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1 Corinthians 10:14-22; Fellowship with Christ

06/01 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 Fellowship with Christ;Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20140601_1cor10_14-22.mp3

 

1 Corinthians 10 [SBLGNT]

14 Διόπερ, ἀγαπητοί μου, φεύγετε ἀπὸ τῆς εἰδωλολατρίας. 15 ὡς φρονίμοις λέγω· κρίνατε ὑμεῖς ὅ φημι. 16 τὸ ποτήριον τῆς εὐλογίας ὃ εὐλογοῦμεν, οὐχὶ κοινωνία ἐστὶν τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ; τὸν ἄρτον ὃν κλῶμεν, οὐχὶ κοινωνία τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐστιν; 17 ὅτι εἷς ἄρτος, ἓν σῶμα οἱ πολλοί ἐσμεν, οἱ γὰρ πάντες ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἄρτου μετέχομεν. 18 βλέπετε τὸν Ἰσραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα· οὐχ οἱ ἐσθίοντες τὰς θυσίας κοινωνοὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου εἰσίν; 19 τί οὖν φημι; ὅτι εἰδωλόθυτόν τί ἐστιν, ἢ ὅτι εἴδωλόν τί ἐστιν; 20 ἀλλ’ ὅτι ἃ θύουσιν, δαιμονίοις καὶ οὐ θεῷ θύουσιν, οὐ θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς κοινωνοὺς τῶν δαιμονίων γίνεσθαι. 21 οὐ δύνασθε ποτήριον κυρίου πίνειν καὶ ποτήριον δαιμονίων· οὐ δύνασθε τραπέζης κυρίου μετέχειν καὶ τραπέζης δαιμονίων. 22 ἢ παραζηλοῦμεν τὸν κύριον; μὴ ἰσχυρότεροι αὐτοῦ ἐσμεν;

1 Corinthians 10 [ESV2011]

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

 

Chapters 8-10 of 1 Corinthians are a lengthy argument leading the readers to a godly conclusion. The Corinthians faced pressure to conform to their culture and participate in idolatry. Paul started by pointing out that although we all have knowledge, knowledge devoid of love is deadly. Living with the good of the other in mind is essential to following Jesus. Then he affirms the fact that they have rights and freedoms in Christ. But he holds himself up as an example of how a follower of Jesus can forgo legitimate God given rights for the sake of the gospel. At the end of chapter 9 he moves from the danger that my liberty may pose for a brother or sister in Christ, to the lethal effect it may have on my own relationship with God. He holds himself up again as an example of the danger of disqualification, or the danger of being demonstrated phony or false even after fruitful ministry. Then in chapter 10 he points to the example of Israel in the wilderness, most of whom played too close to the edge in seeking to gratify their desires, things like idolatry, sexual immorality, testing Christ by challenging God given leadership, things like grumbling and complaining about God’s good gifts. He warns them of the danger of self-confidence, he reminds them of the normalcy of temptation in the human experience, and he encourages them with the absolute faithfulness of God. He says:

12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

And we might expect him to say, ‘therefore, you can plunge headlong into temptation, trusting in the faithfulness of God, confident that God will always provide a way of escape.’ But that is the opposite of what he says. Instead he says:

14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

Here he gives the clear conclusion his whole argument has been leading up to. How much can a Christian flirt with idolatry before he crosses the line? Paul’s answer is ‘No, that is the wrong question. Idolatry is lethal to your spiritual life. You should be asking ‘How far away from idolatry can I stay?’ He addresses them with a very affectionate term ‘my beloved’, and he says very clearly ‘flee from idolatry’. It doesn’t get much clearer than this. How much idolatry can I participate in before I jeopardize my relationship with God? Flee from idolatry! Run far far away. Run and never look back. Idolatry is not something to be toyed with. 603,548 Israelites fell victim to its treachery. Do not think that you can dabble with it and escape the same condemnation.

Idolatry is looking to anything outside of God to satisfy your desires, treasuring anything or anyone more than you treasure God. Idolatry is so pervasive in our society, maybe even more prevalent than it was in Corinth. There is so much that seeks to lead our hearts astray from God. To reveal the idolatry in your heart, simply look at where you spend your time, where you spend your energy, where you spend your money, what you talk about. These are the things that are most important to you, and God is jealous of your undivided affection.

