"Planning for our Future -

Planning to live for Christ."

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 

(c) Copyright 2008 Rev. Bill Versteeg



 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20
    18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Brothers and sisters in Christ:
    The first part of this mornings passage focuses on sexual immorality but my sermon will not.  That is another sermon for another time.  But what I have to say to you this morning is just as important, no, in fact, if I keep in mind the scope of what I am going to talk to you about, it is more important than sex.  Let me flesh this out.
    In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul is dealing with dynamics in the life of the church, including sexual immorality.  But in the process of dealing with these themes, he deals with a more general, very profound and basic theme in scripture that has ramifications in every single area of our lives, not just sex or our sexual activities.
    The principle is this.
    You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
    That is the basic principle to which Paul is appealing to in talking about our sexual activity, the truth is, it is a basic principle that applies to any and every activity our bodies get involved in, and by our bodies, Paul is not just referring to our flesh, he is referring to every part of us, our minds, our emotions, our spirits, our senses.  So when Paul says “You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body,”  he is not just referring to your flesh and bones, he is referring to every part of you and by extension, every activity you can be involved in including sex.  
    You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body (mind, emotions, heart, spirit, you name the part, its included, you name the activity and its included - anything your body can be involved in - honour God with it because you belong to God.)
    Most of you know that I have a gift of forgetting, but there are some things that are indelibly inked into my memory, because they shaped my thinking, who I am.
    One such unforgettable 23 year old memory was Mr. Brown (I have changed his name, but he was a 73 year old widower, a father of one son, a grandpa of one grandchild.)  He would die three days later, a large purple cancerous tumour was eating away at the side of his neck, it was only a matter of hours before it would destroy the arteries that fed his brain.  That all by itself is an image I will never forget.  But as I sat with him realizing that his life was coming to an end, what struck me the most was how he evaluated his life.  He was inconsolable.  He said again and again “I’ve wasted it.”  He said it in different ways, but every effort I used to put a positive spin on what he had done with his life, he could only come to the conclusion “I’ve wasted it.”  He had lived for himself.  He had lived for his own interests, one of which was his own stamp collection.  Now, on his death bed, his own son was not there, his own grandson was not there.  They were to interested in themselves.  His stamp collection was worth a fair amount, but his son did not want it.  Probably because that stamp collection meant more in negative ways to the son than it was worth.  Mr. Brown in his last days recognized that the life he had been given had been wasted on self, on petty interests, on things that he could not take with him and have no eternal value.
    “I’ve wasted it.  I’ve wasted it.”
    His body was not only wasting away, in his life he had wasted the body he had been given.  
I could not console him.  

    You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
   
    We are at that time of the year, near graduation, near the end of education where decisions are made for the future, where as young people we make plans for our futures - what career will I choose, what do I want to do with my life, a job with an income is around the corner, please hear these words from Paul
    You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. Because this basic principle applies to you, not only in your sex life, but also in the choices you make with your life.
   
    Let me for a few minutes flesh out what Paul is saying.
 You were bought at a price.  Some translations say, you were bought with a great price.  The imagery behind this passage is that you were once a slave, enslaved to sin, enslaved to serving self, enslaved to the tyranny of the devil.  But now you have been bought - bought with the blood of Christ - bought by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, he bought your freedom, now in verse 12 of this same passage, Paul says that we are free to choose to do whatever we want - that’s freedom, but having had our freedom bought at the incredible price of Christ’s life and blood, what are we going to do with that freedom?  You see in the end, freedom is not about what is permissible, what you can get away with, freedom is about how we are going to live for God.  Freedom is having the freedom to make our life worth something eternal, worth something that is eternally significant, worth something that will last past our deathbed.  The kind of worth that enables you to say in the end like Paul close to his death:  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, (2 Tim 4:7-9).
    You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
   
    At this point, some of us may be asking “How do I live my life, how do I plan my future, in such a way that my life will not be a waste?”  Let me give you 2 choices in the freedom that you have, each designed to honour God.

Choice #1
    Honour God with your body - with all that it is and everything that it does.  Now what does it mean to honour God?  Some translations say glorify God.  What does that mean?
    Very simply it means that our lives are to be a boast about how wonderful, how good, how loving God is and how precious it is to have the privilege of knowing God.  You see, our lives are designed to boast in something.  I, before I was converted, used to boast in downhill skiing.  With my friends, I would talk about that last run, that last jump, the skiing scars I wore with pride.  I would go to church, and when church was over, I would talk skiing.  In the winter I lived for it.  In the summer I looked forward to it.  I boasted, I honoured downhill skiing.  When I became a Christian, I stopped worshiping that idol. 
    Christ bought us so that we could be free - and that freedom is designed to create in us worship - boasting in Christ in every part of life. 
    Every one of us is making choices for our future, especially those who are near graduation.  With the freedom Christ has given you, what choice will you make?  Are you going to choose an occupation where it is obvious, you are doing this for Christ, in thankfulness to him, doing it in such a way that it displays his great worth?   The danger that I see is that so often, when we plan for the future, we simple ask:

    “Where can I make the most money?”
    “Where can I have the most secure job?”
    “What am I interested in?” 
    “What are my talents?”
    But life lived, our bodies used, just to make money, to be secure, to fulfill our interests and to employ our talents is wasted unless it is done to glorify God. 
“Where can I serve God, glorify God, the best with what he has given me, with the talents he has given me?” should be our ultimate and first question.

