Audio of Message:
Sermon Notes: 1 Corinthians 6:12 (KJV) All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
We live in a country of unprecedented freedoms. You can go where you want, when you want. You can do what you want as long as it is LAWFUL.
You can LEGALLY be a cross-dresser.
You can LEGALLY date a man if you are a man.
Or a woman if you are a woman.
In many states, you can LEGALLY marry someone who is the same sex as you are.
You can LEGALLY go to nightclubs, and “pick up” someone.
You can LEGALLY be sexually immoral, and ruin someone’s marriage.
You can LEGALLY go to Las Vegas and hire a prostitute.
You can go to Colorado and LEGALLY smoke marijuana.
You can LEGALLY go to Oregon and help someone kill themselves.
You can LEGALLY drink alcohol until you are unable to stand.
You can LEGALLY go to the local Walmart, buy a U.S. Flag, and desecrate it.
In many states you can LEGALLY murder an unborn child.
You can LEGALLY despise another person’s color as long as you do not act on it.
You can LEGALLY destroy public monuments because of their history.
In Florida you can LEGALLY enter this country illegally.
And in certain cities illegal immigrants LEGALLY use healthcare facilities.
You can LEGALLY use foul and blasphemous language.
You can LEGALLY record a song that glorifies rape and gangsta life.
We have unprecedented freedoms in our country. The Apostle Paul had unprecedented freedoms as well. He said:
All things are LAWFUL unto me
Paul was in a unique position. Rome ruled the world, and Roman citizens had unprecedented freedoms. Most Roman households owned more than one slave, and Roman citizens had access to all kinds of free slavery. Every conquered people were subject to enslavement. The Romans could do just about anything they wanted to do. The Jews were enslaved, in bondage as a nation.
Paul was a Jew. Paul said “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city” (Acts 21:39). Before Paul was Paul he was SAUL, a high ranking Jew. He testified:
Philippians 3:5 (NLT) I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.
Saul was a full member of Israel, a ruling elite, a man with power. But Paul was also a Roman Citizen. Paul told the Centurion Commander in Acts 22:28:
“I was BORN a CITIZEN of Rome”
Paul was born in the city of Tarsus in the Province of Cilicia. Tarsus was one of the few cities of Rome that was considered a “Free City”. Those born in that city – even if Jewish – were considered Roman Citizens with all the rights of the Roman citizen.
Paul was a free man. He was free to enter the Temple, free to go where he wished as a free man. He was free as a Roman citizen. A mere Jew could be conscripted to carry a soldier’s pack, and his home could be commandeered and taken over. The Roman citizen could not be commanded. The Roman citizen had freedom to move about the empire unhindered. When Paul said:
“all things are LAWFUL unto me”
he wasn’t boasting, but being truthful. Paul could do ANYTHING a Jew or a Roman could do. EVERYTHING was LAWFUL to him. Yet Paul said:
All things are lawful unto me, but ALL THINGS ARE NOT EXPEDIENT:
The word translated “EXPEDIENT” is the Greek συμφέρω sympherō, a very interesting word. The word means “to bring together so as to make beautiful”. If you listen to the word you’ll note it sounds like “Symphony”, and there’s a reason for that. The word “Symphony” comes from the Old French “Symphonie” which came from the Latin “Sumphonia” which means “to be harmonious”, which the Romans took from “Symphero”. Our word “Symphony” comes from this Greek word. Paul said:
All things are LAWFUL to me, but not all things ARE IN HARMONY
If you’ve ever seen a Symphony you know that it is PLAYED by a collection of musical instruments operated by skilled musicians. No one musician follows his own path, but each member of the Orchestra follows the Conductor. Every musician has the ability and the right to play his or her instrument any way they want to – but not as part of the Orchestra or as a contributor to the Symphony. If you would be part of the Orchestra and thus part of the Symphony you must follow the Conductor. To not follow the Conductor is to play out of tune, and such playing not only DISTRACTS but DESTROYS the Symphony that is being presented. It is much like it was when I marched in the military. If I did not keep time with those around me, I caused the entire flight to stumble.
All things are LAWFUL, but all things do not make a SYMPHONY.
I can do what I want, but I detract from what God wants, and ruin what He is doing.
No member of the Orchestra wants to ruin the Symphony.
The Corinthians were ruining God’s Symphony.
