Singleness

SERMON LEFTOVERS 4.10.17

Marriage & the Gift of Singleness

 

by Paul Long

1 Corinthians 7:1-9, 36-40

 

Paul has addressed some serious issues in the Corinthian church.  In chapter 5 he had to correct the issue of immorality.  In chapter 6 he had to address members of the church participating in temple feasts involving prostitutes. 

The culture of Corinth was far away from God’s original design and intent for sex and marriage.

As we look at chapter 7 we will see how some in the church were responding to these cultural issues of sexuality and immorality.

Paul is responding to a letter that he had received from the Corinthian church  vs 1

“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” Here Paul is quoting something that they had written in their letter.  This not something Paul is saying, rather it is a position that some in the church had arrived at. 

Considering the immorality of the culture they lived in and the struggles some of the other church members had faced, the conclusion they came to was that abstinence in all contexts was good. 

This was a pendulum swing too far in the wrong direction.

Paul will address this by expounding on the gift of marriage and sexual relations within marriage, he will remind husbands and wives of the rights and responsibilities in marriage, and caution them of the dangers of abstinence in marriage.

If married couples were expected to abstain from sex there would be a danger for them to struggle with self-control and fall into temptation and sexual immorality  vs 2 & 5

Because of these dangers – “each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.”   Paul echoes back to God’s original intent in marriage. Genesis 2:18-24

Marriage is the only appropriate sexual outlet in God’s design and especially for the Christian seeking to please Him.

Within the context of marriage two have become one flesh and each has surrendered his/her own rights to the other  vs 3

The husband has an obligation to meet his wife’s needs, and the wife has an obligation to meet her husband’s needs. 

Love in marriage is giving oneself away for the good of the other.

Seeking to love and serve our spouse even when we don’t feel like it is hard work. 

Marriage exposes our pride and selfishness.

Our marriages must be filled with grace and forgiveness. 

Where there is not love, grace and forgiveness – marriages get into trouble.

In vs 5 Paul gives a strong command, “Do not deprive one another…” 

To deprive is to defraud another of a right that is owed to them.

One spouse may not selfishly disregard the other’s needs. Husbands and wives are not free to hold back love and intimacy from their spouse  vs 4

We need to work in our marriage to cultivate and maintain our emotional oneness.

1. Forgive and forget (Eph 4:26).

2. Foster good communication.

3. Nurture your relationship; pursue love and romance.

The one exception, where a husband and wife could withhold from marital intimacy would be for a limited time of intentional prayer  vs 5

This is always mutually agreed upon, for a limited time, and for the purpose of being devoted to prayer.

After clarifying the Corinthians’ poor conclusions on intimacy in marriage, Paul moves on in verse 6-9 to talk about the gift of singleness. 

Paul does not command singleness, but he does “wish” all were like him.

Paul didn’t have a low view of marriage, rather he knew singles could serve the church with a single-minded devotion.

How do you discern the gift of singleness?

vs 9 “…For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

If you have a strong desire to marry you probably don’t have the gift to be single.

Singleness isn’t a problem to solve nor a situation that needs attention; rather it is a gift of God’s grace.

God gives good gifts with the intention that we will use them for the good of others, to build up one another in the church.

If God has gifted you to be single, He intends for you to use that gift for the common good and to build up the church. 

Wherever God has you, he has specifically gifted you to serve and please him. 

LIES TO SINGLES

 

by Debbie Huber

The body of Christ is filled with people who are married and single.  I have been blessed by the selfless service of my single Christian friends. They care for me and go out of their way to serve me. I look up to them for their love and commitment to God and their brothers and sisters in Christ.

But it can be lonely and difficult to be single. Even the simple things of having no one to park your car for you when it is raining or making dinner for just one every night can get old. 

But God calls us as one body to glorify Him and to be satisfied in Him alone.  That call is for all of God’s children to seek Him first and find contentment in Him alone, whether we are married or single.

I recently read an article for single Christians written by a single woman, Emma Thornett. You can read it here

In the article the author describes some of Satan’s lies to the single woman. “God doesn’t love me enough”, “being married will fix my problems”, or “it’s too hard to be single” are a few of them. A key theme is that Satan likes for us to focus on ourselves so we stop clinging to God.  All of us are vulnerable to that.  We start thinking “if only” instead of focusing on the sufficiency of our God who saved us.

This article is specifically for single Christians but it has application for all of us since we all are vulnerable to focusing on our difficulties and not the sufficiency of Christ. The more we pour ourselves and our time into God and His Word the more we will fall in love with Him and the “if only’s” will become “in Christ only”.