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September 25, 2022 3:00 am
In this Sunday message, Pastor Jonathan Laurie uses what the Bible says about our purpose on Earth to provide perspective on what to do when single or dating. He’s answering the question, “What are we to do in these seasons?” And you’re invited to hear the answer!
“What do you do when we come to a verse in the Bible you disagree with? Change your opinion.” —Greg Laurie
1. The Glorification of God
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” —Augustine
To honor God means to put His desires ahead of your desires, His will for your life ahead of your own will.
Upward: Glorification – Matthew 6:33
Inward: Edification – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Outward: Evangelization – Mark 16:15
1 Corinthians 10:31
1 Corinthians 7:1, 9
2 Corinthians 6:14
Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.
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Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie podcast, a ministry supported by harvest partners on Greg Laurie encouraging you if you want to find out more about harvest ministries. Learn more about how to become a harvest partner, just go to harvest.org all right week number two of my doing this right this new series that were doing on relationships my dad takes it off last week. Talk about friendship and kinda look at it.
Relationships in general and I was great so today we're can be looking at singleness and dating singleness and dating. How many of you are married, if you're married, hold your hands up awesome. How many of you wish you were single no go. Raise your hand. My wife raise her hand notion how many of you are currently dating your dating somebody you're in that dating process somebody's like kinda like doing this with her hand like Casey are dating and how many of you are single your single raise her hand.
Look around. The joke always works up what better place is there to find and meet the defined the person that you want to pursue marriage without is what Christian dating is delay that all right now we do not day just to date and halflings have casual sex and all that kind of stuff right that's what the world tells us to do. That's what is a societal norm, but knows Christians.
The reason that we day is to pursue marriage. The reason that we start these friendships is to ultimately pursue that in the process of dating is kind of a process of elimination this works. This doesn't. I thought you know you look good, but you're not so good. No, so we are to be looking at singleness and dating am I doing this right.
My dad mentioned last week that this is a question he often asks himself never comes to anything mechanical or repairing related you know a car or something in the house my doing this right he's talked about how he goes and walks down the hall into the house with a hammer and my mom will stop them. Say where you going without hammer what you think you're doing, you know that verse about the sins of the father being visited upon the children. I have inherited this trait as well.
I am not mechanically inclined. I can't. I don't know how to put things back together. I don't know how to build things that that's just not my strike II mean I can like I can fix our modem and our Wi-Fi router right unplug and plug it back in. I can use a plunger. Sometimes I can fix a small drywall hold put some mud over it. You know I can take part a P-trap and a drain and clear it out into you now get whatever the blockage is out and do that so I can I can do some things I really am okay diagnosing a problem. I can tell you the difference between you know I'm not in my engine and a clunk in the transmission and kinda tell you that kinda stuff a bit diagnosing things.
Maybe not so good at fixing that you don't want me looking under the hood of your car.
You don't want me trying to figure out what is going on there. My wife she grew up with a dad who can pretty much fix anything like he is just mechanically inclined. He also happens to be an engineer at Boeing so he's got that going for him once it went to college for this guy generally has a good knowledge of all the stuff for fun he goes in his garage and spends hours making intricate designs and woodcarvings and boxes and like dovetail joints and all the stuff. It's like I don't even know how that works. I how is that even possible things he does amazing.
One single piece of wood look like multiple pieces would not the kind of stuff he does it so I'm constantly trying to measure up to his standard. In my wife's eyes.
Sorry that's that's just not me. She's had to lower her standard there and so recently our garbage disposal.
Stop working and that's a pretty easy fix, garbage disposal, you know you go clear out the blockage and make sure it's it's clear enough. That's about all I can do.
Make sure that that the breaker didn't get thrown or something like that. So it wasn't draining properly and so I took the whole thing apart. You know, disconnected from the drain looked at it with kinda built. You know some buildup in their we bought the house from a couple who had before us and so's, like okay I know some things I'm going to have to replace ultimately and so I figured this was a good opportunity to go and live out my inner Tim the tool man Taylor you know from tool time anybody and so I figured all oldest goat replaces thing. It's all working and so I went and got a more powerful unit.
It's quieter and can work a little better and so I put it all back together and plugged it back in and it still wouldn't drain so $300 later I realize it was never the issue with the garbage disposal.
Our last garbage disposal works just fine. There's nothing wrong that the problem was there was a blockage in the drain a little bit further down so I got all my auger right. I got an auger a drain snake and I go down I clear that thing out as best I can and it's only 25 feet so doesn't go all the way down so then we call the plumber like we should is in the first place. And so now $5000.
Later in the clog is gone.
