The Indwelling Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 6:1-20
The studies in the Epistle to the Corinthians are not written to be shelved, but to be carefully studied, and followed, lest we fall, as saints, into the same line of carnalities, as those into which they fell.
In the last study we discovered a deplorable condition in the Church at Corinth. Now, other shortcomings are before us. All of these are due to the one fact, the Corinthians failed to walk in the Spirit, and to yield themselves wholly to Him.
1. The great lack of the present hour among the churches is their utter failure to give to the Spirit of God His rightful place in the church, and in the heart. In preaching, we said, "If we had our way we would place in every seminary, in every Bible School, and in every church a specially prepared teacher to proclaim the Spirit-filled life."
Did not the Lord command the saints of old to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high? The Lord knew the helplessness of any service unendued from on high.
Did not the Lord, through the Apostle, say, "Be filled with the Spirit"? He knew that the fruit of the Spirit could not be produced in believers who were not Spirit-filled.
2. The emphasis in the present Sunday school program is on efficiency, established by and accomplished by organization. The Sunday School must be well graded, divided and subdivided. It must be run with clocklike precision, and by methods developed by experts. One would think the Holy Spirit was not to be considered, as an important feature in that service. If He has any place, it is a secondary place.
3. The pastor of today must be efficient in every line of social, financial, and philanthropic activity if he is able to cope with the demand of the modern church. He must possess those business qualities which the prince of merchants needs, in managing a large department store. There is no question from the pew as to whether he is filled with the Holy Ghost, or taught by Him in the Word of the evangel; what the pew wants is a good mixer, a good organizer, and an up-to-the-minute financier, etc. If the pastor is rhetorical, well versed in literature, and gifted in oratorical powers, that is enough. The Spirit-filled, Spirit-taught and Spirit-led preacher is not to be sought.
4. The average church member is living wholly apart from any personal contact with, or knowledge of, the Spirit. He seeks to fulfill every Divine requirement, both in service and in holy living, by his own power and initiative, unaided by the Lord. There is no wonder that we have such a great lack in the membership of our churches. There is, for this cause, no fervor in work, no joy in worship.
If we stop a moment to look at the Church of the first century, we find that they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. They ate their meat with gladness, and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. They continued daily, and with one accord in the Temple, and in the breaking of bread from house to house. The believers were together and had all things common. When they were scattered by the persecution that arose at that time, they went everywhere preaching Christ.
What was the blessed finale of such a Spirit-filled people? Here it is "And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved." The great concern of the Apostles of Christ was that every one should receive the Spirit.
I. SHOULD A CHRISTIAN GO TO LAW WITH HIS BROTHER? (1 Corinthians 6:1 )
1. As far as it is possible we should live at peace with all men. It is far better to suffer evil, than to avenge oneself. If our enemy hunger, we should feed him; if he thirst, we should give him drink. If one should strike us on the right cheek, we should turn to him our other cheek also.
We should, wherever possible, overcome evil with good. We should under no circumstance render evil for evil, but the rather provide things honest in the sight of all men. Another Scripture adds, "But ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men."
2. Where questions are such that we must seek judgment against a brother, we should not make it a matter of the courts of the land; but we should ask the spiritual among the brethren to judge our case. The Spirit considers the unjust unable to rightly judge the saints. Do we imagine that the unjust can judge our matters, better than they who are godly? Do we think that men who know not God, can the better decide matters of justice, than can the men who know God, and walk in the truth?
3. How Bible instructions are set aside by the children of God. As we pause for a moment, let us consider how Christians seldom, if ever, take any matter against a brother to the church. Let us consider also how the church makes no provision for such cases to be considered.
The Word of God seems to have but little weight with followers of God, save in those things which have to do with certain great and outstanding doctrines of grace. In the realm of Christian conduct, the believer seems to feel himself at liberty to live as he pleases; or according, at least, to the dictations of his own conscience. Is the Bible authoritative upon the churches, and upon saints?
II. CHRISTIANS SHALL JUDGE ANGELS (1 Corinthians 6:3 )
1. The ministry of angels is intimately connected with saints in this life. It is written: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" What then? The angels of God concern themselves with those things which have to do with the benefactions of the children of God.
Have you not read how the angels encompass the saints, to deliver them? The angels opened the prison for Peter's escape. The angels warned Joseph, husband of Mary, in a dream, relative to the safeguarding of the infant Christ. As to the children, "In heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in Heaven."
