First Corinthians 6.9-11



1.   How many of you have ever heard of the disease of kleptomania?  Kleptomania used to be the psychological description of what was once thought to be the disease of thievery.  The word mania coming from the Greek word mania, meaning madness, frenzy, or delirium.[1]  Thus, an illness than makes you steal.

2.   Anyone ever heard of Wade Boggs?  He was the hall of fame third baseman for the Boston Red Sox who got in trouble for his affairs with numerous women back in 1988.[2]  I recall Boggs admitting during an interview to being afflicted with and being treated for what he called sexual addiction.  It was widely accepted that Wade Boggs had the disease of sexual addiction, something the actor Charlie Sheen has also claimed to be afflicted with.

3.   How many of you have ever heard of Alcoholics Anonymous?  Listen to this statement from the AA official web site:  Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.  There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.  AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes.  Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.”[3]

4.   AA promotes the idea that the person who cannot control his drinking and who gets drunk all the time is overcome by a disease known as alcoholism.  So widespread is the notion that alcoholism is a disease for which there is no remedy that AA’s mantra, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic,” is accepted by virtually everyone these days.[4]

5.   I have briefly reviewed three different kinds of behavior, stealing, adultery, and getting drunk.  Have you noticed a pattern here?  In each case the medical community diagnosed such behavior as a medical matter.

6.   Interesting, is it not?  If you steal things you have an illness.  If you commit adultery many times you are sick.  If you habitually buy wine or beer or whiskey and get drunk you have a disease.  Amazing. 

7.   It is time to turn to the Bible.  The Bible is the Word of God.  The Bible is the authoritative source of truth about the condition of man.  The Bible is true.  And the Bible has the solutions to each and every one of man’s problems.

8.   My text for this morning is First Corinthians 6.9-11.  When you find that passage, stand for the reading of God’s Word:

9      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,

10     Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11     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.


9.   There are four conclusions that are undeniably set forth in our text:



Paul begins verse 9 with these words:  “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?”

1B.      Keeping in mind that Paul is writing to Christians in the Greek city of Corinth, he reminds his readers that a certain category of people will not inherit the kingdom of God.  To simplify what Paul is stating here, there are certain people who will not go to heaven when they die.

2B.      What does this mean?  My friend, it means that there is a heaven to be gained and a Hell to be shunned.  Whether people want to admit it or not, the Lord Jesus Christ very definitely did have more to say about Hell while He walked among men than He said about heaven.

3B.      What kind of people will go to Hell?  What kind of people will be denied access to heaven and will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Paul indicates that it will be those who are “unrighteous.”  But what does it mean to be labeled “unrighteous”?

4B.    My friends, read the Bible through and you will see that Adam and Eve fell from God’s favor and were expelled from the Garden of Eden because they sinned and became unrighteous.  The angels of heaven who were cast out were those who forfeited their righteousness by following Satan’s rebellion against God.  Thus, a person who is “unrighteous” is someone who is out of favor with God, as well as being someone who does things that offend a holy and just God.

5B.      What are the implications of this?  There are several, one being that you cannot just do anything you want to do and expect to go to heaven when you die.  There are definite consequences for the choices you make and the deeds that you do.  One of those consequences, the direct result of being unrighteous in the sight of God, is that you will go to Hell when you die.


2A.   The Second Conclusion Has To Do With THE BEHAVIOR OF THOSE WHO ARE DAMNED

Paul continues, “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.”

1B.      When Paul writes, “Be not deceived,” he is urging his readers not to be fooled by appearances.  Things are not always as they seem to be.  And you cannot evaluate the reality of a person’s spiritual condition, or the eternal destiny of a person’s soul, by his likeability and charming personality.  Keep in mind that “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”[5]

2B.      What Paul gives his readers in verses 9 and 10 are indicators that reveal the true state of a person’s soul, the actual destiny a person is hurtling headlong toward to claim the genuine fruit of his unrighteousness.  And what does he give his readers?  Not a list of illnesses, but a list of sins.

