Proving the Power of the Resurrection

Steve Viars April 4, 2010 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

 

- How many of you like False Advertising?...do you appreciate it when a person or a company is misleading or dishonest about the nature of their product?...

 

- there’s been an add popping up on the CNN website this week [if you ever go to that page for news updates]…it’s from weight watchers…and it has a picture of a big cupcake…and the caption is – “no food is off limits…ever”.

- who are they trying to kid?...

- you can eat whatever you want whenever you want…and still lose weight…that’s outrageous…

- I think when you read the fine print you learn – no food is off limits…but all you can do is smell it…or look at it from 10 feet away…or watch someone else eat it…

- but for most of us, that kind of advertising is counter-productive…who is going to trust anyone that practices false advertising?...

 

- Another example is an advertisement about some kind of face cream…


- how well you can see this picture somewhat depends where you’re sitting in the auditorium this am…but the product says – less wrinkles in only minutes…

- and on the right side of the screen there is a person’s face that appears to be 80-90 years old (no offense to people here that age—your face looks much better than this one)---and on the other side of the screen is a face that looks about 20 years old…

- so remember, in minutes, you can erase 50-60 years from your look…

- does anybody here believe that’s possible?...[and if you’re feverishly writing down the address of this website while I’m talking…you are seriously gullible…] – it’s just false advertising…

 

- in fact, we actually joke about such methods because they’re so offensive…

- some of you follow the comic strip “Dilbert”…the pointy-headed boss says to Asok the intern…

- and sometimes we hear things like this and we don’t know if we should laugh or cry…but for many the upshot is, we’re somewhat skeptical of any claim any person or company makes about their product…

- in fact, we basically say – listen, prove it…we’re not trying to be cynical or mean-spirited, but if you want us to believe that and actually act on that belief…you’re going to have to prove it.

- I’d like to point out to you this morning that many people in our world would say the exact same thing to us, the church of Jesus Christ…if you say that the Lord has died for your sin, and He was literally resurrected from the dead on the third day demonstrating that His sacrifice on the cross was accepted by the Father, and that He has forgiven and cleansed you of your sin when you repented and believed, and He now has the power to change your life…that’s quite a set of claims…please prove it…

- well, if it’s OK for us to say that to the wrinkle cream company, is it OK for the world to say that to us?...I think the answer to that question is, yes.

- and then the question before the house this am is, are there any ways in which we can do that?

 

- with that question in mind, please open your Bible to 1 Corinthians chapter 6…page 132 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- our theme this year is Taking the Next Step, with Joy…we’re doing a verse by verse study through the book of 1 Corinthians…

- in chapter 5, Paul talked about the sad case of the incestuous man…someone in the church who was actually living with and having sexual relations with his father’s wife

- and what concerned Paul the most was that the church was not doing anything about it…

- what a terrible example of false advertising---you say that Jesus can help you transform your life and grow in personal holiness, yet you allow a man to live like that and no one loves him enough to take the appropriate steps…no wonder the world says the church is full of hypocrites…

- then in chapter 6 he says there’s the issue of Christians taking one another to court…

- you say that God’s Word has principles of communication and conflict resolution…

- you say that God can change the way you relate to other people so there can be love, and unity, and harmony in the church family – then why is there this steady stream of fellow church members taking one another to court?...isn’t that like Weight Watchers saying that no food is off limits ever?...where’s the proof? [cf. the old Wendy’s commercial – where’s the beef?]

- that’s why I’m glad that Paul ends this chapter by talking about Proving the Power of the Resurrection…

- can you demonstrate that Jesus Christ is alive?...and of course ultimately that is a matter of faith…but is there anything you can do to point people to the validity of that truth?...where they would say in effect, as a result of watching so and so, I am more inclined than ever to believe that Jesus Christ is alive…and that he can redeem and transform people…please follow along as I read these great verses…

- read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20…

 

- so what’s the answer from this text about how Christians can demonstrate that Jesus truly is alive?...the answer is---by what we do with our bodies…and with the time we have remaining, let’s look for 3 principles to help us use our bodies to demonstrate the power of our living Lord.

 

I. Your Body is Created for the Lord – 6:12-14.

- of course the cry of our culture is – hey, it’s my body...and I can do with it whatever I choose…

- even to the point of some people believing, I can end the life of a baby’s body inside of my own body…It’s my choice, they say...

