Passion, Purity, Marriage and Singleness

1 Corinthians 7:6-9

Posted by Dan Jarms on July 9, 2023
Passion, Purity, Marriage and Singleness
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Main idea: Glorify God in your body according to the passion gift he has given you

  1. Recognize God’s differing gifts
  2. Recognize God’s differing goodness
    • Considering a life of intentional singleness
  3. Excurses for singles with no prospects
    • To the married
    • To all singles
  • Automated Transcription
  • 0:14
    morning faith Bible Church. If you're joining us and visiting with us verse, we're so glad that you're here. I'd love to meet you after the service. I'd love for all of you to connect with our the folks in the Information Center. They'll help you get connected to the life of the church, we aim to be a loving community making disciples of Jesus Christ. And so part of that is a hospitality and a meeting, and then seeing, see how we can serve you. Last week, Paul funchess was here and he preached the same passage here as I preached at, at Trinity and no, I don't think mine is online. That's fine. You got Paul's. So that's all you need. It is Oh, dang. It pauses better. All right, praise the Lord. Anyway, we had a great time, what are the things I asked them to do was to I had everybody stand up for the scripture reading as as we do here. But then I had all the people who were originally sent sit back down, so that I could see what's different. About a third of the people are new in the church. So the church plants doing what a church plant should do. They're growing, and they're reaching people and people are coming and growing in Christ, some are getting saved, and some are growing in Christ, newly at the church, it's such a joy, to see that. Please stand with me for the reading of God's Word. We are in first Corinthians chapter seven. And the two weeks ago, we looked at what Paul said about sexual intimacy in marriage. And we're in the section about what Christ has done to redeem our sexuality. And what I want to do is read the end of chapter six, because the main point is how we glorify God or honor God, with our sexuality, there was immorality, and he wanted us to put that off, but then there is a proper place to do this. So I'm going to read a couple of verses at the end of chapter six because they form the big idea. And then we're going to jump to seven six and talk about married and singles. First Corinthians six, verse 19. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, you are not your own. For You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body for six. Now, as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself him, but each has his own gift from God, one of one kind, and one of another. To the unmarried, and the widows I say, that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self control they should marry For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. This is the word of the Lord. Our God in heaven, we praise you, you are the Most High, the King of kings and the sovereign. What is astounding about your rule, and your reign is that you have rescued corrupt sinners, sexually corrupt sinners, immoral. You have a great patience and mercy and kindness towards senators of all kinds. What we see in this passage is, you sent your son to purchase our forgiveness and our freedom. Lord Jesus, we thank you, for one of the many things you endured was singleness. In order to get to a cross to pay for all, we thank you for that gift. Now turn our attention to this passage as a couple of weeks ago, we talked about sex in marriage and a lot of the singles may have felt like that's not me here we talk about singles and this doesn't cover everything singles want to talk about help us do what we need to do to help all of our singles but we pray that you would be at work among us so that we would be one body with differing gifts unified, and service to the king. I pray for the churches around our city. Make them faithful proclaimers of your whole council, including Council like this, so that we are equipped founded in the Gospel. And I pray that You would help us now understand a passage that is that is a bit tricky. To help us apply it properly. In Christ's name, Amen. You may be seated if you're newer to the church, you may not know my story. I have a very religious background. Dad was an atheist. Mom was religious. She took me to the Lutheran church to start with until about third grade. She was raised as Roman Catholic and took me to the started taking me to the Roman Catholic Church, about third grade and as a fourth grader, I was baptized. And to me as a third grader, a fourth grader, a Lutheran service and a Catholic service were pretty much the same. Somebody reads something, you stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, and you eat a terrible piece of bread. We still have the terrible piece of bread. So we haven't improved on that. It's just hard to get good bread for 700 people every Sunday morning. But when I was a fourth grader, I had to go through catechism. And a priest taught part of that a nun taught another part of that. priests and nuns took a vow of celibacy. And as a fourth grader, I thought, the priest or monk thing is not for me. I'm pretty sure I want to get married. And everything that goes with marriage. You're like a fourth grader, you thought that I was worse than you think. I was thought it was weird, but admirable, that serving the Lord Jesus could in some way, be superior by just simply a person's willingness to suppress or set aside sexual desires. I mean, I thought it was weird, but I thought, wow, that's mean. That's amazing. I mean, the Roman Catholic Church has used this passage as a lynchpin for their doctrine of celibacy of priests. In Protestant churches, we usually use the word instead of celibacy, or that the gift of singleness on a recent questionnaire about my favorite movie, I almost put the mission is my favorite movie. Just because I've seen Fiddler on the Roof like 400 times, I put it as my number one. But in the mission, Jeremy Irons, Robert Niro played heroic Jesuit missionaries in a breathtaking taking the beautiful jungle scenes of South America if you haven't seen it, it's a great movie. And here they have devoted themselves to celibacy for purpose of ministry. There's an amazing thing that don't forget, Jesus, the apostle Paul, set powerful examples of singles specially devoted to God in American, are in missions around the world. One of our missions, experts says that 30% of all missionaries are single and most are women. I mean, I think about all the different ways that people give up the normal comforts of marriage to serve the Lord. On the other hand, the problem of celibacy was so difficult few can follow through the problem in the Roman Catholic church at the time of the Reformation, 1500s ish. Martin Luther saw it he was an Augustinian monk. before his conversion, he was well aware of the immorality among the priests, monks, and nuns. It was a rampant problem. And when he launched the Reformation, one of the things he did was to get married and to encourage marriage. I remember as a boy and my mom and my grandma would just say over and over again every time a new abuse scandal came out, why don't they just let the priest get married? Well, that's not the only problem. But this passage gets misused often either about celibacy, or about the so called gift of singleness. And here's what Paul is going to tell us sexual passions properly expressed in marriage are a gift of God and strong self construct control in singleness is equally a gift gift of God both are gifts, proper passions, or powerful self control are different gifts from the same God which serve his greater purposes in the world. Let me say that again, proper passions, and powerful self control are different gifts from the same God which serve his greater purposes in the world. The world in Paul's day had made a mess of sexual passions.

