Title: “And Such Were Some of You”
Text: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Date: Sunday Morning – November 28, 1996
Tape # V-56a & V-56b
The vast majority of people look upon religion as an outward service, the belief of a certain creed and the performance of certain rituals, ceremonies, and duties. They look upon God as a Being who is to be feared and dreaded, one whose wrath must be, by some means or other, propitiated, rather than One who is to be known, loved, and cheerfully obeyed.
This was a big problem at Corinth. Many there who professed faith in Christ seemed to look upon Christianity as a system of doctrine and worship, but not as a way of life. They seem to have retained their old pagan notions about religion. What they believed in theory and talked about on Sunday did not affect the way they lived!
· Carnal Divisions (Chapters 1-4)
· The Incestuous Man (Chapter 5)
· Going to Law Against One Another (Chapter 6)
· Voluntary Association with Infidels (Chapter 6, 2 Cor. 6)
· Asceticism (Chapter 7)
· Divorce (Chapter 7)
· Drunkenness at the Lord’s Table (Chapter 11)
In our text the apostle Paul warns all such religious professors of their fatal mistake. He here assures us that no immoral man, no one who wilfully follows a life of ungodliness and sin is saved. He writes in such a manner as to indicate that this is such a self-evident truth that only the wilfully ignorant fail to see it. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?”
Proposition: This is the essence of Paul’s doctrine in our text - That person, that man or woman whose religion, whose profession of faith in Christ, does not involve real conversion, a real turning of heart and life to the living God, is lost and does not know God.
Those who say, “Let us sin that grace may abound,” are lost. They have no real, heart knowledge of the gospel. Be certain that you understand the teaching of Holy Scripture in this matter. There is no reason for confusion here. The Word of God is crystal clear.
· We are saved by grace alone, without the works of the law.
· Our standing before and acceptance with God is entirely in Christ, and in Christ alone.
We are “accepted in the Beloved.” God almighty accepts us only in Christ and only for Christ’s sake, upon the basis and merit of Christ’s righteousness and shed blood. Our salvation is altogether in Christ and by Christ, the God-man Mediator, our Substitute. Neither our righteousness nor our sins have any affect upon our relationship with God (Rom. 5:18-21). Our acceptance with God in Christ is an eternal, immutable, indissolveable acceptance. It never varies!
I have said this to you so many times that I hesitate to repeat it; but it needs to be understood. So listen once more. My relationship with the eternal God does in great measure determine what I do. But what I do does not in any way, or to any degree determine my relationship with God.
· Understand this, too - All who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are completely free from the law in him. As Paul states it, this freedom from the law does not promote sin and licentiousness, but just the opposite. Freedom from the law promotes godliness and devotion.
We are free from the law’s curse and condemnation, free from the law’s rituals and ceremonies, and free from the law’s rule. Our lives are not motivated, ruled, and governed by the law of Moses. And our lives are not subject to the laws, rituals, customs, and traditions of human religion. I will, by the grace of God, defend to my death the liberty of every believer to live in this world, being ruled only by his own conscience and his love for Christ in all matters of indifference. We will not be, and must not be subject to the rules of religion that self-righteous men seek to impose upon us.
Illustration: “You sure don’t look like a preacher’s wife.”
· And you can be sure of this fact, too. - Any professed believer who lives in willful violation of and in rebellion to the law of God and the Word of God is lost. His profession of faith is a false profession. His religion is nothing more than a pretentious show of hypocrisy. It is not even a delusion, except as it is a willful delusion. It is utter hypocrisy!
Divisions: With those things in mind, I want you to hold your Bibles open at 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. As we look at these three verses of Holy Scripture, I want to show you four things.
1. A Solemn Warning - “The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
2. A Painful Reminder - “And such were some of you.”
3. A Marvellous Change - “But ye are washed!”
4. A Practical Admonition - (v. 20).
I. Here is A SOLEMN WARNING - “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?”
The word “unrighteous,” as it is used here, means “unjust.” It refers to those who violate the principles of justice in their dealings with their fellow men (vv. 1-8). By the pen of the apostle Paul, God Almighty here excommunicates from his church all those who, while professing faith in Christ, live in open sin and unrighteousness!
A. Without perfect righteousness no one shall ever enter into heaven.
Only holy men shall enter the holy city. Only righteous people can enter the kingdom of righteousness. And that righteousness which is required by God is perfect righteousness, righteousness which no man can ever produce.
If you and I would inherit and enter into that blessed kingdom that is here called “the kingdom of God,” we must be made perfectly righteous by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us.
“It was a loss and want of righteousness that cast the angels down from heaven, and turned Adam out of paradise. And whoever of his posterity are destitute of righteousness, will fall short of enjoying the glory of God; for it is not agreeable to the holy nature of God, to his infinite justice and righteous law, to admit any into heaven without a righteousness. Hence a judgment seat is erected, before which all must stand. And those that will be found without a righteousness, will be forever excluded from the kingdom of heaven.” -- John Gill
All who believe are made righteous by God in two ways:
1. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us in justification (Rom. 4:3-8).
