In this sermon Tim continues our series by looking at how we are temples of the Holy Spirit, how we can honour the Holy Spirit with our bodies and lives, and how we can represent the Holy Spirit wherever we go!
Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday August 21, 2022./
05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series – Manly Life Church Podcast
- 05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series
- 29/01/23 – The Glory of Christ – Greg Beech
- 22/01/23 – Luke 15:1-8 God's Heart for the Lost – by Lani Daniel
- 15/01/23 – 1 John 4:11 Friendship In Church by Tim Giovanelli
- 08/01/23 – Philipians 3:17-4:4 Stand Firm in 2023 – by Peter Brooks
Well we are doing a series on God’s Empowering Presence, the Holy Spirit
- Thank you for all of the encouraging feedback. I’ve been loving it too…
- So we have looked at the promise of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and the fulfilment of his coming in the New Testament
- We have looked at the story of Pentecost and how the Spirit and Word work together to bring salvation
- We have contrasted the life lived according to the flesh versus life according to the Spirit.
- We have looked at the marvellous gifts the God gives to his people so that the ministry of Jesus may continue in the church
- And we have looked at how the presence of God dwells in the church, like the glory that filled the temple.
And that was last week… 1 Corinthians 3:16. The Apostle Paul says;
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
- Gordon Fee put it this way… “God himself by the Spirit has chosen to be present in our world in the gathered church.”
- And that is what makes our times together when we gather so important and so exciting.
- The implication is that God is here…
- So last week was kind of talking about the Spirit dwelling amongst us…
- And this week is about the Spirit dwelling within us…
So today I want us to think about what it might mean for us more individually to be hosts of the Spirit of God in our lives.
- And particularly what is the Spirit’s role in refining our lives so that we not only reflect Christ, but are able to host the presence of God within us.
- Now if you remember, I got a bit over excited last week, particularly at evening service
- At the mind boggling claim that God has come to be present within us as living stones, hosts of his Holy Spirit.
- And surely that has a purifying effect on our lives.
There is just a tension there… as you walk out your Christian life it becomes increasingly difficult to host in your life, both the Holy Spirit and unchecked sin.
- To my mind, one of the sure ways that you know you are a Christian is not that you achieve perfection (I mean I know some of you are close…)
- But that you know the battle has been engaged against sin. Right?
- I mean every human being has a conscience…
- But the reality is that the Holy Spirit living in you convicts us of our sin and encourages us on towards righteousness.
- And the Holy Spirit enables or empowers this to be made possible! In other words to have victory over what ails us…
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says this;
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.
So let’s go through this verse today and its massive implications.
The first proposition that I want to look at is that we have been bought at a price.
- So talking about the lives that we now live, the Apostle Paul says we were bought at a price, so we belong to Jesus, our redeemer. So it says, you are not your own.
- And this is the gospel. And you might remember our series in Ephesians last year…
- This bought at a price language refers to the work of Jesus on the cross
- Redeeming us from being slaves to sin
- And becoming children of the living God, experiencing the freedom of sonship.
Ephesians 1:7 says this…
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
So “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”
- The word redemption is not just another synonym for salvation.
- The word has a particular meaning.
- Our redemption is a particular kind or element of our salvation
The Australian NT scholar Leon Morris notes that when we hear the word redemption, we think about it in religious terms.
- But in Paul’s day, the people thought about it in non-religious terms.
- The Greek word Redemption is apollo-tro-sis
- The verb form of the word simply means to loose.
- Redeem means to loosen. To be bought at a price, means to be loosened from the ownership of one master and come into the ownership of another!
So they would use this word apollo-tro-sis to refer to the loosening of clothing, or loosening tied up animals…
- But it was particularly used to refer to the loosening of human beings who found themselves in some form of captivity to another.
- One of the great desires of the ancient world was to be redeemed…
- To be loosened from slavery. Or a prisoner loosened from jail, or from oppressive debts
- And the word normally referred to the loosening happening through some kind of payment
- Someone paying the price of redemption. Loosening came with a cost.
