Sex and Glorifying God | 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

1 Corinthians

The ultimate point and purpose of our lives is to glorify God. One of the areas we struggle most to do this is in the area of sexuality. We live in a culture that prioritizes gratifying self instead of glorifying God. Timothy “TA” Ateek turns to 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 to identify five keys to glorifying God with your body in regard to sex.

Timothy "TA" AteekMay 15, 20221 Corinthians 6:12-20

In This Series (20)
Standing Firm In A Fallen World | 1 Corinthians 16
David MarvinJul 31, 2022
The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts | 1 Corinthians 14
Oren MartinJul 24, 2022
A Church Marked by Love | 1 Corinthians 13
Timothy "TA" AteekJul 17, 2022
How To Build A Church | 1 Corinthians 12
John ElmoreJul 10, 2022
God's Design for Men and Women | 1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Timothy "TA" AteekJul 3, 2022
Repentance, Allegiance, and Deference for the Glory of God | 1 Corinthians 10
John ElmoreJun 26, 2022
Giving, Sharing, and Living for the Gospel | 1 Corinthians 9
John ElmoreJun 19, 2022
Christians and Controversial Topics | 1 Corinthians 8
Jermaine HarrisonJun 12, 2022
Being Single | 1 Corinthians 7:7-40
Timothy "TA" AteekJun 5, 2022
Fighting For Your Marriage | 1 Corinthians 7:1-16
Timothy "TA" AteekMay 22, 2022
Sex and Glorifying God | 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Timothy "TA" AteekMay 15, 2022
Conflict: An Inevitable Opportunity | 1 Corinthians 6:1-11
Timothy "TA" AteekMay 1, 2022
Church Discipline: Sin, Grace, and Shepherding | 1 Corinthians 5
John ElmoreApr 24, 2022
The Resurrection Is the Remedy to Our Hypocrisy | 1 Corinthians 15
Timothy "TA" AteekApr 17, 2022
The Purpose, Plot Twists, and Power of Christ | 1 Corinthians 4
John ElmoreApr 10, 2022
Being a Healthy Church | 1 Corinthians 3:1-23
Timothy "TA" AteekMar 27, 2022
The Miracle of Spiritual Maturity | 1 Corinthians 2:1-16
Timothy "TA" AteekMar 20, 2022
The Miracle of Salvation | 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Timothy "TA" AteekMar 13, 2022
Priority, Preference, and Power | 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
John ElmoreMar 6, 2022
Called, Gifted, and Kept by Jesus | 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
John ElmoreFeb 27, 2022

In This Series (20)


You exist to glorify God. By looking at 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, we can identify five keys to glorifying God with our bodies when it comes to sex:

  • Shift your mentality from permissibility to profitability (1 Corinthians 6:12-13). Instead of “Can I do this?” ask “Is it beneficial, to myself and to others around me, for me to do this?” Additionally, ask “Am I in control or being controlled?”
  • Deepen your theology, specifically about your body. Your body isn’t destined for destruction, but for resurrection (1 Corinthians 6:13b-14). God has an eternal purpose for your body, which should make you think twice about what you do with your body.
  • Embrace your identity as a limb of Christ, a home for the Holy Spirit, and as God’s possession (1 Corinthians 6:15-20).
  • Cultivate your strategy to habitually flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). This includes cultivating your relationship with God’s Word; cultivating your relationship with the Holy Spirit; cultivating your rhythms in life; and cultivating your solution for the pain or low self-esteem that drives you to sexual sin.
  • Clarify your top priority, which should be to glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • Are you in control of your desires, or are you being controlled by them? (1 Corinthians 6:12)
  • Are you using your sexuality to selfishly serve yourself, or to selflessly serve your spouse? What would it look like for you to only do what is beneficial to others?
  • Do you have more exposure to the lies of our culture, or to the truth of God’s Word?
  • What “rhythms” in your life need to change in order for you to walk in purity? What changes to your schedule, relationships, media consumption, etc., would help you to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18)?

