unique gifts and abilities, so that much more might be accomplished through their combined efforts, than could ever be achieved alone. Through these combined efforts God intended to bless the world He created and all who lived therein. Yes, God created your sexuality with a purpose and as a blessing!
Unfortunately, sin entered the world. Our first parents rebelled against God. God's perfect design and intention for human sexuality was shattered by the depravity of man. Adam and Eve lost the perfect image of God and with it went their original purity. Shame entered their minds; lust touched their hearts and those of their descendants. The marriage model established by God was soon redefined when rebellious man was not satisfied with monogamy and began practicing polygamy. Marriage was then ignored, as what God designed to be an expression of love became a commodity to be sold through prostitution, oftentimes in the ancient world in the name of religion. Sexual slavery arose and that which was beautiful and intended to be an expression of both human and divine love, became tainted by violence and the mere satisfaction of lust. Therefore, God revealed His will in written form. He established moral guidelines governing your sexuality. He gave us His 6th Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.”
God’s desire through His laws is always to protect our welfare and to preserve His blessings among us. He urges us through Paul to “flee sexual immorality,” that is, all sexual activity outside of marriage. Why? Because it carries the potential to harm our bodies, which are “the temple(s) of the Holy Spirit” (cf. 1 Cor. 6:18-19). God does not want our bodies adversely affected by venereal diseases, nor does He want us to cheapen the sexual experience. Nor does He want us to separate the emotional from the physical, which happens when individuals simply hook up for sex, which is so often afterwards described as meaningless. Such activity tears the heart and soul out of one of God’s greatest gifts. My dear friends—trust God, who loves you with a deep and abiding love, and who has established moral guidelines governing your sexuality for your benefit!
Let us also recognize that He warns us that the abuse of our sexuality carries significant consequences! In our third text the apostle Paul writes: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
The external Christian church today is doing a huge disservice to its members and to the world around it. Many within the church are sounding an unclear trumpet (cf. 1 Cor. 14:8) with regard to God’s views on human sexual activity. Human sexuality is God’s creation and gift. He has designed it to be heterosexual and stated within His law that its exercise is to be confined to marriage. God is clear when He says: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (cf. Heb. 13:4 NIV).
In our text the apostle Paul clearly states that impenitent sinners will not inherit the kingdom of God. Among those sins mentioned are sexual sins—heterosexual sins and homosexual sins. Paul does not say that one is worse than the other. Any sexual activity outside of marriage is sin. Sin is an offense to God, for it rejects His will, but more than that, it violates His love. God has a profound love for each of us, as well as for every other person in this world. He demonstrated that by sending His own Son to save the world (cf. Jn. 3:16), but when we say to God, “I will not listen to You; I will not obey You,” we are also saying, “I do not love You!” My dear friends—the abuse of our sexuality, when undertaken with a rebellious and impenitent heart, carries significant consequences, for it deprives us of our inheritance in God’s kingdom. Such impenitence deprives us of God’s full blessing now and of all of His blessings throughout eternity!
That thought is intended to be and should be a frightening one, for we do have the power to reject God and His grace. However, in the final verses of our third text God assures us that repentance over such abuse brings significant blessing! Paul writes: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God…. For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Paul wrote these words to the Christian congregation in Corinth. Some of them, he says, had abused their sexuality both heterosexually and homosexually, but he goes on to say—they had been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. This occurred, my dear friends, as it does in our own lives as well, when sinners are brought to repentance and receive the totality of God’s forgiveness. The apostle John assures us: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:8-9).
God stands ready to receive any sinner, who has committed any sin, with open arms. But let us not claim that our sins are not sins at all, or that our sins are merely “acceptable alternate lifestyles.” Let us not demand the private or public approval of sin. Let us not demand the redefinition of marriage. Rather, let us repent. Let us rejoice that we have been “bought at a price,” that price being the precious blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
My dear friends, we are not our own. We belong to God. He has created us as males and females with distinct purposes and with distinct blessings. He governs our lives for our good. He pleads with us not to abuse His gifts and, especially, His gift of sexuality, and He promises His forgiving love to all who come to Him with humble and contrite hearts (cf. Ps. 51:17). I appeal to each of you as did Paul of old, GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY AND IN YOUR SPIRIT! Amen.
—Pastor Paul D. Nolting
Soli Gloria Deo!