Undistracted Devotion Part 1

1 Corinthians 7:25–35

Posted by Dan Jarms on July 30, 2023
Undistracted Devotion Part 1
00:00 00:00

Main idea: Navigate the challenges of singleness, engagement, and marriage with undivided devotion to the Lord.

  1. In present troubles
  2. In a fleeting world
  3. In mutual concerns
  • To those considering singleness for now
  • To those wanting and waiting to be married
  • To the engaged
  • To the married

  • Automated Transcription
  • 0:13
    Oh, thanks that was great. Anybody blessed by the morning's music I hope so I was the the root of the theology of being a loving community making disciples of Jesus Christ comes at the anchor of that song we love because of what he has done to love us. And we were not glorious, wonderful, great. We weren't. And yet God set his love on us. And we are so grateful for that. If you're visiting with faith Bible Church today, we are so glad you're here. I want to add my welcome to you and faith Bible Church, the first line of being a loving community making disciples of Jesus Christ is looking around for somebody you don't know. And saying hello to them, greeting them, taking them out to lunch, taking them to coffee, getting to know them, inviting them to your group. God's word is is meant to to impact our hearts in community. And so that is our our aim. So make sure you keep doing that, especially the month of August we're going to always see lots of visitors checking out church moving into the area. So let's just be ready for those that warm hospitality remember my metaphor, you're going to see friends who love and you want to talk to and so you're going to want to do this with them circle up remember, we need to be a cup or a salmon trap. You know, that's the other way people coming in and like hey, you know, we're, we're here to love you and care for you. But let's go with the cup analogy. Stand in the cup. Stand with me for the reading God's word. And we are in a series in First Corinthians chapter seven. And the lead off in the series ended in verse 20. You were bought with a price so glorify God in your body. And now the Apostle Paul is going to be addressing be troth, not really engaged, but kinda like engaged, married and singles who want to stay single, there's three categories, which is everybody in the room. So this message is for you. First Corinthians 725 through 35. Now concerning the betrayed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the present distress, it is good for a person to remain as he is, echoing what we heard last week. Are you bound to a wife, do not seek to be free? Are you free from a wife, do not seek a wife. If you do marry, you have not sinned and if a betrayed woman marries, she has not sinned, yet there yet those who marry will have worldly troubles. And I would spare you that. 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. And those who mourn as though they were not mourning those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods. Those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it, for the present form of this world is passing away. I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betroth 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, I say this for your own benefit not to lay any restraint upon you, but to remember good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. There's the main point, single, engaged or married, undivided devotion to the Lord. This is the word of the Lord. Father, thank You for this word, and we are thankful that your scriptures are sufficient and powerful to address every area of life. Being married for 33 years, I know the tension of pleasing the Lord and pleasing a wife. I have lots of friends who are single who would love that tension. And there are some who are single for now and want it that way in all cases help us with undivided devotion to Christ who bought us and loves us. Father, I pray for churches around our city. We have many brother and sister churches who faithfully exposit through the Scriptures, and we pray for them. We pray for some who we wish would be more devoted to expositing the scriptures that you would grip the hearts of their leaders and the hearts of the people to hunger for the pure milk of the word, unpacked and applied. And we pray for our city, specially this community that we want to see, you must give the gift of faith and repentance so that their hearts would hunger for things that are eternal, Christ himself. So give us divine opportunities appointments, so that we would be ready with a hope giving word, Christ's name, Amen. You may be seated. Well, recently, I made a charcuterie board. I enjoy working with wood a couple of years ago, Linda gave me a gift a brand so that it would stamp a D Jarms. And a wood print on something that I make. And so I decided to go out in the backyard is a little cooler, and it was not in the dust of the shop. And, and I wanted to kind of be a little closer to Linda, you know, I always do the woodwork away from her. And you know, it's like, oh, I'll just I'll just do this brand thing. So I take the torch out. And I've got this 50 year old torch Tip Set from my dad. And I start trying to light it in a propane canister towards which I got the clicker. And it's just not lighting. So I get a match and it's not lighting, I get a flame thrower and it's not lighting. Like I can't get thing I'd switch out the tip and billowy orange gas starts to go but it won't stay off. sipping coffee, trying to have this really joyful, peaceful evening in the backyard reading a book, which is why I do the work in the garage away from her. It's like what are you doing? I'm just trying to get this brand heated up. You're right over the furniture. Like it's very flammable. And in my heart, I'm like, it's fine. That's fine. I know how far out it's gonna go. So, all right, I'll step out into the grass. billowy, then all of a sudden, something I've never had happen. There's a leak in the tip and it goes out sideways. And all of a sudden the propane canister is engulfed in flame. And I have two thoughts in half a second. Throw it away. And I know it's coming from her. Both are instantly available. You're gonna kill us all one day, she says with my love of fire and art. So I throw it out into the yard. She pops up. What do you want me to do? What do you want me to do Dominic the host I'm gonna get a towel. There's a towel representative give me the towel. And I beat out the flame and still gas going and I wait for it to cool down a little bit. So I'm thinking this thing's gonna blow. It's gonna blow and I and I turn it off. And I undo it and it's fine. And we're fine. And I look at her like, this is why I was out here because it's safer out here than inside. And she did not appreciate either my defensiveness or my planning. That's your planning. Here's the moral of the story. After a while and I confessed and she confessed and lots of confessing went on. We went for a walk. She says you know if you remain single, you can light a canister of propane on fire. You can let yourself on fire. And there is no one else to terrify, blow up or criticize you. You're only concerned for yourself. I say this kind of in a funny way to prepare us for today's passage. But the flaming canister of propane is really nothing special. Every person that gets married shares the joys and concerns the triumphs and tragedies, the successes and failures in each other's lives. We do that every non Christian who wants to get married is glad to share those things. What the Apostle Paul is talking about today elevates the situation. It's a different situation. In today's passage, he's talking about significant troubles in light of the return of Christ and the end and he is talking about the temporary nature of this world.