It is all taken but after exhausting all of my efforts. I finally just kinda slumped back on the floor and said to myself, my doing this right my doing this right.
I don't think so. I need help I need some instruction. I am clueless when it comes to these things. How many times do we look at a situation like that with work, school, marriage, relationships are singleness and we ask ourselves by doing this right my doing this right and in my doing this the way that I was originally designed to I don't know what's going on here. The best news that I can give to you is that the apostle Paul said to us 2000 years ago in second Timothy 316. He said all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may complete, equipped for every good work. Here's the good news. You may be doing it wrong. God wants to lovingly and generously equip you for every season in life is not good news. God wants to help you.
He wants to show you the right way and it's up to us to be humble enough and willingly willing enough to receive this instruction I found it with my kids. Sometimes all going to like hey buddy can I show you how to do some of the right wings. I know I like the way on doing any like rides his skateboard with his feet twisted backwards until this craziness, I let me help you. Let me help you. As can be better the long-term. He likes to do it his way were not all that different Army. We like to do things our way.
Know why I wanted have my singleness be the way I do.
I want to have my marriage. You know cater to my needs. I want to have my parenting be all about this. This is what it's about Fred. We see in Scripture, God has plans. He has principles that we can follow that are for whose benefit for our own for our own benefit and for those around us for our family for our children and our young adult ministry here at harvest. We are using this for our theme verse for a new series does the Bible which we go through on Friday nights. If you're between the ages of 18 to 28-ish.
You're welcome to come and join us and come be a part of the series.
Deb makes a noise in our young adults in the front row, and is a series where we take a look at what the Bible has to say about the hot topics of today and ultimately calling this generation to embrace a biblical worldview so that Scripture that the apostle Paul said all Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for what so that we need the man of God. The women of God may complete be complete and equipped for every good work. So this biblical worldview that were called to have what happens when we look at something in our life and we see this doesn't line up with what the Bible has to say.
My view on marriage. My view on abortion. My view on sexual immorality.
My view on whatever what happens when it doesn't line up with God's view. Well, what we should do is we should fix it. We should sink our view with God's view. My data said what do you do when you come to a verse in the Bible you disagree with. Change your opinion, that's what we should do we change our opinion because we believe that the Bible is absolute truth. We believe the Bible is absolute truth that holds God's word is eternal, timeless values that are true yesterday, today and forever. God's word is truth.
And so, as with almost everything in our society, our view of singleness our view of dating is either influenced or completely tainted by the world right it singleness in dating the week.
Some people believe it's an opportunity to sell your wild outright. I hate that statement go so your wild oats. Well, okay. Also known as God-given aerial disease and go you know get pregnant horrible horrible go so your wild oats or they also tell us no go test drive the car you gotta make sure you know test drive the car. It's a good fit for your right have sex move in together.
Focus on what you want friend, no, God has a plan. He has a plan.
Here's an outline for you and what it looks like for you to be single what it looks like for you and the season of dating what it looks like for you as a parent as a grandparent as a husband as a worker assess student.
All of these things Scripture speaks to and so today we're looking at singleness and dating quick disclosure last night at about 930 I was wrapping up my message I sent hey to my wife Britney beautiful wife sitting in the front row of 11 years, said Hank Thompson, come take a look at this message real quick and tell me what you think and she gets through, about three quarters of it and she looks up and she says when you start talking about dating when you get to the point and so I title this message today. What does this have to do with singleness and dating that seriously.
My title because here's what were going to do will really do is wait and allay some foundational truth. That's true for us in every season of life were to do that and see what's true for all of us and then we are going to see how it applies in these areas looking God's general purpose for us as humans, and then without lands will look at God's purpose for singleness in dating. How's that sound sound okay all right so what is God's purpose for us.
Why are we here, why are we here on this verse like is humans. Point number one we are here for the glorification of God were here for the glorification of God first printings 1031 says, whether you eat or drink whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. In Revelation 411 says worthy are you are Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. This is a great summation the commands us whenever we eat, whether we are right, rather whether whether we eat. Whether we drink whatever we do in work and play in singleness and dating. Whatever we do. The ultimate goal is to glorify God. Whether you're married, single, dating a parent, a grandparent, a construction worker or dying in hospice pursuing your degree.
A single dad, a widower or any other combination of things.
Yes, you were created to glorify God in every season. There is a purpose in every season. There is a meaning and we can either choose in those seasons to become better by glorifying God or better and see that this is were a victim of our circumstance on the victim.