    That's what we've looked at the last several weeks with the temple prostitution and the public Bad's in morale. But he was rampant everywhere. There were confort converts in the Bible converts from prostitution. There were converts from genuine, a generally promiscuous lifestyle. There were converts from adulterers and polygamists. And so Paul gives some badly needed clarity on the good of sex and marriage, and the good of self control outside of marriage. If we set the passage in context, which is essential for us, we find this powerful statement Jesus died on a Roman cross to redeem sexuality and empower purity among God's people. Look back up at the the passage that I read. The end of verse 19 619 says, You are not your own for you were bought with a price What's the price you were bought? This is to the Christians You were bought with the blood of Christ. So glorify God in your body. You were not just set free, like the rabbit out of a trap and a cage, go run, go run. You were bought from the slave market of oppression and sin, and Satan's domain and you were brought into a new ownership under Christ and he paid for you to be free to live in righteousness and purity you are bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. And this is all sandwiched in a context of sexual purity. outside of marriage, inside of marriage. Now, if you're not a Christian this morning, if you're not yet a follower of Christ, if you if you haven't done what Josiah said, confessed, with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. If you haven't done that, I want to tell you some extraordinarily good news. He bought the freedom from the dominion of sexual passions that you might have. He bought forgiveness for the sexual sins that you've committed. He has purchased strength and power and enablement to overcome trauma. If you have been abused, or hurt, he's paid the price for you to find forgiveness, and relief and restoration. And I want to tell you if sex has become a ruling God in your life, you can find deliverance. I mean, that's the extraordinary news that all of this is anchored in Jesus has bought the forgiveness and freedom from the tyranny of guilt and sin. And so for the Christian, now what do we do for the non Christian the Please come, come find forgiveness, find rest, find new life, for the non Christian for the Christian. Now you are a new person live as you're called. That ended chapter six at the beginning of chapter seven. There is this small but loud response. And it's it's kind of typical in the world. There's always this. Here's how the culture infects the church. That's chapter six, immoral culture the people come in and they're they're growing in their purity and they're they're battling with it. Paul corrects that. But there's always this countercultural set of people in their non Christian to in Paul's era, there was a stoic philosophy. I don't mean just people who were serious. Like, like my face, I look like a stoic. Look, I'm happy. It's not what he's talking about the stoics were deliberate philosophy who were intentionally minimalist for other kinds of purposes. And they viewed generally sex as bad except I guess we have to have children. That kind of influence was non Christian. And many false teachers took on that attitude. We call them ascetics, they deny passions in life. And at the beginning of chapter seven, he turns his question, he says, I need to address something that apparently has come up. And it says, it is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman that appears to be a quote, and it was something that this smaller crowd was saying, and so another source of conflict in Corinth. And Paul essentially answers this question. Isn't it more glorifying to God to not have sex at all? I mean, if, if sex is causing all these problems, then it'd be just be more glorified. it'd be better to not have sex at all. And for the married person, Paul says in general, no, that's not better at all.

