The Christian Marriage (1 Corinthians 7)

April 23, 2023

Series: 1 Corinthians

Amen. Thank you Malik. We are blessed to have so much talent in this church. And thank you to all of you who serve but in a special way. To the singers this morning. Before I get into the lesson here for today, I want to say thank you to the Matt and Matt Show this morning. Or I should say the Matthew and Matt show. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. We do things like that to inspire you. We want to inspire you with what God will do in your life. And sometimes it takes more courage than you realize to come up here and do what they did. They made it look pretty easy, but it can be nerve wracking at points. So thank you guys in a very special way. Also, I wanted to let you know I got a text just a few minutes before service asking for prayers for Edgar Claudio. He was admitted to ER with chest pains and cardiac related symptoms. So let’s say a prayer for Edgar before we go on. Father, we know there are lots of needs in our church. There are needs if we were to go around the room.

I’m sure there’s something going on in all of our lives, and yet in a very special way, we want to bring before you our dear brother Edgar with his health issues. Be with him and his health. Help his body to respond well to whatever form of treatment he’s given so that he can be back with us very soon. Thank you so much for the ways that he serves ushering and helping outside with parking and doing so many other things. Thank you for him and Vicky and their family. Bless him during this time. We pray in Jesus name, amen.

All right. Okay. Last week was singles. Now if you’re single, don’t check out, because what I’m going to say about marries will affect you at one point, all right? Because the Bible makes it clear that marriage is good for most of us. And we’re going to talk about that a little bit today. And so we’re going to talk about marriage. We’re going to look at the institution of marriage. We’re not going to talk about, like, the retreat that’s coming up. That’s going to be all about maybe communication and domestic support and all of those things.

How do you deal with finances? This is not a how to today. This is more the basics of what the Bible teaches about marriage. And we’re going to jump into it, guys. So we’re going to go there. We’re going to go there because Paul goes there and what he has to say in chapter seven. In marriage, two people become one flesh. Okay? Paul says it’s a profound mystery, but he’s talking about Christ and the church. God compares it to that. And he also talks about the crisis that they win. What do we know about Corinth? A very sexualized kind of a society. They had the temple of Aphrodite there, where temple prostitutes would regularly ply their trade in the city. And the word Corinth was just synonymous with sexual abuse and messing up big time. And you have to be careful. That’s how bad it was. And so Paul addresses those times that they were living in. But I want to talk about our times because I don’t think we’re that far removed from Corinth, sadly. Okay, we’re not that far removed. Nowadays, very violent crimes are associated with sex, like rape and human trafficking.

We also have incest and adultery and homosexuality going on. What God intended for good and to be beautiful has been exploited. It’s really bad. God have mercy on us. And so, again, we’re not going to talk about the role. We’re going to dive into what it says. But speaking of the role, if you not signed up for the marriage retreat, sign up, okay? Don’t forget those spots. Once we hit 250, as Keith pointed out, that’s it. There won’t be room for any more couples, and very specific things are planned for that time. So we’re talking about the institution. Marriage is the foundation of society. That is just how God made it. Jesus described the church as his bride. There’s no other relationship like it on the Earth. God created it. He knows how to make it work. And yet he said, it’s not easy. It is not easy. It is difficult to be married today. It really is. It’s difficult to maintain any relationship, okay? I think even for those of you who are roommates, you know what I’m talking about. If your roommate would just clean up after herself, then you all would be happy.

You know what I mean? But I’m not going to put all your business out there just yet. All right? But it’s difficult. But here’s what the American Psychological Association says about marriage. 40% to 50% of first marriages end in divorce. Look around for a quick moment. Basically, half of you will get a divorce according to statistics. Now, prayerfully you won’t because you’re here and you’re learning God’s way of doing things. But 40% to 50%, that’s pretty staggering. Of second marriages, 60% to 70% fail. So those are not good statistics at all. And the Corinthians were struggling. They were trying to figure out how do we do this thing called marriage? And they had lots of questions for Paul. And if you look at verse one, Paul says, now for the matters you wrote about. In other words, they sent Paul a letter, and unfortunately, we don’t know what that letter would look like. But they sent him a letter saying, you need to talk to us, Paul. You’re our spiritual dad. You help start this church. You’ve got the Holy Spirit. You’re an apostle. You can help us. So you need to answer some questions.