This is terrible. I wish that I was somebody else know we can overcome our greatest challenges will be fun eating in them, and the greatest meaning we can find in our difficulties in our trials and our sickness in our health is to glorify God is to give God glory. It's true, as you look around the world from the natural to the man-made. Is it fair to say that everything has a purpose. Everything the God made has a purpose. Trees, grass, Mountains, oceans, fish the ecosystem. Everything has a purpose. The same is true in the not the man-made world as well. Cars, engines, motorcycles think about vehicles or food kitchen appliances and airplanes, all that stuff buildings carpet it all has a purpose and haul it all has a specific application so that its purpose can be maximized and so when you're driving home from church today and you're hungry like we are going to be in it about an hour and you see a guy flying down the street on his motorcycle and you look at that motorcycle anything. I bet if I let that thing sit at the rev limiter in 12,000 RPMs for about 15 minutes.
I bet you I can get that engine casing hot enough to throw good Connie assault on nothing and cook it up. I mean, I guess you could use that you could use it for that technically. Or how about the new iPhone right. The new iPhone just came out in your thinking wow that is exactly like the last one and you wouldn't be wrong, and so you get that new iPhone and you're holding in your hand and you look at any think you know what this iPhone would make an amazing skipping stone you know I go pick up rocks at the beach. I like to skip those but you know what this iPhone. It's polished, it's perfectly balanced on a good hook for my finger. I do check the attendant teams get set up thing. Technically, yes, you could could you not supposed to do that you could use it for that people do this with the natural world as well, though going to wipe out an entire ecosystem local level, amounts, and because they want to put an utilities outlet mall there right okay you could do that to today so many people treat their lives like there's no reason were here like we have no purpose, or that the only purpose we have in this life is to live for yourself and to get pleasure and to enjoy all the trappings of life. Live fast, die young, leave a pretty corpse right so many people live their lives this way.
Getting your Phil exploring what the world has to offer. What experiences can bring you fulfillments no matter how temporary what possessions may bring that momentary thrill just like when you skip your iPhone across the water or you light a beautiful painting on fire because your cold and you want to keep warm. Just because it feels good and in some capacity. It is works in that setting. I suppose that is not the original purpose for which it was created right.
That's not why it was created that iPhone has a purpose that motorcycle has a purpose that tree has a better purpose than to just be whittled down and shot down and made into a single toothpick. We were not only created on purpose. We not believe that we are the result of some cosmic cocktail of evolution in bacteria in a large explosion. No, we believe, are created on purpose by a creator and we also leverage created for a purpose. We believe are created for a purpose in our purpose is to know to know our creator and live out his design and what he created us for, what does it mean to glorify God.
What does it mean to glorify God, third century theologian and philosopher Augustine. He said, thou hast made us for thyself, the Lord and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in the that's our purpose we are created for God.
We are created for his pleasure. Simply put, that is why we are here is to bring blog God glory and to bring him pleasure in our hearts is so true. Our hearts are restless until it finds our rest in him. So, to glorify God means to know God means to love God, to pursue and follow and keep him first in your life to obey him. To find your rest in him to glorify God is to honor him. What is it mean to honor God. What is that mean well, think about what it means to honor your father and mother right means you live up to their wishes. You do the things that they want you to do. They tell you don't throw a party wall were out of town. It doesn't mean tell them you're not a throw party and then throw a party and then clean everything up and replace all the things that were broken and trying cover your tracks and give lip service know that's not honoring to your parents. It means to honor their wishes to submit to their requests to put their desires ahead of your own. That's right, to honor God means the same thing to put his desires ahead of your own desires to put his will for your life ahead of your own will for your life. If it isn't God just gonna send me to like Africa and I got to become a missionary Mary an ugly person like that is just the worst thing I can imagine right know we can do this because we know that our God, our Father in heaven loves us.
He wants the best thing for us in Isaiah 55 89 we read, for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, says the Lord. My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. That's hard for us to wrap our minds around. Think about it when your kids you know your your children, for those of you that her parents are our kids want to do things that are foolish.
They want to make bad decisions, they want to look out run out in the street without looking both ways.
They want to jump into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. They want to eat candy all day one we deal were here to preserve their life. Make sure they don't die and then get rays into functional good productive human beings. That's our goal, and that's what God wants to do with us. He wants to raise us up into something that we can never do on our own. God has a plan for your life. That is why we can glorify him and his you come to know God and you seek to follow his will and you seek to put your trust in him in a deeper capacity and you seek to build on that foundation that he has laid of faith and love and showing you blessings and the more obedient we are, the more the were able to be blessed by God were going to want to build on that foundation were to want to grow right on were going to want to explore new areas of our life that we can turn over to him.
It's, like, you know, you invite the Lord into your life and you tell him yeah I only want you to work in this living room area don't go on that closet over there. That's my compartmentalized sin don't come into that bedroom told: the attic, that's for sure.
