SER # 3Xa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
COLOR: WHITE OR GOLD
SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY
SUNDAY JANUARY 17TH, 2021
TEXTS: 1 CORINTHIANS 6: 12 – 20
THEME: OUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF GOD:
Paul lived in a very ritualistic where worship was essential. As a way of worship people offered sacrifices and they had all kind of idol gods that people worship. The people who lived in Corinth came from all corners of the world then and brought with them their culture. These involved, the kinds of food they eat the clothes they wore and even the kind of gods they worshipped. People in this setting would do anything to please themselves including abusing their own bodies if this made them happy. There were other rituals of the day that seemed contradict the Christian teaching. It was believed then if you eat the meat sacrificed to the god of the day, one was admitting the powers that were possessed by that god and they were worshipping that god. There were also teaching then that separated the body and the spirit. They taught what was called dualism hence the separation. But Paul’s teaching was going above all that and bring people to the understanding of the gospel in a very new way.
Paul was teaching the people four important lessons:
- Our body is God’s Temple: We need to start by describing what the Temple was and what it meant for the people in Paul’s day. Then we will apply that then to our own bodies. One, the Temple was a place of gathering. People used to gather at the Temple courts where they would socialize. Some area of the Temple was used even as trading areas where people exchanged the regular money to get the Temple money which was acceptable for offering in the Temple. This practice was abused and that why when Jesus came to Jerusalem the last time he went in and overturned the tables of money changers. Two, the Temple was a place of worship. The Temple was the place where people gathered to worship. In the villages there were synagogues where people would worship on daily bases. A Jew man was expected to go to the Temple at least three times a year. A place of worship must stay holy and acceptable before God. So, our body is where God meet us spiritually in a personal way hence the importance of keeping ourselves holy. Our bodies become a living sacrifice which is holy and acceptable before God. Three, the Temple was a holy ground. It was in the Temple where the Tabernacle was placed at the Holy of holies where the high priest was the one allowed to access. Our lives need to represent the holiness of God by being examples. By being the salt and the light to the world. Four, the Temple was where God was present. It was believed that God met his people at the Temple like he used to meet them at the tent while in the desert where the Ten Commandment were housed. Therefore, if we must act as the Temple of God, we have to embrace these aspects of the Temple. It was Paul who reminds us to be transformers not conformers “ I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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 ” (Romans 12:1 – 2)
- We are indwelling of Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit of God dwells in the lives of people. The holy spirit overshadows us or come to us with a purpose. One the Holy spirit comes as a teacher. When we listen to the Holy Spirit, we will learn on how to love how to do what is always right. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit as our teacher as we continue to be the students. Two the Holy Spirit comes as a guide. We need Christ guidance through the Spirit every day. We live in a dark world and unless we invite the Holy Spirit as the guide, we can’t make it. There are many potholes that we can’t see using our physical eyes but using the spiritual eyes. The spiritual eyes work through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Three, the Holy Spirit comes as a comforter. As we live in this world we will be hurt in many ways and often and when this happens we need a comforter. We will be hurt by the people we love, people we trust, people we know and people we don’t know. When we are in this world we will go through loss. The loss of a loved one, people we care about and at moments then like these we would invite the comforting spirit of God to lift us and make us able to stand. It is the comforter that helps us to stand when all around us is crumbling. We can lean on the spirit of God at easy and difficult times.
- We are bought by Jesus blood: From when human rebelled from the garden by disobeying God, there has been a planned approach to bring us back. God over the years, used prophets and even priests to guide his people back to his love. He knew that even when things get in the right direction human needed a true redemption. This means redemption from the chain of the Devil. When we live in sin we are under the control and bondage of the Devil. To get us out of this bondage God had to send his only son Jesus. When Jesus came, he had two main goals according to my interpretation. One, he came to seek: Jesus came to seek through his teaching. Let people know what is expected of them and allow them to make a choice to follow him. Part of his teaching also involved healing and restoring. Jesus healed the sick and even cast out the demons from the demon possessed people. He taught what it means to love by bring up a very important lesson of all days. Loving God with our four component that make us – loving God with: our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength. Equally important was to love our neighbor as our selves. Two, he came to redeem. This came through his death by offering his life on the cross.
- We belong to God. God own us in two ways that we can’t deny. One, he created us. We all know that like a clay in the hands of a potter we are the product of God’s hands. God designed us and created us in his own image. There was no other creature out of what he created that he made in his own image except us. Because of this we can truly say that God own us. Two, he redeemed us. God redeemed us through the blood of his son Jesus. When Jesus died on that Cross, he paid our debt. Our original sin was taken away and now we can cry Abba father. We are forgiven sinners who had rebelled from God and the devil had taken hold of us. We no longer belong to the devil for Jesus came to buy us back. To claim us as children of God saved by his grace through our faith in Jesus.
These are very central lessons as it pertains to our faith walk. Our body is not our body but rather belong to God. We are stewards of this body and that why we can’t abuse it. I believe the modern social media language would put it this way: #God’s body or #steward of God’s body.