Here are some basic questions they had in Corinth. Was it right to be single and necessary to be single if you’re going to be spiritual? That was the basic question that they had. And you’ll see why in just a moment. Another question, because they had Orthodox Jews there, they said, Was it right to be married, to be spiritual? Because Orthodox Jews would have said, I mean, what did God say? It’s not good for the man to be alone. He said, Get married and replenish the earth and all of that. So the thinking would be, yeah, you got to be married. If you’re not married, something’s wrong. There was a belief also in celibacy. So being single was built up a lot. Some even believed that devoted Christians would not get married at all, that you would just avoid marriage altogether. And then you had others who believed that if you got married, then you had to abstain from sexual relationships, and you’ll see why again in a few minutes. Okay, how can you possibly think that would be God’s will? But there are reasons why they would think that way. And then this one really blows my mind. Some even felt like, well, if you’re married to a non Christian, should you divorce that guy and go out and find you a nice Christian guy? All right? Those are the kind of questions they have. Now, I’m going to tell you, marriage is awesome. Okay? Marriage is awesome. But we got to tell you what the Bible says about certain things here. But I tell you what, let me ask my help. That is a picture of a young man and his beautiful bride 40 years ago as we’re walking down the aisle. And it’s the kind of thing where you say, wow, look at them. They’re so happy. I mean, at this point, she didn’t realize she was stuck. But that was then and this is now. This was back in January when we celebrated our 40th anniversary. And you can see Lapatic hasn’t changed in 40 years. Oh, my goodness. The woman looks as adorable as she did at the beginning. But I got to show you one more picture because I want you to get to know the original OG. It was Eddie. All right? I mean, people today don’t know what a Fro looks like.

That’s a Fro right there, baby. That’s the real deal, all right? And I look at that cake and I’m thinking, would I even eat that today? I don’t eat anything like that anymore, I don’t think. But I wanted to show you that because I wanted to just make you laugh a little bit, obviously. But at the same time, we’re talking about a very serious subject, and I’m grateful to God that 40 years later, we can still show you a picture of us. So in chapter seven, the first few verses, basically, Paul says this marriage is normal and right for the vast majority of people, but getting married is not an absolute commandment for everyone, and we saw that beautifully last week. There are some people who have the charisma or the gift of being single, and that’s okay. In other words, they can control their sexual desires. They’re not burning with passion every day and going crazy. They can control that. And so for people like that, singleness is a gift, just as being married is a gift, and we should celebrate that. So marriage is normal, but if you’re single and you have the gift of being single, that’s okay, too.

So that being said, Paul launches into what he has to say in verses eight through 16, and he’s going to look at four different categories of people. And so let’s go ahead and read those verses together, starting at verse eight. Okay? Follow along with me. He said, now, to the unmarried and the widows, I say, it is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do, but if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. To the married, I give this command, not I, but the Lord. And you’ll notice sometimes he’ll say, I say this and not the Lord. Here he says, Not I, but the Lord. All he’s really saying is, there are certain things that Jesus has spoken about. And when I’m referring to something that Jesus talked about, I’ll say it was the Lord and not me. When I’m speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, as an apostle, as one sent by Jesus himself, as one who’s writing the New Testament, as I write to you, you’ll know that I am speaking. And Jesus did not speak on this. So hopefully that’s an easy way to kind of decipher those.