    That's not more glorifying to God. I remember I told you a couple of weeks ago, Paul doesn't address different lamentable situations in which sex is limited or not possible. His focus is on correcting a false spiritual superiority. Then he applies this, not just to marriage, we're gonna see the end of that today, but to singles. Because the follow on question would be, isn't it more glorifying to God, to abstain from sex by not getting married, the same camp of people who was saying it is good not to touch a woman would look at every single person say, then you should stay single. That's true spirituality. And Paul's going to answer that by saying, perhaps, which I think is masterful pastoring. Because he doesn't lump everybody into the same category. In fact, with pastoral care, he understands the different people are given different gifts for a different calling, all working together to glorify God.

    He says actually depends on your gift. Just as there are spiritual gifts in chapter 12, through 14, there appear to be something like passion gifts. I'm not I'm not seeing anybody. Coin it that way. And I'll talk about that when we get there in just a few minutes. But let me let me summarize the big idea here. Here's the big idea. We take this from the end of chapter six. And we apply it now to marriage and singles glorify God in your body according to the passion gift he's given you glorify God in your body according to the passion gift he's given you. And I'll explain what I mean by passion gift, but this should be a help. If you're divorced, if you are widowed, if you're a widower, if you have never been married, if you're married, how do we glorify God there, there is a proper way to do this.

    So if you're married sexual desires expressed in marriage that honors God or a gift, if you're single, a powerful self control is a gift. Let's see how it impacts us. Verse six, says now as as a concession, not a command, I say this. The way this is written is the way Augustine set it out. 16 1700 years ago, and if you were to read it, maybe naturally now as a concession, not a command, I say this, I wish you were but that's not how the Greek forms the word the this is actually the first sentence, first word in the sentence. And so he says in this I say, as a concession, not a command, so that this is pointing the other direction, it's pointing back up to the time of abstinence. Remember, just in that previous section, they were saying, isn't it better? Is it more spiritual for us abstain from sex altogether? He says, No, you if one person decides to be super spiritual, you're in a sense, you're leaving your spouse hanging for their normal natural desires, and you're gonna cause them to be tempted and believe it or not, you're probably not going to be able to handle it yourself. So God has made the original outlet for sexual desires, it's called marriage. So you should mutually care and love each other. It's about mutual giving, not about selfish taking. Except if for a time upon agreement, you want to abstain In other words, you're gonna fast as a couple from sexual relations for a short period of time. This I say as a concession not a command. This I say, matter of fact, that looks like Paul, the single apostle is not a prude. He's not a prude. You know, what is it's the exception, not the rule that you take time away from sexual intimacy. i It's a concession. If you want to do it, you can normally I think it's a bad idea. But again, masterful pastoral wisdom, if you and your spouse decide you want especially devote yourself to prayer and and special service to God for a time by abstaining that way. That's a fine expression. Then he moves to this, I wish so so that that first half is pointing back. So there are passions within marriage that should be exercised in marriage. And that's how you glorify God with your body. Now it turns out singleness, I wish that all were as I am my son and myself em. He's going to tell it just Just a minute. For seven, verse eight, that single I wish that you were all single or not. Notice he says wish. Notice he says all so he's talking about a desire, much like he says, I wish you all spoke in tongues like he's going to talk about he's going to use this kind of hyperbole language later. But he does make the statement I wish that all were as I myself am, Paul has experienced the special privilege of being free to serve the Lord. Any direction the Lord moves without incumbrances without complications of wife and kids in tow. He's going to talk about that. Later on. I wish you were all like I am.