3B.      Consider this list of sins one at a time:

1C.         First, there are those who are fornicators.  What is a fornicator?  Strictly speaking, fornication can either refer to all types of sinful sexual activity, which is every kind of sexual conduct outside marriage, or it can refer to sexual sin committed by that person who is not married.  In context, the word here refers to a person who has sex with someone he is not married to.

2C.         Second, idolaters.  Idolaters are, of course, those who bow down to statues to worship them.  This was strictly forbidden by God when He gave Moses the ten commandments.  Actually, whenever anything is more important to you than God you are guilty of the sin of idolatry.

3C.         Next, there are adulterers.  An adulterer is a person who is married, but who engages in sexual activity with someone other than the person he or she is married to.

4C.         Fourth, those who are effeminate.  This word, malakoV, refers to the passive partner in homosexual relations.[6]

5C.         “Abusers of themselves with mankind” refers to the other partner in a homosexual encounter, a man who engages in sexual activity with a person of his own sex.[7]

6C.         Sixth, are thieves.  No one has any trouble understanding what a thief does.  He takes property that does not belong to him.

7C.         Seventh, covetous, is a person who desires to always have more and who seeks to fulfill his desire for more by whatever means are available to him.[8]  But we must also remember that the apostle Paul identified covetousness as a form of idolatry in Colossians 3.5.

8C.         Eighth, drunkards.  Notice that Paul does not make use of some term equivalent to alcoholism, but uses the term drunkard.  What is a drunkard?  He is a fellow who gets drunk.  Simple.

9C.         Ninth, revilers.  A reviler is a person who uses abusive language.  Christians are encouraged by Paul to minister grace to those who hear them, Ephesians 4.29, but those who are not Christians are characterized as typically using abusive language.

10C.         Finally, we have extortioners.  This word had a somewhat different meaning in Paul’s day than the English word in our day does.  The Greek word actually refers to someone who uses force and violence to steal, while the commonly accepted meaning of extortion these days suggests more the threat of violence to get money from someone than actually resorting to violence.

4B.      Please keep in mind that people who behave in these ways are not going to Hell because they do these things.  It is quite the other way around.  It is because they are unrighteous people, people who are already on their way to Hell, that they do such things.  So you see, this kind of behavior does not actually determine a person’s eternal destiny.  Rather, this type of behavior exposes or reveals what a person’s eternal destiny already is.

5B.      One other thing to take note of before we move on:  There is no room for the medical model in this list of sins.  That is, you don’t see any mention of small pox, of measles, or the mumps in this list given to us by Paul.  What you see here are sins, wrong deeds that people are guilty of committing, behavior that individuals are responsible for.  These are not illnesses or diseases which come upon a person through no fault of his own, but deeds that are the direct result of decisions that people make.

6B.    My friend, a person has to decide to engage in sinful sexual activity, whether it be fornication or adultery.  A person has to decide to steal or extort.  A person chooses to use abusive language or bow down to a false god.  But who decides to catch a cold?  Who decides to contract influenza or west Nile virus?  So you see, alcoholism is not a disease.  Drunkenness is a sin.  Likewise, sexual sins are not a disease.

7B.    Not to deny that any sin that is committed often enough can lead to habits and feelings of compulsion. There is no doubt that a drunk feels compelled to drink liquor.  There is no doubt that a thief can feel compelled to steal. 

8B.    But do not confuse any of these sins with a disease that comes upon a person apart from the activity of his own will and his own choices.  These sins are committed by the people who commit them because they have chosen to commit them.



1B.      Alcoholics Anonymous asserts, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.”[9]  They insist that those under the spell of booze are always alcoholics and that the best anyone can ever hope for is to be a recovering alcoholic.

2B.    I could go on and on with many other examples, but there is one phrase in our text that shows the medical model of this behavior, the notion that this is just the way you are and that there is nothing to be done about such behavior, to be entirely wrong.  In First Corinthians 6.11 Paul writes, “And such were some of you.”