Flee Immorality / Flee Idolatry

This passage is almost perfectly parallel to how Paul approaches the issue of sexual immorality in chapter 6. In 6:18 he says ‘Flee from sexual immorality’; In 10:14 he says ‘Flee from idolatry’. In 6:12 he says ‘all things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful’, which he repeats verbatim in 10:23. He says in 6:15, 17 ‘Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? …he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him’ and in 10:16 he says ‘the cup …is a participation in the blood of Christ …the bread …is a participation in the body of Christ’. In 6:15 he asks ‘Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!’ In 10:21 he says ‘You cannot drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons’. In 6:20 he concludes ‘So glorify God in your body’ and in 10:31 he concludes ‘So, …whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’.

Think!

Paul is very clear in his conclusions, but he is wary of the dangers of a checklist. He demands that his readers think for themselves. He does not want formal external conformity to a set of regulations. He longs to see glad obedience from hearts and minds transformed by Jesus.

15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.

His readers have the capability to follow his logic. They have the capacity to think through his arguments. They can evaluate his conclusions. He doesn’t simply say ‘I’m the apostle, and you have to do it because I said so’. There are times when that is appropriate. But he invites them to thoughtfully engage with his flow of thought, trace out his line of reasoning and examine his conclusions. Think! Peter said that some of what Paul wrote is hard to understand! So engage your brains when you read this book. Paul uses words like ‘therefore’ and ‘so’ and ‘because’ and ‘in order that’. His words are not open to everyone’s interpretation. Words mean things. He intended to say something very definite, very specific, and if we are careful and thoughtful, we can understand what he says.

The Lord’s Supper

15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Paul parallels the Lord’s supper, our celebration of communion, with the idolatrous celebrations that the Corinthians were tempted to participate in. He demonstrates the incompatibility of intimacy with Christ and intimacy with demons.

He first refers to the cup. He calls it the cup of blessing. Jesus at the last supper with his disciples, blessed and gave thanks for the bread and the wine. When we celebrate the Lord’s supper to remember him, we bless and give thanks for the bread and the cup. It is the cup of blessing, the cup that Jesus blessed, that we also bless. Paul asks, ‘is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?’ When we take and drink the cup, we participate in the blood of Christ. The word is κοινωνία; communion, fellowship, or participation. When we drink the cup, we participate in the blood of Christ, all that it means for us. Jesus said that the cup was ‘my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’ (Mt.26:28). A covenant is a binding committed relationship, often solemnized with blood. Jesus instituted the new covenant, the new relationship with God through his blood. Jesus offered his blood as a sacrifice for our sins, so that we could be forgiven and enter into a right relationship with God. The wages of our sin is death, and Jesus’ blood was shed, his life was poured out as a payment for our sin. By taking the cup and drinking, we are saying that we are participants in that new covenant, part of the people who were purchased with Christ’s blood, those who have been forgiven by trusting in the finished work of Christ for us.

Next, he mentions the bread that we break. ‘Breaking bread’ was a way of describing eating a meal together, and it was used to describe what believers did when they remembered Jesus with bread and wine. In the culture, to sit down together and share a meal created a bond of relationship and obligation. Tearing off bread from the same loaf, dipping in shared dishes and eating together was an intimate way of extending friendship. You would not sit down at the table and share a dish with someone you considered unclean or unworthy of your company. Jesus welcomes us to his table to share a meal with us. Jesus took the bread, and after blessing it, he broke it and said ‘this is my body which is given for you’ (Lk.22:19). The broken bread points to the human body of Jesus which was broken for us. By eating the bread, we participate in the body of Christ. We are saying that we are spiritually hungry and broken, and we benefit from the death of Jesus. We receive nourishment and sustenance from him. We are connected with him.

This is very different from the refreshments served by the stewardesses mid flight. They roll the carts down the aisles and offer you a choice of beverages to quench your thirst, and maybe a small pack of crackers to munch on. The napkin they give you may have the logo of the airline printed on it, but by drinking, you are not swearing your allegiance to that airline.

The cup of blessing and the bread broken are the meal we share at the table of Christ. He is our host, we are his guests, and we fellowship with him at his table. We enjoy the benefits he provides. We are connected to him. We are obliged to him.

Unity with Community

Verse 17 takes this a step further. The one bread that we all share unites us not only with Christ, but also with one another.

17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

There is a community formed around our communion with Christ. If you are in a binding committed relationship with Jesus through participation in his finished work on the cross, and I also am in that same binding committed relationship with Jesus, then we are bound to one another through our common bond to Christ. Those who participate in the new covenant meal are connected to our Lord Jesus and to one another.

