Deny Any Sin
This is a quick update to all of you for week 40 of our 52 Greatest Chapters of the Bible Study. You can see the Acropolis. That large mountain that you see in the background, that’s the Acropolis or the Acrocorinthus of the city of Corinth. The city that we’ve studied often in our other chapters of the epistles to the Corinthians are up at that level but I’m down in the lower level. I’m going to show you a lot of very fascinating things. Coming down from Corinth and Acropolis, this is the Odeon up there by those Cedar trees. Then, right here in front of us, this is the theater. Over here through these trees, if you see the black plastic, that’s where the archeologists are working excavating the gymnasium.
Think about what you know from the scriptures. Our chapter this week is 2 Corinthians 5. 2 Corinthians 5 has two very, very huge messages. Verse 10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ”. I’ve done that lesson for you up there at the Bema seat, you’ve seen that. The other part of the chapter is verse 21, which is perhaps the single greatest verse in the whole Bible. It says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Here we’re walking, this is the Roman road. You can see it stretching there in front of me, all the way up to Upper Corinth and the meat market, and the leather shops, and everything else. It’s highly unlikely that Paul didn’t walk on it. In other words, it’s almost for certain he would have walked on this very road. In our study this week, you’re looking at the road where Paul walked.
Not just that, here’s one of the saints. Right here. You can see E R A S T U S, Erastus. This is an archeological verification of a name from the Bible. Erastus, as mentioned, you can find him in Romans 16. Which Paul, remember, wrote from here. Paul wrote four epistles. I’ll say that over and over again, Corinth was huge in Paul’s life. It’s a major part of his ministry, the 18 months he was here. In Romans 16 Erastus, it says, was the city treasurer and he greets you. It also says that Gaius, if you remember Romans 16, I don’t have my Bible here cause I’m hiking, but it’s around verse 23, it says, and Gaius who hosts the whole church in his house. Do you know what that means? That means that Paul ministered for 18 months serving a church of probably a hundred or less. There’s no house in this whole city that’s ever been excavated that could have had more than a hundred people. I know so many pastors, they say, oh yeah, I pastor a small church. So did Paul and he pastored it with all his might.
He wrote four of the great epistles, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Romans, and of course Titus. My super, super favorite epistle that I’ve taught on so much. Think what we know as we stand here. Paul lived and worked in a very, very difficult situation. Paul was a normal human. He was not different than normal people. He was just under the influence of the Holy Spirit more than most of us ever are. Paul lived and worked in the presence of huge, strong temptation.
Temptation number one, the temple of Aphrodite up there on the top of that Acropolis. The thousand temple priestesses that ministered up there would come down and apply their trade in front of you. A thousand prostitutes earning their living in this seaport city.
Right here, without getting motion sickness, at the gymnasium there… there was a gymnasium up in the forum area too, athletics were done. All athletics were done here in the Greco-Roman world by men, women weren’t heavily involved. In fact, usually not involved in any athletics, but the men only wore for their athletic training and their competition, the only wore a thin coat of olive oil. You can imagine what the temperature of this city was like with a bunch of men running around in olive oil, mixing with a thousand temple prostitutes, who came down every day at sunset from up there. What about all day long? We know from history that if you brought an offering to Aphrodite, if you walked, it was 2000 steps up the mountain, 2000 feet of stairs up there. If you would go up there with any offering, you were given time with one of those temple prostitutes. What does that mean? That means this was a very immoral place. A very struggling town.
What did Paul write to them? Number one, he said, we’re all going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Number two, he says, God has made Him, Jesus Christ “who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Even in the shadow of a gymnasium and the shadow of an Acrocorinthus that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Then, what did he write from here? For the grace of God that brings salvation.
Right there is Erastus’ name written in the rock. He’s one that got saved. The grace of God that brought salvation to Erastus, and to me, and to Paul, and to you teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.
What’s week 40, 2 Corinthians 5? What’s the message this week we’re supposed to learn? As you read this whole chapter through, and if you study it, and use your MacArthur Study Bible, and do every possible thing we always doing, you’re supposed to remember that real people like Erastus right there, in difficult places, we’re changed by the grace of God which taught them to deny ungodliness. Even ungodliness at the level of the Acrocorinthus.
It’s a blessing to be here. I hope you have a great, week study. Let me just pray. Lord, my application prayer is that Your grace that saved me will help me this week and today to deny ungodliness. I pray that all my friends that are doing this study this week will also say no to sin like Paul did, like Christ’s death on the cross enables all of us to do. For Jesus’ sake, Amen. God bless you. See you next week.
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