The basement you know there's some dead bodies down there. Don't go there either. Now when you invite the Lord into your life. You know Jesus said, behold, I stand at the door knock. If anyone opens the door and invites me and I will come in and dine with him, he wants to come into your life and not just into the living room. He wants to come to every door, every room in your life and take it over, and he wants to revitalize revitalize it. He wants to rework it. He wants to do an amazing new work.
You could never do on your own and so as we seek to open up those new doors that brings us to point number two edification edification kind of a fancy word.
I'll explain in a moment. Ephesians 411 to 15 uses it says this know these are the gifts that the that Christ gave to the church, the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people. That's you, and edify the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God son that we will be mature in the Lord measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be mature like children, we will be tossed to and fro and lost blown up about by every wind of new teaching will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever. They sound like truth.
While that sounds element today doesn't. Instead, we will speak the truth in love growing in every way more and more like Christ is the head of this body, the church.
There word that we read in verse 12 edification to edify is translated from the Greek word eco-domain, which means to increase the potential of someone or something with focus upon the process involved the building process to strengthen, to make more able and to build up. We are created to glorify God, right, we heard that number one and to do it through the pursuit of edification that we would be built up. The strengthening and bolstering of our faith and the faith of those around us. Edification is building myself up so I can build you up building you up so you can build me up and build your neighbor up and your spouse God's will for us is that we will be mature spiritually acclimated able to nourish ourselves and that we will be able to help others along in that process. Edification helps you see areas in your life that need improvement and realignment with God in oh wow I didn't realize that God had something to say about this area. I was completely off their edification is also growing in spiritual community and Bible study and accountability. A deeper understanding of God's will for your life again think of edification and think of the construction and architectural process of building a building building a structure write the engineer the construction worker and the architect and everybody the city they get involved to everybody has a say and what this building is going to be and what is the goal. Everybody's goal in a general sense is structural integrity. They want to make sure that this building is gonna stand and be safe for a long time. If there's an earthquake and needs to stay standing for longer than X amount of time depending on the occupancy. These are all things that we have to follow and the goal is that they would be fortified they would be strong that they would stand for a very long time. So when it comes to singleness and dating your goal should first be your own edification because when the wind blows and the rain falls and floods may come in your spiritual foundation is put to the task. It will reveal how strong your spiritual fortification is to reveal what you're made of. It will reveal your spiritual dissonance how deep your roots go into the foundation edification exists for your spiritual fortification. Edification exists for your spiritual fortification sore goal.
If you're single or if you are dating should first be your own edification you are able to lead yourself spiritually and you have your own spiritual disciplines locks down and the you have your own relationship with God in a good place independent of other people because as soon as you invite somebody else into that process, there's a good chance it's gonna distract you. It could pull you down. Maybe the lift you up. That would be amazing as you grow deeper in your faith and your understanding of all that God has done for you and the blessings you received are because of your obedience to God. What's gonna happen is going to create now a hunger in you to share with other people, the more he glorify God. The more you see the he is blessed you. The more that he blesses you and you commit to him, the more you want to explore new areas. That's edification.
The more you edify anger on those areas.
The more you want to share with other people and evangelize number three evangelization.
We read in Matthew 28, 19 to 20.
The great commission Jesus said, go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name the father the son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with even to the end of the HS good news.
The more you learn about God and the more you entrust the more of yourself you and trust to him. The more you are going to want to tell others about him ever discovered like a really good product at Cosco or like some brand that you really like and maybe it's you know at some kitchen appliances or some clothing or maybe it's like socks or something. There's a couple of things that I found that I really like there's a shoe company that I really like that is really cheap. And then there is a wetsuit company that also makes really cheap but high quality what's is no branding or anything like that and so a guy who spends way too much money on surf equipment and what Susan wanted to get new things all the time. This is a perfect fit for me and so I do what I become an evangelist for them. I tell all my friends who serve the looking for new what you should look at this company need some new shoes. He don't spend 100 bucks on veggies to look at this spread there even better by making recommendations because it's been proven to me that is something that is good and that I appreciate so what I do. I share it with other people.
The more you allow the Lord to work in your life. The more areas you offered to him, your finances, your family, your career, your education, your client time your your time, your free time, your hobbies more you offer to Laura, he doesn't take those things. Another offer me know all you can do is become a monk and sit here you know in Stoicism and have nothing. No more. He gives those things back to you if it's something that you shouldn't be doing. He takes it any gives you something better in its place. The more things that we give to God the more gives back to us in the morning he gives back to us. The more the we are sure that this is a cook thing and we will want to share it with other people. Right.