Just as our sin was imputed to Christ and he became responsible to the law of God for sin, though he never committed sin, the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us and we have become responsible to the law for righteousness, though we have never performed any righteousness ourselves. Just as the law punished Christ for our sin which was imputed to him, the law rewards every believer for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.
2. And we have the righteousness of Christ imparted to us in regeneration (2 Pet. 1:2-4; 1 John 3:4-10).
It is written, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
If I am born again by the Spirit of God, I have a new nature created in my soul, a righteous nature is imparted to me by which I reign as a king over the lusts and passions of my flesh. Yes, I do sin. Sin is mixed with all I do, so long as I am in this flesh. But sin no longer reigns over me. I am not under the dominion of my sin (Rom. 6:14-16; Gal. 5:22-23).
Believers are men and women who have been made righteous. They have not made themselves righteous. They have been made righteous by the grace of God.
· In Justification!
· In Sanctification!
· And in Conduct – In the Tenor of Their Lives!
B. Paul’s argument is this: If I live in sin, then the righteousness of Christ has not been imparted to me.
It matters not what we profess. No man living in sin is a partaker of the Divine nature. “Be not deceived,” imagining that through your knowledge and profession you are saved, even though you live contrary to the righteous character of God. Lest anyone mistake his meaning, Paul plainly describes those people who shall never enter into the kingdom of God.
1. “Be not deceived, fornicators shall not inherit the kingdom of God” - Unmarried men and women who live in sexual promiscuity - Single people who are “sexually active”.
2. “Be not deceived, idolaters shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is spiritual fornication. C. H. Spurgeon notes that, “All through the Old Testament, the Lord calls this sin of idolatry by the name fornication, because it is the turning away of that love which ought to be fixed upon the one and only God, and giving it to those who are no gods.”
Idolatry takes many forms:
· The worship of false gods.
· The worship of God through images.
· The worship of men or angels.
· The worship of money.
· The worship of children.
· The worship of self.
· The pursuit of our lusts.
To walk after our lusts (greed, envy, lasciviousness, etc.), is to live as idolaters.
3. “Be not deceived, adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Adultery today is as common as sunshine. Therefore it is condoned by society and condoned by preachers. But it is still a high crime against God. I know who I am speaking to, and I know who I am speaking for; therefore I dare not mince my words - Adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom of God!
Illustration: Juanita -- My letter to her
“You go home and work this out.”
NOTE: Some of you are divorced. Some of you are divorced and remarried. If you acknowledge and confess your sin, forget it. It is under the blood. God has forgotten it and you should too. But we dare not make it a light and trivial thing, or try to excuse it.
· If you choose to abandon your family, as far as I am concerned, you have abandoned the kingdom of God. When you walk out of your family, you have walked out of this church.
· If you men and women, young or old, choose to ignore God’s law and shack up like brute beasts, if and when you decide you want to become respectable and get married, go to the courthouse. You need not come here. I will not knowingly sanction your ungodliness by performing your wedding ceremony in the name of God.
4. “Be not deceived, effeminate men shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The word is only used this one time in the Word of God. I will not make it less than it is. The word means “soft’, “delicate,” “womanly.” These are men who assume the role and identity of women. The specific reference, of course, is to homosexuality. It is a reversal of God’s law, a reversal of the order of nature in creation.
5. “Be not deceived, abusers of themselves with mankind shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
These are Sodomites, homosexuals, but more. They are the practicers and promoters of all sexual perversion: Homosexuality, Lesbianism, Bestiality, Pedophiles, Rapists, Incest, etc.
6. “Be not deceived, thieves shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Thieves are not just bank robbers. They are dishonest people. They may be highly respected by others; but they cheat and steal - Cheat on taxes - Do not pay bills - Take eight hours pay for six hours work.
7. “Be not deceived, covetous people shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The stingy, selfish, greedy miser cares only for himself. He takes, but never gives.
8. “Be not deceived, drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The use of alcoholic beverages is not condemned in the Scriptures, provided they are used with moderation, but drunkenness is.
9. “Be not deceived, revilers shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The reviler is a gossip, a slanderer, one who spreads reproach and scandal, and smears the character and reputation of others.
10. “Be not deceived, extortioners shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
An extortioner is one who gets gain at the expense of others. He takes advantage of other people’s misery and misfortune.
Now, my friend, it matters not what we profess, or what we claim to believe. Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners are lost people and shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Hear this word of solemn warning and repent of your sin.
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7).