- and we’re not here to simply sneer at those who will not submit to biblical truth, but our perspective is supposed to be markedly different…we do not believe that our bodies belong to us to do whatever we please…we believe our bodies belong to Him and should be used for His glory and His honor and His pleasure…

A. Which is why “Is it sin, yet?” is not our highest value.

- Paul says, v. 12 – All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable…

- in other words, we don’t earn our way to heaven by what we do with our bodies…

- if you are on your way to heaven today, it is solely on the basis of your personal trust in what Christ did on the cross to save you…

- Titus 3:5 - He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

- And if you have made that decision, then there is great freedom that results…that’s what Paul meant – all things are lawful for me…that was also his point in…

- Galatians 5:1 - It was for freedom that Christ set us free…

- so what you do with your body is not going to determine your eternal destiny…

- but invariably, some followers of Christ misuse their freedom…we’re poor stewards of it…that’s why Paul went on to say in that same passage…

- Galatians 5:13 - For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh…

- that brings us back to 1 Corinthians 6…v. 12 – All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable…

- Profitable istheGreek word– sumphero – “to be to advantage”…

- the point is – you should only want to do things with your body that are profitable to you and others spiritually…that prove that you understand that your body was created for God, not for you…

- so there’s a level of carefulness in the way you live…not, let me see how close I can get to the edge of the cliff without falling off [is it sin, yet…is it sin, yet]…

- but I’ll only do that with my body if I’m sure it’s profitable to me and others spiritually…

      -And living that way is only possible because of the power of our resurrected Lord... He’s changed the way you think about your body...

 

B. Which is why we would avoid anything that would enslave us physically.

- 1 Corinthians 6:12 - …All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

- now, this is very important – the Bible does not teach that the body is inherently evil…that is Greek dualism…your body is not evil…it’s inherently weak and easily habituated...that is why the Bible frequently uses the term “flesh” to describe the principle of sin impacting your easily habituated body…

- so it’s not evil…but we avoid anything that might enslave us…and if it’s doubtful, we just don’t do it…

- and I realize some might say – well, that’s just being legalistic…not necessarily…it might simply be being careful…

- it’s like people who are dating…well, we might be able to do that without sinning, but since that is a gray area and because that area of life can be so easily enslaved, we’re just going to let the power of Christ help us avoid crossing the line… I don’t want to be mastered by anything...

- or with others – I can drink that, it’s not automatically sin…but if I drink that, it might enslave me or those who are watching my example…why not just avoid anything that could possibly enslave this body because I understand that it belongs to Christ… That kind of carefulness demonstrates to others that your risen Savior has given you a different view of your body...

 

C. Which is why we try to avoid deceptive rationalization.

- v. 13 – Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food…

- Bible students believe that Paul is quoting a saying that was popular in Corinth at the time…food is food, the stomach is the stomach, and sex is sex…it’s all evil anyway (remember, they were dualists)…so do whatever you want with your body... Jesus doesn’t care about that...

- and you might say – that sounds insane…it’s animalistic…

- listen, if you do not control your heart your mind, and your body with biblical truth, you very well may come up with all sorts of ways to try to justify your sin…

- [illustration fellow who took food we gave his wife and his baby back to the store to get the cash to go to a strip club – the man said he was a Christian but he rationalized his sin – and the watching world just shakes their head at that kind of hypocrisy…]

 

D. Which is why we try to use our bodies for the Lord.

- v. 13 – Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord.

- I realize some might be wondering about now – what does this look like in real time? [or what is the cash value of what we’re studying?...] – here are some random examples…

 

1. Men and women who faithfully served at the Passion Play this week…many of them will be exhausted today…but the fact is, they used their bodies to serve their risen King…they see their bodies as being “for the Lord…”

 

2. A young mom who woke up repeatedly this week to care for her infant child…and even though she was exhausted and wanting sleep badly, and she was crying out to her resurrected Savior to give her power to endure…she did what she needed to do for her baby because she understands that right now, that’s what “using her body to please God looks like”…and maybe she’ll get more rest when her baby goes to kindergarten…

 

3. A married person who sought to meet his/her spouse’s sexual needs…who truly cares about that…

- cf. the announcement last week about an upcoming sermon on human sexuality from 1 Corinthians 7 – note the important difference between “a rousing sermon…” and “an arousing sermon…” (dictionary – rousing – “active, lively, vigorous, brisk”) – also people who look at Kris – “can you do something about him?” – don’t blame her…cf. her idea about some sort of cattle prod type device when I get off my notes…

 

4. A man trying to overcome pornography on the internet

 

5. Someone trying to eat in a more healthy way or get the right amount of exercise

 

6. Someone deciding they are going to have their body in church more frequently

 

7. Someone using his body to do maintenance around the house (or for a senior saint) when he would really rather do something more enjoyable…

- key question – does the way you use your body demonstrate that you truly believe it belongs to the Lord?

