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Epiphany 2, 2021
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud 
January 17, 2021
1 Samuel 3:1-10, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, John 1:43-51

Sermons online: 
Text and Audio:         immanuelhamiltonchurch.com   click “sermons”
Text:                            pastorjud.org   
Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com 
itunes:                         bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:    bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

            How about this idea?  As a way to make money for the church we could turn the sanctuary into a heavy metal nightclub on Friday nights.  We could have the band up here, move some pews for a dance floor, set up a bar in the back; maybe in the narthex.  We could set up some table service in the balcony and have a bouncer out front under the awning.  Does this sound like a good idea?  Why not?

            It is a terrible idea because this is sacred space set apart for the divine service of God.  We don’t even like to have voter’s meetings in here.  This is God’s house.  We would never turn God’s house into a nightclub.

Last Sunday we learned about the baptism of Jesus and how at your baptism you put on Christ.  You are united with Christ.  You have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Titus 3:5-6 (ESV) 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,[1] 

In baptism you are kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church, separated from the multitude of unbelievers.  Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead have been credited to you.  As a baptized believer in Jesus you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you.  Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Your body is a sacred vessel of God.  God used to dwell in the temple in Jerusalem, now God dwells in you.  You have been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. You have received Jesus’ forgiveness. You have taken Jesus’ Body and Blood into your body.  You have put on Christ.  You are holy. Your body is sacred.  It is God’s house.  What you do with your body matters.

            The trouble is that you live in a world that believes that your body is a playground and that your focus in life should be the constant pursuit of pleasure regardless of how it affects others.  The fact that people are obsessed with their own selfish pleasure-seeking is not a surprise. It is the default position.  It is who you are as a natural born sinner.  You are a natural born sinner, but now you are a new creation in Christ.  Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  What you do with your body matters. 

            In our Epistle lesson today St. Paul specifically addresses sexual sin.  There are those in the church in Corinth who are engaging with prostitutes and apparently justifying their behavior by pointing out that food laws have been undone in Jesus so what you eat does not matter because… 1 Corinthians 6:13 (ESV) 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. …[2]

            So…..if it does not matter what you eat, it should not matter who you are intimate with. It is just doing stuff with your body and your body will eventually die and decay.  The Corinthians and so many people today say, “It’s my body — I can do what I want with it.”

            St. Paul corrects the Corinthians.  1 Corinthians 6:13-17 (ESV) 13 “… The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 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! 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.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.[3]

            Your body is not just for this life.  On the last day your body will be raised from the dead imperishable.  What you do with your body matters.  The two becoming one flesh sexual union is meant for marriage because marriage is a holy union.  It is a sacred act designed by God Himself as a part of His command, Genesis 1:28 (ESV) 28 … “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it …”[4] The union of husband and wife is a picture of the union of God and the Church. Ephesians 5:31-32 (ESV) 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.[5]

The highway of life is littered with the damage brought by sexual immorality.  Diseases bringing infertility, broken marriages, broken families, struggling single parents, exploited children and adults, millions addicted to pornography, hundreds of millions of aborted babies sacrificed on the altar of so-called sexual freedom which is actually slavery.

            The world around us encourages sexual intimacy with anyone who consents. And too often, not even that.  Child sexual abuse is rampant.  Human trafficking is booming.  Pornography is big business.  There are apps you can download for your phone to find someone to hook up with for a one night stand.  The idea of waiting until your wedding night is thought of as medieval. 

St. Paul’s message was incredibly counter-cultural in the prostitute-filled port city of Corinth 2,000 years ago and it is even more counter-cultural in our sex-soaked world today.  Inside the bonds of the marriage-union of a man and woman sexual intimacy is sacred.  Outside the bonds of marriage, intimacy desecrates God’s plan and brings trouble and confusion.  Sexual intimacy is significant.  It is meaningful.  It is sacred. It is only to happen within marriage. Your body is not your own to do with it what you like.  Your body belongs to the Lord.  Your body is not meant for sexual immorality.

The highway of life is littered with the damage brought by sexual immorality.  Diseases bringing infertility, broken marriages, broken families, struggling single parents, exploited children and adults, millions addicted to pornography, hundreds of millions of aborted babies sacrificed on the altar of so-called sexual freedom which is actually slavery.

            1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV) 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 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, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. [6]

            This is a radical message in a world of people that treat their body as a playground instead of as a temple of God.  This message of the sacredness of intimacy is considered hateful and evil and oppressive.  The world rebels against this message and that is understandable because they do not know Jesus.  They are not one with Jesus.  They have rejected Jesus. 

            You have a choice each day.  Live as a baptized child of God who has put on Christ and whose body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, or, live as a friend of the world.  Heed the Bible’s warnings.  James 4:4 (ESV) 4 …Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.[7]  Romans 12:2 (ESV) 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. [8]

            This is a difficult and challenging teaching.  Nobody has any high ground here from which to look down on others.  We all have a lot to repent of; sins of youth and sins of the not-so-young.  Sins of thoughts and desires — words and deeds.  Repent of being friends with the world.  Make the changes in your life to conform to the will of God.  Live out your identity in Christ.  Your body belongs to the Lord. 

You are a baptized child of God.  You have put on Christ.  Your body is not a playground.  It is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 


[1]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[4]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[6]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[7]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[8]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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