Tuesday, October 1, 2013

salutations!

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Yes! Another couple of weeks to slack! -- Robert Harley

Thursday, April 19, 2012

You Are Not Your Own – The Pursuit of Righteousness

“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. 13 “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. 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. 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. “– 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (ESV)

There are 2 main Biblical truths found in this passage of Scripture: “All things are lawful for me – but not all things are helpful” (v. 12) and “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” (V. 19a). But you can’t just start with trying to apply these Biblical truths to your life without first recognizing what verses 19 & 20 teach. There we read, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

We are the Lord’s, both by creation and redemption. Jesus loved us and bore our sins on His body on the cross, therefore we no longer think of our lives as our own. When you submit your life to Jesus as Savior (one who brings salvation)… you must submit yourself to Him as Lord (ultimate authority). You cannot have Jesus as a Savior without Him being your Lord. The two cannot be separated.

We fight long and hard to have the rights we think we deserve. We want our way. We don’t like being told what we can or cannot do. This reveals the true nature of our sinful hearts. We care more about US than we do about CHRIST IN US. Because of the saving grace of Jesus, my life is no longer my own, so I am no longer able to live only thinking about what I want. The life of a believer must display the Gospel and its continual sanctification (the process of becoming more like Christ). In our greatest moments, we boast Christ. In our weaknesses, we boast Christ because our insufficiencies are hidden in the sacrifice of Jesus (through repentance, asking forgiveness, humility, etc.). (See Ephesians 2:8-10).

The amazing thing about the Gospel is GRACE. You see, we will never be perfect (Philippians 3:12-16). We will fail every day. But the grace of Jesus covers our failures and reminds us of our constant need of Jesus. If we only focus on “behaving” instead of obediently submitting to Christ, legalism and pride take the place of our efforts for sanctification. Sanctification is a progressive journey that lasts a lifetime. There is no place for guilt and shame for those who are in Christ… instead there is repentance and the opportunity to run to Jesus. Our natural tendency is to run to legalism because it is a tangible way to “save ourselves,” but that would nullify (void) the cross.

Verse 12 says, “All things are lawful for me – but not all things are helpful.” While there might be certain things which would be permissible for me to do, that doesn’t mean that it would be beneficial for me to do them. In other words, while an actual action might not be sinful, yet if someone saw me doing it and then stumbled by my action, there is an element of accountability that must be recognized (read 1 Corinthians 9:19-27 for more explanation). We must consider others in our decisions and actions for the sake of the Gospel.

Verse 12 continues with I will not be mastered by anything.” When we are mastered by something it means that it controls us – this is called habitual sin. (i.e an addiction). Some examples of this are addictions to: pornography, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.). When we sin, we choose to submit to something other than God’s desire for us. Sin is us choosing to find fulfillment in something other than Christ. Habitual sin and addictions stem from us trying to find fulfillment in things that will not satisfy us. Food itself isn’t sinful, gluttony is (Prov. 23:20-21, Gal. 5:16-26, 1 Cor. 10:31). Sex itself isn’t sinful, sex outside of marriage is. Alcohol itself is not sinful, drunkenness is (Eph. 5:8, Rom. 13:13, Luke 21:34, 1 Cor. 6:10, Gal. 5:21, 1 Tim. 3:3). For example, alcohol in moderation (when you are of legal age) is completely permissible. What must then be considered is… is it beneficial? We must ask ourselves, will my having an alcoholic beverage (even in moderation – in this circumstance / situation) cause another to stumble or damage my ability to share the Gospel? Before you act, think about the possibility of your actions causing guilt, shame or regret.

Verse 19 says, “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.” It is not up to us to take our bodies and use them the way we desire. We must use our bodies to glorify God, the One to whom it belongs. This Biblical truth points to discipline and obedience. It’s about so much more than alcohol, cigarettes, etc. Here are some areas that must be considered:

  • How is your thought life? What would your thoughts display about your heart if they were projected for everyone to see? What do the words you speak reveal about your heart?
  • Are you getting the rest you need on a regular basis? Are you eating healthy food? Are you exercising?
  • Are you maintaining sexual purity?

Every structure, our bodies included, has to be maintained to sustain and fulfill the purpose it has been created for. Are you obediently maintaining your body (and ultimately your life) in a way that glorifies the Lord and displays the Gospel to others?

We consider all of this because after all, isn’t it ALL ABOUT THE GOSPEL?!

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (ESV)

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 tells us that because Christ has reconciled us to Himself (through His death and resurrection); we then become ambassadors of the Gospel. His followers have been given the Ministry of Reconciliation. We are to display the Gospel to the world through submitting our lives to Christ daily. A follower of Jesus no longer has the right to say, “This is my life.” We have been bought with a price, reconciled to God through Jesus, and have been given the responsibility of displaying/proclaiming the Gospel to the world.

It’s not about what I want. It’s about what Christ would have me do. Does your life / actions / words portray that a progressive sanctification is happening in you? Does your discipline / daily decisions display that you submit to a Lord and Savior?

These Biblical truths are not just for Christian leaders, they are every follower of Christ. Will you count the cost of being a disciple of Christ? Is He worth it to you?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011