    Started demand, he wishes. He wishes because Paul had a special a unique kind of mission to serve God as a single, then he says this, but each has his own gift from God. Notice the from so God is the sovereign giver, the distributor, he uses the word gift, which is not used a lot in in Corinthians until we get to chapter 12. There's a reference of you've been given all the gifts and one seven, and then 12 through 14, there's a huge array of kinds of gifts. And that particular word charisma applies to grace gifts sovereignly, endowed by God for the building up of others. And so here, he doubles down on the idea from 620 that you were bought with a price if you're a bar with a price and glorify God and your body, there are going to be at least two kinds of passion gifts. Those who have proper passions, who exercise them in marriage, those who have powerful self control, each according to his own gift. I think the gift is not the gift of singleness. I'll get to that. I think the gift is powerful self control. Why do I say that? Because in verse five, there's a lack of self control and even with people who are married, and so they should take God's original expression of sexual intimacy. And then in chapter in verse nine, if they cannot exercise, self control they should marry. So the gift boiled down to proper passion exercised in marriage, or powerful self control that would if somebody was moved by God to serve Him as a single would be almost a prerequisite. I want to serve God as a single I don't want to have the complications of marriage. I love married people won't have children without them. But I want to serve God singly. That's going to be like like Paul, you have to have a powerful self control. It allows a person to be undistracted in their devotion to the Lord. Now, virtually every never married single I know, has wanted to be married. And God has not provided the spouse I have met some singles who never wanted to be married and serve gorgeous like this. But most I know are told you have the gift of singleness. And if they do, they're saying where's the return line? at Target for my gift of singleness? I want to I want to get this back because I want the gift of marriage. So I think we don't help singles by saying Do you have the gift of singleness? No.