- now, there is a very important phrase at the end of verse 13…not only are our bodies for the Lord…

E. Which is why we rejoice that the Lord is for our bodies.

- v. 13 – and the Lord is for the body.

- this isn’t a matter of you and I doing all of this in our own strength and our own power…every positive illustration we just gave proves the truth of this point…that what Jesus Christ did on the cross positions us to use our bodies in a way that is radically different than those who do not know the Lord…

- Titus 2:14 - who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
- and I realize that you might say – but it’s hard…right now I’m suffering…

 

F. Which is why we long for the resurrection of our bodies.

- 1 Corinthians 6:14 - Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.

- that’s why the Corinthians had it so wrong – who cares what you do with your body – it’s just going to pass away…

- that’s not what Scripture teaches…your body has a future…it will be transformed, but it will resemble in some, way, shape, or form the body God gave you on earth…

- now, there’s a lot about that the Scripture does not answer [you mean I don’t even get a new “do.”?...]…but we know this…

- Philippians 3:20-21 - For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

- and as we celebrate the resurrection today – remember that someday, that same power will raise your body if you know Christ as Savior and Lord…and in the meantime, every opportunity you take to please God with your body, you are a living demonstration of the resurrection power of God…[mention article in today’s paper]

- now, I realize you might say, but PV, this is so hard... these bodies are weak and easily habituated…that’s why these next verses are so important…not only is your body created for the Lord…

II. Your Body is United with the Lord.

- that’s the point of verse 15…

A. Your body is a member of Christ.

- 1 Corinthians 6:15 - Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?...

- that’s speaking about the great doctrine of our union with Christ…Romans 6:3-7 - Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;for he who has died is freed from sin.

- this is why we can have so much confidence, and so much hope…

- this is why Jesus said… John 15:5 - I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

 

- [ask folks to be praying for the development of the plans for the Purdue Ministry Center, and the one on our campus – so would wonder, why would we want to wade into all of that?...it’s because we believe men and women can make dramatic and life-long changes because of the power that comes with our union with Christ…]

 

- now, you might say – what happens if I don’t take this area as seriously as this text suggests?...there’s a negative warning, isn’t there?...

B. The choices you make with your body have long-lasting consequences.

- 1 Corinthians 6:15-16 - …Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be!Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.”

- immorality was just a way of life for the culture from which these men and women had been saved…

- in fact, having sexual relations with a temple prostitute was so common in Corinth that they coined a new term for the practice – “to corinthianize”…in other words, that’s what everybody in Corinth does…

- and Paul lovingly warns them – not that those sins cannot be forgiven, but they will have long-lasting and in some cases life-long consequences…

- C.S. Lewis – Screwtape Letters – “Every time a man and a woman enter into a sexual relationship a spiritual bond is established between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.”

 

C. That is why it is so important to join yourself to the Lord.

- 1 Corinthians 6:17 - But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

- of course that leads to a question, doesn’t it?...Has there ever been a definite time in your life where you admitted your need and then placed your faith and trust in Christ?...have you “joined yourself to the Lord?”…

- so, your body is created for the Lord, and your body is united with the Lord…

III. Your Body is a Temple of the Lord.

 

A. The Holy Spirit resides in you 24/7.

 

1 Corinthians 6:19 - Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

- that is one of the beauties of this message…the way you use your body can be a walking billboard of the power of the gospel…not because you are purposely trying to draw attention to yourself…but because practical holiness stands out on its own…

- people don’t have to come to the temple to see the glory of God…you are taking the temple to them…

- that’s one of the great aspects of living in a world where there’s so much false advertising – the real thing can shine through in a powerful way…

 

B. You have been bought with a price.

- 1 Corinthians 6:20 - For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

- 1 Peter 1:18-19 - knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

- 1 Peter 2:11-12 - Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

- we started this morning talking about the prevalence of false advertising…it’s everywhere…

- so it’s understandable if the world says to us – prove it…

- the question then becomes…are you able to do that by pointing to the way you use yourbodies…

 

- take-aways?...

1. Are you sure you’re united to Him?...

 

2. Does the way you use your body demonstrate the power of the resurrection?...

- if not, what steps do you need to take?...

- if necessary, get help…

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video