Good morning. How are we doing? It's good to see you. My name is Timothy Ateek. I'm one of the teaching pastors here, and I'm so excited to get to spend the morning with you. I want to start by asking…Why does the iPhone exist? I'm sure you expected that question at church this morning. The iPhone exists to put the world at your fingertips. Right? That's it. The beauty of the iPhone is you can literally talk to anyone on the planet face-to-face at any given time.

You can get a date without ever leaving your couch. I don't recommend that. I'm just saying that's the possibility with the iPhone. It exists to put the world at your fingertips. Now, you can live as if the iPhone exists for a different purpose. You could use your iPhone as a coaster. I don't know if you know that, but if you're at a friend's house, and they offer you something to drink, and there's a bunch of condensation on the cup… You're like, "You know what? I'm not doing that to your table."

I don't know if you have the iPhone with the OtterBox, but that is an incredible coaster. That just feels safe, feels good. Your table can be wobbly. You can be like, "I know what to do." You can take it and jam it under there. It's a great balancing tool. You can use your iPhone for a different purpose than for which it was created, but it doesn't change the fact that your iPhone, or whatever smartphone you use, will be most fully functioning and best utilized when it is fulfilling the purpose for which it was created.

I bring that up because I want to start by talking about the point and purpose of your life. Some of you are like, "Thank goodness," because that is a question you have right now. You wonder what your ultimate purpose is, what the point of your life is. Well, the Scriptures are clear. If you want to know the purpose for which you were created, it's this: you exist to know Jesus and show Jesus. That's the point and purpose of your life. The point and purpose of your life is to know Jesus and to show Jesus to the world.

Another way of saying that is you exist to glorify God. That is the point and purpose of our lives. We live, we exist, to glorify God, to know Jesus and to show Jesus. Now, you absolutely can live as if your life exists for a different purpose. You can live as if you exist to make a bunch of money. You can live as if you exist to be extremely successful and have the best place on the org chart. You can live as if you exist to experience every pleasure known to man, but it doesn't change the fact that you will be most fully functioning when you fulfill the purpose for which you have been created, which is to glorify God.

One of the ways we struggle to fulfill the purpose for which we have been created is in the area of sex. One of the areas of life where we struggle to glorify God is in the area of sex, because we live in a culture that is saturated with sex, so we constantly have messaging coming in from the culture about sex. The message from the culture is that sex is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, pursuits and the greatest pleasure to experience in this life.

So, when should you have sex? Whenever you can have it. Who should you have sex with? Whoever is willing to have it with you. How should you have sex? However you can have it. That's the message of culture. So, if culture is saying, "Do it," and we believe God is saying, "Don't do it," which one sounds better? Culture. Right? So there are times when it comes to glorifying God that in our souls we just say, "You know what? This just sounds better."

I know what that's like. I had a seven-year-long intense struggle with pornography during high school and college. I was in dating relationships that wandered into impurity. There have been seasons of my life where, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I've known what the point and purpose of my life is, which is to glorify God, but something in me has allowed culture to filter in, and I've said, "You know what? That just sounds better."

What we need to do is we just need to recalibrate, because the aim of culture is not to glorify God; it's to gratify self. If we're not careful, we're going to allow ourselves to be shaped by culture instead of shaped by Christ. So, as we step back into the book of 1 Corinthians, which we have been journeying through for the last couple of months, what Paul is going to do, as he talks to his friends in Corinth, is he's going to show us how we can glorify God in our bodies in regard to sex.

If you have a Bible, I want you to join me this morning in 1 Corinthians, chapter 6. As you're turning there, let me say this. My hope is that God has strategically brought some of you into the room this morning because he has a great love for you, and he wants to call you out of the sexual sin you're living in right now. That is a demonstration of his love. If you're here this morning and you're in the midst of an affair, I'm so glad you're here. If you're battling pornography… When I talk about struggling with pornography, I'm talking about you either look at it daily or you look at it occasionally.

Maybe you're here and you're sleeping with your girlfriend or boyfriend, or when you go on work trips you find yourself in a strip club or doing things you know you probably shouldn't be doing. Or maybe you're just pornifying your reality. What I mean by that is you're not scrolling on a screen; you're just scrolling in real life. You're pornifying your relationships with friends or coworkers, and it's filling your mind with lustful thoughts and lustful fantasies.

