1 Corinthians 7:25-40 “Is Marriage for Me?”

Three issues to consider when considering getting married…

  1. Great CAUTION should be shown before marrying in these challenges times.  25-31

A.  Our times are troubled, marry or remarry only with great caution 25-28

25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 26 I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.

B.  The eternal perspective of our faith changes how we see everything… 29-31

1.  RELATIONSHIPS:  Our present understanding of marriage won’t last 29

29 But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;

2.  DEATH: Our weeping will not last 30a

30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; 30b

3.  HAPPINESS: Our joys will not last 30c

and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice;

4.  POSSESSIONS: Our purchases will not last 30d

and those who buy, as though they did not possess;

5.  CULTURE: Our various, worldly pleasures not last 31

31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

II.  There are inescapable CONCERNS that a marriage will face. 32-35

A.  The husband’s cares are now divided between the Lord and his wife 32-34a

32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided.

B.  The wife’s cares are now divided between the Lord and her husband 34b

The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

C.  Marriage adds great challenges to a life devoted to following the Lord. 35

35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

Unfortunately, in the history of Christianity, even to this day–the concerns that marriage partners carry towards one another have been viewed as a regrettable impediment to spiritual growth and health. Nothing could be further from the truth!  It is through the daily routines of kindness, comfort, and self-giving that make up a healthy marriage that amazing opportunities develop for the believer to grow closer to the Lord.  Paul is not chastising those who marry–he is simply pointing out a fact: a married person’s concerns ARE divided between the Lord and the spouse, but, the person’s loyalty and intimacy with the Lord are only strengthen and nurtured through obedient participation in the marriage relationship!  It is just as regrettable that person called to marriage would remain single as that a person called to singleness would force himself/herself to marry.

III.  There is the need to obtain proper CONSENT before entering into marriage.  36-40

A.  FATHERS:  Consent to arrange marriage for Christian daughters 36-38

Mike Aquiline, Director of the St Paul Center for Biblical Theology, describes some of the more horrible aspects of the culture of death that the ancient Mediterranean world devolved into during and after the years of the New Testament period of the church.  It was especially harsh for females.  Regarding the ancient institution of marriage, he writes,

And pagan marriage offered no respite from this misery. Greco-Roman women were usually married off at age 11 or 12, to a mate not of their choosing, who was often much older. (Christian girls tended to marry at about 18)  Afterward, they suffered in predatory relationships rife with contraception, abortion (which often killed the mother), adultery, and unnatural sexual acts. Infanticide was common, especially for female or defective offspring. Of the 600 families who show up in the records from ancient Delphi, only six raised more than one daughter. Though most of those 600 families were quite large, they had all routinely killed their baby girls. Dr. Rodney Stark quotes a letter from a pagan businessman writing home to his pregnant wife. After the usual endearments, he closes his letter by saying, briefly and casually, “If you are delivered of a child before I come home], if it is a boy, keep it, if a girl, discard it.” (Stark, The Rise of Christianity)

So, the decision on the part of a father in ancient Corinth of whether or not to “give” his daughter in arranged marriage was a very significant, vital decision to make.  As the Christian families increasingly opted to not participate in the marriage customs of the surrounding culture, keeping their daughters with their birth families for a longer duration—they began to be known for the high value and dignity that they placed on their sons, but especially on their daughters.

1.  To follow the cultural custom of arranging a daughter’s marriage is not a sin for a father. 36

 36 But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry.

Roman legal age of marriage for girls was 12, for boys it was 14 years of age. Most marriages were arranged by parents (husbands and wives). Faithfulness and harmony in the marriage were Roman ideals, and Christian parents also arranged their children’s marriages as did the surrounding culture.

2.  To decide not to follow the customs of the day was a good thing. 37

37 But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well.

3.  Summary: Freedom to do either, but a father does “better” to keep his daughter at home with her family longer than his surrounding culture did. 38

38 So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.

B.  Consent for WIDOWS to remarry 39-40

Note: These verses are not addressing the issues of remarriage faced by those who no longer are married (such as divorced or abandoned mates) or those who have never been married.  The verses appear to address those who have actually been widowed, and apply to those whose former mates are still formally recognized as “husbands.”

39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

C.  A good application for ALL of us regarding the consent to marry might to be be sure that we are in obedience to both our consciences and to the Bible.

Application: Singleness and Grace Bible Church

  1. The benefits of singleness will remain unrealized if you do not take advantage of them—the church community needs you! The mere opportunity to avoid the troubles of life that your married brothers and sisters face is not an invitation to live a care-free, happy-go-lucky life.  The mere opportunity to live a life of deeper devotion and spiritual pursuits does not mean that you are a St. Francis of the Singles—you still need to get your hands dirty in ministry. Use who you are, where you are, and how you are in life, right now!
  1. The burdens of singleness are unbearable when they are faced alone—you need the church community!  Isolation kills, and the mono-culturalism of only being with fellow singles or fellow young people stunts growth. Isolation intensifies temptation and relapse into harmful patterns and sin—you need the church to “rub shoulders” with friends, and to share your life with them, and to find the right kind of relational intimacy. The battle of loneliness shouldn’t be fought alone!  The answer to loneliness, particularly after the loss of mate, or a divorce or separation, is not to withdraw, and certainly NOT to seek another marriage relationship. It is to belong to the Lord, (like Paul) should you remain unmarried for the rest of your life or for a season—you need the church to share that life with!

 

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 7:8-16 God Loves Your Marriage!

Introduction:  Paul continues his words of encouragement concerning marriage, answering questions that he’d been asked by the Christians at Corinth.  In this section he addresses the marital concerns of three distinct groups:  Those who had been (but no longer were) married, those whose marriages were in crisis, and those whose mates did not share the Christian faith.  Our approach to these verse will be guided by the observation that they are not a source of God’s Laws concerning marriage, remarriage and divorce, but are instead an account of God’s deep Love for marriages of all sorts, and desire that all marriages would function at their fullest, richest capacity for intimacy, redemption, and peace.