The more you learn about God, the more you trust yourself and your life to him or you're going to want to tell others about it. I think a lot of people get freaked out about evangelism get psyched out because we hear a lot about how evangelism is closing the deal right evangelism isn't making the sale if you will, leading the person in the sinners prayer bringing the person to church and I and hoping that they make it over. You note to the follow-up area and praying the message out praying the sinners prayer at the end of the message with pastor Greg was one of our pastors that's that's the goal right is to close the deal. That's very true that is extremely important part of it and we can do what we do. If you're not doing your part in evangelizing and sharing your faith but instead of thinking about the finish line. Let's think about how your running this race. How you are going to build some rapport some equity in this relationship with these people in your life. We all come into contact with nonbelievers each and every day, even me. I work in a church I come into contact with people that are Christians here at church notice getting are set free much everybody on staff as a Christian. I'm sure I hope we make a check a box so that should cover it right and so as we come to contact with these people. Our neighbors or coworkers or fellow students at school are professors the people at the gym the person at the restaurant.
The person takes her order at Starbucks or whatever coffee shop every single day. How can we share our faith with that person. Well, maybe you just need to learn their name maybe need to learn a little about their likely need to make a note in your phone so-and-so shared that you know there there brother died recently and you make a note in your phone and you ask him about it.
Two months later, he sent a notification in your phone to tell you to do that. That's okay that's okay and you asked him a couple months later.
Hey, you told me about the loss of your brother Charlotte you know and I'm still thinking about you and praying for you. I'm so sorry if there's ever anything I can do for you please let me know how I can't believe you just said that I was just, you know it work this morning thinking about how some everybody's forgot about that you don't know what a small gesture. How big of an impact on his life, your neighbors, they go out of town tell Neil take their trash cans out foreign don't hate or some random dude parked in your driveway. Do you know this person.
Those kind of gestures they build equity and so when it comes time to invite them to the harvester say when it comes time to invite them to church, or the they've got this thing that's happening in your life. You're saying this is my opportunity to share my faith with them to really preach the gospel and invite them to make this decision for Christ there's going to be more willingness on their and to hear what you're saying and more willingness on their end to come to church and to come to the harvester say we need to build bridges to people and earn their trust. If you don't know anything about your neighbors and you don't know their names and you don't unfriend them or do any of those things.
Why would they listen to you when it comes to what you believe.
Why would they care. It's been said, you know people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. That's great you got a great physical understanding, you got your theology worked out. Do you show people that you care because it doesn't drive you to do good things and to work in people's lives and to be a good witness. What is it James says faith without works is dead were to do a Bible study on that in the near future. In the book of James. And so it's an encouragement for all of us to live out what we believe and so we've got glorification edification and evangelization. This is the process of discipleship.
This is the whole picture of what we should be doing as Christians living our life.
For God's glory, edifying, growing deeper in our faith, a process that should never stop you never reach spiritual maturity never get to a place we say yeah I know what all I'm done I don't need to do anymore. I don't need to study God's word. I don't need to have quiet time. I don't need to spend time in prayer. I've arrived while okay you need it more than anybody else probably. So, glorification, edification, and lastly evangelization share what God is talk about it. Live out your faith. My dad is explained in this way upward inward outward, upward, inward outward upward glorification of God inward. The edification of ourselves and the saints, and outward evangelization of the world.
This is what our mission is.
As Christians, this is what our mission is as the church is a Christian church. The church is not just a building is on a business on a political movement seeking personal gain. Know the church is people from every walk of life.
Every continent, every tongue, every race, every age, men, women married and unmarried, rich, poor, all proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord and sharing this with an unsaved broken world. A man that is what we are here for. That is why God is put us on this earth is for his glory.
Upward inward and outward so coming back to my message title. What the heck does this have to do with dating. I didn't put heck in the message title to not write that down. For those of you who are single and are dating or want today. I hope this provides some perspective on you. A lens which you used to look at your singleness to look at your dating and for the rest of us to look at every season of our life.