Here's my hope. My goal this morning is in no way to shame you. I believe God brought you here because he loves you, but I do believe that what God, through Paul, is going to do is call you to repentance, and he's going to call you to wholeness. He's going to call you back to your ultimate purpose, which is to glorify God. So, 1 Corinthians, chapter 6. I'm just going to read you verses 12-20 straight, and then we'll begin to talk about it. Paul says this:

"'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. '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. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 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!

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.' But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 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, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

All eyes on me. Let's make sure we understand what is going on here. Paul is speaking to his friends in Corinth. It's hard to nail down exactly what was going on in Corinth at the time. Some of you who like to study biblical things might have read at some point in some commentary that in Corinth there were 1,000 temple prostitutes in the temple of Aphrodite. That probably is not true, because that fact is in reference to Corinth about 200 years before Paul wrote this letter, and since that time, Corinth had been destroyed and rebuilt.

So it's hard to know exactly what's going on. Here is what we do know. We know the believers in Corinth had a jacked-up theology of the body. We talked about this on Easter if you were with us. The Corinthians had bought into the lie that God cared about their souls, but not their bodies, that the physical body basically amounted to nothing.

God might have raised Christ's body from the dead, but he wouldn't eventually raise humans' bodies from the dead. God didn't care about the body; therefore, the Corinthians believed they could do whatever they wanted with their bodies. The other problem is that this hijacked view of sexuality had seeped into the church. Believers in Corinth had begun to believe that sex within marriage only existed for procreation.

So, you had believers swinging one of two directions. Some believers were swinging toward asceticism. They believed sex in marriage was just for procreation, never for pleasure, so they were denying themselves sexual pleasure in marriage. Then you had other believers swinging toward hedonism, and they would have sex for procreation in marriage, but then they would step outside of marriage and have sex with prostitutes in order to experience sexual pleasure. They believed that was actually okay for them to do.

When you put those two issues together, you have these people who are followers of Jesus who are saying, "God doesn't care what I do with my body, so I'll do what I want with my body, and I'm going to choose to engage in sexual immorality. God has no problem with that because the body in the end is going to amount to nothing." So, Paul is going to write his letter to them. As we read this passage, what we're going to see are five keys to glorifying God with your body in regard to sex.

  1. Shift your mentality. Many of us in here just need to shift our mentality when we think about our sexuality. Paul says in verse 12, "All things are lawful for me…" He says that phrase twice in the same verse. He is identifying a slogan that is being championed in Corinth. What you need to understand is every church has their own sayings and their own slogans and language. Here at Watermark, we don't have friendships; we just do life in community. We talk about, "Hey, who are you in community with?"

Or if you ever work for Watermark, you need to know we don't agree with one another; we stack hands with each other. We don't email or text each other; we ping one another. That is just the language here at Watermark. Corinth had its own language. You have people going around who are saying, "All things are lawful for me." Another way of saying that is they're just saying, "I have a right…" Listen to what they're saying. "I have a right to do anything."

It's hard to know where they got this slogan from. It's possible they got this slogan from Paul teaching on freedom in Christ, and they just took it to places it was never meant to go. It's possible Paul taught them on their freedom in Christ in regard to food and drink and said, "Hey, you're free. Be free. Eat what you want to eat. Or when it comes to circumcision, be free," and they took that and were like, "How about we apply it to sex? Be free. I have freedom to do what I want."

What Paul does in verse 12 is he states their argument and then responds to it. He says, "'All things are lawful for me.' That's what you're saying." Then Paul objects. He says, "But not all things are helpful. Again, you say, 'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be dominated by anything." Paul is trying to get them to shift their mentality from permissibility to profitability.

He's saying, "You guys are just asking the question, 'Can I do this? Do I have permission to do this?' The question you should be asking is, 'Should I do this?'" Those are two different questions. One is about permissibility; the other is about profitability. This is so important, because it speaks to where we're at in culture now. Culture today is all about permissibility. It's all about sexual freedom. Anything that infringes upon your freedom sexually puts you on the wrong side of history.