2. The conduct of fallen angels is also a matter for our consideration. There are principalities and powers, who are the world-rulers of this present darkness. There are angels among these. They kept not their first estate. Many such angels are kept in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.
3. The superiority of saints to angels. We speak not, so much, of saints in this life, as of saints in the life to come. The redeemed are destined to rule and reign with their Lord. He shall judge the world in righteousness; they shall judge with Him. The Lord, for the time, was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death; He is now far above them, crowned with glory and honor; and set over all things.
When Christ comes the second time, we read of the edict of God, "Let all the angels of God worship Him." The superiority of Christ to angels is assured. What then; are we not His brethren? Are we not like Him? Do we not partake of His glory, and of His power? We do.
4. Therefore we shall judge angels. They are now our servants in the glory of the Gospel; we shall then be their judges, in the glory of the coming life.
III. ARE THERE STILL FAULTS AMONG SAINTS? (1 Corinthians 6:7 )
1. Are there no wise men among the saints? If not, why not? Is not God the author of wisdom? Behold, it is written, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
Certainly the church should not major in folly. We serve a God of all wisdom. By Him, we are made wiser than the ancients. The entrance of His Word giveth us light, and understanding, and wisdom. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Is not Christ made unto us, both the power and the wisdom of God?
2. If saints are given the wisdom of God, can they not judge in the matters of men? Shall a brother go to law with his brother, and that before unbelievers, when his own brethren are panoplied to judge a matter with the wisdom of God? Paul said, "I speak to your shame."
There is one thing we do not want to do, and that is this: We would not, for the world, shame our Lord, and drag down His holy Name by our cavilings.
3. The fault among saints. The Apostle put it this way, "There is utterly a fault among you." What was that fault? "Because ye go to law one with another," "and that before the unbelievers." Then is added this significant expression: "Why do ye not rather take wrong?" This phase we will treat in our fourth division. Just now let us press home the fact that wrong among believers, defames the Name of our Lord.
God is judged among men by our acts. If we are His children, His representatives, His ambassadors, surely the world will think of Him in the light of our words and our deeds. We must walk carefully because we are His witnesses, bearing His Name, and holding His honor and glory at stake.
Is it not still true that there is utterly a fault among us? Yea, are there not many faults? Do saints not live, in many things, far below the dignity and honor of their position? Others may do many things that we may not do.
IV. WHY NOT THE RATHER SUFFER LOSS? (1 Corinthians 6:7-8 )
The portion of the verse that we wish to emphasize is this: "Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?"
1. It is given unto saints to suffer. It is written; "In the world ye shall have tribulation." Again, It is written, "Unto you it is given * * to suffer." Why then should not the Christian suffer gladly? "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad."
Yes, there is something worth while when we are buffeted, and we take it patiently; for then the Spirit of God and of glory resteth on us.
2. We are not to avenge ourselves. God will take care of us, and vindicate us in His own time and way. Therefore, even if we have been defrauded, why should we go to law before unbelievers? God is able to make all things abound toward us. Shall we not take our care to Him, and cast it down at His feet? Truly He careth for us.
Perhaps God sent to you, your loss,
Your bitter cross,
That you, His wondrous grace might learn,
His love discern;
That you might look to Him the more,
Tilt life is o'er.
Perhaps God seeks to turn your eyes,
Up to the skies:
Perhaps He would your life refine,
Until you shine
With new-found peace, and faith, and power
Through trial's hour.
3. Remember how Christ was smitten. When He was buffeted, He buffeted not again. He went as a lamb to the slaughter, and like a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. Let us do likewise.
V. THE UNRIGHTEOUS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM (1 Corinthians 6:9 )
1. Shall we who are inheritors with the saints in light begrudge an earthly loss? Suppose we are defrauded the things of earth last only for the night. We are taught several things:
(1) We are to set our affections on the things above, not on the things on the earth. We lay our treasures up on high, where moth and rust cannot enter and corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal. If we lay our treasures up down here, we will the more quickly want to go to law, when defrauded, to reclaim our loss.
(2) We are to look at the things which are not seen, and not at the things which are seen. The bird in hand is of far less value than two birds in the Divine bush, for the two are sure; while the one in hand, is sure to fly away.