How can I glorify God in this season, whatever place you find yourself in again singleness, dating, marriage, career, education, hospice care you're suffering, your parenting, you would see God has a purpose in every season of your life. It is estimated that one third of the American population is single, meaning they are single by choice or they are divorced or they are widowed. One third of the American population. Some people chose the single life, other people single I chose them. Here's the good news. God is with you. God is with you in your singleness is with you. It could be that you're single and you want to find a mate you want to find someone to pursue marriage with and you can't wait until that day right that's all you think about is getting to that next place, checking that you know that box so I'm married now. I've got a girlfriend. I'm getting to that place you got your Christian dating out that you refresh every 15 minutes to see if anybody's inbox you to check for new activity. It is so important in this season, you learn contentment that you learn to be content with what God has given you, because if you are discontent in this season, you will be discontent in the next season if you don't learn contentment in this season, you will be discontent in the next for sure. Habakkuk 317 to 19 says that's a beautiful passage, though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit beyond the vines. The produce of the all of fail in the fields yield no food the flock be cut off from the full and there be no herd in the stalls, yet will I rejoice in the Lord. I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord is my strength. He makes my feet like the dears he makes me tread on my high places, and so the Bible tells us, even in the valleys of life. Even if you're going through a dry spell.
Even if things are not going the way you want them to go. You feel alone you feel misunderstood you feel like the world is against you because this world is all about married people is all about dating people and being single is just so hard.
Listen let God be your joy, let him be your strength, so maybe you're single because you're waiting for the right person. Or maybe you're single because you want to be hey that's okay that's good to Paul says in his letter to the Corinthian church, and for scripting seven know concerning the matters about which you wrote. It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman he continues on in verse nine but if they cannot exercise self-control. They should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion so interesting passage for sure. It is good for a man not have sexual relations with a woman what he's referring to here is the fact that will first of all, the apostle Paul. He's he's that a guy that we should listen to. He's got some qualifications for sure. He wrote 1/3 of the New Testament to cover more ground did more work than any of the other apostles probably combined.
He's kind of like the Christian Terminator T 1000 like he walked to the chain-link fence and he just melts right through it and nothing could stop them.
One of my favorite stories is about when the apostle Paul was in Lister and he was drug out of town and they took him outside of the city and they stoned him to what they thought was death. Paul Exley talks about a guy came knew that died and went to heaven, probably referring to himself and this is what we think Paul actually died and then he was raised back to life. He cannot to life after he was stoned being drug out of this town for preaching and what did he go back and do.
He went back into the town and preach somewhere like that that doesn't describe Christian Terminator. I don't know what does.
So Paul when he says this when he says, is good for a man not have sexual relations with a woman, but if they cannot exercise self-control. They should marry as we hear what he says it's important to know the apostle Paul was speaking from a place of spiritual maturity from perspective. He understood because he was single he was able to be more mobile. So you speaking from a place of attorney, spiritually speaking and strategy and also mobility. Paul did not have to concern himself with his wife or with his children when he was facing persecution he was facing death threats and suffering and serving the Lord and being shipwrecked and being attacked by snakes in all this crazy stuff. He was able to do that with 100% of his energies as he did not have a wife.
He did not have children, you do not have to concern himself with those things he was able to commit 100% of himself to the Lord and his purposes and for some here today. This is what God is called you to let me just tell you, this is commendable. This is a beautiful wonderful thing and it is biblical and you belong here in church and in this community. I know the culture today can make it seem like if you're single or divorced or widowed that you are the odd man out. You were the odd woman out all these holidays that have been no marketed to us Valentine's Day.
Oh just cringe knowing the Valentine's Day is around the corner.
Someone can ask you, so you have a special someone in your life that you like I haven't for the last 39 years. Why would I now please stop asking where you go to your friend's wedding and everyone's asking so are you annexing your like probably not stop asking. Please contrary to what the culture might suggest singleness is not a disability.
Singleness is an ability it's a weapon singleness is something that we can use for God's glory. It's an ability, all the single people say amen and amen, amen. Singleness is an ability to be more flexible to be more mobile and to be available for God's use. Paul says he goes on, and he says an unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs. How he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world, how he completes his wife and his interests are divided.
This is not a criticism of a married person but simply an acknowledgment that if you have the responsibilities of a married person you are going to be more tied down. It's an acknowledgment of the response. What is your take on when you say I do when you're single, you can do things you could not necessarily do if you were married. So what's the point here. Whatever your state seek to glorify God. Whatever your stay in your singleness in your dating seek to honor God.
Surround yourself with other godly single men and single women, and serve the Lord and grow in your faith and find friends and go on missions trips and make sacrifices. You have a beautiful opportunity that if you commit to the Lord. It will be a blessing that you get to share with other people and you will also get to partake of the Bible tells us that God knows every bird that falls to the ground. It tells us the God knows every hair of our head and their numbered. The Bible tells us that God knows our thoughts before we think that that he keeps our tears in a bottle friend. If God cares and is interested in details like this.
How much more so is he interested in who you will spend the rest of your life with. He knows what your needs are and unless you were called to remain single as some here may be you can know that he is handpicked someone for you right now he has that perfect person for you and so while you were dating while you are single make the goal to glorify God glorify God with the way you live your life, edify, allow him to edify you and you would grow deeper in your faith in your spiritual fortification would be built up.