    You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
    The danger in life is that we use our freedom to choose life wasting distractions.  We invest our time in our MP3 collections, our games, our computers, our social status, our clothing, we are dumbed down and entertained to death by our televisions, we work to build a life that is inherently wasted because in truth, these distractions are not living for God, they are living for self, to satisfy our personal appetites and they have very little if anything to do with God.
    Make the free choice to which you were bought - honour God with your body - in your career choices, in everything that your body does, in all your activities, in the quality of your work, in the way you relate to others,  and in everything you accomplish.

Free choice Number 2
    Paul reminds us that we are a temple - make the free choice to live the characteristics of a temple of God Now many of us are think a temple is a building  - what characteristics does it have?
    I will list 5.

    First of all, it was a place that was holy - consecrated to God.  In all of Israel, it was a place set apart for the special purpose of worship, a holy place.  A Christian is a temple of the Holy Spirit, she is a holy place, where the impure, that which is imcompatible with God ought not to be.  That is why Paul tells us that sex with a prostitute is just totally wrong for the temple of the Holy Spirit.  I have met way to many young people who have gotten involved in sex outside of marriage and in the process shipwreck their faith by inviting the unholy into their own bodies.  It just seems that God leaves the building.  That’s another sermon.

    Second - the temple is where God lives.  Again the picture of this passage is that your freedom has been bought, but the picture is also that you are now the dwelling place of God, you are his home because he bought you.  Live your life like God is home all the time - in you, with you, never leaving or forsaking you.

    Third, the temple was where God revealed himself.  Throughout the history of the temple in scripture, it was the place where people met with God.  It was the place where they would hear of his grace and see it demonstrated again and again.  It was a place where the word was spoken and symbolically practiced.  Be a temple through which God reveals himself.  In all that you do with your body, may your actions and your words speak about God and behave in ways that demonstrate his character, his grace to others.

    Fourth - the temple was a place where sacrifices were made.  Throughout scripture, sacrifice was the measure of worship.  The worth of your God to you was measured by the sacrifice you made.  Casinos are temples of worship to the God of chance and people sacrifice big bucks there. We are temples of the living God.  The world sees how much you value God by the sacrifices you are willing to make for him.  If they see that your life is lived a little like a Christ and mostly for yourself, they see that your God is fairly worthless.  But it we make sacrifices, whether that be our money, or our choices not to waste our lives, but live them for the Lord in all that we do, others start seeing that God is worth something to us.  We are called to be living sacrifices because it is through sacrifice that the world sees how much our God is really worth.  Paul in Philippians 2 talks about himself as a sacrifice - he says that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.  But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice.  Paul was concerned that his life not be wasted too, and so he offered himself, made sacrifice for the sake of the gospel, an offering to God.  What sacrifices will you make to honour God?  Will you choose ministry to those who have not heard the gospel and desperately need it?  Will you choose to life with your coworkers in such a way that they know you belong to God, and that they can hear about God from you for whatever good quality they find in you and your work?

    Fifth, the temple was a place well maintained.  When the temple was neglected, it was a sign that the peoples priorities were in the wrong place.  So to, when we the temple becomes a place where junk is left, relationship conflicts are unresolved as far as it depends upon us, where crap gets dumped and we are exposed to things that don’t belong, where it is left unclean and unkept, there are big problems.  Maintain your spiritual hygiene. 


     Honour God by remaining a well maintained worshiping being.  Because ultimately - the temple is where God is honoured, where God is worshiped.

    And the amazing thing is that our lives discover their worth through their worship.  We discover our worth through our worship.  The amazing principle in scripture, is that you become like the God you worship.  Isaiah mocks idol worshipers because their idols are worthless pieces of wood or stone.  Those who worship them become worthless, just like their idols.  People who do not worship God with their lives (24/7) are compelled to realize they have missed their eternal calling.  Like Mr. Brown, focusing on all the distractions, they have wasted it.  But when we live for God, to honour him, to worship him, we are transformed ourselves from one degree of glory to another, one degree of honour to another, our lives start reflecting the worth of our God.  Our lives become worth something eternally.

    What will you do with your choices, your future, your life, your work, your relationships, your sex life?  Will you live it for eternity, store up treasures in heaven, or will you waste it?

Prayer.

   



 


(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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