This is the only place, by the way, in the New Testament where Paul does this, but he makes sure they understand when he’s speaking. So picking up again at verse ten, to the married, I give this command, not I, but the Lord. A wife must not separate from her husband, but if she does, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband, and her husband must not divorce his wife. To the rest, I say this I not the Lord. If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he’s willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean. But as it is, they are holy. So Paul addresses four groups of people in these verses. He talks to single people, he talks to people who are married, and both are disciples. The third group are those who are married and you have a believer with an unbeliever, but that unbeliever is willing to stay with you. And then the fourth group are those mixed marriages where you have a believer with an unbeliever, but the unbeliever wants to depart. They want to leave. And so let’s start with the first group going back to verses eight and nine. That’s just the four groups right there. Let’s look at verses eight and nine. It says now, to the unmarried, these are single guys, single women, divorcees, widows, widowers. And it says, and the widows, I say, it is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. So all Paul is saying that if you’re single, that’s okay. If you’re a widow or a widower, that’s okay. It’s not a problem if you are single. And so don’t listen to these Orthodox Jews who try to make you feel bad that you’re not married. Don’t listen to that because if you’re single, that is okay. But we are guilty of this as well. I will throw myself in there. Sometimes when we see someone who’s single and a lot of you are, what do people say?

Especially if you’ve been around a while? They say, wow, you’re not dating?You don’t have a boyfriend? You don’t have a girlfriend? And the next thing you know, you’re feeling like, man, I didn’t come to church for this. I came here to worship my Lord and enjoy fellowship. Get out of my face. You’re thinking that. You don’t say it, but you’re thinking that it’s like, really, will you leave me alone? And I’ve been guilty and what’s worse, and I’m throwing myself in. You got to know I will always endeavor to be honest with you. But there are some times when I will go to a single brother and I talk after I leave the conversation and I say this to my shame, I will say, now I see why you’re single. I’m just being honest. I asked you to for you don’t know who you are, whether you’re married now or not. You don’t know who I ever thought. But I’m just saying we do that and we treat people the way these singles were treated. And Paul is saying it’s a gift to be able to be single. It’s okay. If someone has that gift of being single, leave them alone.

Don’t bring up that age old question like, are you married yet? Are we there yet? I mean, leave it alone. Get rid of that kind of thought. Now Paul says, I wish you could kind of be like me. All that says is that and there’s some believe that Paul probably was married at some point, okay? At this time he’s not, and he’s chosen to remain that way. And if you have that gift, that’s an awesome thing. But what it was you remember in Philippians three, Paul talks about his pedigree, and he says, as to being a Pharisee, I was top notch. I was top shelf. It was the norm for Pharisees to be married. So the thinking is Paul probably was married at some point, and either his wife his wife must have died, and this would have been before he became a Christian. So most of his life was spent as a single serving God. That’s kind of the thinking there with the apostle Paul. But look at what he has to say in verse 25, because he continues this thought there. He says now about virgins, I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who, by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis.

In other words, because of the mess there is in Corinth, because of how horrible it is there. He said, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned. And if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Paul says, in light of the present circumstances, just be content with wherever you are. If you’re pledged to be married, then go ahead, get married. If you’re not pledged to be married, don’t worry about seeking a relationship. Just go ahead and enjoy being single. But if you choose to marry, you’ve not committed a sin. And if a virgin marries, she has not committed a sin. However, I got to add this part at the middle at the end of the verse. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life. And I want to spare you this. If you’ve been married a minute, you know that marriage has struggles and problems. I mean, you saw that picture of me walking down the aisle, oh, my goodness, life was so good.

But she didn’t know that after I got married, I would forget to put the toilet seat down. And she didn’t realize that I would squeeze the toothpaste in the wrong place. Instead of the bottom, I’d squeeze it in the middle, or I’m just throwing out some stuff. You all think this is me. That’s not me. I’ve learned I’m a better husband. If you all know, my dear wife, there are certain things I will make a mistake one time doing and my homegirl will set me straight and she will make sure I get to heaven. I mean, I’ll make sure we have fun getting there, but she’ll make sure we make it in the meantime. But you think everything is perfect, everything is wonderful and all that good stuff. But marriage has troubles with it. And sometimes we forget that marriage is not the promised land. Sometimes we can get so caught up with I got to get married, I got to get married, I got to get married, and all that. And marriage becomes a focus rather than contentment with Jesus. You got to learn to be content. I really believe that when I reached that point way back in my dating days, when I just said to God, I’m tired of people coming to me asking me about dating.