    And he is going to help us think carefully about Mary orig and singular devotion to God, singleness and singular devotion to God, engagement. That's what we have today and devotion to God. And so whether you're visiting today or if you've been here for years, I want you to hear this. You might have, you might, Christianity might be brand new to you and you're like you guys are talking about marriage. And this is really interesting. Here's what I want to say the gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that God offers peace with God, and eternal life through the payment Jesus Christ made for our sins on the cross. Those who surrendered to His Lordship received the gift of redemption. It's called redemption, the paying out or the pain of sin, death, and the tyranny of Satan. And those who look to Christ as their Savior and Lord, experience a victory over sin and death itself. The apostle Paul says this in verse 23, in brilliantly preached his passage last week, and he ended with this, this theme of remain as you are, because you have all your fullness and God He says, You were bought with a price. This is verse 23. So do not become bondservants of men. So brothers in whatever condition, each was called there, Let him remain with God, you've been bought with a price. Jesus has paid the price for your forgiveness, for a, a rescue, out of tyranny, of sin and judgment and Satan into the kingdom of God. This is what Jesus has done, and so glorify God in your body. So, friend, if you have not trusted Christ, there are two kingdoms. There is the kingdom of darkness in which you pursue your sin at Satan's machinations over you. And you wake up under eternal judgment. Or you surrender your sin and you turn to God and you wake up and you are now in the kingdom of God, the kingdom of light. Any person who trusts Christ the Savior, is saying that Christ is our ultimate allegiance. You've been bought with the price again, he says, So you belong to Christ and He belongs to you. And peace with God comes with a change of allegiance, but the ruler of this world, and those who follow this world's idolatrous standards, they don't let you go without a fight and your flesh. The remaining sin in you still has this near magnetic attraction.