The Corinthians Were Not Showing The Love Of Christ To A Watching World
The Apostle said 1 Corinthians 6:1-5 (KJV) Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?  Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?  If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
The Church is called by Christ to be a body of believers who glorify God. Jesus said:
John 13:34-35 (KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Someone once said that God gave Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, but Jesus gave the eleventh commandment to His Church on Mount Calvary. Jesus said that a lost world would see the validity of the faith of Christ through the love that we show to one an other. God expects us to love our enemies. Jesus said:
Matthew 5:44-45 (KJV) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
We are to love those who do evil to us. But in the Church we must ESPECIALLY love one another. The Corinthians were not doing this. When they got into arguments among themselves (and this will happen) they began to bring civil law suits against one another. They carried their cases before unjust or unrighteous judges, worldly men in worldly courts, who saw the battles going on in the Church.
You say “But I would never do that”! Maybe not. But how many of us have been in Church fights or disagreements where we went home, got on the phone, and told our unbelieving friends about it? Then we later invite them to Church and wonder “Why won’t they come to Church?” Perhaps it is that you have played out of tune and ruined God’s Symphony, hitting sour notes or going off on your own score.
The Symphony of Grace is only beautiful when it is in one accord
and under One Conductor, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Bible says of Jesus:
1 Peter 2:23 (NIV) When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
Jesus focused on staying in tune with God’s Order and God’s Orchestra. By carrying their dirty laundry out of the house the Corinthians made the Grace of God seem to be nothing but vain wishes and hopeful thinking. The Apostle told them:
1 Corinthians 6:7-8 (KJV) Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?  Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
If someone in the Orchestra plays a sour note, do not step away from the Orchestra nor follow that person. Instead keep your eyes on the Conductor. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Though it may be LAWFUL to take a fellow believer to court, it is not in harmony with God’s Symphony. Suffer (or allow) yourselves to be defrauded, trusting God. God will sort it out. God will fix the problem. Just love, and keep loving. Serve, and keep serving. Do not become part of the problem, because you then rob yourself and your Church of the blessing.
There is a blessing in following God.
But there is a curse in NOT following God.
The Apostle warns: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Those who do evil – as God defines evil – SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Those who reject the Law of God which is the Law of Love will be cast away from God’s Presence at His Judgment. Who shall not enter Heaven?
Fornicators – the sexually immoral
Idolators – worshippers of false gods
Adulterers – those who destroy marriages
Effeminate – those who prostitute themselves
Abusers of Mankind – those engaged in same sex
Thieves – those who steal
Covetous – the stingy or greedy
Drunkards – abusers of drugs or alcohol
Revilers – troublemakers
Extortioners – hold up artists
God knows who these people are, and will lead them to conversion or will remove them from the Orchestra. God will fix the problem. We are not to be part of the problem, though we are legally able to do so. Of everything listed above as sins that damn a soul, most of this list was legal in Rome and is legal in America today.
Yet these things bring bondage.
Sin binds the soul.
Sin harms the body.
Though it might be LEGAL, it is not part of God’s Symphony.
We should not play with it.
The Apostle said: 1 Corinthians 6:11 (KJV) And such were some of you: 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.
God indwells His Children. He washed us from His sins in His own Blood. He sanctified us, setting us apart as His people. He justified us, making us right with Him. We are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus. He is or Lord, our Conductor, our Leader, our King.
I Am To Be Christ’s
Corinth was the capital city of the so called goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. The prostitutes worked in that temple gathering funds for their goddess. Greek Geographer Strabo wrote around 20 AD:
“The temple of Aphrodite was once so rich that it had acquired more than a thousand prostitutes, donated by both men and women to the service of the goddess. And because of them, the city used to be jam-packed and became wealthy. The ship-captains would spend fortunes there, and so the proverb says: “The voyage to Corinth isn’t for just any man.”
The Corinthians had fallen prey to this evil. The Apostle wrote:
1 Corinthians 6:13-17 (KJV) Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.  And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.  Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.  What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
It was lawful and even encouraged to visit the Temple of Aphrodite. But Paul said “though it be lawful, it is not part of God’s symphony”. It is darkness, and evil. The day the Christian becomes a Christian God indwells our bodies. We are in union with God. Therefore we are no longer to be in union with darkness. We are:
Colossians 1:13-14 (KJV) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
We no longer belong to the devil, but belong to God. God lives inside us. We are to live with Him and with one another, glorifying Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV) Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
Sexual immorality – called “fornication” in our above text – is a sin that destroys our bodies. The sexually immoral contract diseases that the sexually righteous do not. The Bible says:
Proverbs 6:32 (NKJV) Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.
Sexual immorality is winked at in America today, but it is destroying our society. It is destroying families. It is destroying Churches. The Apostle encourages the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Your body belongs to God. Though it may be LEGAL, ask yourself “Is it part of God’s Symphony?” If not, put it away. Love Him Who loves you. Glorify God in your Body and in your Spirit, because we who are saved belong to God. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. He is our Conductor, our Lord, our God!
May Jesus touch your hearts with His Word.