So “In him (in Jesus) you have been redeemed, you have redemption through his blood.”
- One of the glorious riches of the gospel is that you have been loosened.
- What you are oppressed by, what you are captive to, what you are slave to…
- You have been redeemed through his blood shed on the cross. You were bought at a price.
- And you now have a new glorious Master – Jesus Christ.
The words in this verse in Ephesians 1:7 point us to the human condition, but for the grace of God.
- We have redemption points us to the fact that aside from grace we are in bondage and kept captive by sin.
- And unless we are loosened or released from this bondage
- We will struggle to enter into an experience of our adoption into God’s family
- To fully live as a child of God we need to be freed.
In another letter, the Apostle Paul would say “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”
- And so our redemption from sin, comes with the realisation that we need freeing!
- This is not something that Paul makes up… Jesus refers to his mission through this lens all the time.
- In Luke 4 Jesus says he has come to set the oppressed free.
- In John 8 Jesus says all who sin are slaves to sin, but whom the son sets free is free indeed.
- In John 1 John the Baptist, seeing Jesus declares “The lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world.”
So back to Ephesians 1:7 Through his blood – through his shed blood… that is what redeems us, it looses us from our captivity to sin.
- It loosens us from all that holds us captive.
- It loosens us from the compulsion of sin
- From the powers of spiritual forces at work in the world
- From lies that have ensnared our human hearts and minds
- And the footholds of sin that become strongholds of the enemy!
Jesus blood, shed on the cross, as the sacrificial lamb of God… pays the price so that we can be loosened!
- Are you with me?
- And now… (part of the meaning of the word redemption) is we now belong to him. That is what it means in 1 Corinthians 6:19
- You are not your own. You were bought at a price. We belong to the only Master whose desire is our freedom and that we live a whole life…
So it says; “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”
- So like any good purchase, the new owner wants to move in…
- Right? It would be weird for you to purchase a house and not take ownership.
- When we bought our house the expectation is that the older lady who sold it moves out. And that we move in.
- Right? It would be weird to be moved in and then come out to breakfast one morning and there she is her nightie having breakfast.
And that is what this verse is saying… now that we no longer are owned by sin, but by Jesus…
- He wants to move into our lives by the presence of his Holy Spirit.
- And thus our bodies become the temples of the Holy Spirit… and sin has to move out.
- We host the presence of God.
- And so it is no great mystery that this new guest in our lives is going to impact the way that we live.
As many of you know, we are fortunate to have a studio at the back of our house in Freshwater
- So it was a privilege to be able to have Calum come and stay with us the last couple of months.
- He is now in the Ukraine filming stories to share with the world about what is going on…
- But for about 2 months Calum, this cool, surfy dude moved in with us.
- And I’ve got to say, it was absolutely awesome. He was a very good guest in our home.
- But what was particularly nice was how our kids loved it… he really did move in, become part of the family and had a big influence on the kids.
- And we knew this when Luca started talking like Calum… I’d walk into the kitchen and Luca would look up and say “Hey broski… what’s up?”
- And if something was going well, Luca would make this noise “yew!”
So if we have been bought with a price and our bodies have become temples of the Holy Spirit…
- What is the implication for our lives? Well we come under the influence of a new house guest.
- And all kinds of good things begin to change as the Holy Spirit becomes resident within us.
- His influence from moving in to us, purchased out of slavery and into the glorious freedom of the children of God…
- The power of sin begins to weaken… and the empowered life of holiness and righteousness begins.
- You see if you are going to host the presence of God, you cannot simultaneously be hosting sin.
That is why Paul says, we honour God with our bodies…
- And the context of this is verse 18 where he says “flee from sexual immorality.”
- Because our bodies are hosts of the Holy Spirit, it then makes absolutely no sense that we would use our bodies in immoral ways.
- We adopt God’s glorious plan for faithfulness within marriage and restraint from sexual activity outside of marriage.
- Remember, we have been bought with a price so as verse 20 says “honour God with your bodies.”
