Secrets to Purity

An exposition of 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, January 16, 2011.

Introduction: It is an old fashion concept.  One that really seems antiquated in our socially progressive culture.  A bit “prudish” perhaps, even considered unnecessary by some.  But it does not change the fact that we are called to purity.  Holiness is to mark us as the people of God.  The truth is there’s been a lowering of the standard for years.  A lowering not just in the general culture but in the church.  While I would be the first to admit that the pietistic approach to holiness put far too much emphasis on the external to the neglect of the internal we must all admit the lack of concern for external holiness has not served us well.  The last few years has revealed a moral crisis as leader after leader has fallen into sexual sin.  Just last week a friend sent me a link to the news article announcing that the executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention has been forced to resign due to moral failure.  A few years ago the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals resigned in the midst of a scandal involving homosexuality.  We had our own brush with that here in Tulsa Metro Association.  Lest you think this is only a problem with “the clergy” let’s acknowledge that, according to recent studies, 53% of the men in the average church have a problem with pornography.  Let’s acknowledge the the number of couples going through divorce are the same inside and outside of the church.  I’m not calling for a return to puritanical standards I’m just asking if we can admit that there is a general lack of holiness within the church?

Not that there is a lack of rhetorical holiness (holy talk) but practical holiness.  We talk better than we walk.  We theoretically hold to a higher standard than we practice.  Apparently the church at Corinth struggled in this regard.  Paul had addressed earlier the problem of incest within the membership (5:1).  There was a man living with his father’s wife and nothing was being done about it.  It was an open secret within the church.  It was known in the community.  Paul is horrified by this fact.  He said, “Such wickedness isn’t even tolerated among the pagans.”  Now in chapter 6 the apostle comes to deal with sexual immorality in general.  Our text this evening is found in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Corinth was an immoral place.
There was a cult of “sacred prostitutes” in Corinth.
In fact relations with a prostitute were so common within Corinth that the practice came to be called “corinthianizing.”  It was an accepted practice within the community.  It had been a part of the lives of many within the congregation during their pre-conversion days making it easy for them to fall back into the practice.

While we may not have sacred prostitutes we are a very sexually charged culture.
Sexual language dominates the music on the radio.
It is commonplace in movies and television.
It is used to sell toothpaste and automobiles.
Every kind of sexual perversion imaginable is available is just a click away on your computer, cellphone, iPod or iPad.

Short of ridding ourselves of all forms of communication and finding a cave somewhere how are we to pursue holiness?

Thesis: Purity, in a sexually charged society, demands a biblical understanding of the body and a solid grasp of the meaning of biblical freedom.

Two things stand out in our text.

  1. Christian liberty is not an excuse for sin.  (6:12)
  2. We’ve been bought with a price and our bodies are intended for His glory.  (6:13-20)
    our bodies are intended for the LORD – 6:13-14
    our bodies are in union with Christ and must not be compromised – 6:15-18
    our bodies are the temple/dwelling place of the Holy Spirit – 6:19-20

Conclusion: You are a saint – act like one!

We’ve been called to purity.  Purity in a sexually charged society demands a biblical understanding of the body and a solid grasp of the meaning of biblical freedom.

Christian liberty is not an excuse for sin.
Our bodies are not our own – they are intended for God’s glory.

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