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Slaves to Freedom, or Freedom in Slavery

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Pastor Dale Critchley

Second Sunday after the Epiphany
St. Paul's Lutheran Church  
Delaware, IA

view DOC file

Sun, Jan 15, 2006
Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Standard LW 3-year Readings:
First: 1 Sam. 3:1-10
Epistle: 1 Cor. 6:12-20
Gospel: John 1:43-51
Psalm: Psalm 67


The text below is correctly formatted in the DOC file (see above left). The DOC file is easier to read, but the text is included below to allow for searching.

Children's Sermon

Catechetical point: The Bible says God bought us. Does anyone know how much He paid for us?

Message: God paid a lot for us—He gave up His Son for us. †

Slaves to Freedom, or Freedom in Slavery

Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Text: (1 Corinthians 6:12-20) "Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything. "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 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! 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." But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 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; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

This is the Word of our Lord. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

I. Introduction

A. Freedom

1. Here in the United States, we value this gift possibly more than any other

2. We celebrate our freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, press, and petition as promised in the 1st amendment

3. When someone asks for permission for something, you might hear, "Go ahead. It's a free country."

B. And by the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross for us, we have been given even greater freedom

1. Freedom of petition is nothing compared to the freedom to petition God through prayer, no list of signatures necessary, only the name of Jesus

2. Freedom of speech is nothing compared to the freedom to proclaim the freedom given us in the Gospel

3. Freedom of the press is nothing compared to our freedom to read a message from God Himself in the Bible anytime

4. Freedom of assembly is nothing compared to the freedom to assemble as the Body of Christ and commune not only with each other at the Lord's Table, but to commune with God Himself

5. And freedom of religion is nothing compared to the freedom to worship God with angels and archangel and all the company of heaven

C. Yet with freedom comes responsibility

1. If you are given a choice, you are responsible for that choice

2. There's a certain comfort in slavery—you just do as you're told, and if things go wrong, it's not your fault

3. But with freedom, every decision has consequences, so you have to constantly be exploring the consequences of any decision before you make it

D. And we tend to take not only our responsibility, but our freedom for granted

1. How often do you take advantage of your freedom to take your petitions to the God of the universe?

2. How often do you witness to others the gift you've been given in the Gospel?

3. How much time do you spend each week listening to God, assembling for both services and Bible Study?

II. Everything to me is lawful, but not everything is helpful. Everything to me is lawful, but I will not be mastered by anything.

A. Jesus has fulfilled the entire law

1. I've been told, and you may hear people say, "He has fulfilled the ceremonial law, but not the moral law."

2. If that is true, we're all in a lot of trouble

3. Because that means that, if you've broken the moral law, you're going to hell

4. But thankfully, Jesus fulfilled the entire law—nowhere in Scripture is a distinction made between ceremonial and moral laws

5. Rather, Scripture tells us that there is only one Law, and Christ has fulfilled it

B. Since Christ has fulfilled the Law by His perfect life and His death on the cross as our substitute,

C. We are 100% free from the Law, free to live solely in the Gospel

D. But not all choices are good choices

1. You don't have to love your neighbor as yourself

2. But if you don't, he may never know Christ's love

3. You don't have to love God with all your heart,

4. But the less important He is to you, the more likely you'll turn away from Him completely

5. You don't have to be faithful to your spouse

6. But if you're not, don't expect a good marriage and lifelong fulfillment

III. Food is for the belly, and the belly is for food, but God will abolish both of them. But the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.

A. God has given us amazing gifts,

1. including food and the ability to enjoy food

2. And including the gifts He has given for a man and woman to share

B. But misuse of those gifts can be very destructive

1. If I eat both of the last 2 pieces of pie without sharing them with my wife, she'll usually be very unhappy with me

2. If I misuse my body with another woman, well, that's a whole different level than pie

C. God has given us very specific rules about using those gifts

1. The only God-pleasing use of intimacy is between one man and one woman in a life-long marriage

2. Any of those three missing or altered corrupts the whole thing, like a little urine in the cookie recipe

3. If you find that analogy offensive, then you have some sense how offensive God finds the misuse of His gift of intimacy