    And so, there is a fight a spiritual battle. What underlines the Apostle Paul's exhortation here is that Christ is first and must be first. In every circumstance, Christ is first and must be first in every circumstance, whether you're engaged, single or married. And if you are engaged or married, when you put Christ first that may be costly. Not just to you, but to your spouse and family. Jesus is, Mark chapter nine, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. Somebody says I want to I want to follow you. Jesus says in Luke 923, if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. The Christian life is a day by day renunciation of sin and Satan's purposes and a commitment of allegiance and life to Christ. That's a daily reality. And in a world that's hostile to God, that can be costly. And so if you're in a job, that is asking you to take money under the table and not pay your taxes, and you as a Christian want to obey God and pay your taxes, that's going to cost your wife or your spouse and you both better be good with it. So the Apostle Paul is writing to us to consider the challenges of honoring Christ in a world Sometimes with remaining sin that's at war with God. The big idea I would say is this we get to the undivided devotion to the Lord is to navigate the challenges of singleness engagement and marriage with undivided devotion to the Lord. Christ is first and must be first in every circumstance. And you need to engage your life in singular devotion to the Lord. Now, no one that faith Bible Church, single or married thinks that marriage is sin. Paul makes this statement. If you get married, it's not sin. Like we know, Paul. I'll get to why he's addressing it that way. We know that Paul is a big fan of marriage. He's a big fan of marriage here. He's saying, you know might be better if you're not married. And we'll get into why but in First Timothy 514, he urges young widows without children to get married and start a family rather than being busy body messing in the affairs and creating trouble in the church. He speaks glowingly of marriage in his letters to emphasis and Colossi in fact and in his letter to emphasis in chapter five, he restates God's creation order of, of one man, one woman devoted in the life the two shall become one flesh. And he highlights this profound parable that marriage is one day Jesus will return. I mean, there is a wedding coming, Jesus will return for his people, there is a wedding supper of the land coming in marriage right now, is a picture of preparation. So what we see in the Apostle Paul here is a mature and wise pastor and apostle, who, when he was called to salvation, Jesus said to him, I will show how much you must suffer for my sake. He's a wise pastor saying to everyone that marriage can present challenges for wholehearted devotion to the Lord for undivided devotion. So what we're gonna look at today are three challenges that we must face to keep undivided devotion to the Lord, three challenges. If you've got this little note set, and then we're going to apply it to four kinds of people. Three challenges we have to face to keep undivided devotion to the Lord. First of all, the challenge of present difficulties and worldly trouble. Verse 25, verse 25, says Now concerning the betrayal, the betrayal, that's Paul's classic way of changing topics adding to one you must have had a question about when people are quote, unquote, engaged or be trolled. And he gets a series of instructions, we do need to talk about this. This word literally is virgin, that's all it is. The ESV translated is Detroit has an interpretation of the greater section. Here's the deal with betrayal, but it's not like American engagement and American engagement. One gal one guy is looking around to find a Forever Love, and they're gonna go, are we compatible? Are we interested? Do we have the same interest in the Lord do we want to serve the Lord the same way and out of love, they joined together and they agree to be married for life, mom and dad kind of way in, kinda. And then they get married, and they're committed. And of course, marriage now is really like marriage, then there was a commitment to it. But that that's not how it was then be truthful. From the time children are little mom and dad and aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas are thinking about when they'll be married and who they'll be married to and who's an appropriate match. And in Corinth, they were very conscious of class and, and occupation, and importance and significance and wealth. And so there were all these plans and things would happen behind the scenes and to families would come to the conclusion, and that 12 or 13, or 14 year old girl probably should marry 18 to 20 year old boy in a couple of years when they're both ready. And then they go to the courthouse. Somewhere somebody pays a dowry, a contract is signed, and she is considered a wife. Yeah, they haven't gone through the ceremony yet. They haven't consummated it yet. But there is a contractual agreement made. So he's going to talk about be trolled and yet to be patrolled people now concerning the betrayed the verge In this is talking about the gal in this case, I have no command from the Lord. I mean general guys and gals, he'll use the other version of the word for it and little bit just for the girl concerning the betrayed, I have no command from the Lord, but I get my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. So just like Brian talked about earlier, in chapter seven, I have no command from the Lord doesn't mean Jesus commands really powerful but mines like take it or leave it. No, Jesus didn't teach on this. It's all he's saying. But I'm an apostle, and I have been given the Mercy My word is trustworthy. I have some words about this, I think you'd do well to pay attention. I give my judgment, as by one, who's by as one by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the present distress, it is good for a person to remain as he is, that's a continuation of what Ian preached. earlier in the chapter. Here was the ongoing problem in Corinth, and it's an ongoing problem. We have this imagination, that of our circumstances different if the person is different. If our if our wealth is different, then everything will finally be rosy and Sonny, for the rest of our lives. It's not true. You have Christ, you have all that you're ever going to need, and you will have him face to face and eternity. You're with God already. You don't need to change it up. I think in view of the present distress, it is good for a person to remain as he is. What's the present distress? I think there's two slices of bread here. And there's two slices of bread coming and in between is the meat and lettuce and tomato.

    He says present distress. And then if you look at the end of verse 28, worldly troubles, these, these are happening together. So there is present distress and their worldly troubles. What's he talking about? Well, the this word distress is the same word that's often used for tribulation. It's a serious set of suffering. It's not the mere middle class, are we going to be able to buy the new car as fast as we want. He's not talking about middle class or typical American problems. He's talking about serious suffering. And there's something going on in Corinth, it's part of the serious suffering. I think it is in light of the next section, with the end of the world return of Christ and the making of all things new Jesus promised in Matthew 24, that in the end, there is going to be this time of tribulations. Matter of fact, we're in it right now. There are wars, rumors of wars, pestilence, famines, difficulties in light of various troubles. That's a sign that the this world is coming to an end. And they are difficult. He's not talking about small little things. We don't have specifics in a way that's really good. To what his way, it's good that he is not getting overly specific. Because if you do get married, and you do have a baby, and a four year old, he or she gets lucky leukemia, and you're on a four to eight year regimen of chemotherapy. That's really hard for a really long time. It's really hard. You're gonna have distress and difficulty persecution. The best we can do is speculate maybe there was a famine, maybe there's an economic crisis. We don't know. But it's all part of that greater sense that until Jesus returns, there are going to be heightened troubles. So Paul says, I want you to remain as you are. Don't imagine, like so. So what's the picture be troth? I'd be trolled, quote unquote engaged. Can we break the betrothal? Of course, actually, Greco Roman era is no big deal. Really, you gotta get back the dowry. And yeah, there's going to be somebody who's upset about it. But no harm no foul in a sense. Don't think that trading up because why would you break your betrayal to trade up? Somebody betters come along and better matches come along, straight up. Or maybe she says, No, I really found out about him and he, he's, he's missing a bunch of teeth. And I don't want to look at that. Your dad goes fine. Find a guy with teeth. Thinking that teeth over the dinner table will create heaven on earth. I laugh at that, but there are all kinds of petty annoyances that people have. No, I think you should remain as you are because this present distress, you'll trade up or trade out. And that distress is going to be very hard still.

    It's gonna be very hard. You should remain as you are

    Don't try to change if you're patrolled, State Patrol, if you're free, stay free. Notice what he says verse 27, which is a legal term. Remember, betrothal is like a marriage legally. There's been a commitment there's been a dowry paid, there's been a contract sign it's in the courthouse. Everybody could see it. Are you bound to a wife? You could say fiance here but they considered be troth women and married women as wives or committed people, although they haven't crossed the line to marriage yet are you bound to a wife? Don't seek to be free and that's these are legal words for divorce so bound to a wife, well, don't, don't get a divorce. Remember what happened in Matthew chapter one, when Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant with the holy by the Holy Spirit? He said he resolved to divorce her quietly. She's pregnant, it's not me. But I can do this in a way that causes her the least amount of shame the angel comes in, says no, stay with her. That's the context. Are you free from a wife? So have you broken an engagement? Have you broken the betrothal? You might have had good reasons you might have not had good reasons is that the state your annual don't seek a wife. Don't try to change your betrothal status, imagining that it will make you more impressive, more impressive spiritually, or it may make you more impressive socially. Remember, getting married often leads to children and a man is now responsible for his wife and his children and a famine or war or persecution comes he's got to consider those responsibilities.

    Do you know what you're getting us all into? That is true for every Christian couple. Whether she has to take a stand for the Lord or he has to take a stand for the Lord, when she has to take a stand. He has got to bear the consequences when he has to stick take the stand. She has to bear the consequences. The kids when he or she had to take a stand and be faithful to Christ and devoted to Christ, they have to bear the consequences. Are you ready for that? says verse 28. If you do Mary, you have not sinned. If you've been troth, woman, Mary, she has not sinned. The apostle Paul says there are good reasons to get married earlier in the chapter in other places, he gives good reasons. Why does he say it that way? Paul, why can't you say and marriage is also really good. Single was really good. Marriage is really good because there was this self styled super elite who thought that celibacy and and an aesthetic denial of pleasures was the supreme way to be impressive before God. No, you're wrong. It's not a sin to be married. It's not a sin. And he summarizes it, bread, meat, bread, yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. It's great to get married. But you need to know that if you are no longer just responsible for yourself. If one of these distressing things comes upon you, it's going to be a big weight on your shoulders. And I would spare you that. Remember, the apostle Paul suffered more than any man that we know of for the cause of Christ. Constant mistreatment, beatings, shipwrecks rejection by the very churches that he planted, eventually execution. And he said it'd be really hard to do all of that if I was married. Really hard. Not impossible. That really hard. So true. bubbles in this world should keep you from rushing into marriage. And they should cause you to say how will we show singular devotion to God above all things, when a troubled does sweep over us, like a tidal wave a tsunami? How will we keep that? When he fails, or she fails, or the world attacks? How will we do that? I'll give you some ideas at the end number two. The second reason we need to think through the challenges of marriage, the temporary nature of the world, the temporary nature of the world, even a 60 year old marriage 60 Year 60 year marriage is short compared to eternity. So now we move from the trouble of this world to the temporary nature of the rest. So don't Don't rush into marriage. This is this is what I mean brothers, the appointed time has grown very short. And this is the second little sandwich, there's bread, the time has grown very short. And then there is verse 31, for the present form of this world is passing away. And now he is talking about the time of the end where Christ returns, brings judgment against his enemies, saves his people, Reigns is king and one day makes a recreation of all things. The time is short, this world is passing away. It is temporary and temporal. So if you think that changing your status will make you more spiritual, and you go ahead and get married, thinking that you know what your whatever this is that you're pursuing, and marriage, as good as it is, is still temporary, and you need to treat it as temporary. singleness is temporary marriage is temporary. the appointed time has grown very short. So from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none. Which isn't to say, I can now mistreat my wife so that I can go serve the Lord how I want. It's not what he's talking about, is it because he's then says this. And those who mourn as though they were not mourning and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing? What's he doing? He's creating a contrast just like Jesus did over and over and his call to disciples, Luke 1426 Jesus says, If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and yes, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Because Christ is first and must be first in all circumstances. Jesus, I thought you just healed people. I thought you just fed people

    I thought you were like kinda sinners, he is in asking them to renounce their sin and embrace the fullness of Christ. Christ is firstly must be first. And so what Jesus does in that statement is create a contrast that the devotion of Jesus is not just priority, as in priority 10 priority with eight point value priority with six point value, no, this is ultimate priority. Christ must be first. So you need to live as though the marriage relationship is temporary and what you do is focused on eternity. Until you This is such a relief in marriage. When you realize that your spouse is not your savior to give you what you want. Christ is your savior who has what you need. And you don't over expect Oh, what a what a gift. This is devotion that God's clearly priorities. Notice this and those who mourn as though they were not morning. There are many reasons we mourn, and it is good and right and appropriate times in appropriate ways to lament and mourn the Psalms or 1/3 Morning laments about the troubles of this world. But what is here is giving way to what is coming, what is temporary, will be overtaken by what is eternal. Because of the reality of Jesus return, and and in due time, a new heavens and a new earth. Tragedies here don't have the last word. The glory of a new heavens and a new earth imperfection. incorruptible sinless has the last word. So yes, you mourn. But you mourn with the buttress behind your soul, that there is a better, eternal day coming. Those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing. And here is, here's that balance of yes, you can rejoice in the things here in this world, but it's not ultimate, it's not lasting. The joys here are fleeting, given by God, Mary very many times, but there is there is, there is a day of joy coming that's going to clip this day of joy. And so you are not tossed to and fro by morning or rejoicing, your soul is settled at peace, not overly chasing the joy, not overly overwhelmed by the morning, because of the great hope that's coming, those who buy as though they had no goods, yeah, you've got to buy stuff to live. You need new clothes, new gadgets, new tools, places to live. But they're going to disappear. You buy it because you're like, Yeah, I bought it, I don't really have it. Those who deal with the world because you're gonna have to deal with the world interactions with the world. He's not saying this is sinful, he's just like, you're live in a place, you're gonna have to deal with the place. Those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with in the world deal is different in the first in the second, so you're gonna have to have interactions with the world. But the second word has the idea of no preoccupation. There'll be preoccupied with the world don't have it as your central focus, like I'm focused on the here and the now and the next, and the next, and the next, have your focus on what is to come.

    You're not preoccupied, and here's the crux of it all. This time, this world has an alarm set, he uses for my alarm, set for a certain time every morning. God has an alarm set for Jesus return, has an alarm set for the new habits in the New Earth. And that clock is ticking, ticking, ticking, ticking. And one day, Jesus, this is this is the quote. And Hebrews will take out the worn out garment, the robes, and he will take them off, and he will replace them with new robes that are eternal and glorious. He's going to take this whole world like an old garment and replace it refabricate it to a new world, the present form of this world is passing away. And so you have to consider the challenges of marrying, possibly raising a family in a world that is temporary. So when you marry, you will mourn and you will mourn together. You will rejoice and you will rejoice together you will buy the things you buy you buy together, you will deal with life in this world together. And it's really easy to get preoccupied with the things of the world together. So married or single, you have to consider the challenges to undivided devotion to the Lord. Third, there's divided concerns and this is now he comes to the culmination of this argument. I want you to be free from anxieties. Just word Morem, not this this idea of anxiety is sometimes translated in sinful anxieties. Matthew chapter six, where you're anxious about what you're going to eat or what you're where Don't you know the Gentiles go after those. And so that's a sinful anxiety. But the Apostle Paul uses the same word for his concern and burden for all the churches. Just a deep concern. And I think that's what he's getting at here. Certainly we do it sinfully. And certainly we do it with deep burden and concern. I know lots of people have lots of concerns about issues of this life. I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord and how to please Lord, he's got a deep and abiding concern. How do I please the Lord who bought me how to be wholly devoted to him. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, you have both how to please your wife and how to please your spouse and how to please the Lord at the same time. And there is a tension that every person who has married understands because sometimes your spouse doesn't want to please the Lord but you still need to. Sometimes you want don't want to please the Lord and she wants you to these are realities. Says and his interests are divided.

    It's an obvious reality, to send Natalie Whitman on the mission field, she's single, she can live a certain kind of life. It's a certain kind of cost to her family that stays. But we've sent lots of married couples. And there's a certain kind of cost to go into the field married for wife and kids and all kinds of factors go into that. When should you be free from anxieties. I recently picked back up five English reformers. By JC Ryle, it's a highly recommended read. And there were five that were martyred under the reign of Bloody Mary, one of those Roland Taylor was married. And he had been to two years in prison, because Queen Mary wanted to reinstitute Roman Catholic superiority and dogma in the church and these reformers had broken away and he's, well, I can't do that. So he was imprisoned, his wife comes to him finding out that he's going to be burned at the stake, and she comes terrified, you're going to be burned at the stake. And she brings her daughter, her two daughters and herself to see rollin and rollin effectively says to her, my wife, I want you to be faithful to the Lord and serve Him and honor His Word. And she says, We want to be faithful to the Lord and serve him and honor him. John Bradford was executed five days separate from Taylor, different locations in front of their home church and home parish, they marched them to their home parish, and they burned them at the stake in front of their parishioners. He was single, imagine going to the steak, with your wife and your children looking and going to the steak. With just your congregation, both, obviously would be difficult. That's of course the words like none of you are even close to experiencing that. But when you have to say we are going to honor the Lord and do what's right before the Lord and it's costly, it's costly for you and it's costly for the rest. So you better consider what this is. He says about the unmarried or be troth woman, the unmarried or betrayed, The woman is anxious about the things of the Lord how to be holy and body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband, she has the same tensions. She wants to honor God in her body. That's That's the call out of the section and 620 She wants to please the Lord like he wants to please the Lord. But now you have a real tension. So he says, I say this for your benefit. Not the labor is any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. Here's what I want you to do. Be trolled. You're ready to get married, and you're marrying a believer. Are you ready for the cost of discipleship as a married couple? You have Christ, you have eternity. You have a hope and a reward. But there will be challenges here. Are you ready? And are you single? Are you married? Paul's not trying to make them guilty for wanting to get married, restrict marriage. He says marriage is not sin. He genuinely cares for them. And he wants to think through this. And if I'm going to be honest about the flaming propane bottle story. The fact that I was married, meant I had a partner who thought quickly about how to put the fire out. gave me options offered a hose offered a towel. That's the bottom line is there are different circumstances. There's different considerations. Paul considers marriage blessed. He touts it over and over. Look at the rest of his writings but he also says there's a cost and we should be sober about that. Christ is first and must be first. He is first and he must be first. We have brothers and sisters around the world in jail awaiting execution and their spouses pray with their churches beside them for freedom. But then comes the execution so are you ready for singular devotion? God in the easier things. So you'll be ready for the harder things. There are two good choices, marriage and singleness. It's true. There's two good choices marriage and singleness. But there's different seasons. If you look at the notes, let's apply this to the four kinds of people to those considering singleness for now. Like, you're either really young, and you don't want to be married, you're 14. And Mom and Dad, don't arrange my marriage yet. I'd like to get through college or through high school. Or you're a divorcee or a widow or widower, we're gonna get to that next week. You're single for now, what do you do? Now these four things apply to everybody. So let's just apply them to each one. What is devotion to the Lord look like? I want to secure devotion to the Lord. Number one, it is communion with the Lord. What is devotion to Lord communion with the Lord, I use the word communion not in a Catholic sense where we're taking Holy Eucharist, but I'm talking about the communication and I want to use communion. Because it's a picture of this deep unity that you have in fellowship with Christ. How do you do that? Well, we always talk about daily Bible reading, are you in your Bible? And it's not that you read your Bible today? It is that you hear Jesus speak today. Did you hear God speak? Have you heard God speak to you today? Where does he speak? Well, He speaks to us in His Word. Are you are you hearing from Jesus? Are you hearing from God and His Word? This part of devotion or then you're pouring out your heart to God and praise and thanksgiving for all the work that he's doing? And all the grace does he send? And are you pouring your heart out for for others who have great needs I, we had a focus group of singles to our house the other night, and there's very mature godly people, one of the one of the stories that I was reminded of is one of the singles, determined, I'm going to read through the through the Bible reading plan any year, and I'm going to journal about everything that I'm reading. And I'm going to I'm going to start paying attention to the prayer requests that show up for emergency things for missionaries. And so this person is reading it's about four chapters a day and there's journaling and there's praying and this single is keeping a list of of whatever shows up in the church it's a deep struggle and he's pouring his heart out over and over and over what was interesting was the statement you know, that's when my real battle for purity turn the tide because I was I wasn't trying for moral purity in a fight off. Pornography I just devoted to Lord Yeah, how long that takes four chapters journaling, that kind of praying hour hour and 20 minutes. You know, when you have when you start having kids immediately they don't care about your quiet time. They're hungry. They need a diaper change. They're three and they just want to talk all day. You know how hard it is to have an hour and 20 Quiet time when you got some little ones running around it's next to impossible just all day long is just one prayer helped me Lord Oh Lord help me out there's it's praying I'm praying all day. Oh Lord help me it's hard to pay attention to everything that shows up just got divided concerns so if you're considering singleness for now oh pursue that pursue killing of sin and sin habits. So devotion to the Lord four main areas YOUR COMMUNION WITH GOD second your family I take this from First Timothy five. If your blood family God has a special responsibility for blood family and I know a single set of singles, that act is Auntie or uncle and say to their married siblings who have a couple of kids, hey, when can I get the kids so you can have a coffee date, a date or just a plain time of thinking adult thoughts.

    I mean, as a single you can do really sweet things for your family. For the church and the fellowship when I say church I really mean that believing community. What the What the singles tell me over and over. And what I know over and over is I need the singles. The singles need me and we need to walk through life side by side. We need to be in each other's lives side by side, side by side. Right, that's why we have the side by side initiative in our, in our big picture. And so we need to keep cultivating that fellowship where we're transparent and we're honest, and where a single says in the second category considering wanting to be married, but not able to be married, and they'd be able to say, I really want to be married, it's really sad and hard to not be married, and you don't slap them be content. I mean, don't you know, did you can light yourself on fire. And, and it's just you that has to worry about that, which they're not comforted by. I would love a spouse when I light myself on fire. They're not, they're longing. Everybody has to deal with content issues, single or married. Everybody does. So consider how you can build others up in the community of the church, and then to finally is the community or what I would call evangelism. The four basic demonstrations of devotion to the Lord is your personal walk with the Lord communion, your family, the church, and the last. That's how you demonstrate devotion to the Lord. It's not self exaltation. It's because you've been bought with a price and you are loved eternally by God and you have an eternal destination. That the power of the love of God flowing through the Spirit of God enables you to express that devotion and selfless service, proclaiming the gospel to the people who desperately need it. So to those considering singles, for now, for those wanting and waiting to be married, pursue that if you're wanting and waiting to be married, don't be so obsessed about wanting and waiting to be married, that you're not pursuing maturity in Christ. If you're doing communion, family, church and community, that's the best way to be prepared for marriage, you'll be ready

    to the engaged. Our world engagements are usually shorter. You got a big wedding, and you're going to spend $10,000 to get great pictures, and a bunch of well dressed people $20,000 If you're going to feed them dinner I wish I was lying. Remember your devotion to the Lord. Because you're gonna have pictures and memories. But what you want is the Lord anchoring that relationship from marriage day till death day, to the married to all. You know if if you never get married in this life, you're not really missing out. And the most important thing because there's a marriage coming. There's a marriage coming mean in comparison to the marriage coming all this is preparation. So whether you're being prepared by being single, whether you're prepared in marriage. There is a great marriage day coming Jesus is going to split the skies, he is going to come with a Trump. Trump's going to sound and the dead and Christ will rise and the groom will meet the bride and there will be a wedding supper, all marriage and all singleness because all of life in this world is preparation for the life when Jesus comes in the great groom comes. When together we will all be with the Lord.

    So married, if crisis and trouble comes like a tsunami, what you need to tell each other is how are we going to cling to the Lord? How are we going to please the Lord? That's what you need to be concerned about. That's the first concern. How to please the Lord, how to proclaim the Lord. One of our very wise singles said this. The reality is we spend our whole lives saying goodbye to our hopes and dreams.

    But right in front of us are opportunities. And people we need to say yes to we need to say hello to and we need to believe that God is good. God is good. Because we take communion. This is the proof. This is the proof that God is good. We have a Savior who has given his life for us and shown his love.

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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