    For them, this quote unquote gift of singleness feels more like a burden. And what you have to understand that is it Paul is not downgrading marriage and upgrading singleness. He's not downgrading singleness and upgrading marriage. He is saying that he has sovereignly endowed certain passion gifts. Most will be in Marriage, some will be in singleness says one of one kind and one of another. So in answer to the statement, it is good to not have sexual relations with a woman. Paul says, that's not right sexual relations are good in marriage. And yes of God so guests with, with self control to keep those passions in check. You can be free to serve God as a single. Otherwise, it's fine to be married. And regardless, later in the chapter, people with proper passions, sometimes still choose singleness. And I want to pause here and ask singles to think a little bit about this. And I realized I'm saying it as a person who's been married 33 years we got married at 22. We were parents by 23. So I don't have a lot of relation to long standing singleness. Whether it's a divorce or a widowhood, I don't have that. But I have asked good friends who are. I do want to ask some of you singles. Could you be a person who chooses to be single for the purpose of missions, ministry or Christian service? Could you be that kind of person, there will be advantages that as I'll get to that in a minute. If a person wishes to marry, even they even though they have the gift of powerful self control, they can so you might be you might have very few problems with lust, and longing and desire for sexual intimacy. You can still get married, there's lots more reasons to get married. And sexual intimacy. The point is, Paul's saying singles have different opportunities for service to God, than marriage, do married have different opportunities for for service to God then singles. Each has his own gift. So first of all recognize different gifts. So we come to the second recognize God's different goodness. And this this idea of goodness is crucial as we understand this, God is good to give singleness and he's good to give marriage. First Aid to the unmarried and to the widows, I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. Now unmarried covers the whole spectrum of singles. widowers, never married biblically divorced. It's going to show up next week. Widows is noted probably because there were usually more widows and widowers. So what does he mean by it's good? Jump down to verse 32. Here's why he says it's good. If you're married, you get this. There's always a tension in marriage. You want to serve the Lord. And you've got to navigate that through serving your spouse and your family. says I want you to be free from anxieties. The word concerns this is a non sinful anxiety. Same word though. I want you to be free from concerns or worries or anxieties. The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord how to please the Lord. But the married man is concerned or anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife. And his interests are divided if you're married to understand that tension, so when he's saying it is good to be single like me, He isn't saying marrying is bad or sex is bad. He's actually saying that fasting from sex in marriage should be rare in short, so that should be regular. He's saying that the choice to remain unmarried might give you a singular kind of devotion that's different than married especially used by God. Let's let's use a little analogy. Chocolate ice cream is good. Can I get an amen? Does that mean vanilla ice cream is bad? No. It doesn't mean vanilla is bad. For some reason, people like vanilla better than chocolate. You're like who is that? You know, you could say chocolate ice cream is good. And vanilla as ice cream is good. You could take a scoop of H and put them in your bowl with bananas and it's a great banana split. But for some reason, the human tendency is to take the thing you think is good and say it's superior. Or the person who says you say it's good. Well then you must be saying what Imam is bad. You say it's good. It must be bad. My son that's Not what Paul's doing. partly thanks to Augustine, who in the fourth century pointed the direction to the I wish everyone was I am to say that being celibate in ministry was superior and it developed very quickly and on into the Roman Catholic Catholic system, a super spirituality among priests, monks and nuns and a subpar spirituality with the rest

    Paul saying both are good. There are advantages singles have that married don't have. So he says to the unmarried in the widows, I say that is good for the room to remain single as I am. It's good. The tensions don't exist. as missionaries, singles are a lot less expensive to support. It's easier to get them on the field. It's not superior. There are just advantages. And we've always supported some single ministry single missionaries. We support Natalie Whitman and Tenerife and Spain. We supported Evelyn Hatton, who is a career single missionary in in Lusaka, moussaka. I'm trying to bring brain freeze on her country in Africa, she served for four decades as a single powerfully used by God. So if you are divorced, or widowed, maybe there's a question. Can God use me now in a unique way I have a I have a classmate, a seminary classmate we worked on staff together Grace Community Church, His precious bride died in her mid 40s from cancer, and he determined to live out the rest of his pastoral ministry as a single. I want to be specially devoted to the Lord as a single Apparently he didn't get his gift of singleness, his gift, a powerful passion until after his wife died.

    First nine, but if they cannot exercise self control, they should marry For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. Remember, Corinth was saturated with sexual temptation, every temple, every public bath public baths, you know, the place you're going to bring your kids to, there's the side you bring your kids to, and there's the side you bring your buddies to in the immoral, pagan lifestyle. There's the gentleman side, these gentlemen, as this weird term, there are gentlemen's clubs. It was rampant. So imagine being saved out of that culture. And then thinking you can remain single and not be battling temptation would be very difficult. We have something you could turn on your internet, and it's not the public bath, and you could be looking at porn in seconds. There's a war raging. So he says, It is better to marry than to burn with passion. In other words, God's original design. A sexual intimacy within marriage is the original alternative to the pagan alternatives. You're free to pursue the wise a wise course to get married. You're free. If God grants it, it is good. So what Paul summary, Paul saying marriage and marital intimacy are very good. So two is powerful self control for singleness don't pit them against each other. Now, having said that, this is typically a very painful passage for singles, because most singles that I know, have proper passions. And they say, well, it's just not that easy, Paul, I have been available for a long time. I am a person. I think if we're going to be just playing about it. I might like to have sexual marital intimacy someday. And that seems important to me. And

    there's no prospects.