Share your faith with other people share what God is done for you, and invite them to become part of the process and they would begin this process ensure that other people this is discipleship.
So while your dating make that your goal following his plan and his will, rather than your desires and your impulses seeking to edify each other in the relationship building each other up spiritually, praying for each other reading Scripture together setting God's word calling each other to further spiritual death. This is what you can do in your relationship as you were dating and that you would also have your dating your accordingly. Something that is a witness to people as well so is your looking for.
This may this boyfriend's girlfriend and you just start dating.
What should your goal be the lead fall in love with each other. Look, that's gonna happen naturally think that that God designed us in such a way where it's gonna work out. Don't worry, you're going to like that person what you want to do is set the foundation so you'll have a successful marriage to have a successful courting. Successful dating a successful marriage assist successful parenting lay the foundation is for God's glory is for your edification build each other up. Have your relationship your dating your courting be a witness to other people on the outside while you guys aren't having sex before you get married you guys should move in together before you get married to make sure everything works out.
Now actually were not going to do that in going through marriage counseling a harvest and were learning about what marriage is.
Why why it happens and what he is put us together for and how to have conflict resolution. We'll just leave each other when we get into an argument. We actually are committed to the deeper relationship here because of what God has called us to make that be a witness to the people on the outside, Scripture also tells us in second Corinthians 614.
An important thing.
Do not be unequally yoked with levers for what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness, what fellowship has light with darkness, to be yoked. This is a phrase that is lost today, especially on us in Southern California because were not farmers. Some of us may be that's awesome. We love you. We need farmers yoked was a piece of wood, literally strapped to animals together.
Think of two oxen right and they're pulling that old Oregon Trail you got going people you're playing Oregon Trail right Betsy died of typhus all right. Remember that game but they would have the two oxen in order to animals of any kind yoked together and what we are seeing here Paul saying don't be unequally yoked when you wouldn't want to do is have a living, oxen, and dad box yoked together because what's gonna happen is the strong healthy ox begins to pull what's gonna happen. You can be dragging this one along and only for so long and eventually he's gonna succumb to the fact that you can get pulled in that direction. And so we are unequally yoked a believer and a nonbeliever is really spiritually mature Christian and a spiritual infant who doesn't understand the basic principles of nursing themselves and feeding themselves and being in God's word to get pulled in the direction of the weaker one right or give to animals.
You have a thoroughbred horse and then you have a donkey right.
The thoroughbreds can get pulled in the direction of the donkey know which one is the donkey which was the thoroughbred.
We will get into that, but do not be unequally yoked with nonbelievers.
Dating is the time for you to figure out who a person really is, and to figure out if this is the right mate for you is been said that when you're dating. Keep your eyes wide open. Keep your eyes wide open and after marriage Shut right dating is the time to look at the things and be aware of the problems and issues that that person has an after you get married, you're aware of them don't expect them to change. If anything is going to get worse because now they're comfortable. They don't have anything to prove. So you want to be fully aware of what you're getting yourself into. Don't be unequally yoked. Don't be unequally dealt. I think one of the best ways to get to know someone is by being friends first. Just be friends with this person.
I think this whole idea of dating and going on a date there so much pressure and tension like the guy showing up in a suit with a dozen red roses and a fancy formal dinner and they're getting to know each other while eating in there too embarrassed to take like a normal sized bike as I don't want you don't like to stop go hang out in a collective group of friends. The church is the best place to get to know people and get to become friends with someone I never dated. My wife never asked her out on a date when I thought she was cute the first time I saw her know she showed up at a Bible study and we chatted afterwards and then I aggressively soccer on social media now. Just kidding. We did before social media was around. No, not really. Actually, I think I direct message sure was I gay I saw you at church last weekend. There is like a Halloween party happening go next week and is can be really fun. Everybody from that group is gonna calm you should hang out it be fun. I was just reaching out for trying to help her get plugged into this group of friends that she was trying to truly see was pretty sure I like your trying to make new friends. I'm in a place where I like six months out of that. I made this new group of friends is the best thing you can do is not so true that that's one of the hardest things as Christians is to make new friends transitioning away from an old group of people, a group of people that you thought were friends and you look back and you can rely so while we were just co-enabling other we were just doing the same things together.
We thought that's what made us friends but actually this is hurting us. That's what it was for me hardest thing I did do was make new friends leave this old group and Celeste was trying to help her do and anybody that came to this Bible study.