I’m tired of people wondering when I’m going to get married and all that kind of stuff. I’ve been around the church for like ten or eleven years and people just kept asking that. And I said, look, when God is good and ready for me to get married, he will bring along the right person. But in the meantime, I am content to serve Jesus. I am content to be a disciple. I’m content to just do his will. And if he chooses to wait another ten years, I’m fine with that. And I think it was about a month later, that was when I met Lapatic. And that’s just the truth. But God knew I didn’t have the gift, okay? He knew I needed a wife. I needed to get married. So I’ll just put that out there and leave it alone. All right? And where am I? Matthew, 19:10. Okay, I’m at the right spot. I put this up there because Jesus once had a conversation with the disciples about marriage. He was talking about marriage and divorce, and he’s going on and on about what that looks like. And finally these guys said this to him.

They said disciples said to him, if this is a situation between a husband and a wife, it’s better not to marry. They just said, if marriage is this hard, then shucks, forget it. I don’t want to do it. I’d rather be by myself kind of a thing. And Jesus replied, he said, well, not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. So Jesus is saying, if you can be single, you can be singularly focused on doing God’s will. You can crank. Guys, when I was single, I didn’t have to worry about coming home to help with the kids or helping them with their homework, or making sure they’re fed or picking them up from the babysitter. There are a lot of things you don’t have to worry about if you’re single by yourself. And so, Paul, Jesus is saying, look, if you can be single, it’s a good thing, but not everyone has that gift. But if you have the gift, be grateful for it. But if you don’t have the gift, get married. Okay, I’ll just say it. Get married. You don’t need to mess around with that.

And I think if you don’t have that gift, God will do what? He’ll provide you with the right partner. I really believe that. Now, sometimes our focus is so much marriage instead of being the right person. If you’re not the right person, you’re not going to get the right partner. Okay? But that’s another sermon for another time. We could get in that and go places with it. But you’ve got to be what you need to be so that God can direct you to the right person. First Corinthians seven, verse eight and nine. So Paul says if they cannot control themselves, they should marry. Other versions say get married. It’s an imperative command. If you can’t control your passion sexually, get married. Not meaning walk out the door and grab the first person you see and get married. You don’t do that. You got to have some discernment. It says, make plans by seeking advice with many advisors you’ll succeed. If you’re interested, I would encourage you have people in your life who can just say, yeah, SIS, tall dark and handsome Jeremy is good for you. You know what I’m saying? You want to have people in your life, but he’s saying, get married if you can’t control your passions.

Sometimes people will come to me and they’ll say, well, Eddie, we just got engaged. And I say, wow, that is so cool. I’m so excited. When is the big day? Two years from now? Out of the two years? You want to just burn? I mean, you committed to this person. You want to be with this person. You know that the fulfillment of all your sexual desires will be with this person and you’re going to contain all that for two years. Are you outside of your mind? People, I don’t believe in long engagements. If you’ve made the decision to get married and you’re committed to get married, get married. Don’t mess with that. So anyway, I could keep going on, but if you’re single, the answer, it is great, but if you choose to get married, you have not sinned. Let’s go to the second group that he talks to here. He says to the married, I give this command, not I, but the Lord. A wife must not separate from her husband, but if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

Paul is saying, Jesus has spoken about this and we’re going to look at a couple of those passages in a moment. And maybe I’m reading this, and it may not apply to many of you because we have a younger crowd than the first group, but he is saying, stay married, don’t get a divorce. Now, I understand some people may have gotten a divorce, and the thing I would say to you is God is in control. I don’t believe divorce is the unpardonable sin. I think God can forgive anything. But I want you to hear the heart of what he’s saying here in Corinthians. God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 God God rebuked the Israelites because they were divorcing each other. He says, you need to stay married. And you think, okay, well, why would Christians want to get a divorce? Well, sadly, it has happened and it does happen. And maybe reading these verses, this may be one of the first times some of you have seen it, but I’m glad you’re hearing it because you need to understand this is God’s plan, God’s institution of marriage. He says, Stay together, don’t get a divorce. Let me just go to the next part here.

