SEVEN INCORRUPTIBLE THINGS Part 1

by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)

JESUS NEVER ALLOWED HIMSELF TO BE CORRUPTED BY SATAN OR BY MAN.

JESUS NEVER ALLOWED HIMSELF TO BE CORRUPTED BY SATAN OR BY MAN.

3-29-04

TITLE: SEVEN INCORRUPTIBLE THINGS

TEXT: “AND CHANGED THE GLORY OF THE INCORRUPTIBLE GOD INTO AN IMAGE MADE LIKE CORRUPTIBLE MAN—AND BIRDS AND FOUR-FOOTED ANIMALS AND CREEPING THINGS.” (ROMANS 1:23)

INTRODUCTION:
IN A WORLD OF DECAY AND CHANGE, IT’S GOOD TO KNOW THAT SOME THINGS ARE INCORRUPTIBLE. THIS WORD, “INCORRUPTIBLE”, LITERALLY MEANS “INCAPABLE OF DEATH OR DECAY,” AND IT OCCURS EXACTLY SEVEN TIMES IN THE BIBLE, REFERRING TO:
1. GOD HIMSELF
2. THE KING OF KINGS
3. THE INCORRUPTIBLE WORD OF GOD
4. THE CHRISTIAN’S REWARD
5. THE INNER BEAUTY OF THE SPIRIT-TRANSFORMED SOUL
6. OUR HEAVENLY HOME
7. OUR TRANSFORMED RESURRECTION BODIES
THESE THINGS NEVER CHANGE, EITHER BECAUSE THEY ARE GOD OR THEY HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED ETERNALLY BY GOD. WE ARE GOING TO TAKE A BRIEF LOOK AT WHAT THE BIBLE HAS TO SAY ABOUT THESE SEVEN INCORRUPTIBLE THINGS, BEGINNING WITH:

GOD HIMSELF (ROM.1:23).
IT STATES IN ROMANS 1:23, “AND CHANGED THE GLORY OF THE INCORRUPTIBLE GOD INTO AN IMAGE MADE LIKE CORRUPTIBLE MAN—AND BIRDS AND FOUR-FOOTED ANIMALS AND CREEPING THINGS” (ROM. 1:23).

HAVE YOU EVER NOTED THAT THE UNSAVED WORLD HAS MADE CARICATURES, OR CARTOONS FIGURES OF GOD? LOOK AT THE IMAGES AND IDOLS THAT THE HEATHENS HAVE. IDOLATRY WAS NEVER MORE COMMON THAN IN ANCIENT EPHESUS. EXCAVATIONS OF THE CITY HAVE REVEALED ONE OF THE MOST HORRIBLE IMAGES IMAGINABLE; ENSHRINED THERE IN THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS, IS ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD. THE IMAGE IS CALLED DIANA; SHE WAS NOT THE LOVELY IMAGE YOU SEE IN GREEK SCULPTURES. SHE HAD A TRIDENT IN ONE HAND AND A CLUB IN THE OTHER. SHE WAS A MEAN ONE. BUT THAT’S THE IDEA THAT MOST PEOPLE HAD OF GOD BACK THEN.

DIANA WAS A FEMALE, AND GROSS IMMORALITY TOOK PLACE AROUND HER TEMPLE. THEY HAD TURNED THE GLORY OF THE INCORRUPTIBLE GOD INTO THE LIKENESS OF AN IMAGE OF CORRUPTIBLE MAN. IDOLATRY IS A SLANDER AND A SLUR AGAINST GOD. WE DON’T SEE A LOT OF IDOL WORSHIP TODAY, OR AT LEAST WE DON’T CALL IT THAT. HOWEVER, IT’S THERE; IT’S PRACTICED IN SOME OF THE MAJOR RELIGIONS. BUT, NO MATTER HOW CORRUPT MAN GETS, GOD WILL ALWAYS BE INCORRUPTIBLE. JESUS WAS THE BEST EXAMPLE OF THAT. HE WAS SINLESS, EVEN THOUGH HE WAS TEMPTED MORE THAN ANYONE, AND HIS TEMPTER WAS SATAN. MAN GOT SO BAD THAT HE KILLED GOD’S SON. BUT JESUS FORGAVE THEM AS HE HUNG ON THE CROSS. HE SAID, “FATHER, FORGIVE THEM…” JESUS COULD NOT BE CORRUPTED, BY PAIN, BY SIN, BY HUMILIATION, BY SATAN, OR BY ANY THING ELSE. AND HE WILL NEVER BE, BECAUSE HE IS GOD.

THE INCORRUPTIBLE KING OF KINGS (1 TIMOTHY 1:17).
IT SAYS IN 1 TIMOTHY, “NOW TO THE KING ETERNAL, IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE…” THE GREEK WORD THAT IS USED HERE FOR IMMORTAL IS TRANSLATED “INCORRUPTIBLE” IN SIX OTHER PLACES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. AND THE “KING ETERNAL” IS NONE OTHER THAN JESUS CHRIST.

