Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev20010114.htm
1 CORINTHIANS: MINISTERING TO BELIEVERS WITH DEEP PAGAN BACKGROUNDS
Part XIV: God's Counsel On Celibacy And Marriage
(1 Corinthians 7:1-2, 7-9, 25-38)
Lesson: (1) God created men and women with the natural and mutual desire to be united in marriage, so it is acceptable and honorable for single believers to marry. (2) However, since marriage COSTS in terms of (a) pressures on one's stand during persecution, in terms of (b) detracting one's attention from the eternal to the temporal life and in terms of (c) practical scheduling of fellowship with the Lord, a believer should marry only if he does not have the gift of celibacy and would otherwise burn in lust!
- With the rise in divorce and family problems in our society today, there exists an increased emphasis on celibacy as an option to marriage, not to mention all kinds of extramarital, errant "live-in" arrangements.
- Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7 offer pertinent recommendations on celibacy and marriage (as follows):
- God's Counsel On Celibacy And Marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:1-2, 7-9, 25-38.
- God created human beings with the natural capacity and desire to be united in marriage, Genesis 1:27-28; 2:22-24. Hence, Paul stated that if the unmarried believer desired to marry because he had a strong drive to be united to a spouse, he could do so with God's blessing, 1 Corinthians 7:1-2, 9, 28a.
- Yet, if a believer has the gift of celibacy, Paul said it would be better for him to stay single, 1 Cor. 7:7-9. He offered several practical reasons for this suggestion in 1 Corinthians 7:25-35 as follows:
- First, if persecution threatens the Church, it is easier for one to hold to his faith were he single: being married while under persecution forces a party to be concerned about the welfare of his dependents and spouse, putting him at greater risk to being influenced to deny the faith to protect his immediate family from harm, 1 Corinthians 7:25-26, 28b.
- Second, though the believer lives in this temporal life, his main focus should be on the life that is to come, and marriage tends to detract from a focus on eternity and be more conscious of matters in this immediate life instead, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.
- Third, marriage takes up a spouse's time concentrating on his role as a spouse that otherwise could be spent on one's relationship with the Lord were he to remain single: thus, there is a scheduling advantage to remaining single when it comes to one's walk with God, 1 Corinthians 7:32-35.
- Having shown the practical advantages of celibacy, Paul asserted God's acceptance of marriage over burning in lust were those without the gift of celibacy to remain unwed:
- Paul noted that a father could arrange for his daughter to be married in that patristic society if the woman was close to passing her age of childbearing, and he felt he was creating suffering for her by not allowing her to be married and produce children, 1 Corinthians 7:36.
- On the other hand, if a young virgin and her father felt they wished not to have her married, Paul stated this to be acceptable to God, and even advantageous over marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:37-38.
- Now, were a single believer to marry, Scripture dictates he marry within these parameters:
- He should marry only a fellow believer in Christ, 1 Cor. 7:39-40 and 2 Cor. 6:14.
- He should wed only a member of the opposite gender, Gen. 2:22-24; 1 Cor. 6:9-11.
- He must marry with intent of staying wed to that partner until death, Mtt. 19:3-6; Romans 7:1-2.
Application: (1) If a believer is CURRENTLY single, (a) he should NOT view marriage as a NECESSITY, but as an OPTION to be taken for NOT having the gift of celibacy. (b) The REASONS for this view are that celibacy is preferred ((a)) due to the fact that persecution causes more pressure on a believer to relinquish his stand for Christ to protect his family, ((b)) due to the degree marriage tends to detract from a focus on eternal perspectives and ((c)) due to the way one's attention to meet his spouse's needs tend to detract one's time from a focus on God. (2) If a believer is CURRENTLY MARRIED, he must not feel guilty over his status, but recall his marital status requires work to (a) keep his devotion to Christ HIGHER than devotion to his family, (b) to keep his focus on to the eternal above the temporal, and (c) to make time for his walk with his proper FIRST Love, the Lord!