Monday, June 05, 2006

“The Single Servant of God” - 1 Cor. 7:32

“The Single Servant of God” - 1 Cor. 7:32
Dr. Howard Dial

To listen to the sermon click here.

1Corintians 7:25-35
25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

Is your gospel making a good, strong, clear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Singles:

1 Corinthians 7:1-24
(summary)

Paul is answering a series of questions. We don't have the questions the Corinthians had asked, just Paul's answers.

"It is good for a man not to touch a woman."

Some Corinthians advocating celebacy ... even within marriage.

Problems in the culture.
1. Matter/Physcial body is evil. Whatever the body does doesn't matter. Satisfy its appetites. Body dies at death, the soul lives on in purity. Immorality was rampant.
2. Asceticism - isolation. Removal from culture. Self-denial for self-denial sake to achieve a higher degree of holiness.

Paul is not putting down marriage in Chapter 7. Giving principals for Christians to chart their way through these issues.

vv. 1-24

(1-9) - There are sexual obligations in marriage. If you can't control your sexual desire, get married.
(10-24) - Divorce. Will not create happiness in life by simply changing your circumstances. Learn to serve God where you are. You are not going to create the joy of God in your heart by your own manipulation, your own arrangement of a new relationship.

3 Points for Singles:

1. The single life is to be lived for the exaltation of Jesus Christ.
a. our lives are to be lived for the glory of God because God is committed to His own glory. ("Be holy for I am holy.")
b. a life that's rich in the wealth of God's grace in Christ, is to be spent for God's pleasure.
c. Singles think that till they get married, something is wrong. Apt to place marriage in the place of God.
d. A life lived for the pursuit of saving one's life is a wasted life.

Mark 8:34-35
34 And he called to him the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.

2. lived with one's sexuality submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
a. our sexuality is a gift from God. We are created to be sexual beings in order that we may know him more fully. God describes our relationship with through sexual terminology: marriage, divorce, horedom, etc.
b. sexuality must be guarded and guided by God's Word
c. your body is not your own.

3. The single life presents challenges and temptations in order to experience the sufficiency of Christ.
a. the challenge of undisciplined living

advantages to being single - more freedom and independence; more control over your time; more control over your money; don't have to tolerate someone else's annoying habits; not as many emotional rollercoaster rides

self-discipline - is the desire to please God with all your time and resources because you love Him and want to honor him
b. the challenge of sexual temptation
knowing God deeply will protect your sexuality
c. challenge of accountability
don't live so isolated, independent, that your freedom is the occasion to sin
d. loneliness
communion with God and the company of kindred spirits
loneliness is not good but being alone may be necessary; solitude to communion with God; meditate, etc.
If you think that marriage will solve the problem of loneliness, you're on thin ice. Marriage has become an idol if you do not find your satisfaction in God.

(vv. 25-35)
4. The single life is rich with open doors for God exalted living.

(25-28)
Paul is aware that the Christian life is identification with Christ. Along with that comes suffering.

Severe persecution coming.

The single life provides advantages in times of adversity.

Think and Wait Principle.

not tied down; mobility and freedom; special opportunities in ministry

If you are lamenting your single life ... WHY?!!

Single life is the time for the preparation for marriage, yes.
1. need to savor your contentment in Christ
2. learn how to distinguish the wise from the foolish (read people)
3. serve God where you are
4. check your baggage through security - past hurts, sexual sin, alcoholism, submit it all to the authority of Christ and deal with it; seek godly counsel.

Marriage has its advantages. Singleness has its advantages. They are gifts.

(29-35)
The single life has the ability to give special attention to spiritual matters.

Time's running out. Redeeming the time before the return of Christ. Live free from the control of this age.

Life is more than marriage. Devotion to Christ comes first. Ought not to reduce devotion to Christ.

Grief - don't let sadness/emotions define you

Conclusion:
Pause and think in the headlong rush to get married, are you really where you ought to be in relation to God? Satisfied in Christ? Using your time, money, and abilities for the honor and glory of God?

5 comments:

Kenan said...

Good post, Hnat.

Donners said...

Yes, all the wisdom I was told and found oh so difficult to follow when single. ;)

But absoloutely true and a great summary.

Ruth said...

Having now listened to the sermon one and a half times (listened to the 2nd half twice!), I think you have made a wonderful summary of the points raised.

I think what he said about being satisfied, about not putting marriage up as an idol was very helpful - as was saying repeatedly that this was not a chapter against marriage.


I still have more questions from this chapter of the Bible - I still find it a hard chapter to grapple with...

It was a very interesting sermon. Thanks for encouraging me to listen to it.

What did you think about what he said?

Ruth said...

Thinking more on it, looking at the passage again - I'm not sure where he got his ideas on sexuality for singleness from - sure the OT descriptive language...but was it in the passage - and is that an ok application of the OT??

What do you think?

ckhnat said...

Maybe I need to go back and listen to it again ... which part are you asking about? Are you referring to something specific?