3B.      Consider that Corinthian congregation, comprised of people who had been born and raised in the wicked city of Corinth.  In a city where any boy could steal an animal and take it to a pagan temple and exchange it for sexual favors with religious prostitutes, there were very few in that city who had not committed fornication, adultery, thievery, idolatry, and who knows what else?

4B.    Yet Paul acknowledges that the Corinthian Christians were those who used to be that way.  “And such were some of you.”  No recovering alcoholics in that church.  They were men and women who used to be drunks.  No people with repressed urges, but men and women who used to be fornicators, who used to be adulterers.  “And such were some of you.”

6B.    Do you see what this phrase means, my friend?  It means there is hope for the so-called sex addict.  It means there is hope for the so-called alcoholic.  It means there is hope for the so-called kleptomaniac.  It means there is hope for the man who thinks there is no way he will ever bring his abusive speech under control.  It means there is hope for the person who is an idolater or covetous.  You do not have to be that way for the rest of your life.  “And such were some of you.”



Our text closes with these words:  “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.”

1B.    The operative words in this phrase are “washed” and “sanctified” and “justified.”  Those are words that have to do with sins.  Sins are washed away in the blood of Jesus Christ.  Sanctified has to be with being set apart for God’s use and being separated from sins.  Justified has to do with being pronounced righteous in the sight of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

2B.      You see, when the angel told Joseph that the virgin Mary was going to give birth to the Lord Jesus Christ, the angel said to Joseph, “thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”[10]  That is very important to remember.

3B.      You see, if idolatry is a sin that you commit, there is hope for you because Jesus Christ saves from sins, even the sin of idolatry.  If drunkenness is a sin that you commit, there is hope for you because Jesus Christ saves from sins, even the sin of drunkenness.  If sex sins are sins that you commit, and not the result of some disease called sex addiction, there is hope for you because Jesus Christ saves from sins.



1.   Some politically correct people get very angry with preachers like me, because they think I am heartless and cruel for saying that certain types of behavior are sinful instead of you being born that way.

2.   But they seem to be unaware of the fact that it is God Who assigns responsibility for behavior to each one of us, and that it is God who calls disobedience and the breaking of His laws sin.

3.   And God’s way is most merciful and hopeful.  You see, if I am a drunk through no fault of my own, and this entire problem with getting drunk is a disease, then there is no hope.  But if drunkenness is a sin that can be forgiven by God and washed clean by the shed blood of Christ, then there is hope for the worst drunk.

4.   What about you?  I maintain that the so-called medical model of behavior, that suggests that everything that is wrong with you is the result of some disease or mental illness that is entirely beyond your control, leaves you with no hope of remedy.  What can you do about disease?  What control do you have over measles and the flu once you catch it?  None.

5.   But if these kinds of behavior are sins and not illnesses, if they are the result of choices that you have made that you may not even remember, and not the result of some inherited trait or gene, then they are your sins and not some else’s.  And if they are your sins and not someone else’s you can be forgiven, you can be delivered from them.

6.   But you have to understand that sins can only be forgiven by Jesus Christ.  Only He is the Savior.  And He only saves from sins.  So, if you refuse to give up the lie that these things are diseases or not your own fault for the choices you’ve made, then you will be stuck with the problem, you will die with the problem, and the problem (which will turn out to be a sin after all) will drag your soul into Hell.

[1] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 615.

[2] http://www.mywiseowl.com/articles/Wade_Boggs   4/16/05

[3] http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/default/en_about.cfm   4/16/05

[4] http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_BigBook_chapt3.pdf, page 33.

[5] 2 Corinthians 11.14

[6] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 402.

[7] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 135.

[8] Rienecker, page 402.

[9] http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_BigBook_chapt3.pdf, page 4   4/16/05

[10] Matthew 1.21

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