So God doesn’t sanction divorce. What does he say as a consequence, if you have gotten a divorce? I’m talking about you got two disciples, they’re married, they get a divorce. What does he say as a consequence? He says you need to stay single for the rest of your life or be reconciled to your husband. Now, I didn’t make the rule. If you don’t like it, get mad at God because it’s in His Word. But he says you’ve got to stay separate or you get reconciled to your husband. That is what God calls us to do. Now, let me give you a caveat. Let me give you a very important footnote. He is not talking here about someone who’s committed adultery, and that led to the demise of the relationship. And let me show you a couple of verses. Matthew 5:32. Because he said Jesus spoke about this. Look at what Jesus says. But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 19, verse nine, same thing. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and marries another woman commits adultery.

The only grounds that Jesus gave for disolution of a marriage is adultery, is sexual immorality. And to show you how God is real firm on this, you remember the story of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was pledged to be married to Mary, and then he found out what? Mary was pregnant. I think he knew the character of Mary. He knew that was not her character, that was not a heart, that was not the kind of person he’s been with. And yet she’s pregnant with a child. And in chapter one, verse 19 of Matthew, I’ll read this for you. It says, because Joseph, her husband, was faithful to the law and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to do what? To divorce her quietly. He didn’t want this special woman in his life to be publicly disgraced. So he says, I’m going to divorce you because the law allows for that. Okay? Don’t judge Joseph. He was just doing what the law would allow. I’m not saying you have to get a divorce. By the grace of God, I know people in the church who had a rough time.

There was adultery involved, and God healed that relationship, so he can do that. But my point here is to say Joseph was within his legal rights in the law to put her away. And so he chose to do it quietly. But then, by the grace of God, God let him know that, okay, stay with her. Something good is happening in her that’s going to save all mankind. And at that point, I’m thinking, well, you bet I’m going to say I want to be a part of this if you got something that powerful that you’re planning for. That’s not the case here. In 1 Corinthians seven, he’s talking about people who are not together, but it’s not because of immorality, not because of adultery. And so summarizing so far, to be single is good. Okay, we got that. But if you can’t be single if you’re burning with passion. You need to get married. Don’t have a long engagement, make it happen, okay? And then once you’re there, stay in that marriage and give yourself fully to it. Look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7. Talk about making it pretty straightforward for us to understand. Husbands and wives should be fair with each other about having sex.

A wife belongs to her husband instead of to herself, and a husband belongs to his wife instead of to himself. So don’t refuse sex to each other unless you agree not to have sex for a little while in order to spend time in prayer. Then Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self control. So single people, this is God’s design for marriage. Once you are married, you no longer belong to yourself, but to Him, and he no longer belongs to Himself but to you. Paul says, since you live in such a sexualized environment, let me give you specific instruction about how you should view sex. This is the way it should be in marriage, okay?

So let’s go now to group three. These represent Christians who are married to a non Christian, and that non Christian is willing to stay with them. And you think, okay, well, how might that happen? You got two people, they’re not in Christ. Someone comes along, shares their faith, they get interested, the wife gets converted, the husband does not. And so the basic question for her is, okay, should I get rid of this guy even though he’s willing to live with me should I get rid of him and go out and find me a nice Christian man now because I’m a disciple? Look at what he says. I’ll show you this in one Corinthians, chapter six. This is where that thinking would come from. He says, do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never. Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said the two will become one flesh, but whoever is united with the Lord is one spirit with him. So the basic idea, he’s saying, look, if you are married and you unite yourself to a prostitute, you are defiled. So the average woman who becomes a Christian would think, okay, we’re both pagans, but now we’re not pagans anymore. We’re not non Christians. I’m at least a Christian, but he’s not. So when I unite with Him, am I not defiling myself? And that’s the question that Paul is addressing. And so what’s his answer? In verse twelve, he says to the rest, I say this, I not the Lord.