I.  For those formerly married, either remain single and celibate, or remarry 8-9

8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.  9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

II.  For those Christian couples whose marriage are stressed 10-11

A.  Do not separate 10

10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband

B.  If presently separated, either remain single or reconcile with your mate. 11

11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.  

III.  For believers whose mates do not share their faith. 12-15

A.  If the non-Christian mate is satisfied—remain in the marriage. 12-14

12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.  

1.  The non-Christian mate is blessed (sanctified) to be married to a Christian.  14a

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband;

2.  Their children are sanctified in having a Christian parent 14c

for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

B.  If the non-Christian mate leaves the marriage, let them go. 15-16

1.  We are called by God to a life of peace 15

15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.…

2.  We cannot ensure that our non-Christian mates will be saved by our loyalty to the marriage. 16

16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

Application—What does this text mean for Grace Bible Church today?

1.  We are alert to the damage of the hardened heart.  10-11

  • Restated:       As Christians, we reject the very notion of dissolving our marriages or deserting our mates.
  • “…a hardened heart…” is the underlying reason that Jesus gave for the divorce of believer marriages.  While there are apparent provisions given in the NT for the divorce of Christians—forgiveness, acceptance, healing, and restoration are ALWAYS the preferred path to take in a marriage

2.  We honor the immeasurable worth and absolute legitimacy of marriages that are not united in faith.  12-13

  • Restated:  We wholeheartedly concur that all marriages, including those between Christian and non-Christian, are of precious in the eyes this church.
  • Many Christian ministries have done a pathetic job of ministering to their members who are in mixed marriages, and an even worse job of looking out for their non-Christian mates.

3.  We treasure the opportunity for blessing and salvation that a Christian spouse and parent offers their mates and their children. 14

  • Restated: We treasure the priceless opportunity to bring the blessing of God and hope of salvation into the lives of our mates and our children.
  • This is the Big Picture—the restoration of people to their Creator, the introduction of people to Jesus Christ.

4.         We accept the choices of our mates, but long for them to be saved.             15-16

  • Restated:  While we wholeheartedly give our affection and respect to our unsaved mates, we will also respectfully allow them to leave us should they so choose.  But…in our depths of our souls—we long for them to meet Jesus and find His salvation.

What We Owe Our Mates (1 Corinthians 7: 1-7)

Sermon: The Obligations of Christian Marriage

I.  Our marriages have an obligation of MUTUAL EXCLUSIVITY 1-2

1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good ” a man not to touch a woman. 2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

II.  Our marriages have an obligation of MUTUAL LOYALTY 3

3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

III.  Our marriages have an obligation of MUTUAL AUTHORITY 4

4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

IV.  Our marriages have an obligation of MUTUAL INTIMACY 5-6

5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But this I say by way of concession, not of command.

V.  Our marriages have an obligation of MUTUAL GRATITUDE 7

7 Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

Conclusion:  For Grace Bible Church…

1.  We define marriage by the Word of God, not our culture’s laws and practices.

2.  We promote healthy, physical intimacy in all marriages.

3.  We seek to care for and bless our mates with “fear and trembling” at the great responsibility of being a mate.

4.  We honor and recognize every gift from God—whether the gift of living in a marriage relationship or the gift of living a life of singleness.

2.16.14 Because We Say “I Do” Genesis 2:18-25

Big Idea: What do we mean when we say, “I do”?

Answer:  We mean to say that biblical marriage is a PROVISION given to us by God, a PATTERN for us to follow, and a PORTRAIT for us to enjoy.

I.  Marriage is a PROVISION given to people by God.  18-23

A.  The problem—Without a companion who corresponded to him, the man was incomplete in bearing the image of God. 18-20

18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; ” 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 

B.  The solution—Woman, a companion that corresponded to man. 21-23

21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

1.  Note the independence from man—women have a direct, personal relationship with God, exclusive of men.

2.  Note the unity with man—the marriage relationship is to retain a clear commitment to the unity between mates.

Application: Since marriage is a divine provision to address human incompleteness it must be received with humble gratitude and joy—like the gift that it was meant to be.

II.  A God-given PATTERN for marriage: Heterosexual, Independent, Permanent, Physically Intimate 24

24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

A.  Heterosexual = …a man…his wife

B.  Independent = …shall leave his father and mother

C.  Permanent = …shall be joined (cleave)

D.  Intimate sexually = the shall become one flesh

These attributes of biblical marriage exclude…

Polygamy = multiple wives

Polyandry = multiple husbands

Homosexuality= of the same gender

Application: Since marriage is a divine pattern given to man, it must be followed with precise obedience.

III.  The divine PORTRAIT of marriage is one of healthy, emotional intimacy between husbands and wives, and of the relationship between the Lord and His Bride, the Church. 25

A.  A healthy marriage is an experience of intimacy between a husband and wife

25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Application: Since marriage is a divine portrait of joyful intimacy, it is meant to be gratefully enjoyed as a blessing from God.

B.  A healthy marriage provides a matchless portrait of the love that exists between Jesus and the church.

Eph 5: 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

Conclusion: How are we at Grace Bible Church to respond to this truth?

1.  Gratitude for the provision of marriage.  We did not create marriage—it was given to us, by a loving Creator.

2.  Obedience to the pattern given to us for marriage.  Like Jesus, and the Apostles Paul and Peter, we must glean principles from the account of this first, historical marriage celebrated by human beings.

3.  Rejoicing that when we have Christ, we have the Groom, and need never despair of our failings, and our disappointments in this life, and in our marriages.

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