I even think about some research I was doing on the future of sex for some doctoral work. One of the things I came across is a report commenting on where the sex tech industry is taking us. If you want to know where sex is headed, just look at technology, because technology is shaping where sex is headed. Here is what the report said. Don't miss it. "…by 2024 people will be able to be anybody, with anybody, enacting impossible fantasies in photo-realistic virtual worlds…"

Do you hear what the anthem of that quote is? It's freedom. I would say you don't have to wait until 2024. We're already there. It's freedom. You get to be anybody. You don't even have to be yourself. You can be whoever you want. Good news: you can be with whoever you want, and you can do whatever you want. Impossible or possible, it is yours. It's freedom. Just like in Corinth you have these believers who are like, "It's freedom. It's permitted. I can do whatever I want with my body."

Paul is trying to get them to shift their mentality. He's saying, "You guys are focused on permissibility. You just need to think about profitability. Is it beneficial for you to do what you're doing?" Did you see how he responded? "'All things are lawful for me,' but not all things are helpful." A good question for you to ask yourself when it comes to your sexuality is if what you're doing is actually helpful.

That word helpful when it's used in other places in the book is referring to benefiting other people. If you are the primary beneficiary of your sexual activity, you're off. God loves sex. God invented sex, but God invented sex so a husband and wife can be beneficial to one another when it comes to their sexuality. Then he says, "'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be dominated by anything." That word dominated means mastered.

This is really important, because Paul is like, "Hey, friends, here's the deal. If the reason you are doing something sexually is because you're responding to an overpowering urge or a flare-up of lust, that's not freedom; that's slavery." Let's be careful that we don't call something freedom when it's actually slavery. If you look at porn because you can't help but look at porn, if you go to the strip club because you can't help but go to the strip club, if you keep running back to that affair and you feel like you have no control, that's not freedom; that's slavery.

Paul is just saying you have to shift your mentality. He continues to ask them to shift their mentality in verse 13. In verse 13, we really get to the heart of their argument. He's restating their argument. The people in Corinth were saying, "'Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food'—and God will destroy both one and the other." Look in your Bible and see where the quotation marks land.

You need to understand these quotation marks did not exist in the original language, Greek, so the quotation marks in your Bible were put there by some other human being. If you're reading from the ESV, like I am, the quote ends after the word food, but if you're reading in the NIV, the quote ends after "…and God will destroy them both." I think the NIV has it right. It makes sense.

The Corinthians' argument is "Food is for the stomach, the stomach is for food, and God is going to destroy both." Remember? They believed the body amounted to nothing. Listen to their argument. Listen to their rationalization. They're saying, "You know what? God created the stomach, and the stomach has moments of hunger. Food exists to satisfy hunger, so I should eat to satisfy my desires for food."

The Corinthians are saying the same is true with sex. "I have a body. My body has sexual desires. Sex exists. Therefore, sex was created for the body. The body was created for sex. I have desires. Sex can satisfy those desires. Therefore, I should have sex. In the end, it doesn't really matter, because just as God is going to destroy the stomach and food, God is going to destroy the body and sex. In the end, God doesn't care about the body, so God doesn't care if I have sex."

Do you hear what it is? It's a rationalization. It's allowing themselves to find a way to justify them doing what they ultimately want to do. We do the same thing. Here's the reality. Don't miss this. Sexual immorality has been normalized in our world, and because sexual immorality has been normalized, sexual immorality is easily rationalized.

It has been normalized. Our world is saturated with sex. I mean, we live in a pornified culture. We don't even realize it. The amount of messages that have a sexual leaning to them that each of us has encountered in the last 24 hours… We don't even realize it, because it's just the way our world operates. Because it has become normalized, sexual immorality is easily rationalized.

I know, for me, when I was battling pornography in high school and college… Do you know how I rationalized it? "Every guy struggles with porn." The stat, which was a fictitious stat… What we would tell each other was, "You know what? Ninety-eight percent of guys struggle with porn, and the other 2 percent are just lying about it." It's a rationalization. Right?

Or if I found myself in a dating relationship that was leaning into impurity, what was the rationalization? "Well, at least we're not going all the way. At least we're not doing what they're doing." All you have to do is look around and find someone who's not thriving at life as well as you are. It's like, "See? At least I'm not that." It makes you feel better about yourself.