JESUS NEVER ALLOWED HIMSELF TO BE CORRUPTED BY SATAN OR BY MAN. BUT BOTH SATAN AND MAN ATTEMPTED TO CORRUPT HIM MANY TIMES.
• AFTER HE WAS BAPTIZED BY JOHN, HE WENT INTO THE WILDERNESS TO BE TEMPTED BY SATAN.
I BELIEVE HE WAS TEMPTED FOR ALL THE FORTY DAYS HE WAS THERE, NOT JUST THE ONE TIME THAT WE ARE TOLD ABOUT. SATAN OFFERED HIM RICHES, POWER AND FAME. BUT JESUS ALWAYS DEFEATED HIM WITH THE WORD OF GOD.
• JESUS WAS TEMPTED BY THE PHARISEES ON MANY OCCASIONS. ONCE WHEN HE WAS IN A SYNAGOGUE, ON THE SABBATH, THEY PUT A MAN WITH A WITHERED HAND WHERE HE WOULD BE SURE TO SEE HIM. THEN THEY WATCHED JESUS TO SEE IF HE WOULD HEAL THE MAN, AND IN THAT WAY BREAK THE SABBATH LAW. HE HEALED THE MAN ANY WAY AND THEY COULDN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT, BECAUSE IT WAS NOT YET HIS TIME TO DIE.
• WHEN JESUS HUNG ON THE CROSS, THE CROWD TAUNTED HIM, SAYING, “IF YOU’RE THE SON OF GOD, COME DOWN FROM THE CROSS.” HE COULD HAVE COME DOWN; IN FACT, HE COULD HAVE CALLED 10,000 ANGELS TO DESTROY HIS ENEMIES AND TAKE HIM OFF THAT CROSS. BUT INSTEAD, HE CHOSE TO STAY ON THE CROSS, FOR US. IT WAS LOVE THAT PUT HIM THERE, AND IT WAS LOVE THAT KEPT HIM THERE. FRIENDS, JESUS COULD HAVE STEPPED OFF THIS WORLD ANYTIME HE CHOSE, BUT HE STAYED ON THAT ROUGH WOODEN CROSS FOR YOU AND ME.
THE TEMPTATIONS THAT FACED OUR LORD WERE MEANT TO TEST WHETHER OR NOT HE WAS GOD. BUT JESUS NEVER COULD HAVE FAILED THE TEST AND HE COULDN’T GIVE INTO TEMPTATION, BECAUSE HE WAS THE REAL THING. HE WAS GOD! AN ACTUAL DIAMOND WILL NEVER FAIL THE TEST TO PROVE ITS AUTHENTICITY. AND JESUS WOULD NEVER GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION, BECAUSE GOD CAN NOT BE TEMPTED LIKE MAN CAN.

THE INCORRUPTIBLE WORD OF GOD (1 PET.1:23).
PETER WROTE THIS IN HIS FIRST LETTER: “HAVING BEEN BORN AGAIN, NOT OF CORRUPTIBLE SEED BUT INCORRUPTIBLE, THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD WHICH LIVES AND ABIDES FOREVER.” YOU CANNOT BE SAVED; YOU CANNOT BE BORN AGAIN APART FROM THE WORD OF GOD. THIS BOOK IS THE MIRACLE THAT’S IN THE WORLD TODAY.

WE ARE LIVING IN A DAY WHEN A GREAT DEAL IS SAID ABOUT VIRILITY. MEN WANT TO BE ATHLETIC AND VIRILE; WOMEN WANT TO BE SEXY. A GREAT EMPHASIS IS PUT ON THAT TODAY. THAT’S WHY WE HAVE SO MANY HEALTH CLUBS, AND WHY EXERCISE EQUIPMENT IS SOLD ON TV. I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST LOOKING AND FEELING HEALTHY. FOR MANY YEARS I WORKED OUT SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK, TRYING TO FORM MY BODY INTO SOMETHING OTHER MEN WOULD ENVY. BUT TODAY, I KNOW THAT THERE’S SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN OUTWARD APPEARANCE.
FRIENDS, IF YOU WANT SOMETHING THAT’S VIRILE, VIGOROUS, AND SEXY, IN A PROPER SENSE, TURN TO THE WORD OF GOD. IT IS FULL OF LIFE, AND IT IS LIFE-GIVING. PUT YOUR ARMS AROUND THE SAVIOR, BY PUTTING YOUR TRUST IN HIM, AND A NEW BIRTH WILL TAKE PLACE. THERE WILL BE A MIRACULOUS BIRTH, BECAUSE THE WORD OF GOD IS VIRILE AND VIGOROUS, AND IT CAN PENETRATE YOUR HEART, AND MAKE YOU A CHILD OF GOD.