That's what we want to do here in harvest for all of you but is she was trying to make new friends I invited to come and hang out and then she said I cannot knock to make it and so no big deal. She showed up a couple weeks later, and then she came and we hung out afterwards a mirrored friends and and then one week she yelled.
Message me. Hey I need a ride to church and so I came and picked her up and from there you know we hung out in large social settings. We got to know each other.
I saw how she corrected with people she saw how I interact with people in other Christians and gradually the group got smaller and smaller and smaller until we realized hey we both like each other and we started our courtship, we started our relationship.
There was never a moment. Rose like you Brittany be my wedded girlfriend was like no stop with all these titles in these different things become friends with the person and see what God is doing in their life and see if they are a good match for you. We pray for each other. We prayed with each other. We both had made the decision to pursue a relationship with God only wanted to tell our friends about what we had found in God.
It was an intentional friendship that marriage is the goal is an intentional friendship that had marriage is the goal and so I found a wife, the one time in my young adult life that I was not trying to find a girlfriend. I was just saying I'm pursuing God everything that I look for in this world has let me down all these decisions that I've made in just screwed things up and you know what this one thing is not letting me down and it's my relationship with the Lord.
So as I pursue that first for the first time in my life that I put God number one in my life.
He brings me the thing that I've been looking for all along relationship with this girl and now we've been married for 11 years and I'm so thankful that I'm thinking sooner than he did bring two years earlier God's timing is perfect.
So the best thing you can do for your Christian dating put God first, the best thing you can do in your singleness see God's glory. Best thing you can do as a parent is a grandparents as you are facing cancer as you are facing a divorce and all the stars. What's the best thing we can do God I don't know how this works out. But II want to seek your glory.
I want to seek you.
I want to follow you.
I want you to be number one of my life. I know I haven't been that in the last whatever years I've made decisions and I've made a mess but you know what I want to invite you into this current situation. You'll be amazed at what God will do when you put him first. The best thing you can do for your marriage, your career, your education, your friendships, whatever answer place in life, here is to seek God's glory and men. And so in closing today, we see that God has called us to a certain way of living in every season of our lives, but I want to assure that the reason God is worth living for is not because he's some distant deity some creator out in the cosmos that we don't know know the reason that he is worth living for is because the deepest sense of fulfillment and joy and love and peace and forgiveness and purpose is through knowing him as your God and your friend through his son Jesus and every season it's a God that goes a glory because he has given us life and life more abundantly. He can do that for you today. If you haven't put your faith in Jesus yet you have not started walking with God. You haven't made him the Lord of your life and put him first in your life. I want to extend an invitation to you here today that are listening online at Harbison Riverside care Harbor source county outside in the surfboard area wherever you might be listening online, maybe even a later date on the radio wherever wherever God can do this for you. He can speak to your heart he can restore what the locus of eating away and he can show you a new way to be human to live for God's glory so Lord, we thank you so much that you have sent your son Jesus to die in our place so that we can have a relationship with you.
We can be forgiven of our sin in Jesus you came not just to give us spiritual life to save us from hell that would be enough know you came to give us life and life more abundantly than we would have fun that we would not feel guilty about the things that we do when we live our lives for you. We would not feel remorse and shame for the way we act and the night before because of some act. We thought that feel good in the moment but now we see it was sin. It was a bad decision was against your will. We miss the mark and so Lord were thankful that you sent Jesus were thankful you have a plan for our lives were thankful that you know the number of hair on our heads.
You know our days. You keep our tears and are in a bottle so Lord, we know that you certainly care about those who are single and want to find a spouse that are single and want to just serve you and remain single Lord of a plan for all of them but the main plan that you have for all of us, all of mankind is that you are not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance and solar heads are bowed and riser close were praying here together.
If there's anybody that would say yeah that's that's me. I've seen that this world is just let me down, and I've made mistakes and I feel guilty and I wish I could hit the undo button and hit the reset button go back in time and tell myself not to do that don't step into that relationship don't do XYZ friend you can know today that you can be forgiven of your sin that God can remove that shame he can remove that guilt and he can make you a new creation.
So if that's you and you like to put your faith in Christ today.
I would invite you to just pray this prayer you would mean in your heart. This is you talking to God and not the person next to you or the preacher appear on the stage. This is you talk to God, your father who loves you and wants to hear. Pray this prayer dear God, I know that I'm a sinner but I know that Jesus is the Savior who died on the cross for my sin.
And so I turned from that sin today and I turn to you from this moment forward. Help me Lord to glorify you with my life in every season. In Jesus name I pray, amen. Everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow the show and consider supporting that. Just go to harvest.org and find out how to know God personally go to harvest.org and click on know God