Fellowship with Demons

Paul again points back to Israel as an example.

18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.

The text says ‘consider Israel according to the flesh’. Having just recounted the failure of the exodus generation, most of whom fell in the wilderness because of unbelief, this verse is likely pointing to fleshly or unbelieving Israel. Those who ate of the sacrifices made to the golden calf, those who ‘sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play’ had identified themselves with everything that altar stood for. Whatever altar you eat at, you become a participant with the deity that is being worshiped there, and you become connected with the other worshipers there.

This raises a question. Paul is suggesting that if you worship at a pagan altar, there is a real connection made with the one behind that altar. But Paul said in 8:4 ‘we know that an idol has no real existence and that there is no God but one’. Is Paul now saying that the idol does have a real existence? He clarifies. He is not saying that the block of wood or stone is anything but a block of wood or stone. But he is saying that there is an unseen reality behind the image. Paul is drawing on information from the Old Testament. When the people offered sacrifices to the calf, the calf was nothing but an inanimate statue made to look like an animal. But the calf idol became a focal point for worship directed to someone other than the one true God. It became a means of worshiping demons.

Leviticus 17 requires that all the sacrifices of the people be brought to the one place of sacrifice that God had authorized, so that they would not be worshiping demons.

Leviticus 17:7 So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.

Paul’s language reflects the song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32

Deuteronomy 32:15 … then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation. 16 They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger. 17 They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.

…21 They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols. …

Moses connects the misplaced worship of the people with demon worship. We were made to worship. If we refuse to worship the one true God, we will worship success or power or possessions or family or pleasure. When we fail to treasure the one true God, and treasure other people or things, we turn our worship away from God and to demons. There is no possibility of being neutral.

Psalm 106 describes faithless Israel later, at the time of the conquest.

Psalm 106:34 They did not destroy the peoples, as the LORD commanded them, 35 but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. 36 They served their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; 38 they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood. 39 Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.

All these passages connect idolatry with demon worship. Lucifer desired to be worshiped as God. He and the angels who followed him seek to divert worship from God to other things. When we listen to their lie and are persuaded to seek pleasure and fulfillment in other things, we are participating with demons.

20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Jesus said ‘no one can serve two masters’ (Mt.6:24). We cannot sit down at the table of the Lord on Sundays and then seek to find satisfaction at the table of demons the rest of the week. Jesus will not tolerate it. He demands our undivided devotion, our absolute affection. We must choose whose table we will feast at.

14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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June 1, 2014 Posted by | 1 Corinthians, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 Corinthians 6:12-18; Know When To Run Away!

10/13 1 Corinthians 6:12-18 The Body is For The Lord; Know When To Run Away! Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20131013_1cor6_12-18.mp3

1Cor 6 [SBLGNT]

12 Πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν· ἀλλ’ οὐ πάντα συμφέρει. πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν· ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐγὼ ἐξουσιασθήσομαι ὑπό τινος. 13 τὰ βρώματα τῇ κοιλίᾳ, καὶ ἡ κοιλία τοῖς βρώμασιν· ὁ δὲ θεὸς καὶ ταύτην καὶ ταῦτα καταργήσει. τὸ δὲ σῶμα οὐ τῇ πορνείᾳ ἀλλὰ τῷ κυρίῳ, καὶ ὁ κύριος τῷ σώματι· 14 ὁ δὲ θεὸς καὶ τὸν κύριον ἤγειρεν καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐξεγερεῖ διὰ τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ. 15 οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν μέλη Χριστοῦ ἐστιν; ἄρας οὖν τὰ μέλη τοῦ Χριστοῦ ποιήσω πόρνης μέλη; μὴ γένοιτο. 16 ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ὁ κολλώμενος τῇ πόρνῃ ἓν σῶμά ἐστιν; Ἔσονται γάρ, φησίν, οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν. 17 ὁ δὲ κολλώμενος τῷ κυρίῳ ἓν πνεῦμά ἐστιν.

1Cor 6 [ESV2011]

1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? 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. 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.

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 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! 16 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.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 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.

Paul addresses sexual immorality and lawsuits in the church as evidence that this church was not understanding the implications of the gospel and not walking in the way of the cross. We want to be wise, not with worldly human wisdom, but with the wisdom of God, the wisdom of the cross. In this passage, the apostle addresses the issue of Christian liberty, specifically as it applies to human sexuality.