    There's no prospects. Paul, why didn't you address that? Well, because he lived in an arranged marriage culture. There's 10 yentas in every church. Most people are still so connected. to their family ties. Moms and dads are arranging marriages for their boys and girls. From the time the boys and girls are preteens. So if a Christian who's a widow or a biblical divorcee or never married, says I want to be married, there's somebody to do the matchmaking. We live in a culture of love marriage. That's what people in India call it I don't want to love marriage. Sounds so hard dating and courtship and you have to find out if you like each other. We would rather just get married and learn to love each other. You're like, good for India.

    The downside, though, is what if there are no fish in Bible. But if there's nobody here

    singleness was rare for very long, few, very few remain single. So to sell somebody to marry in Corinth wasn't hard for Paul because there was somebody who could relatively quickly arrange it. Not today, there are always some matchmakers in the church. I know of a particular matchmaker, I won't say the person's name. You might be looking at that particular matchmaker right now. Don't embarrass them. But they just love setting people up. Talk to one of them. I get help. Often when I'm working with a single person, and I find out like a guy in his mid 40s never been married. And he's he's from North Idaho. And I said, Do you want me to suggest some names from some godly women in our church? No, I'd rather just find them. I'd rather God just bring them along. Fine. Depends on how long you want to do this. He's a really godly guy. I know some godly gals. But I get I get it because the matchmaking thing is no fun. If it's not part of the culture, it's no fun. So I'm gonna say this, and I'm sure I'm gonna get an email. But I'm gonna do it anyway. Three conditions notice the condition. If you're actively being discipled condition one, by a wise, mature Christian, if you are serving in the church, to if you are biblically picky and wise, third condition. You can do online dating. You can do online dating. I knows like I won't do online dating. Fine. Are there any fish in this bowl? No, there's no fish for me in this bowl. You might want to look at other bowls. It's okay. But do you see the conditions being discipled serving in the church. Biblically picky and wise, I have watched 40 year old singles just say I'm just tired of being single, and they settle. they'll settle for a guy who's not a Christian at all. Oh, he's willing to get in a baby bath with water and sit down and let the priest sprinkle him in a big factory wedding. You know, some guys willing to settle for that guy. Like, whatever. Whatever fate you want, baby, I'll do that one so I can marry you. That's, that's a bad idea. Because they're just so tired of being alone. I get it. It's very painful.

    So let's take an excursus for a minute on singleness when there are no prospects. The first thing we can say from Paul in the passage is that the longing for something different can be its own obsession, and its own false promise. In other words, if you're single and you want to be married, you think it'd be better that way. People do it the other way too. They hate their marriage and they want out and they want a divorce. And Paul and 25 through 31, which will be its own set of sermons, is saying I need you to remain as you are until you understand contentment. You need to remain as you are. Because if you gauge your completeness or your adequacy, and ultimate happiness in marriage, you're going to get that and it is going to be a great disappointment. Guard your heart from thinking that if you have marriage, you'll finally be complete. Or if you have singleness, you'll finally be free. Those things remain as you are and there's several categories but but singleness is one you've got to deal with your heart I have

    of hope, where you're putting your hope.