Now let’s be honest, I don’t know many people for whom this isn’t a real struggle at some stage in their lives…
- We live in a sex saturated world and it must feel like everyone has the big thumbs up to do whatever they feel like doing…
- But let me say this, I really wholeheartedly believe this is a worthy, worthy, worthy pursuit for those who follow Jesus.
- For not just glorifying him with your bodies and choices, but also in saving yourself from the trainwreck that promiscuity and unchecked lusts can result in.
The context of Paul writing to the church in Corinth
- Was that it existed in a grossly sinful atmosphere of sexual looseness which continued to make its mark on the church.
- Many of the problems of the church found their basis in the life of the city.
- The most prominent site in Corinth was the temple of Aphrodite, a symbol of the lust which pervaded the city.
- In ancient Corinth the temple maintained a thousand priestesses who amounted to no more than common prostitutes which men would visit.
- The attitude of the city toward immorality involved no condemnation whatever; on the contrary, it was considered to be a normal part of life.
- Sound familiar?
- Article: Failure of the sexual revolution: promised freedom… hook up culture… oppressive.
I love Tim Keller’s quote
He says; “The early church was strikingly different from the culture around it in this way – the pagan society was stingy with its money and promiscuous with its body. A pagan gave nobody their money and practically gave everybody their body. And the Christians came along and gave practically nobody their body and they gave practically everybody their money.”
That’s good huh?
- And one of the things amongst many that I am so grateful to God for is the way he steers our lives towards wholeness and purity!
- Your life as a temple of the Holy Spirit should look markedly different and better than those who are still slaves to sin!
I sometimes joke that as a Christian you end up saving money in this world to give away…
- The reason is that if you don’t see prostitutes or do cocaine, or go out binge drinking or have a gambling addiction or get caught up in get rich quick schemes…
- It is amazing how much money you can save!
- And don’t get me wrong, we’re not missing out on the fun.
- I think the joy of the Christian life and community and the path we are on is infinitely better than anything the world can offer!
And that has always been the story of revival in the Christian church.
- Whether in the early church, or with St Francis or the great awakening in the 1870’s in the US and the UK.
- A realisation of the destruction of sin, and an embracing through repentance of the victorious, whole life, found in Christ.
This decade we will be celebrating 100 years since the East African Revival began that greatly impacted the East of Africa, flourishing the church and leading to the conversion of millions of people.
- It is traced back to a conversation between a British missionary called Joe Church and a Ugandan man named Simeoni Nsibambi.
- They were lamenting the nominalism within the existing church. Nsibambi saying that “while the non Christians sin openly, the Christians are just better at hiding it.”
- They sought God, prayed and read their bibles for two days and then revival began to break out.
- And this great move of God lead to much public confession of sin and people emptying their homes of destructive vices and stolen goods being returned.
- And it was contagious… as people received the Spirit of God, they emptied their lives of their old ways… and then spread the good news of what they had found in Christ.
One report I read talked about one meeting around Christmas in 1933 lasting five days… let me read it…
This included teaching on sin, the holiness of God, the new birth, repentance-, faith, prayer, the Holy Spirit, sanctification, the Christian walk, and the second coming. By the fifth day no spiritual change had yet occurred. During the last prayer meeting scheduled at 3:00 p.m. one of the African Christians stood and confessed his sins. This broke the barrier and the Spirit came in full force… For over two hours men were confessing their sins, moved with extreme joy and happiness.
We titled this series God’s Empowering Presence.
- And that is the story of the church, particularly when fresh moves of the Spirit leads to new life in believers and the church as a whole.
- The idea being that when we repent of our sins, we get empowered by the Holy Spirit to live lives of remarkable goodness.
- And that there is an actual power that enables us.
- Romans 8 says; “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you”
Your bodies, it says, are temples of the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spirit. The one who raised Jesus from the dead!
- We have been bought at a price… and God himself now wants to come and reside within you!
- So I just wonder, if like in the East African revival which was marked by repentance and joy…
- What do we need to boot out of our lives so that we can host the presence of God, empowering us for this new life?
- Shall we stand?