2. Those who are defrauding us, along with other unrighteous men, will be losers in the kingdom. Think you that fornicators, and idolators, and adulterers, and thieves shall inherit the Kingdom of God?
Thus, those who steal our purse, not only steal trash; but they heap to themselves sorrows, and rob themselves of the Kingdom for which we gladly suffer.
To the wicked is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. For a while they may seem to prosper, and to enjoy the works of their hands, but they will suddenly be cut off and that without remedy.
3. How saints may safeguard their possessions. Suppose we, down here, do suffer loss? Paul suffered the loss of all things, in order that he might win Christ. We who lose all things for Him, will find our all things laid up for us in Heaven. We can use the ungodly mammon, to make unto us friends, who shall welcome us into everlasting habitation.
VI. WHAT WE ARE AS CONTRASTED WITH WHAT WE WERE (1 Corinthians 6:11 )
1. What we were. 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Corinthians 6:10 speak of fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, self-abusers, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners. Then it says, "such were some of you."
All believers have not gone into such depths of sin; but all believers had, in their unregenerate days, the possibilities of such sin. The human heart is corrupt according to deceitful lusts.
2. What we are. Our key text says: "But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Here is a wonderful standing which we have in grace. Here is a wonderful threefold present condition of all believers:
(1) We are washed. That is, we have been cleansed from our sins. We remember how the outcomers from the great tribulation had been washed, and made white in the Blood of the Lamb. We likewise remember the promise made in the Old Testament: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."
(2) We are sanctified. The word here suggests to us sanctification, made real unto us, in the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of the Spirit. It carries with it the included fact of our having been washed and made clean; however, our Scripture is particularly emphasizing that we have been separated from the things in which we walked of old, on the one hand; and dedicated unto Christ, our Saviour, on the other hand.
(3) We are justified. Justification means that we are pronounced just. God has laid our condemnation upon Christ, and neither Satan, nor the world can condemn us, for we stand justified in Christ, before God.
The three things above are all ours in the Name of the Lord Jesus. That is, they are ours by virtue of what He is, and what He has accomplished, in our behalf.
These three things are also by the Spirit of God, that is, the Spirit is acclaimed as the agency through which our washing, our sanctification, and our justification are accomplished.
Would that all Christians might live up to their standing in Christ Jesus!
VII. THE PRACTICAL CONCLUSION OF THE CHRISTIAN'S DELIVERANCE (1 Corinthians 6:13 )
1. The body is not for fornication. Shall we take the body which the Lord hath bought, and in which the Spirit dwells, and make it unclean? Shall we take our bodies which have been bought with a price, and make those bodies the members of a harlot? Shall we take our bodies into which the Lord hath placed His Spirit, and allow them to be used in evil practices of any kind? Nay, we will present our bodies unto our Lord as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our rational service.
2. The body is for the Lord. The body is for the Lord, because He needs it in His service. He has no hands but our hands, no feet but our feet, no lips but our lips with which to work, or walk, or speak. He wants our hearts that He may love through them.
3. The Lord is for the body. There is a great deal suggested in these words. There is the suggestion of Divine watch-care over our body. He provides for its needs. He gives it food for nourishment, and raiment for protection.
The Lord is for the body, in the case of its sickness. Indeed He stands ready to quicken it, by His Spirit who dwells within us. We have seen how the body takes on a new value as it becomes a member of Christ.
4. The body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. Here is a wonderful thing. God not only bought ourselves with a price, but, in His purchase, He included our body. He tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in us, and that we are not our own.
In the old days there was but one inhabitant in our bodies, and that was our sinful self. Now that we are born again, we have not only a new man begotten in Christ Jesus, who dwells in our body, but we have that new man enforced by the indwelling Spirit. Here is the blessed result of it all. The final great consummation: "Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
I had the privilege of being shown through an up-to-date hospital recently, and while in the operating room my attention was drawn to the system by which the instruments are kept in a solution which renders them absolutely free from germs, so that they are ready for use at any moment without fear of giving infection. Germs may well be used as a type of sin, and the only way to be kept free from the germs of sin is to dwell in the presence of the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is a perfect antiseptic against sin. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit sin cannot have any power to harm us. It is only when we grieve the Holy Spirit and wander away that sin has a chance to work its deadly work in us.
Surely when once we learn this we ought to dwell where there is safety.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Easter