Paul was passionate about Christian liberty. He wrote a letter to the believers in Galatia warning them against defecting from Christ to a different counterfeit gospel, a false gospel of law keeping. He affirms that ‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law’ (Gal.3:13). He affirms that it is ‘for freedom that Christ has set us free’ and he exhorts us to ‘stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery’ (Gal.5:1). He affirms that those who are led by the Spirit are not under the law’ (Gal.5:18). In his letter to the Romans he boldly states ‘For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law’ (Rom.3:28), and he affirms that ‘you are not under law but under grace’ (Rom.6:14). He says that we have ‘died to the law through the body of Christ’ (Rom.7:4) and ‘we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive’ (Rom.7:6).

All Things Are Lawful

There was a slogan going around that attempted to encapsulate the apostle’s teaching on liberty; ‘all things are lawful’. Paul quotes this maxim twice in this verse and twice in 10:23. Whether Paul said this himself or someone else coined the phrase in an attempt to capture the essence of his teaching, this slogan was popular in Corinth. The problem with catch phrases and slogans is that they are open to misinterpretation. And that is the problem in Corinth. In chapter 6, the issue is sexual immorality. In chapter 10 the issue is food sacrificed to idols. ‘All things are lawful’. Apparently this phrase encapsulated their attitude to all things gray and many things black. Paul has just warned them against self-deception. They were in danger of fooling themselves on the most important of all issues. He said in no uncertain terms that those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. All those things can be forgiven and you can be washed clean through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, but those who willfully continue in those kind of lifestyles demonstrate that they have not been transformed by the grace of Jesus.

Not All Things Are Helpful

He starts by giving two qualifying statements to this slogan ‘all things are lawful for me’. First, although all things may be lawful, not all things are helpful or profitable. The question of Christian liberty must not be ‘what can I get away with and not forfeit my salvation?’ or ‘how close to the edge can I get without unwittingly plummeting to my eternal ruin?’

Jesus uses this same word ‘helpful’ or ‘profitable’ in Matthew 5.

Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 And if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it from you! For it is better (profitable) for you that one of your members be destroyed than your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you! For it is better (profitable) for you that one of your limbs be destroyed than your whole body go into hell.

Jesus uses it again in Matthew 18.

Matthew 18:6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

If we are asking ‘what is permissible?’ we are asking the wrong question, and it is evidence of a heart problem. We ought to be asking instead ‘what is best?’ ‘what is the ideal?’ ‘what is the goal?’ Paul sums up this idea in Philippians 4:8.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

In Galatians, Paul holds up for us a higher standard.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

We are no longer under the law; we are now free to fulfill the law of love.

I Will Not Be Dominated By Anything

1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

Paul’s second qualification of this statement is that he will not be brought under the power or authority or control of anything. I am not under law but under grace. I could say that it is within my Christian liberty to smoke or drink or gamble or view porn or overeat or indulge in the latest fashion or gadget or whatever, but what happens when my so-called Christian liberty begins to control me? There is a word play here in the original that is difficult to capture in a translation. Some attempts are ‘all things are in my power, but I will not be overpowered by anything’ (Edwards) or I have ‘liberty to do anything, but I will not let anything take liberties with me’ (Thiselton, p.462). There is a danger that our rights and freedoms and liberties will begin to control us. Paul says in Romans 6

Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Many who claim Christian liberty have become slaves to their various ‘freedoms’. Any freedom that allows you to plunge yourself back into slavery is not genuine freedom. True freedom is freedom to do what is best, freedom to be who you were created to be, freedom to love and serve the Lord Jesus.

Food For The Stomach and the Stomach For Food

In verse 13, Paul addresses another slogan that was used to justify a whole lot of things. ‘Food is for the stomach, and the stomach for food.’ This idea is still popular today. When your physical appetite is hungry, you should eat. When your sexual appetite is hungry, you should satisfy it. God made us with appetites and needs, and he meant for those appetites to be satisfied, not frustrated. The implication becomes clear in the rest of the verse. ‘Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food; sexual pleasure is for the body and the body is for sexual pleasure’.

