Friday, July 4, 2014

Do No Harm

Scriptural Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Devotional Reading: Ephesians 4:7-16

I have face book friends who have posted pictures of both men and women in scantily clad swimwear or clothing and they have commented as to their desire and needs. I have other friends who have gone further than simply posting pictures and/or commenting as to the eye candy. Jesus taught as recorded at Matt 5:28, “I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (NKJV) It is unfortunate that these same friends will also post Christian principles and sayings. When it impacts the church should you have a right to freedom of life and the pursuit of personal happiness? We must silence our unrighteousness and seek the holiness of Christ that we might be like Him. You simply cannot love God and the world. Jesus taught and the Apostle Matthew recorded at Matt 6:24 that, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (NKJV)

Our lesson is found in the quarter of study entitled “The People of God Set Priorities”. We are in Unit II – “Living as a Community of Believers” of the three units of the quarter. This is the second lesson of a five-lesson study. Today we shall look at the importance of glorifying God with our bodies. The Apostle Paul taught and recorded at Eph 4:11-15, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (NKJV)

In our review of the lesson Paul sternly wrote to the Corinthians that sexual sins were a spiritual problem, food and the stomach were perishable, and the body was meant to bring glory to God. He declared at 1Cor 6:12-13, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the LORD, and the LORD for the body.” (NKJV) In saying that “all things are lawful” Paul did not mean that each and every thing is lawful. God has never made it lawful, for example, to kill and steal. It is lawful today to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and (in some states) smoke marijuana (pot, weed), but in performing any of these things it is considered unacceptable unto God. What harm could a cigarette be? Some people actually feel they are not doing anyone any harm as long as they keep to themselves. It is written at Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (NKJV) God will NOT be brought under the power of any type unrighteousness as it does not give Him glory. Some people corrupt the physical and spiritual nature of their God-given body. Believers must not participate in their habit to cause the babes in Christ to stumble. Remember that our God is not mocked. (See Romans 1:18-32)

Further, if we are Christians our bodies are not our own. Christian liberty is freedom from the physical nature of self in order to serve God. Our bodies are temples of which the Holy Spirit inhabits. We must keep it clean and purified. My mother always told us that we “do not live to eat, but eat to live”. I did not understand that for many years. Gluttony is a sin. God has designed the stomach to receive food in His proper fashion. But both the food and the stomach are of temporary value in the eyes of God. You MUST have your eyes set on the spiritual food. Do NOT set your eyes on satisfying your appetites with physical food never having understood the superiority of the spiritual food. You never know when God will destroy the temporary and the question will be whether you fed on eternal food. As Paul continued, our bodies are for the LORD. They are temples and, as such, were never intended to be used for impure purposes such as fornication. He wants to be glorified. Our bodies were meant for service and instruments of righteousness of God. What is even more surprising is that the LORD is for the body. He keeps us and helps us to be able to present our bodies as living sacrifices against the flesh, and to be holy and acceptable unto Him. See Rom 12:1?

The Apostle begins to preach on the Resurrection of the body in 1 Corinthians 6:14 by explaining, "And God both raised up the LORD and will also raise us up by His power.” (NKJV) It was an honor placed on the LORD’s body to raise Him up, and there will be an honor placed on His saints’ bodies like Him who shall be raised up by His power. Phil 3:21 sheds more light in stating, “who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (NKJV) Therefore, do not abuse the bodies that shall be raised unto eternity in His power. For this reason of honor given us, the LORD is for the body just as His Son, Jesus Christ.

Paul continued by addressing the spiritual consequences of immorality in 1 Corinthians 6:15- 17, exclaiming, “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 harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the LORD is one spirit with Him.” (NKJV) When a believer accepts Christ as his Savior he becomes a member of the body of Christ. In Gen 2:23-24 it is recorded, “And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (NKJV) God considers the unity of one flesh a serious matter. He approves it in marriage as seen in this Scripture. Otherwise, a member of Christ should never join with a prostitute. The two would be one spirit. Paul further analyzed that the Christian who joined with a prostitute was in a physical, flesh union. However, a superior spiritual union existed between the Christian believer and the LORD. The question would be whether to choose the union of flesh disapproved by God or spiritual wedlock with the LORD for eternity? This is a much more important question than the ones that go before the Supreme Court; i.e. Fact: We have lived together for years – Issue: Can I receive benefits, assets, or be recognized in some manner?

The Apostle had just reminded the people they were one body in Christ and were one in spirit with Him. Now he fully urges them in 1 Corinthians 6:18 to “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” (NKJV) The King James Version indicates that believers must “Flee fornication.” while the New King James Version states “Flee sexual immorality.” The latter would include the sexual sins of adultery. Adultery is consensual sins by a married person with someone other than his mate. Fornication is consensual sins of a person who is single. Just as Joseph fled Potiphar’s wife (Gen 39:6-23) to avoid her sexual longings, you must flee sexual immorality. You have no control over it. These are the strongest desires of humans and the best thing to do is to flee. While there are no sins more serious than any other, the other sins impact the body from outside. Fornication is a sin that impacts the body from within continuously requesting need for sexual satisfaction. It is a sin of uncleanness and pollution against the body. The Christian would be sinning against his own body by defiling, degrading, and making it one with the body of the vile creature with whom he sins. You must flee fornication and any other sin of sexual immorality against your body.

Honor God with your body Paul writes in his exhortation at 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify god in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (NKJV) He reiterates that our bodies are holy temples inhabited by the Holy Spirit. The Almighty Father provided both His Son, Jesus Christ, (John 3:14-17) our Savior, and the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17) our Comforter. We have a choice as to whether we choose to live eternally in heaven or hell. However, that is our only choice. We own nothing, not even our bodies. It is written at Psalm 50:10, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.” (NKJV) Our bodies are temples of God and should be treated as places of worship. When people see us they should see the Christ in us. We were purchased with the precious blood of Jesus in order for us to have a chance to accept the choice of eternal life. For that we should be very thankful and must honor our bodies accordingly unto God.

Written by Deborah C Davis

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