Roger's Postings

Saturday, January 14, 2012

1 Cor. 6:12-20.                        Free to do our own thing??                             15/1/12

 12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 honour God with your bodies.

 Here again we have another important truth that we need think rather seriously about. Yes, as Christians we are free – the law no longer binds us. We don't have to go to church every Sunday: we are free to work and play our sport and the like: we          don't have to read our bible regularly: we don't have to do anything – we can drink, play sport, drive like maniac and much more.

 BUT - but let us very clearly remember Paul's advice here: all things are lawful for me, but not all things are beneficial. I am free but I will not be dominated by anything. I will not let my freedom be my ruination. I will not allow it to destroy what is of greatest importance. Now there we have some very sound advice for us take to heart. In our present day we have taken hold of this whole concept of freedom and rights and all of that – the focus is on self - on no. 1 and what we want to do ourselves. But we have failed to think the whole issue through. We have failed to use this freedom and rights in a way that is truly beneficial, and as a result are in danger of allowing this freedom to destroy ourselves and our nation.

 Think about it - one example - look around you and see all the empty pews and think about a lot of those people who used to sit their regularly. They listened to the Gospel and knew the freedom that we have in Christ and all of that. But many of them thought that they could miss church once - then it became twice – and now we never or hardly ever see them. Is that a good situation that they are now in? Think about it - they are in great danger of allowing their freedom to destroy themselves and particularly their children and grand-children; and to lose out on the great benefits that our God has for us. In their freedom, they have gone the way of the world and as a result the decline of morality, spirituality and all the rest has become even greater.

 Now here Paul uses another example for us, to illustrate the point. A man is a Christian and as a result is freed from the law [that is, the demands of having to obey the law in order to be acceptable to God.] Through Jesus Christ he had come to know that he was saved by God's grace and that he was a part of God's family and that eternal life is his: he has God's Holy Spirit within him.

 Now in his freedom he thinks he can go and spend a night or nights with a prostitute and that it doesn't matter. He believes he has the Spirit and that nothing can stop his salvation. However Paul correctly says that to do so means that he becomes one with the prostitute. The act of sex with her affects him body, mind and spirit. It affects every part of him. His body and mind also belong to God as does his spiritual life. To give way to temptation and openly flaunt oneself against what our Lord would want and what is good for us and our society; is to turn ones back on God and so to reject all that he has to offer us. He can't divide his life into little segments; thinking his adultery will not affect his unity with Christ: thinking that what he does out in society and what he does in Church are two completely different things: that one does not impact on the other.

 Paul however reminds us that we are a unit - one whole being. We can't straddle the fence with a leg on each side. Now I venture to say that you are all nodding your heads, saying, ‘yes – yes that is an impossible situation. Adultery with a prostitute for a Christian is just not on. It is wrong and all of that. It is a disgusting thing to do; and of course we wouldn't get involved in that.’

Well now, think a little more. Think of your freedom and what you are doing with it; and check to see that the same things and principles do not apply for you and your approach to your business, sporting, financial and social aspects of life. Is what you are doing in those areas beneficial to you and others, or are they controlling you? Are you going against what God says in his word simply so that you can do what you want; or that others around you are doing, in those areas? Are you bending what is good and right for you and your relationship with God and others, simply because you want to do what you want to do? Think about it!

 Remember, we here are Christians. We have been bought with a price: the blood of Jesus Christ redeeming us and restoring us back into fellowship with our Lord. At our baptism our whole being – body, mind and spirit is united with Christ. What did Paul say here: Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? We are all members of his body: called into one spirit with him. We belong to him and so he and what he wants and says is what is important for us.

 We are different from the people out there. Our selfishness, self-centredness and sin has been put to death: They are no longer the central part of who we are; which means we have a different attitude and outlook on life. God and what he has to say is all important to us. In the Gospel reading today we were reminded that we are called to follow Christ: to come and listen, see and do the things that he does. And we are freed to do so.

 Because of our connection with Christ, we are no longer bound to have to do this and that in order please God and to work our way toward being acceptable to him and so be able to achieve heaven. We have been freed from that slavery of having to please others; and having to do as our neighbours do. We have our security and salvation - all the riches that we could ever want. The extra days work, the sport and enjoyment will not give us those things that we really need. They are already there for us: they are ours in Christ. United with him we have everything that is of real value and importance.

 So that means that we are now free - free to live as a Christian: free to be the people that we now are in Christ: people who have the Holy Spirit within us leading, guiding and empowering us: enabling us to be different and so to do what is good and beneficial. Now we surely will love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and we will love our neighbour as we do ourselves. We surely will not follow the ways of our society in those things that ruin and destroy: that bring friction, fear and loneliness. We now have everything going for us, so we are free to glorify God in everything we do. And that is done as we live and be the people that he would like us to be, instead of simply what we and everyone else wants and is doing. Not simply by allowing what dominates our sinful world’s thinking and activity to be what we do also. We are new people - we have a better way to live and act. We do have a positive and great future ahead of us by following our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Even more importantly we will want to live and act in a God-pleasing way because we want to honour God with our whole being for all that he is, and all that he has done for us through Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for us. Recognising that we were bought at a price [a huge price at that] we now surely will do everything we can in order to bring honour and glory to him. He is such a tremendous and all-important God that we will want everyone around us to recognise this also.

 So let us not lose all of this. Yes remember that all things are lawful for me, but not all things are beneficial. I am free, but I will not be dominated by anything. I will not let my freedom be my ruination. I will not allow it to destroy what is of greatest importance. Jesus Christ and the salvation that he has won for us is everything to us, so let us glorify God in everything we do. For to him alone belongs all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.

 Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


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