4. Misusing the gift of intimacy—whether with your body or your mind, since adultery begins in the heart and mind—is like taking a gourmet meal and marinating it with raw sewage

D. Jesus took on a body like yours

1. He has given His body for you on the cross

2. You can thank Him by respecting the body He saved and preserved for eternal life

IV. But God has also raised the Lord, and He will raise us up by His power.

A. While God will raise your body on the final resurrection, restoring you to the perfection He intended for you from the beginning,

1. This is the same body, however different, that you will have for eternity

2. Thank God He will purge your body and soul from your sin

B. You are destined to live forever with in heaven and the New Creation

1. So doesn't it make sense to live like citizens of heaven instead of citizens of hell?

2. Yet every sinful thought, word, and deed is a battle won for the devil

3. Middle-eastern Muslims look to Hollywood and think that that's what Christianity is

4. And as long as Christians continue to support immorality on TV, movies, and radio, they'll keep giving us what we want—more immorality

5. There's a reason why the Internet is so cluttered with pornography—supply and demand

C. But thanks be to God that He will take us out of this world

1. In spite of the times we daily aid and abet the enemy, He has still promised you resurrection

2. And on that day, He will remove that sinful flesh that draws you to those immoral influences

V. Don't you know that your bodies are members of Christ? Then should I be taking the members of Christ and making them members of a prostitute? Or do you not know that one joining himself to the prostitute is one body? For He says, "The two into one flesh."

A. If you thought my illustration before was offensive, you'll note that this one was written by St. Paul and inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself

B. You are a member of the Body of Christ

1. So every time you sin, you're dirtying Jesus' hands

2. Whether you look or touch, you're taking Jesus' eyes and hands with you

C. But more than that, this intimacy binds you with that other person

1. Whether you think so or not, this act makes you one with that other person

2. Just as Eve was a part of Adam by being made from his rib

3. This union returns the two into one

4. This union is a reflection of the intimate relationship Jesus has with you through faith

5. So look at your thoughts and actions in this regard and say, "Jesus, this is what I think of the union You have restored with me."

VI. But the one joining himself to the Lord is one spirit.

A. In spite of our chasing after other lovers and devoting ourselves to the works of Satan,

B. Jesus has Joined Himself to you

1. He gives you His Body and Blood in the Lord's Supper, literally becoming a part of you as you eat and drink Him into you

2. He enters your heart through faith and lives in you

3. And while He is in your heart, nothing can take you out of His hand

4. In spite of your sin, He will hold you, guard you, and keep you to eternal life because of His merits and His sacrifice

VII. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin a man does outside the body, but the one committing sexual immorality sins against his own body.

A. Note here that the Bible usually tells us to stand firm against sin

1. But Paul tells us that we shouldn't try to stand up against this one

2. He says to flee from it

3. Get away from any temptation, from anyone who would lead you in a sinful direction

4. And as well, watch how you dress and conduct yourself that you not lead others into sin

5. If you dress provocatively, you are guilty when someone looks at you and sins in thought

6. And with so many dressing this way, it becomes all the more difficult to flee from it—so don't be part of the problem!

B. So we know where to flee from, but where should we flee to?

1. The Word and Sacraments!

2. Because they strengthen and preserve us in the true faith

a) You're a Baptized child of God, free from slavery to sin!

b) Through faith, you are a new creation destined to live forever in the New Creation. Why act like one who has nothing greater than earthly pleasure to focus on?

c) By eating and drinking Jesus' Body and Blood, you have a greater intimacy than the world can offer,

(1) Intimacy with the One Who says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

VIII. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God? You are not your own. For you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body.

A. Don't ever say, "It's my body—I can do what I want with it, and it's nobody else's business."

B. For one, if you're married, you belong to your spouse.

C. But again, that's a shadow of the deeper union you have with Christ

1. The temple is the place where God is

2. And Your body is a temple to the Holy Spirit

3. He is in you

4. He came into you in your Baptism

5. And He will never leave you

D. He is there in you because God created a place for Him

1. His death on the cross purged the sin from you

2. And He replaced that sin with Himself

E. He bought you with His own Son

1. You are no longer owned by the devil

2. You are owned by God

3. And as His property, you are forever free in Jesus' name. Amen.

Now the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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