HERE, IN THE VERSE I READ, THE LIVING WORD OF GOD IS THE INSTRUMENT USED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO BRING ABOUT NEW LIFE (SEE HEBREWS 4:12). THE WORD OF GOD, MORE THAN ANY OTHER CREATED THING CONTINUES ITS BEAUTY, EFFECTIVENESS, AND LIFE FOREVER. EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD IS LIKE GRASS; ITS BEAUTY IS ONLY TEMPORARY. THE GRASS DIES, AND ITS BEAUTY FAILS. GOD’S WORD, HOWEVER, IS LIVING AND EFFECTIVE AND INCORRUPTIBLE.

THE CHRISTIAN’S REWARD (1 CORINTHIANS 9:25)
1 CORINTHIANS 9:25 SPEAKS OF OUR INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN. “AND EVERY MAN THAT STRIVETH FOR THE MASTERY IS TEMPERATE IN ALL THINGS. NOW THEY DO IT TO OBTAIN A CORRUPTIBLE CROWN; BUT WE AN INCORRUPTIBLE.” IN THIS VERSE, THERE IS A MAN THAT IS STRIVING. HE IS STRIVING TO REACH A GOAL. PAUL LIKED TO USE ATHLETES, AS EXAMPLES, IN THE EPISTLES HE WROTE. AN ATHLETE MUST TRAIN HARD, IN ORDER TO WIN THE CONTEST, AND THE CORINTHIANS KNEW HOW THRILLING IT WAS TO WATCH MEN COMPETE.

THERE WAS ANNUAL GAMES HELD IN CORINTH, WHICH WERE MUCH LIKE THE OLYMPIC GAMES. THE ATHLETES THAT TOOK PART IN THE GAMES HAD TO UNDERGO SELF-DISCIPLINE AND LONG HOURS OF TRAINING TO WIN A CROWN OF LAUREL LEAVES, WHICH WOULD WITHER AWAY IN JUST A FEW DAYS. THAT’S WHAT OUR VERSE REFERS TO AS A CORRUPTIBLE CROWN. BUT THE CROWN THAT CHRISTIANS WILL RECEIVE IS INCORRUPTIBLE.

OUR REWARDS ARE KEPT IN HEAVEN AND WILL BE GIVEN TO US ON THE JUDGMENT DAY.
UNTIL THEN, THEY ARE KEPT SAFE BY OUR LORD. OUR CROWNS ARE DIFFERENT THAN ANYTHING ON EARTH BECAUSE THEY ARE ETERNAL. THE REWARDS THAT GOD WILL GIVE YOU DON’T SWELL YOUR BANK ACCOUNT DOWN HERE AND THEY REMAIN HERE WHEN YOU LEAVE; THEY WILL BE FOR YOUR ETERNAL ENRICHMENT. I DON’T THINK VERY OFTEN ABOUT MY REWARDS, BUT IT WILL BE WONDERFUL TO RECEIVE A CROWN, AND THEN LAY IT AT HIS FEET.

THE INNER BEAUTY OF THE SPIRIT-TRANSFORMED SOUL (1PET.3:4).
IN 1 PETER, THE GREAT APOSTLE WROTE, “RATHER LET IT BE THE HIDDEN PERSON OF THE HEART, WITH THE INCORRUPTIBLE BEAUTY OF A GENTLE AND QUIET SPIRIT, WHICH IS VERY PRECIOUS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD” (1PET.3:4).

GOD CAN SEE INTO OUR HEART, BUT OTHERS CANNOT. SO, WHAT PAUL IS SAYING HERE IS, LET THE SPIRIT OF GOD IN YOU BE REVEALED IN YOUR LIFE. THE IDEA HERE IS NOT THAT OUTWARD APPEARANCE IS UNIMPORTANT, BUT RATHER THAT THE INWARD QUALITIES ARE MORE IMPORTANT.
OUTWARD APPEARANCE IS CORRUPTIBLE, BUT INWARD PEACE AND JOY THAT GOD GIVES IS INCORRUPTIBLE. THIS HIDDEN BEAUTY OF THE HEART, WHICH IS THE HOLY SPIRIT WITHIN, IS DISPLAYED BY A “GENTLE AND QUIET SPIRIT.” THIS QUALITY IS NOT A TYPE OF PERSONALITY, SUCH AS BEING A PERSON OF FEW WORDS, BUT RATHER IT’S AN INNER ATTITUDE MARKED BY THE ABSENCE OF ANXIETY, COUPLED WITH A TRUST IN GOD IN ALL THINGS. THIS TYPE OF ATTITUDE IS “PRECIOUS” TO GOD. I BELIEVE WE ALL WANT A “GENTLE AND QUIET SPIRIT,” BUT ONLY GOD CAN GIVE IT. IT COMES FROM HIS SPIRIT WITHIN US, WHEN WE MAKE JESUS LORD IN OUR LIVES.
THEN, WE CAN TRUST HIM FOR EVERYTHING, AND WE CAN EVEN GIVE HIM OUR TROUBLES.
THEN EVERYTHING WILL BE WELL AND END WELL.

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