How do you rationalize sexual sin? The big one is "It's not that big of a deal. It's everywhere, so be realistic. You can either fight a losing battle or you can just go with it. At least I'm not [fill in the blank]." Or "My spouse isn't into me, and I have needs." What's your rationalization? There might need to be a shift in mentality if you're going to glorify God in your body in regard to sex.

  1. Deepen your theology. That's what we're about here at Watermark. If you hang around here long enough, we are aiming to take your theology of God deeper. Paul is calling his friends in Corinth to a deeper theology. Look at what he goes on and says in verse 13. He says, "The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body."

Paul is basically saying, "Hey, guys, you made the wrong correlation. You associated the food with the stomach. I get that. That makes sense, actually, but you associated the body with sex, and that was the wrong pairing. The body actually wasn't made for sex." We live in a culture right now that says, "No, our bodies absolutely exist for sex." But Paul is saying you have to shift your theology. Your body wasn't made for sex; your body was made for the Lord.

He's talking about Jesus Christ. The word Lord there is the Greek word kurios, which means master. Just think. Paul had just said in verse 12, "I will not be mastered by anything." Why? Because he already had a master. "I won't be mastered by any sexual desire because I already have a master, and that's Jesus Christ." He's reshaping their theology. He's saying, "Your body actually was made specifically for Jesus Christ."

Then watch what he says in verse 14. "And God raised the Lord…" That's talking about the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. "And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power." He's saying, "Guys, wake up. God raised Jesus Christ bodily. You guys believe that, but you don't believe God will raise us bodily." He's saying, "Whatever happened to Jesus' body will happen to our bodies." He's correcting their theology.

He's saying, "You guys believe the body is destined for destruction. Your body is actually destined for resurrection." That means God has eternally significant plans for your body. Jesus gave his body on the cross to save your physical body…not just your soul, not just your spirit, but your body as well. That means God cares deeply about what we do with our bodies, because he has made plans for all of eternity with our bodies.

So, Paul invites his friends, and I invite you to deepen your theology. This should shine a new light of appreciation for us on the resurrection, because the resurrection doesn't just ensure that one day we will be in heaven; it ensures that God will strategically and purposefully utilize our bodies for all of eternity to bring glory to himself.

  1. Embrace your identity. Who you are should determine what you do. Your identity should inform your activity. Watch what Paul says. Verse 15: "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?" When we read that and we see members, we might think of membership, like, you belong to a club, but that's not the right application. You can belong to a club and never utilize the club. Membership can be on a spectrum. That's not the interpretation.

That word member in the Greek literally means limb or organ. So, listen to what Paul is saying. He's saying, "Do you not know…?" He actually says those words multiple times. That is the biblical equivalent of, "Hello, McFly! Anybody home?" That is what Paul is saying. Over and over, he's like, "Don't you know? Hello, McFly! Anybody home?" "Don't you know your bodies are the limbs and organs of Christ?" That's your identity.

"Shall I then take the limbs of Christ and make them limbs of a prostitute?" He says, "Never! Absolutely not. That's crazy. That's ludicrous." He's saying, "I want you to get a vision for just how connected you are to Christ because of his death, burial, and resurrection." He wants his friends to realize, "You guys are attached to Christ. You are actually, in some way, his limbs, so your hands… Your body is in some way a reflection and representation of Christ's body. You have been joined with Christ, and you're inseparable now."

So, when you step into sexual immorality… If you go and connect to a prostitute, remember you're inseparable from Christ, so it's like you're dragging Christ to the prostitute. That's crazy. When you look at pornography, it's like you are dragging Christ's hand over to scroll on the screen, and that sounds all sorts of weird and wrong.

What Paul is saying is you have to remember who you actually are. You're the limbs and the organs of Jesus Christ. So, for you to take what is in some way Jesus' body and connect it to your girlfriend or boyfriend prior to marriage or to go to a strip club, to even look lustfully at a guy or a girl, it's like you are taking Christ's hands, Christ's feet, Christ's mind, Christ's body along with you.

He says in verse 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.'" Where does that statement, "For the two will become one flesh," first show up? Genesis, chapter 2, the second page of the Bible. That is where God created marriage, and he created sex for marriage. What Paul is trying to do is say, "You know what? Culture, the world, trivializes sex." There's a song that says,

You and me, baby, ain't nothin' but mammals

So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.

Let's pray and get out of here. I don't know if that encouraged you or offended you. Only time will tell with the emails. I'm so sorry. The reason I share that with you is I want you to think about what it's saying. What it's saying is, "Hey, look. We, as human beings… It's just physical. We are only physical beings. Sex is simply two physical beings getting together, so it's insignificant."

What Paul is doing is he's taking them all the way back to Genesis, chapter 2. He's like, "It's not insignificant. It actually is on the second page of the Bible." If you want to know how much God cares about sex, he put it on page 2. God isn't against sex. He's the inventor of sex. It was his idea. He loves sex. He has given it to his people to experience enjoyment in the context of marriage, but when God made sex he made it for marriage, and in marriage, two people become one in God's eyes, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. There's an intimacy that happens.

Paul is saying, "Don't you realize? When you join yourself to a prostitute, when you join yourself to someone else, it's not an insignificant thing. There's a deep connection. There's a oneness that is happening when you do that. You're not just a physical being." That's why he says in verse 17, "But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him." He's saying your whole being, physically, emotionally, spiritually, has been joined to Christ, has been joined to his Spirit.

So, for you to go and connect with someone else doesn't make sense. You have to remember your identity, that you are the limbs, you are the organs of Christ. But that's not the only aspect of your identity that Paul touches. He goes on, and watch what he says. Skip down to verse 19. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?" Paul reaches back into the Old Testament and says, "You know the temple?" What was the temple? It was the place where the presence of God dwelled with the people of God.

I don't know if you're familiar with the temple, but the temple had one room inside of the temple known as the Holy of Holies, and the Holy of Holies was the place where the presence of God dwelt. Only one person, one time a year, was able to enter that room to meet with God. When they entered that room, they had to wear a rope around their ankle so, in case they died in the presence of God, everyone else could pull them out without having to go in after them.

That's the holiness of God. That is the presence of God. And what does Paul do? He picks up the imagery of the temple. He's like, "Hey, your body is actually the housing place for the holy God of the universe. The God who filled the Holy of Holies actually fills you and lives inside of you." God is marked by holiness, and if our bodies are his temple, then our lives should be marked by holiness as well.

Have you ever thought about that? That is who you are if you know Jesus Christ. You are a housing place for the God of the universe. That's your identity. So, it's good to ask, "Is this what the Spirit of God wants to be looking at right now? Is this what the Spirit of God wants to be doing right now?" That might just shift your activity, because your identity should determine your activity.

But that's not all when it comes to your identity. Watch what he says. I need everyone… If you were tuned out, please tune in. Look at what he says right here. Verse 19 again: "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?" This is it. Watch it. "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price."

I want you to hear those words. You are not your own. You're not your own. Some of you think I just made a political statement. I didn't make a political statement; I made a biblical statement. I'm just reading Scripture to you. You are not your own. Let me ask us… Let me just beg us. If we were to take the Word of God and read it and do what it says, how would that influence what we think and what we do?

Can we please not be people who read "You are not your own" and say, "Yeah, but that doesn't mean what we think it means," and we hop on the Internet and find some hijacked interpretation that gives us the right to think and do whatever we want to do. If the Scripture is right when it says, "You are not your own," then the thought system "My body, my choice" makes no sense for a follower of Jesus Christ. Why? Simply because of these words: "You are not your own."

Why are you not your own? This is the beautiful part of it. "…for you were bought with a price." That's why you're not your own: because Jesus bought you. What did he buy you with? He bought you with his body and his blood. So, do you know what your identity is? You're his possession. He has ownership of you. If you're like, "That sounds oppressive," he gave his life for you. What you think is freedom is what has led to spiritual death. What sounds like slavery, him purchasing us, is actually freedom.