One difficulty in understanding this passage is what part of these statements are the popular slogans and what are Paul’s rebuttals. There were no quotation marks in the original, so we have to try to understand from the context and content where the quotation ends. Probably the statement ‘and God will destroy both one and the other’ is also part of the slogan. The idea is that food and the stomach, and the body and sexuality are temporary and therefore unimportant. They are part of the lower physical life. In Greek thought there was a division made between body and spirit, material and immaterial. What was done in the body had no effect on the spirit. Those who had achieved a higher plane of spiritual understanding knew that they were free to do whatever they pleased with their bodies, because they believed their bodies would ultimately be destroyed and only their spirit would live on. This is not a biblical idea. Jesus, in his resurrected body, ate food. Jesus spoke with his disciples about eating and drinking at his table in his kingdom (Lk.22:30). Paul combats this thinking by pointing us to the resurrection of the body, a topic he will treat more fully in chapter 15.

1 Corinthians 6:13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

The Body is for the Lord

The stomach may be designed for food, but it is not meant for gluttony. The body is designed by God for sexual pleasure within the marriage covenant, but it is not intended for sexual immorality. The body has a much higher purpose. Paul gives us an amazing statement here. The body is not for sexual immorality, the body is for the Lord. Our ultimate purpose, our physical design is to bring glory to God. We were made to worship God. We were made to serve him.

Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

We, our physical bodies, were meant for the Lord. We are meant to bring glory to God.

The Lord is for the Body

The second half of this statement is even more amazing. The body is meant for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. As food satisfies the hunger of the stomach, only Jesus can satisfy the deepest longings of who we are.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

The Lord is meant for the body. Only in relationship with Jesus can we find true fulfillment, true satisfaction, true joy. Our bodies were meant for the Lord, and the Lord for our bodies. This raises the value and worth of the physical body, and it points us to our true purpose as physical human beings.

Do You Not Know?

Paul asks two more rhetorical questions ‘do you not know?’ implying that they ought to know these things, and they ought to be drawing the appropriate conclusions from these truths. They are acting as if they are ignorant of these things, so Paul spells it out for them.

1 Corinthians 6:15 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! 16 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.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

The first thing we ought to know is that our bodies are members of Christ. As someone who has been transformed by Jesus, we are possessed by him and have become part of his body. Christ now lives in me. To tear away the body parts of Jesus and force them into intimate contact with a prostitute is unthinkable!

He asks a second question: ‘Do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her?’ and he defends this from God’s statement in Genesis ‘The two will become one flesh’. This extends beyond prostitution to any immoral sexual relationship, any sexual intimacy outside of the marriage covenant. Sexual intimacy is a powerful force that is meant to create unity and intimacy in the context of lifelong commitment. There is no such thing as casual sex. Sex cannot ever be a temporary one time event. There is a joining, a gluing or cementing together. This is the same word from the Genesis passage translated ‘cleave’ or ‘hold fast to’. There is a spiritual union created through physical intimacy. We were not meant for immorality. Our bodies were meant for the Lord. We were made to be joined to the Lord, we were designed for intimacy with our Creator, to enjoy that inseparable bond of love and union with the only one who can truly fulfill us. What a high privilege! To be joined to the Lord, to become one spirit with him! We get a glimpse into what this means when Paul says:

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

He loved me. He gave himself for me. He now lives in me. When we realize this, the thought of sexual immorality becomes as repulsive and offensive as it ought to be.

Run Away!

Paul has some very practical advice for us.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

Flee sexual immorality. Flee porn. Run away! Keep running! Make it your habitual continual practice to run away from immorality. In the words of Kenny Rogers ‘You’ve got to know when to walk away and know when to run’, and when there is sexual temptation, that is when to run. Leave you coat, leave your computer, just run. Don’t linger. Don’t delay. Run and don’t look back. Sexual sin is unique. Sexual sin is against your own body in a way that no other sin is. Not that sexual sin is worse than any other sin, but sexual sin has effects and implications that run deeper than any other sin. The body is sacred. What you do with your body affects your soul. It affects your relationship with the Lord. Listen to the wisdom and warning of Proverbs.

Proverbs 5:1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, 2 that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. 3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, 4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; 6 she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it. 7 And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. 8 Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, 9 lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, 10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, 11 and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, 12 and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! 13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. 14 I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.” 15 Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. 16 Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. 20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? 21 For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths. 22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. 23 He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.

Be wise! Flee sexual immorality! Do not be deceived. The sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed. You were sanctified. You were justified. You were made for so much more! Your body is meant for the Lord, and the Lord for your body.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

October 13, 2013 Posted by | 1 Corinthians, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment