Undistracted Devotion Part 2

1 Corinthians 7:36–40

Posted by Dan Jarms on August 13, 2023
Undistracted Devotion Part 2
00:00 00:00

John 4 and the woman at the well 

Main Idea: In any state of marriage or singleness, pursue undivided devotion to the Lord.

  1. Compelled to get married
  2. Not compelled to get married
  3. Widowed

Summary: In any state of marriage or singleness, pursue undivided devotion to the Lord. That is when you will be happiest!


  • To the single
  • To the engaged
  • To the married
  • To leaders and disciplers
  • Automated Transcription
  • 0:13
    Please stand with me for the reading of God's Word. As we do that, let me offer a welcome to all those who are visiting with us. I saw a number of visitors have met some of you on your way in and we're so glad that you're here. We want you to be encouraged this morning, and faith Bible Church, make sure you're looking around to greet and extend a welcome. Lots of people are coming and thinking about connecting. So invite somebody to lunch to coffee to your growth group, do your growth, group picnic, whatever it might be, so that we can connect to various people as they come. So we're glad glad that you are here. You'll notice when I pray in just a minute after we read God's word, there's some significant needs around the the Nelson family with Jenna Nelson, going home at just 21. At 21 years of age going home to be with the Lord was a bit of a shock last week, we're going to pray for her family. And we're going to pray for our campers who are away. And for the staff as well as the devastation of things that are going on in Maui, we'll probably have some relationships to connect to if you want to donate to that that'll come as soon as we can pull up those details together in the next coming days. So lots of things to keep going in your prayers, as well as the ministry that's going on right here. We're in First Corinthians chapter seven. And we round out Paul's teaching about sex marriage singleness, in chapter seven, with the final set of expectations to engaged couples be troth, technically as well as to widows and widowers. And Paul has some really important help for us as we look at it here. Let me read it. And then I will pray. If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward us be trode. If his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes, let them marry. It is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity, but having his desire under control, and is determined this in his heart to keep her as his Detroit, he will do well. So then he who marries his Detroit does well and he who refrains from marriage will do even better. Life is bound to her husband as long as he lives but her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes only in the Lord, that in my judgment, she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I to have the Spirit of God. This is the word of the Lord. Hopeful father, you are great. You show your greatness over all the things that you have made, and your greatness and mercy and grace over all the things that you have redeemed all the people. Lord Jesus, we thank you for redeeming us, for yourself. And as this passage has been telling us, we belong to you and belonging to you means great security for us, as well as an obligation to please you in all respects. And I pray that we would we pray that you would be comforting the family of Jenna Nelson, who passed away with a really serious infection. Far too young by our standards, but she with you, is now full of joy. We pray for our campers, the kids youth are away and their leaders, give them wisdom. Security, pray for Steven Angliss who is doing the preaching, all things must be centered on your word, because that's how you create new life and you change life. So help that and I pray for all the people, all the victims of the terrible fires in Maui in Hawaii. Pray that you had great give comfort us the churches there. And if we can have good relational connection with churches, rally our support for that as well. We ask all this in Christ's name. Amen. You may be seated. All right, one more thing that I want to do before we jump in is we celebrate two kinds of things at Faith Bible Church. One is engagements and other our 50th anniversaries. And we have a couple of 50th anniversaries. We have one this week. And there's another one coming up we're really excited about but Chris and Charlie Kopp have been married or will be married this week. 50 years. Where are they would you stand right there

    congratulation So, congratulations. You two are an example to us. Keep, keep going, you're bound to him, you're bound to him as long as you live. So as long as he lives, keep going. Alright, when we take a look at this passage, one of the things just has come to my mind this week is what do you do when you don't like what a passage says? We're Christians, we love all passages. Okay, let's be honest. Because this happens to non Christians, sometimes so much that they reject everything about God. It happens to Christians, because sometimes we read something we go Hi, that's hard. I don't like it. I watched it on the face of my granddaughter last week because I taught in her kindergarten Sunday school class and I had the G rated version of the story of Esther. And with pictures walked through the story of Esther and it's a great story. Fantastic story the best one of the best written dramas ever King a hacer Waris at the end of the story has the Jewish arch enemy Haman hanged on 50 foot gallows and I had all these illustrate you know the the curriculum was handed to me I had all these illustrations. Thankfully, Haman wasn't hanging from the gallows. That the last set of pictures it was just a 50 foot set of empty ropes. But my granddaughter was looking at me like pesty I didn't think we were supposed to kill people. It's true, Remy? We are not supposed to kill people. Like I could just see an interview. I don't like it. It doesn't seem right. So what do you do? When you see a passage and you say I don't like it as we go through this passage. People who are married and singles who want to be married, but God's giving them no prospects to be married, both look at this and go I don't like it. Six times. In chapter seven, Paul essentially says singleness is better. Married say No, it isn't. singles who want to be married? And you know they have all the loneliness struggles that we got married to avoid. singleness singles say, No, it isn't. So anytime you see scripture and you don't like what it says you have some options. Option one is to reject it, or twist it to say something that you want it to say. You start when you do that you start reducing God into something that you can manage or control. And functionally what you do is you turn God into a pagan idol. Something that you craft. Now this, to me seems very unwise, seems very unwise, to concoct God out of your imagination. And from God's perspective, it is blasphemy. The second option is better, you could reexamine the passage more carefully to see that what you think it's saying? It's really saying? Because sometimes you read a passage, you don't like it, and you reread and go, Oh, it's not saying what I thought it was really saying. And so your concerns are relieved. And the third thing that's often the cases you could say to yourself, This is hard. This is hard. What is God trying to teach me? Remember this, the Bible is a word of grace. And often, when it seems hard, is when God is going to uncover and show you grace that you didn't even know you need it. Acts 2030 to Paul's final words to the elders at Ephesus, he says to them as he told them some very hard things. False teachers are going to come in like wolves and they're going to destroy their seat just destroy the sheep. And he says this and now I commend you to God into the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. In the Apostle Paul's mind. In God's mind, he gives word His Word as a word of grace that is for your favor for your help. The psalmist in Psalm 19 seven says the law of the Lord is perfect reviving the soul. It is forgiving life. So let me propose this out of this passage, Paul really does want your happiest happiness. Paul really does want your happiest happiness. And so if you're reading this, and you're willing to hear Paul, let him steer you to your happiest happiness. We're rounding out Paul's teaching about devotion to Christ. Sex Marriage singleness, from this chapter. Here, here's what's interesting. Starting in childhood, we find it remarkably easy to make a person, an idol, an idol, something we worship serve. And therefore, we expect to get something back from a very early age, we can become infatuated with somebody, they obsess our minds and, and often that person has no interest in you, but you are still infatuated. That's a kind of idolatry, service or worship in your mind. In dating, you can make a boyfriend or a girlfriend an idol like that you're just obsess about that person. And engagement, you can turn your fiancee into an idol or the marriage ceremony itself into an idol. And a marriage naturally, you can make a spouse an idol, because an idolatry you serve and worship a person who can give you something back that you really want. And idolatry puts you in control of your so called deity. But I want to tell you, there's really good news for relational idolaters. Because Because here's the reality, if you put your hope in the human relationship, they're going to disappoint you. And I don't mean like in the next two weeks, like they're going to die. Even if you get married, they're going to die. And only Jesus Christ is going to live on and fill your heart for eternity. Yes, there's going to be a resurrection but not to marriage. So there's good news for relational idolaters you might be here today and you're suffering horrible disappointment in a marriage that's gone wrong, or you are have horrible disappointed because there's no marriage prospects you you might be so consumed by other things in your relationship and find yourself so profoundly empty. I wish I had time to unpack John for story of the Samaritan woman at the well Jesus shows up to her so at some point, you can go read it, but I just want to relate this part of the story. Jesus shows up at a Samaritan town middle of the day he's thirsty. He wants to draw water. And here comes this woman and she engages in a conversation a little surprised that a Jewish man would even talk to her. And she wants to talk theology. I heard that, you know my tradition. It's we we worship on this mountain. But in your tradition, you worship at Jerusalem. He wants to talk theology. And here's what's interesting that Jesus does. I'll talk theology but first, I want to find out your theology, through your relationships. Once you go get your husband will talk theology. And she says, I'm not married. And Jesus says to her all knowing Jesus says to her here right to say that you have had four husbands and the one you're living with right now, is not your husband.

    Here the metaphor there is who He who believes in Jesus will taste the living water which will rise up and give life you will become a fountain of living water. She has been digging the well for her soul satisfaction in a marriage relationship. And it is never satisfied. She repents of that idolatry. She goes into town she tells everybody this man's told me everything about me like all the sin And Jesus didn't reject her. He welcomed her as he was going to she was going to trust him as her ultimate satisfaction. We can do that in human relationships, Paul is well aware of the challenge. That's what he's been trying to tell us about the difficulty of getting married and having split concerns. But what he wants in the end is our happiest happiness that is to have our supreme satisfaction and devotion in the Lord, whether married or single. At the heading of this whole section in First Corinthians 620, and 21, he says, You are not your own, you have been bought with a price there glorify God with your body, having been bought by Jesus by His precious blood for forgiveness and possession. We're secure in Jesus, and we are united to Jesus and he's united to us. We have the great groom already. So now, verse 23, repeats it in our chapter you were bought with a price, you are bought with a price, you belong to God. So this is where you need to seek your soul's devotion, and greatest satisfaction in the glory of the gospel in this and this is for you. If you have not trusted Jesus has paid the price for sexual sin. Jesus has paid the price for idolatrous relationships sin. And if you've repented and trusted him, you're forgiven, and you're secured in him forever. And so if you haven't, I would urge you trust Christ, repent and trust Christ. And as you devote yourself to him, you'll find how to truly honor him.

    The big idea for the section, the main point of the section, this smaller one that we're looking at is this in any state of marriage or singleness, whether you're married or single, pursue undivided devotion to the Lord in any state, married or single pursue undivided devotion to the Lord, we have an error in our day, we have a problem in our day, that a man or woman is looking for completeness in one or the other. And there's in some senses nothing wrong with that. But we don't ask ourselves the question, we don't press for the question, Will I serve the Lord better married to this person or single we don't make our service to the Lord and our devotion to the Lord first in our mind. This is what Paul is driving at? Is that the case? Are you married than our if you're married together? Are you making devotion to the Lord and satisfaction in the Lord, the first thing that you pursue together as a couple. And if you're single, and you want to be married, Paul says it's fine to be married. It's good to be married as that driving you. So whatever state you're in, seek to honor God first. That is the greatest commandment You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. That's commandment number one. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. But Jesus should be our first love. And here's part of his point. In this he is driving that he is exposing application to that principle, is that what you're seeking? If you're married, Christ should be at the center of all that you do. If you're engaged, Christ should be at the center of all you do. If you're single Christ should be at the center of all you do. That is the happiest place to be. So he's going to talk to three sets of people, those who are compelled to be married soon, we're going to talk about the betrayal. Those who are not compelled to be married soon that is there be trouble in the marriage, they can wait and widows, widowers, those who have been married, their spouse dies, what do they do next? We're gonna apply that to divorce, ease, and a Biblical sense, also, but those are the categories of people. So let's jump in with this in any state married or single pursue and divided devotion to the Lord. So first, let's talk about talk to the people who are compelled to be married soon. compelled to be married soon, in many circumstances, what glorifies God most actually depends on properly honoring other people. In this case, the fiancee. So there might be a moral obligation, there might be something compelling. Look at verse 36. We've got to deal with some technical difficulties. We'll try to get through those clearly and succinctly. And then we'll apply the major principles. Verse 36. If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his be trode and here's how, listen how I'm translating this. If she is at her prime, and it has to be let him do as he wishes, let them marry It is no sin. Now you just if you have the ESV, if you have the older NASB, if you have the NIV, you'll notice that I just said words that are different than in your text, like what is what's going on here? This is a notoriously difficult section to translate. There's at least five problems. Let's rush through them. First of all, if anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his be truth, the He who is that is that the man who's engaged betrayed, or is that the father? Do we have a new topic? And remember, Paul's day this day, marriages were arranged, they were family arrangements, so he could be talking about the Father. Consider the situation. I tend to not think so because I don't think he's moved on from the earlier topic that started this back in verse 25. So I think the he is the engaged man. Remember, the trouble periods? snaps out of Jewish betrothal period was about a year families would agree that pic the spouses some Yenta was involved, and she got a little payment, and they picked up the spouse a dowry was given. They were considered married, but yet not having consummated that engagement took a year. If you were in a Roman situation that could go on here or two years, does he have a job? Is she old enough? Because they would often engage their kids, they'd be trode their kids 12 1314. And nobody's ready to be married yet, then. So in this case, I think he's talking about the man who's betrayed not behaving properly toward her thing because he's not honoring her. He's He's concerned that I will disrespect or dishonor her or the family be troubles or about families, making bonds through the marriage. So here's what's going on this man who's be troth, they haven't set the wedding date proper. He is thinking through now with this controversy, there's a controversy going on. There are some people in Corinth who are saying, you know, it's better to not marry at all, because sex always leads to sin. So it's better to abstain from sex. And all of a sudden, all these people married people engaged, people are going like, Well, should we get married or not? There's this controversy. Paul clears all of that up. And now we're asking the question, should we go ahead and get married? Well, here's one of the ways you know, what's going on with all the people in the situation? Is he is he honoring her? Are we honoring the family? Are we honoring her, it's, and then this this, it in the ESV, it says his passions are strong, but literally, the word is at the top, which if you apply it to a girl would be at her prime. So there was always a sense in that culture that at a certain age, she is past her prime, and we're concerned with what grandparents were concerned with grandbabies. So get her married, let her have start a family. She's young, and she's got energy. That's how I take it. Because I think he's already dealt with the sexual issue earlier. So I think he's thinking of another issue that to add to it. So if she is at her prime, and it has to be and here's, here's that issue, it has to be it must be, it's of necessity. So what's going on that Paul's talking about? There are a lot of reasons you have to press forward. Maybe the family is counting on it. Maybe there have been agreements made? Maybe there's a date set on the calendar for a wedding day. And you've already spent a lot of money. He's not talking about breaking the betrothal, because earlier, he says, you know, if you're beetroots, you should probably stay with it. It's not absolute, but I would encourage that remain as you are. Now, what's the principle for that, since that's kind of a foreign concept towards here's the principle for it. It's just let him do as he wishes, let them marry it is no sin. There are many situations in life where you have 123, you have six options, and all of them can glorify the Lord. We can we tend to think that God has one singular will, like, the middle of a circle, and we have to find the dot and if we're not on the dot, then we've got it wrong. But here Paul says actually, there are two equal situations in front of you both which glorify the Lord one of your key considerations is are you thinking about and loving All of the people who are involved. But what training is this for marriage, if you do indeed get married, learning how to think not just about yourself and for yourself, but for the other people among you, that's going to make you a great husband or a great wife. If as you want to glorify the Lord, you consider the needs of the people around you, not just your own. That's true here. Frequently having to talk to growth group shepherds. Most of our growth groups have singles in them. singles who get interested in another person who start down the road to marriage. Are you helping your singles learn how to make decisions that aren't just for yourself? In this case, it's no sin, it is good. And actually, in this case, the apostle Paul is going to say, you will glorify God more. In fact, you'll probably be happier to fulfill these because this is the compelling, this is a compelling reason.

    When making big decisions, do you consider what is the most loving to the people around you? Or do you think only about the self. So this applies to singles, who are lamenting that there's no one to marry? This applies to people who have been married for 50 years. This applies to everybody to good choices, in front of you marry or don't marry, depending on your reasoning, both honor God. So this involves thoughtful deliberation, to please the Lord. And if you want to pause and go for it, if you want to get married, get married. And he talks to the second set of people, those compelled not those not compelled to be married. Second case begins verse 37. This person's not compelled verse 37, we still have some translation difficulties. But we'll get through those first 37 Whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity, but having his desire under control, and as determined in his heart to keep her as his be truth, he will do well. Here there's this, this emphasis on thinking firmly established has to do with taking a mental stand about something. And it's from the heart. Notice that the hearts mentioned two times, established in his heart, determine this in his heart, he has done careful, thoughtful consideration. The phrase that I want you to focus in on is this being under known necessity. So in this case, there's no immediate moral obligation to rush into the marriage or to schedule the ceremony. There's no immediate obligation. We haven't set a date. And there's all kinds of things that there could be which I love that Paul just leaves us the principal, so you can think through it. And their day, she's still 14, we're supposed to wait another year or two anyway, we're no need to rush into this. I need a job. I've got to finish university. She's got to finish sooner. I'm all kinds of situations, there's no necessity, we're not in a hurry. This phrase having his desire under control, because of the context, the translators in the ESV make it sound like sexual desires, which we've already heard about. But what is this this word desire in Greek, this fellow or what that it's always actually about the inner will or decisions, wishes, this isn't sexual, almost, you almost never find this word, tied to sexual desire. What he is talking about is that he has the freedom to make a choice, according to his own desires, or his own wishes, or his own will. And what he's done is said I'm going to keep her as my Botros. We're not going to hurry up and get married. Because he in some way, wants to serve the Lord for a time, some way wants to mature for a time, I want to finish my degree in our context, you might say, Yeah, I want to get some Bible training, or I want to get some missionary training or I want to, I want to get more disciple I need to grow up a little bit. Keeping her as his Botros. We're not going to call off the engagement. But I do want to serve the Lord. And so what you see is deliberate sound wise thinking persons firmly established in his heart. He set a course of action, having given it a lot of thought. Again, the modern way to date and get married is you find somebody who's got a great smile. Kind of funny. You enjoy that. I use this all the time. They like pizza and you like pizza. They like music. I like music. Because everybody does. Smile pizza. They call themselves a Christian. Well, we're in like, Let's get married.

    Let's slow down a little bit.

    Is anybody asking the question? Are we better serving the Lord together? Or am I better serving the Lord single? Who knows me who knows this person? So in this case, there's lots of reasons for waiting to better prepare him or better prepare her to be married to serve the Lord together. In verse 38, leads our final person but it's still in the category of not compelled verse 38 says, So then he who marries his be troth does well, great, get married, you do well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better. So there are some situations where deciding not to get married, or calling the marriage off and saying, all right, I'm returning the dowry. The girl is not too old, there is no great financial hardship. Remember, the kids rarely loved each other. When the engagement happened, they were arranged marriages. Mom and dad helped me pick Yenta helps me pick people helped me pick and I accept the will of God. So the girls like, Yeah, I mean, my heart's not really in it. It's okay. With that freedom, this person could say, maybe for now, my life serving the Lord would be better for me. And I am free to pursue him his will. Something he wants me to do. So we have this phrase, he refrains from marriage, we'll do even better. Now here's what we don't like. Right when reread it? Is Paul saying that the best thing is singleness? Is that what he's saying? It's better to be single? Well, yes, and no. Here's a really important distinction that I hope you can get in your mind. And every growth group leader, you're gonna have to think through this every staff member of youth and college ministry, you're gonna need to be clear on this. Because I guarantee this is going on. And there's somebody married who's like, oh, no, I am way better married than I was single, or there's some single who is really hurt by this because they really want to be married, they know they'd be better married, and there's no prospects like, the scene in my mind that I've used before is elastic girl in the first Incredibles, just seething so like when she shows up, or he shows up, like I didn't like what that sermon was about. I didn't like what the pastor said, You need to have an answer about what Paul is saying, here's the distinction. Individually, it may be better and more pleasing to God to get married. He just listed out these principles to think through. But functionally, when it comes to your first love, your first devotion functionally might be well, better for you to be single, why? Read the verses ahead. You've got all kinds of competing things when you're married. So individually, might be better to be married, functionally might be better to be single. Remember, he's writing in a culture in an age where you just you just put your name like you know, my name is Robert black, and I am going to give it to Yenta. And she is going to go find me a spouse, spouse, it was like she was just going to happen. So what do we do? If you are a 40 year old single who doesn't have a choice or a 50 year old widow or widower who doesn't have a choice? There are no prospects. While I feel a longing to be married, you might be saying and have a family. What do I do? A marriage can be hard. singleness can be hard. Singles may feel a $40 need a married might feel a $20 need. What's the answer to this? What's the answer to this? The answer isn't to tell the singles that it's really hard to be married. They're going like I would love some of that hard to answer is all your needs $40 need $20 Our need are all actually ultimately met in Christ. You belong to the Lord, you belong to the Lord, all your soul needs is in the Lord.

    I mean, if you're married right now, you're sitting there, you could look at your spouse and you're like, you're gonna die on me

    you're gonna die on me be a pretty bad idea to put your ultimate hope and a spouse that's going to die on you. So go to Jesus, who meets those needs. So Paul, saying if you're single, you have a little more time and you have a little less distraction. So without time and less distraction, go to Christ to meet that Dean. Let the ache be What draws you to Christ instead of the ache be what makes you bitter that you're not getting what you hoped for. Remember, this isn't your passage. If you're a 50 year old widow, or a 50 year old widower looking for your spouse to get this isn't your passage. Second Corinthians, one, two through 10 Is your passage, to be comforted in Christ who comforts us in all our afflictions. That's your passage. And it's there Christ is a comfort. What is a comfort in this passage, since you were bought with a price, you belong to Christ, you have Him for eternity. So he talks to those who are compelled to be married, it's good, you're compelled, Your Honor God that way, you're not compelled to be married. It's fine to wait for the engagement to be fulfilled. If it works out and it doesn't dishonor anybody, you're free to break the engagement or the betrayal, and serve the Lord singly. Finally, he talks to the widowed, the widowed, which would apply to the widower, and I'm going to apply it to the biblical divorcing in just a second. Verse 39, a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes only in the Lord. So here Paul simply describes the reality of being married when you were when you get married, you've made a covenant before the Lord to that person, and it's a sacred bond before the Lord to that and you have a you're you're bound together, it's a legal idea you're legally bound.

    But if one of the spouse dies, notice how quick he rushes into it even

    if her husband dies, she is free to be married, to whom she wishes. The widow usually had a lot more say in the second marriage. She's free to be married to who she wishes, which is the same word that was used earlier desires under control. But here's the one you need to circle only in the Lord. Which yes means that every Christian single should seek a Christian to marry. It certainly means that but sprays means a lot more this little only in the Lord is a pact of statements a heavily freighted statement.

    This means that a person recognizes that they belong to the Lord that they're united with Christ and Christ is united to them. They are no mere professing Christian, but they're a faithful Christian. We tend to use Rob Greene's tying the knot for premarital, and the opening chapter says that the person that you're seeking, if you're a Christian should be a Christian, but just not a professing Christian, but actually a faithful Christian. A faithful Christian, so let me give some brief guidance for divorcees, widows, widowers, let me let me talk about divorces really quick. What we would say in some reform, here's our biblical principle, that if a divorce was biblically permissible, than remarriage is biblically permissible, if a divorce was permissible, remarriage is permissible. If a divorce wasn't biblical, but the other spouse is remarried, now there is a biblical permissible, but you need to marry in the Lord. Same with the widow Same with the widower, one spouse dies, the other can marry. But what do I look for? So I said at the outset of this series, that if you're single and you're looking to be married, and there's no fish in this pond, you need to fish in another pond. And I said, you can go ahead and Use a Christian dating app. I know, terrible. You do it anyway, just without my permission. As if you need my permission. Here are four things that the dating app will not tell you. And you really need to consider these growth groups Shepherd, college staff, Shepherd. These are four essential things. First one, does this person have an active, intentional, disciplined communion with God? Active, intentional discipline, communion with God. I like that. That sort of loftier idea of communion with God, this person goes to God's word to hear from God to hear from because this is where God speaks. They go with listening hearts and ears to God's word, and they listen, and then they pray to God, they pour out their heart to God, they, they have a growing and robust prayer life. So I mean, you're you, you looked at the app, and you found the person and you all the boxes, check. They like music, you like music? They're a Christian. Let's go on a date, first date. So what are you reading in your personal devotions? And the person says, oh, you know, I kind of just, you know, pray as I go through the day. And so like, what what is your devotional life look like? What do you do every day else? Let's do you know, it's not really consistent. Sounds good. You should be. So like, Do you have a consistent quiet time? Yeah, I probably should do that. I'm not really good at that. Who's next on the dating app? No second date. I want you to hear that. No second date. If this person doesn't have an active pursuit of Christ, no second date. You know, we can talk again someday in the future, when you're actually following Jesus. This person's in the Lord belongs to the Lord knows they belong to Lord and pursues the Lord. Number two, the person is humble and transparent about sin and growing in Christ's likeness. Humble and transparent about sin and growing in Christ's likeness. Third, this person has a biblical understanding of doctrine, and membership commitments of a local church, the person has a biblical understanding of his church's doctrine or her Church's doctrine, and why she's a member there. date number one has a quiet time. Awesome. date number two, oh, he's really humble about where he's struggling. She's really stumbled out very struggling. Number three, not committed to a local church. If the person says, I'll go to church with you. Maybe we shouldn't hurry this relationship. Because if you don't know where your doctrine is, and this person doesn't know where their doctrine is, you're in for a mess when you get married. Number four, this person makes disciples through evangelism and service because they're members in a church. They're committed. I mean, how often does this happen? I hear about it. I see it. divorcees, widowers. widowers, never married singles. They settle for a great smile. A Labrador Retriever devotion and a shared love a bowling. Yeah, I like to bowl you'd like to ball well, it is obvious that you are the only two you are set apart for God because you both like bowling. And I'm kidding, I gotta have the four bowlers in the room are going to come and tease me about that. But it can be it could be biking, could be hiking could be whatever. And they're all great. Like you should enjoy each other. But that doesn't mean the others in the Lord doesn't mean the other is in the Lord. Even though they'll start going to church with you. Only in the Lord belonging to the Lord and the implications that it means to be a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. See if the person's not a committed member of a church and they say they love Jesus. I don't think their their love for Jesus is very high, or very deep. Because if you love Jesus, you'll love his people and as people gather in the church and you'll commit yourself to a church

    Verse 40, he says yet in my judgment, she is happier if she remains as she is. There it is, again, Paul, happier. I mean, now he said the word happier, she will be happier if she remains as he is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God. Paul is speaking as an apostolic delegate the mouthpiece of Jesus. It's what an apostle is when he speaks in that role. I think he would be happier. Paul, what in the world? Do you mean happier? Like, how can this be? It's the same word that heads up all of the words in the Beatitudes. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Bless it are those who are persecuted, happier are those who are persecuted. Wait, wait a second. What do you mean happier? Because their reward is the kingdom of heaven. What is Paul saying here? Happier. You can't be serious, Paul. I mean, here I am single. If I get cancer, I get cancer alone. If my parents get old and die, I have to care for them and grieve for them alone. You can't be serious. Paul, do you know how hard it is to be single? And the Apostle Paul's probably in his 50s says, Actually, I do know how hard it is to be single. I know how hard all those things are. And he's gonna bring it up in chapter nine, when he talks about forgoing the right to be married like Peter and the other apostles did. Cool, Paul, I have three kids, and I have to raise them on a loan. Ha, gotcha there. Paul is like, fair enough. I do not know what it's like to be a single parent having to raise my kid rich kids on you. But I do know this. The one person who will satisfy your soul is not another spouse. It's Jesus Christ. Who by His covenant has married himself to you. The fullness and true Soto soul satisfaction cannot come circumstantially in something you possess, in some kind of status you achieve here on Earth, or in a relationship with another person. It's only in union with Christ. And so to be simple, only Christ can ever make you truly happy, truly blessed. It is Christ to His said, Behold, I am with you, even to the end of the age. Matthew 2820. Hebrews 13 Five, I will never leave you nor forsake you have a spouse that you get, either you're gonna die, they're gonna die. Or one of you might be unfaithful and leave the other alone. Like I mean, those are the painful, difficult realities of the curse on the earth, but Jesus never will. So this is why he can say, this is how I think you'd be happier. Because your devotion will be to Christ. So back to what we said, individually, you may glorify God. Because you, as a couple have said, we're going to devote ourselves to Christ first, we might be actually happier in full devotion, married, but functionally you may do better serving and enjoying God's things single. So let me bring it back to the beginning when considering marriage. We don't often ask whether we will serve God better by by being married, or by staying singles. But we should ask the question, we should ask the question. I remember three conversations over three lunches. At the Masters college when I was a new student, I was convinced that I would be better off serving the Lord married to Linda because every lunch all she wanted to talk about what she was learning about Jesus, how she was being challenged to grow, and how she was trying to disciple the little group of junior highers that she was in youth group with. And I thought when I was first a Christian, and I wanted to get married, that I would just take anybody who really loved the Lord, and I thought knowing how I look, I don't have high expectations about how she looks. I would not expect a beautiful woman to be attracted to me. But she was gorgeous like and she eventually ducked me It's like snow brainer, I'm going to do this. But she wanted us to love the Lord and serve the Lord her whole life. So to summarize to the married here's the questions that you need to be asking each other. Are we glorifying God in our devotions? Our marriage, our ministry, our family and our community is are we doing that? Is that what we're sold out for? Are we just biding our time raising the kids biding our time waiting for true happiness? I mean, called retirement. I mean, are we what did we live in for? To the engaged? Are you first seeking a spouse that will help you follow Christ and serve him better? Are you seeking to be the kind of person that points the other to Christ by your words and service? To the single Are you taking advantage of this time in your life to maximize your joy in the Lord? It may not be what you wish right now. But are you doing that and to the growth group, youth, college youth, youth staff, college staff to the married FBC? You just got to remember, there's 1000 ways it's very hard to be single and alone. And so sometimes there's a single in your life, who needs Jesus, as we used to say, in the old days with the skin on, he needs somebody in the body of Christ. For loving, compassionate, helpful relationship. So what do you do when you read Scripture? And you don't like what it says? First, you make sure it says what you really think it says. And second, you say, God, how is this a word of grace? How is this a word of grace? Here Paul is driving at a point of my happiness is ultimately in Christ, I must pursue that with a plan for happiness as a couple is ultimately in Christ, we must pursue that if happiness as a single is ultimately in Christ. And Christ actually wants me to pursue that Christ actually wants you happy. Paul actually wants you happy, but happy in him. And so therefore this is a word of grace. That's a word of grace. How is this a word of grace? Our team this week had some really good points. Here's a word of grace. Closing out chapter seven, God knows our weaknesses. And he has provided for our weaknesses in marriage. What a God of grace. God knows our weaknesses and can strengthen us to control our desires for single for singleness. That's a word of grace. God could require his people all to marry or he could require all of them to remain single, but he doesn't require that he actually gives you multiple options, all which can glorify Him. To light him serve him. A woman or a man committed in the covenant of marriage is a grace. I mean, it's listed here is bound, but think about it. They've made a lifelong covenant of marriage and there is security and provision. There's companionship. There's the shared way to parenting if God gives your children God's account of grace. God allowing widows and widowers to remarry divorcees to remarry. That's grace. He didn't have to allow that. This is a word of grace, reminding us of one preeminent thing to pursue Him and be satisfied in him who has bought us. Let's pray. Father, thank You for this word. And I pray as we hear it, that you'd give us a great wisdom with our brothers and sisters who are single, together as married. There are a lot of marriages here where one or the other has a bitter chuckle in their heart to be Oh, yeah, it'd be easier to be single, because their marriage isn't going well. Help them with that. And now by by this help us be more able to encourage more able to evangelize, we're able to come alongside those who have challenges in any situation. It's in Christ's name we pray. 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.

View Resources by Dan Jarms
Resource Tags
More From This Series