So that's your identity. You're Christ's limb. You're the Holy Spirit's home. You're God's possession. I know, for me, when I was battling pornography, part of the problem was I was just settling for a lesser, inferior identity. I was living under the identity of "I'm just a stereotypical college guy," but I was so much more than that. I was Christ's limb. I was the Holy Spirit's home. I was God's possession.

Some of you here might be living under the identity of damaged goods. You feel like because you have failed sexually in the past, you might as well continue in the future, because you've already screwed up. That's just not who you are. You've been bought with a price. You've been made new by Jesus Christ through faith. Let your identity determine your activity.

  1. Cultivate your strategy. Look at what verse 18 says. "Flee from sexual immorality." There it is. That's the command: "Flee from sexual immorality." That word flee means take to flight. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the word we find here for flee is used in the Old Testament of running from enemies and snakes. That's it. That tells you the urgency in Paul's word when he says flee.

It's what Joseph did when Potiphar's wife came after him wanting to have sex with him. Joseph was like, "You can keep my jacket. I'm out." He fled. Paul says, "Flee sexual immorality." That's the Greek word porneia. Porneia is a general term that can refer to any type of sexual conduct that is outside of the will of God. Paul says, "Flee from it." The verb form implies habitual action.

So, one of the best things you can do is you need to figure out what it practically looks like for you to flee on a regular basis. I'm just encouraging you to cultivate your strategy. Your strategy will look different than my strategy, because your struggle with sexual temptation looks different than my struggle with sexual temptation. We each have different temptations and different struggles. Let me just encourage you with a few action steps for you to cultivate your strategy.

A. Cultivate your relationship with God's Word. You need to understand there are messages about sex flooding into our lives every single day, which means lies are flooding into your life every day. Let me ask you… What do you have more exposure to, lies or truth? If you're exposed to more lies than truth, then don't be surprised when you begin to believe that the lies are true.

Let me just encourage you: treasure this Word. When I was breaking free from pornography, I slept on a loft bed. That's a blast from the past, throw you back to college. I went through and wrote all of these verses about sexual purity and taped them above my bed so that when I was going to sleep at night, I was meditating on truth. When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I would see was truth. Saturate your life with truth or culture will saturate your life with lies.

B. Cultivate your relationship with the Holy Spirit. We just read that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the power that raised Christ from the dead. Just think about that. Because the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to you today. We want to be people who are filled with the Spirit.

When I was breaking free from porn, I would wake up every day praying, "God, would you fill me with your Spirit that I might bear the fruit of self-control? When I am tempted, would you help me see the way of escape and take it?" Here at Watermark, we want to be people who are fully surrendered. One of the best things you can do is wake up every morning, hit your knees, and say, "God, I'm surrendered to you. Spirit, would you fill me, and would you lead me in your ways?"

C. Cultivate your rhythms. What I mean by that is you might need to change some of your rhythms. I want you to think about the last time you gave in to some sexual temptation. If we had video tape, surveillance footage, of the 24 hours leading up to that lapse in judgment… If we were to roll the tape, is there anything we would see that we would be like, "That right there makes no sense if you want to be a man or woman of purity"?

Like, it makes no sense that you were watching that show, that Netflix Original that is laced with sex. It makes no sense that you were going to happy hour. It makes no sense, when you're traveling with your coworkers, and you know exactly where they're going to go and what they're going to do… It makes no sense that you're going with them if you want to be a man or woman of purity.

It makes no sense that you are going to the gym at peak time when you know you just can't handle it. Is there anything we would see that we would say, "That right there makes no sense"? Whatever that is, you might have to change some rhythms. Your life might need to become very inconvenient for the sake of glorifying God.

D. Cultivate your solution. Here's what I mean by that. Here's what Alan Medinger says: "Sexual immorality often develops as a means of finding relief from or avoiding certain pains, especially pains associated with a low opinion of ourselves. We use sex because our needs are fundamentally relational, and sex is a relational experience." Do you see that? Sex is often our solution. Our solution to…what? To our pain. What's our pain a result of? A low view of ourselves. It's a lack of value.