    Here's what Paul's not saying. He is not saying, if you have proper passions, that there's a spouse out there for you. He's not saying that by saying you should marry doesn't mean that Paul says, yeah, and there's this list of God. That's not what he's saying. In Paul's day, there would have been occasional seasons, where there were no prospects, a war widow. All the men went out to battle, a certain generation of them died. And now in the village, there's only a handful of prospects and a lot of ladies a plague widower where a plague comes through a town, a village, a lot of the women are killed. And there are no prospects those would have been real then to

    those are lamentable,

    lamentable. I know that I was just told right after last service. It's a very hard passage for me to hear I have a good friend who's been single a very long time. And I want to just say it again. Learn how to lament. Psalm 13 Is your prototype of lament prototype is, I see God, his character and his promises, but my life isn't matching that and I'm mad. That's a lament, I'm hurt. I'm sad. And I take my mad and sad to the only one who can help me to the Lord. Lord, I don't like this. It doesn't seem to go along with who you are and your promises. The turn and the lament is this. But I trust you. Because you're good. I know who you are. You're good. I'll wait. I would suggest a lengthy treatment of that is Mark fro gops. Book on dark clouds, deep mercy. He talks a lot about losing and death. But lament is appliable to all kinds of single or married situations you might be in a marriage that is really, really hard. And it's wrong to leave and you would lament, same process. The second is, knowing Christ better and better learn how to lament, and learn how to go to your high priest, who according to Hebrews 412, through 16, was tempted in every way as you are, as we are, yet without sin. So approach the throne of grace to find mercy and time of need. I don't mean this to sound crass. But Jesus was a 30, something virgin. who bore all the temptations that are single could possibly bear and yet was without sin, because he bore more than you ever bore, he can sympathize and be compassionate. So lament, and turn to Jesus lament, and get somebody to help keeping you turn to Jesus.

    However, Paul isn't saying, hurry up and get married, so you don't commit fornication. It's not what he's saying. That could end up being a rough marriage to start since it will be likely very selfish. People who are promiscuous before marriage or used porn heavily bring a tainted view of sex into marriage, a set of expectations in the marriage. He is not saying that getting married will solve all your sinful impulses toward sex. He's not saying that either. What he is saying is what's truly spiritual? Is it more spiritually single, or more spiritual to be married? Depends on your gift. If you're married, then you exercise proper sexual passions in marriage. If you're single, and you want to be married to do that, that's good. It's fine. It's not a sin. And if you're single and you want to get married, you can. I've asked some single friends what's helped them most? I'm just going to take the notes from a good friend This person writes trust God's character. This is a person single into late 30s. trust God's character. This person writes this. He's sovereign. He's in control of my life, not me. He decides what happens if he wants me to get married to be married, it will happen in his time. He wants singleness today for me. So that's where I am. I need to trust a sovereign character.

    He's wise.

    He knows what's best for me much better than I do. He's good. He gives good things today that's singleness it's not my busy to business to know if that lasts forever if that's a forever thing or if it's a day today thing I don't know. I can trust His goodness he's not withholding any good thing from me if you want to extend it on that regard is more than enough by Bill Berg God has more than enough 16 to David says, I have no good thing apart from you. God is your true good as person rights he's my hope nothing else. He's my all He's my everything.

    To the single

    I want to at least elicit your question. Might God want me to serve him single? For a long time I think of John Stott scholar, Pastor theologian wrote cross of Christ. He wrote this excellent book on preaching between two worlds with a bachelor to the end. I think of the founder of proclamation trust in the UK, which is now he is I think, 100 and he's not been pastoring for a while. But he he is and has been teaching foundational principles to teach everybody how to do expository preaching. And his focus and ministry has allowed him and undistracted mind time to write and to teach and to train a generation of preachers in the UK. Never married widows, widowers, divorced, if you have strong sexual desires. I want you to know this. You're not a creep, or a freak, or unspiritual. You're not weak, or an inadequate Christian. They're normal. Paul uses his interesting word, their gifts. If you have weaknesses and temptations toward less, turn to Christ, find friends who will help you perpetually turn to Christ. And remember, you're in an assignment right now. Right now you have an assignment to all you can to serve the Lord with your life to the single your current singleness, especially if you're now in your 20s and 30s has likely been the circumstance of dozens, if not hundreds of special missions by God. When I think of elite soldiers, Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, they have cleansed Dustin and special operations. I want you to realize even if you've been languishing in singleness, you've been divorced for a number of years and you're languishing or you've never been married and you're languishing. You have been if your faithful flirt you have been on hundreds of special missions that would not have happened were you married that doesn't mean you want to be married less. And you could have hundreds more special missions by God. Remember, he's put you on assignment

