1 Corinthians 5:9-11, 6:15-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer[a] yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.”[a] 17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Imagine an old, dilapidated house. In the middle of the dining room, under a large farm table lies an exquisite, one of a kind rug covering the aging hardwood floors. The rug is a masterpiece. Beautiful. Unique. Intricately made. The homeowner inherited it from her Father.
Beneath the rug however, lies deeply hidden secrets. They remain locked in darkness below the trap door which leads to the basement. No house guest, no family member, no friend knows they’re there. The Father knows. So does the homeowner. Desperately she hopes, prays even, that no one ever invades the darkness. For she couldn’t bear to see their disgust once the secrets were exposed. Surely, she assumes, everyone would reject and condemn her.
Occasionally, in the dead of night, when she has trouble sleeping, her mind begins to wander…..her eyes soon follow. Before she knows it, she submits her will to the lust. Her body, overwhelmed by temptation, commits a terrible act, again. Again! Shame immediately covers her. She runs to the dining room, desperate for relief. She pulls the rug back, unlocks the trap door, and shoves more secrets into the basement.
On other nights, she wakes drenched in sweat. Heart racing, her mind is consumed by fear. She tries to convince herself it’s only a bad dream. She runs into the dining room, stomps on the rug that is covering the trap door and shouts “I am more than a conqueror!” But she doesn’t believe it. She goes back to bed, wraps herself in the familiar blanket of shame, and fretfully falls asleep. The next day she wakes feeling utterly defeated and completely alone.
I was that homeowner.
The old, dilapidated house was my body.
The rug was my new life in Christ.
The locked trap door was my old life.
The dark basement was my soul.
After years of torment by residential demons in my body & soul that claimed squatters rights when I indulged in sexual sin (and others indulged against me), I finally allowed Jesus to gently pull back the rug. We opened the trap door together and His Spirit gave me supernatural courage to face the enemy who had been hiding in the basement for decades. Some demons were immediately evicted as I confessed and repented for each sin. But some required a greater level of humility when I needed to ask others in the body of Christ for help. I engaged my strong will and faced my fear. I invited them to climb down into the basement with me and Jesus. They prayed with me. They saw my shame. I confessed my sin. I gave up control. I repented. I forgave. They battled the enemy with me. They cheered when Jesus led me out of prison. They celebrated when the chains that bound my hands and feet fell off. They rejoiced when I experienced the promise of freedom in Christ!
Since then, I’ve had the privilege of walking into many deep, dark, basements with Jesus and others. I’ve witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit cast out demons and set captives free. I’ve seen believers experience abundant life as they’ve confessed their sins and been HEALED, body and soul!
My fellow homeowner, if you are a believer, stop indulging in sexual sin. RUN! Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. God bought you at a high price. Jesus laid His life down for you. His blood covers all your sin. You’re already forgiven. He can set you free from the evil that resides in the basement of your soul. You are not the only one in the neighborhood who has indulged. You are not the only one in the church who has locked the trap door to keep the secrets hidden. Ask the Holy Spirit for help. Ask others in the body of Christ for help. The Father wants to restore your old, dilapidated body. The Son wants to gently pull back the rug, unbolt the trap door, climb down into the basement with you and shine a light into the darkness. The Spirit wants to cover you with His armor and deliver you from the enemy. Victory IS possible!
Revelation 19:6-9 The Message (MSG)
6-8 Then I heard the sound of massed choirs, the sound of a mighty cataract, the sound of strong thunder:
The Master reigns,
our God, the Sovereign-Strong!
Let us celebrate, let us rejoice,
let us give him the glory!
The Marriage of the Lamb has come;
his Wife has made herself ready.
She was given a bridal gown
of bright and shining linen.
The linen is the righteousness of the saints.
9 The Angel said to me, “Write this: ‘Blessed are those invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.’” He added, “These are the true words of God!”
Acts 8:9-24 New Living Translation (NLT)
9 A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10 Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” 11 They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic.
12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15 As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. 19 “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!”
20 But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! 21 You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. 22 Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, 23 for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.”
24 “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things you’ve said won’t happen to me!”
Simon had been astounding the people of Samaria with his sorcery for many years, but when the Good News was preached by Philip, he lost his followers. He, along with many other men and women believed in Jesus and were baptized after hearing Philips message. Amazed by the signs and miracles Philip performed, Simon began following him.
Then Peter and John arrived in the city.
The apostles laid hands on and prayed for the new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. Apparently, Simon was not among the many who received, but he saw the POWER that manifested amongst the people. He wanted that POWER, so he attempted to purchase it from Peter.
He was quickly and firmly rebuked.
Simon had believed and was baptized, but his heart (soul & spirit) was not right with God. Peter implored him to repent to the Lord and be forgiven from the sin that held him captive: PRIDE. Instead, he audaciously commanded Peter to pray for him so that he wouldn’t be destroyed by his sin.
We may not be practicing magic as Simon, but we certainly practice exercising our PRIDE regularly, don’t we? Like Simon, we may even be drawn to the POWER we see manifesting through the lives of others who preach the Good News. Like Simon, we may be jealous of the many who have been baptized with fire, as was prophesied by John the Baptist. Like Simon, we may even believe in the Son of God and have been baptized in water. But if we haven’t received the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised to his disciples (and future disciples), we cannot be set free from the sin that so easily entangles us.
We cannot purchase freedom from sin.
We cannot deliver ourselves from PRIDE.
We cannot buy the POWER to release the Holy Spirit into our lives- or others.
We cannot command or manipulate others in the body of Christ to get what we want.
We can believe in Jesus, be baptized in water and receive the Holy Spirit when we humble ourselves and PRAY.
The next time you are tempted to tell another believer, “pray for me” you may wanna stop and ask the Lord to check your heart. If He reveals wickedness, repent quickly of your bitter jealousy (you probably believe God hears & answers their prayers so you’re attempting to manipulate their access to the Lord). Then ask another believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit if they would lay their hands on you and pray for you to receive the POWER of the Holy Spirit!