So much sexual sin can be traced back to a question about value. "Am I valuable?" People will give their bodies to feel loved, to feel valuable. Do you know what the good thing is? As we just read, you were bought with a price. That means Christ's cross gave you your value. If you want to know what you're valued at to God, you are valued at the body and blood of Jesus Christ. That's your value. You don't have to look to sexual immorality to deal with your pain when the cross is sufficient to be your solution.

  1. Clarify your top priority. Look at how Paul finishes the passage. Verse 20: "…for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." What's your priority? Is that your priority? Glorify God in your body. That is the ultimate goal. What does it mean to glorify God? Let's just break this down, because I don't want any ambiguity about what it means to glorify God. In order to talk about glorifying God, you have to talk about the glory of God.

What is the glory of God? Well, glory in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word kāḇôḏ. Kāḇôḏ literally means weight or heavy…the heaviness or the weightiness. When we talk about the glory of God, we're talking about the heaviness of God. We're talking about the grandness, the impressiveness, the incomparable greatness, the unfathomable beauty and majesty of God. That's what we're talking about when we talk about the glory of God.

To glorify God is to respond to the weightiness of God. When the weightiness of God crushes you, what comes out of that is glorifying to God. I hate to explain it this way. It's the only way I can think to explain it. If you've ever been to a summer camp, you might have enjoyed the Blob. The Blob is that big, massive pillow on the lake. The way the Blob works is you find your biggest friend, and they climb up a ladder to a platform, and they jump off and land on one side of the Blob, and it shoots you up into the air.

The greater the weight, the higher the flight and the bigger the splash. The same is true with the glory of God. The greater the weight, the more the weight of God crushes you, the higher the flight and the bigger the splash. The more you experience the weightiness of God, the more your life displays the beauty of God. That's what it means to glorify God. So, if that's your priority, the priority then leaving here is not discipline; it's delight. It's not doing more for God; it's just being more with God, because when you experience his weight, you're going to display his beauty.

So, the priority isn't even purity. I'll just say this. The church in general is guilty of idolizing purity. There was a time when purity was preached as an idol. "You know what? If you're sexually pure, God will bless you, and if you're not sexually pure, God will not bless you. If you're sexually pure, he's going to give you a great spouse, and you're going to have great sex and a great marriage. If you're not pure, good luck." That is making an idol out of purity.

The goal is not purity; the goal is to glorify God. It's to enjoy him. It's to delight in him. It's to be satisfied in him so that you will then show him. Let me just remind you that the point and purpose of your life is to glorify God. That's it. That is why you exist. You can live as if you exist for a different purpose, but it doesn't change the fact that you'll be most fully functioning and most fully alive when you fulfill the purpose for which you have been created, which is to glorify God. Therefore, glorify God in your body.

I just want to ask you to listen to my voice as I lead us to pray, because I want to ask you now to do business with God in the quietness of your own heart. If you're here this morning and you don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ, then this message will make no sense to you. It makes no sense for you to glorify God with your body when you don't know God.

Maybe you're sitting here today, and you're realizing you were bought with a price, that Jesus Christ went to the cross. He gave himself for you. He died and was raised from the dead for you to give you life. If that's you, if you want to begin a relationship with Jesus, then my encouragement to you is just to invite him in, to ask him for his forgiveness, to invite him into your life to be your Savior and your Lord.

Maybe you're here this morning and shame is creeping in because you feel like this message is too late. Maybe you feel like you've already failed. You just need to know that Christ's cross was sufficient to deal with all of your failures. He can take your story of failure and trade it for his story of forgiveness, just as he has done for me.

Maybe you're sitting here this morning and you are in the midst of sexual sin. Whatever it might be, would you repent of it, and would you make things right? Then if you're here this morning and you're like, "This message doesn't feel like it's for me…" This isn't a struggle for you. Then let me just encourage you with the words of 1 Corinthians 10:12. "Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."

I encourage you to take a moment and pray for the next generation, because the struggle will be great for them. Take a moment. Do business in the quietness of your heart with the Lord, and then Blake is going to come and lead us to respond by taking Communion as we remember Christ's body that was broken and his blood that was shed to purchase us.

About '1 Corinthians'

Challenges believers to examine every area of life through the lens of the Gospel. Paul addresses divisions among believers, food, sexual integrity, worship gatherings, and the resurrection.