    and at the same time, you might have strong self control. You might have genuine victory over lust and porn and you're single. That doesn't mean you have to go into full time ministry or serve lords. Some special way. There are lots of other reasons. And Paul is going to talk about that even if you have powerful self control, you might still want to get married for other reasons. For all of us, for all of us, try to believe the best when well meaning Christians say insensitive and hurtful things. You've been single a while. And somebody asked, Do you have the gift of singleness? And you say no. All right, down girl down boy. Most won't mean anything hurtful by it. You're just different than them. And they're curious. I mean, I get one or two questions a week about my height. No joke. I'm gonna go to Lowe's. I can't stand in a line without somebody making a tall joke. I just say thank you very much. You're tall. Thank you. special privilege to be tall. How did you get so tall? Or the awkward flirting in the elevator? You're a tall drink of water.

    You're creepy.

    So, my point is, people don't. People are just curious. They're curious. So be patient, both sides. Both sides, people are curious.

    Finally, I want to say a couple of things. To the married. Don't assume anything about your single friends or singles that you're discipling. Don't assume that they're giving you permission to set them up. Don't assume that you're a matchmaker. Don't hurry a porn addict to marriage thinking that will solve their problems it won't. Don't assume a guy or gal who is not interested in marriage is selfish and addicted to video games. That's the trope. Oh, there's all these men and they play video games until they're 50. Which is the new 40. They live in their mom's basement. I don't know. That's that's just a trope just don't assume those things. Don't assume that they have selfish ambition toward career. If it's a single woman, don't ask them how you can but do ask them this. How can I encourage you or help you? What can I do to be an encouragement or help?

    If you were

    in your 30s, or later before you got married, would you consider being a mentor to a young single, you have invaluable wisdom, one of your pastors or elders might approach you in the coming weeks, hopefully we'll talk about on Tuesday. To see if you're available to mentor a single who's in their waiting period. Many need a friend to help spur them on to love and good works, and general compassion. Paul's aim so often in the letter is to tear apart the divisions and instead so a unity by mutual compassion, care, love. And that's what he's doing each according to his own gift sovereignly given by God for the building of the church. So here are two things that are equally good for the soul fellowship with people who are like you. You all need fellowship with people who are like you going through similar kinds of things, and fellowship with people who are different. You need both they're equally good. Apply that to married and singleness. You need both. Seek out people who are different so you got people who were the same for fellowship. I knew really early that a life of celibacy was not for me. I saw in this passage, the lack of self control in me even well before I was a Christian some however, have a contentment and singleness that drives them to great service for the Lord and that should be encouraged. Built up not considered something strange. In all cases, where do we read it direct our gauge our gaze to the high priest who gave His life for us. lived as a virgin died as a virgin to save singles and marrieds. Return our gaze to him to serve Him and glorify Him in our body. Father, we pray Say that you would take these truths. Help the marrieds in faith Bible Church. be genuinely loving and caring in their marriages and in the greater community. Help the singles have faith Bible Church. genuinely care and encourage and build up the marrieds. Thank you for putting singles in my life who ask how they can pray for my marriage. Now, Lord, may You build us up and for those who don't know you even use this talk about sexual intimacy to expose sin and maybe even suffering and trauma to turn to you? And ask all this in Christ's name, Amen.

Dan Jarms

Dr. Dan Jarms is teaching pastor and team leader at Faith Bible Church in Spokane Washington, as well as associate dean at TMS Spokane. He has been married for over 30 years to Linda, and has three adult children. He earned his B.A. in English at the Master’s College, B.Ed. at Eastern Washington University, M.Div and D.Min in Expository Preaching at The Master’s Seminary. His other interests include NCAA basketball, gardening, brick oven cooking.

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