II. Here is A PAINFUL REMINDER - “And such were some of you.”
Illustration: The Remembrance Room
If I understand the phrasing of Paul’s words correctly, he is saying, “And such were you.” He is not suggesting that some of the Corinthians were guilty of these sins and others were not. He is saying, “All are guilty. Some were adulterers, some extortioners, some drunkards, etc.; but all have been guilty.”
A. This is what we were and where we were when God saved us by his grace -- Don’t ever forget it! (Isa. 51:1; Eph. 2:1-3).
B. This is what we all are by nature still (Matt. 15:19).
There is no evil recorded here, or recorded in the annals of human history the seed of which is not in each of our hearts by nature.
C. Why does Paul remind us so often of this painful fact? There are four reasons for this reminder:
1. To humble us and keep us from pride and self-righteousness (1 Cor. 4:7).
2. To honor, exalt, and magnify the grace of God in Christ (1 Cor. 26-30).
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now an found,
Was blind, but now I see!
3. To encourage sinners to come with all their sin, and trust Christ.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).
Illustration: The Artist and The Beggar.
4. To inspire in our hearts the intense zeal and ardent love for Christ that our great Savior deserves (Lk. 7:47).
Here is a solemn warning - “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Here is a painful reminder - “And such were some of you.”
III. Now here is A MARVELLOUS CHANGE - “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.”
Thank God for intervening grace! “But God...” (Psa. 78:38; Eph. 2:4).
Our great God, being full of compassion, has forgiven our sin!
Illustration: Ezekiel’s Infant.
The Good Samaritan.
The Lost sheep.
If God will let me speak with power to your heart, you will surely leap for joy in your hearts as I declare the gospel’s good news to you.
A. You were polluted with sin, “But ye are washed.”
I do not need to tell you that Paul is not talking about being washed in the waters of baptism, he is talking about our sins being washed away by the blood of Christ. This washing is twofold:
1. Judicially - Our sins were washed away by the blood of Christ, being washed out of the book of God’s law (Heb. 9:26).
2. Experimentally - When the blood was applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, sin was washed out of our consciences in the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost (Heb. 9:14).
Illustration: Pilgrim at Calvary.
There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
B. You were defiled with sin, “But ye are sanctified.’
This is the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and conversion. Once we were dedicated to sin and the service of sin, but now a marvellous change has taken place. Now, by the grace of God, we are dedicated to God and the service of God.
This sanctification is a bending of your will to the will of God. It is a turning of your heart’s affection to Christ. It is the conversion of your heart and life to the living God.
1. It begins in regeneration
2. It is a growing work.
3. It is a continual work.
4. It is a work of grace.
Augustine said, “Man is not converted because he wills to be, but he wills to be because he is ordained to be.’
What is conversion? “Regeneration is a spiritual change. Conversion is a spiritual motion” (S. Charnock). “Conversion is a deep work, a heart work. It goes throughout the entire life” (J. Alliene). Perhaps John Gill said it best - “Conversion is a turn of the mind from carnal things to spiritual ones, and from earthly things to heavenly ones. Yea, it is a turn of the will, which before conversion is stubborn, inflexible, biased to and bent upon that which is evil, and averse to all that is good. But in conversion, God works in men `both to will and do of his good pleasure.’ He gives them another will, or turns their will, so that of an unwilling people, they are made a willing people in the day of his power.”
C. You were guilty, condemned, and doomed by reason of sin, “But ye are justified.”
1. Justified by God’s eternal decree (Rom. 8:29).
2. Justified by Christ’s finished work (Rom. 3:24-26).
3. Justified by faith (Rom. 3:28).
To be justified is to be made righteous in the sight of God’s law. It is to be completely pardoned and fully forgiven, made perfect in God’s sight by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. To be justified is to be “just as if I had never sinned.” Being justified by Christ, I am in every way equal to the demands of God’s Holy Law.
NOTE: In our text Paul attributes these three blessed works of saving grace to all three Persons of the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We do not wash ourselves. We do not sanctify ourselves. And we do not justify ourselves. “Salvation is of the Lord!”
IV. Here is A PRACTICAL ADMONITION (v. 20).
“You not your own. Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are God’s.”
Do you see all that God has done for you? Do you see how utterly undeserving you are of God’s grace? Then surely you see the reasonableness of this admonition (Rom. 12:1-2). Let this be the motivating force and rule of your life in all things -- “Glorify God.”
A. Glorify God in the actions of your body.
B. Glorify God in the disposition and attitude of your spirit.
Application: I am calling for two things:
1. I am calling for you who are unrighteous to trust the Lord Jesus Christ and be made righteous by him.
2. I am calling for you who have been saved, washed, sanctified, and justified, to glorify God in all things. Dedicate yourself, here and now, to the glory of God.
“Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31
 Also see Misc. Sermons 674 and 1258. Crossville, TN (6-20-98) Danville – Tuesday (10-22-96)