If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he’s willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. In other words, he said, if the person willing to live with you, no, you don’t kick them out because they’re not a disciple. You live with them. If they’re willing to live with you, you don’t say, okay, I’m a disciple, you’re not. I’m out of here. Goodbye, Charlie. It was good knowing you. I’m moving on. Finding me a good Christian guy or a good Latin man like Carlos. But he’s taken. You can’t have him. He said, don’t divorce. But then the woman could still have the question based on chapter six. She could still have that question. Well, but wait a minute. If he’s not a disciple if my joining myself to a prostitute, if that makes a person unclean, then my joining myself to a guy who’s not a disciple would make me unclean, would it not? Let’s look at what Paul says. Let’s get the answer he gives in verse 14.

For the unbelieving husband has been what? Sanctified through his wife. And the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean. But as it is, they’re holy. Now he says, okay, your becoming a Christian leads to his sanctification. Not meaning he becomes a Christian just because you’re a Christian, okay? That’s not what he’s saying. Because later on he talks about the whole salvation issue and we’ll read that in a few minutes. He doesn’t mean that. Nor does a husband become a Christian automatically make his wife right with God. I think what he’s really getting at here is that there are blessings that God brings into the life of a Christian, of a follower of his. That just his sanctifying blessing, influence that spills over to that household. In other words, I think if someone is married to a disciple, they need to thank Jesus because there are blessing that you get just because you’re a disciple that spill over into his life. That’s what he’s talking about here. And he says, So everybody in the house has benefited, even the children, because some of them were so concerned. So doesn’t that make my kids all messed up?

He says, no, your husband will be sanctified. You’ll be sanctified. All is good. Sometimes I’ll ask somebody, okay, do you come from a Christian home? And they may say, well, no, I’m the only disciple in my home. How many Christians does it take to make a Christian home? One. That’s all it takes. Because if one person becomes a Christian and they’re walking with Christ and they’re starting to do the will of God, then God’s blessings, his sanctifying influence, washes over him, washes over to everybody in that house. You got a Christian home if you got at least one Christian there and you’re living for him, and that is a wonderful thing. It would be sort of similar. It’s kind of like and since Carlos is my buddy and he’s up front, if Jeanette comes home right after church and say, Carlos, I not we I just inherited $16 million. Carlos doesn’t even have to be related to Jeanette’s family. But some of that good stuff is going to wash over into Carlos’s life and he’s going to be fired up. I mean, if she wants him to mop the floor, he’s going to mop the floor.

If she wants him to wash the windows, he’ll wash the windows. In other words, there are blessings that come to your life just because God is blessing that disciple. That is what I believe about that sanctifying influence. We don’t have to worry about the husband, you don’t have to worry about the kids. God will take care of that. Okay, let’s go to the fourth category here. And this is where you have someone who’s a disciple. Husband’s, not a disciple, doesn’t believe in your Christianity, wants nothing to do with it. In fact, he wants to get out of the marriage. Let’s see what Paul has to say. But if the believer leaves, let it be so. The brother or sister is not bound in such circumstances. God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? Basically, Paul says if you’re married to somebody who’s not a disciple, if he’s not a Christian, he’s a pagan, doesn’t believe in your religion, wants nothing to do with it, and he wants to get a divorce. Let him get a divorce.

Go ahead, don’t try to stop him, just let him go. Let him go. You are free from that bond if he deserts you and gets out of the marriage. But let’s keep in mind what he says again. And I want to make sure this distinction and clear is clear. In verse eleven, it talks about well, verse ten, it says to the married I give this command not I, but the Lord. A wife must not separate from a husband, but if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to a husband. If you’ve got two disciples married together, husband and wife, and they get a divorce, then that is not sanctioned if it’s not because of adultery. They got to remain single or be reconciled. We got that one. Okay, very important you remain single or you get reconciled. This is important especially for you who are single. Understand? God’s plan for marriage. I want it to be clear. However, here he is saying if the nondisciple leaves, then you are free from the bond of marriage. Because you can say, well, wait a minute, he didn’t commit adultery, so how can I leave?

Well, he deserted you and he wants out. What God is saying if he chooses to leave, then you are free to remarry. You can get into another relationship, but that fairly clear. The difference there. I want to make sure you see that. And then you got some women who might feel like, well wait a minute, if he leaves, then all of my opportunities to help him become a disciple are gone. I’m not in a position where I can have influence and help him out. Well, look at what Paul says about that. In verse 16, he says, make sure it’s the right one. Okay, yeah. Verse 16 he says, how do you know wife, whether you will save your husband or how do you know husband whether you will save your wife? Now he says, you have no guarantee that you will be the one that God’s going to use to influence him. Now that is traditionally called a pessimistic view of this verse that you have no reason to believe that God’s going to use you. So it’s pessimistic, you’ll have no impact. But the optimistic and the more positive view says, well you just told me that I’m having a sanctifying effect on him and the kids.

So maybe by us staying together maybe over time I will have an impact on him. That is the very optimistic view. Whether you take one or the other really doesn’t matter that much. But the point is that you don’t know for sure. But while you’re together, then let God continue to do what he does. So that being said, let’s wrap it all up. Let’s put a bow on this thing. Four different categories. He talks to the singles. He says, what if you’re single? Is that good? He said, well it’s good to be single. If God has given you the gift of singleness, if you have the gift of celibacy, then go for it and let God use you powerfully and the rest of us will stop with our crazy stuff. Or why aren’t you married? If that is your gift, that is okay. But if you can’t contain yourself, if you’re having struggle keeping your passions in check sexually, then it probably is an indicator that you need to get married and so wait on God to do that. Now what if you are married to a Christian? Well the Bible says, man, you fulfill that marriage to the very limits physically, emotionally, in every respect, you are totally present.

What if you’re married to an unbeliever and he wants to stay with you? Again, if he wants to stay, let him stay. Go ahead and be the best husband, the best wife you can and fulfill your responsibility. Then let the sanctifying influence of the Spirit make a difference in your life. What if you married to an unbeliever and he wants to leave? Let him go. Let him go. You have no way of knowing that you’re going to impact that person. That may not be God’s will. You may not be the instrument God is going to use. However, while you’re together, let that sanctifying influence affect your home. You may think okay, but who’s going to share their faith with them again? God is the one who saves people, right? God is the one who makes things grow so God will work it out. You will not thwart his will by not being there. Big picture conclusion to all of this. I believe the big message that God wants us to hear is, be content where you are. Be content where you are. I really believe that’s why God blessed me, because I reached a point of contentment.

I said, you know what? I don’t know what God’s will is for me. All I know is where I’m at right now. I’m serving him. I love serving him. And I’m going to continue to serve. You got to learn to be content where you are. And there was a song we used to sing in my earlier days, but I’m kind of in love with the one we sang today. But it’s the song have thine own way. And we would do this as an invitation song to tell people, if you want to come forward for prayer or to get right with God, please come. We were saying this, have Thine own way have Thine own way, lord, thou the part of where the clay and all of that, it says, mold me and make me after Your will while I’m waiting, yielded and still. In other words, you need to get to a place where you just trust God. The song we sang today says, I’m desperate for you. I am lost without you. I’m not desperate for marriage. I’m not desperate for a mate. I’m desperate for you. And I think that’s what God wants for each one of us.

So your living water challenges hopefully fits very well with the lesson. Marriage and celibacy are both gifts from God. Okay? But does our generation give sufficient honor to both of those? And I think we kind of know the answer, but it’s still a good thing to discuss. And I see people taking pictures, and my big head is in the way. I’m sorry. I’ll lean over or something. Maybe we’ll move the podium next time. But then the second one is to just talk about the impact. If you’re the only disciple in your home, you are having impact because a sanctifying effect of the Spirit is in your life, and you need to be encouraged about that. We need to learn the secret of being content. God’s working it out. He never stops. He never stops working. He’s working it out. I don’t care what situation you’re going through right now. God is behind the scene working because he never stops. He never stops working. And what we’ve got to do is that instead of making our focus either marriage or this or that or the job, we need to make our focus Jesus. Just be content with Jesus.

Learn to say, I am desperate for you. I’m lost without you. Make love your aim. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your understanding. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Delight yourself in the Lord and he’ll give you the desires of your heart. God we just need to trust God. Give our hearts to him. Know that he’s working. Know that he loves us. And at the right time, your blessings will flow from heaven like a mighty river. So thank you for your attention. God bless.

 

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