This is just marriage advice I would say to anybody. When you marry somebody with the idea of I'm going to change that person, don't. Don't.
No. You should go into the marriage. I'm allowing myself to be changed by the Spirit and power of God and that other person if they're doing that great.
That's how it should be. Skip Heitzig. Skip shares how you can honor God in your marriage or in your singleness. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that will encourage you to trust the good plans that God has for you.
Here's Skip Heitzig. In fact, there may not be two more hopeful words than these two words, but God, because they point us to the great interrupter, the one who can powerfully and graciously interrupt our lives with his plans and change our lives forever. We want to help you understand some of the Bible's most profound but God moments so you can have more hope for change in your own life. Pastor Skip's 10 message teaching series, But God, is our thanks when you give $35 or more today to help connect more people to the only one who can radically change a life.
Visit your But God CD collection today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Now we're in First Corinthians Chapter seven as we join Skip Heitzig for today's message. There are things happening around us and on the horizon. And I wonder if you spot them. I wonder if you feel them. I wonder if you sense them.
I have a hunch you do. First of all, there is an apostasy. You know what that means? It means a falling away from the faith. There are people that you know who once named the name of Christ, who once sat next to you in church, who once worshiped with you, who are no longer apart. They have fallen away.
John writes about this and said they went out from us, but they showed basically they were never really of us for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us. Paul the Apostle said in the last days, many will fall away from the faith and give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines taught by demons. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and said before the coming of the Lord, there will be a great falling away, an apostasia.
That's what apostasy means. That's happening. We're seeing it. I'm seeing it in greater numbers than I have ever seen it before.
But there's something else happening, though that is happening. It's probably always happened, though I'm sensing it in a greater degree presently. There's also a growing hostility toward us, an antipathy toward the church, the body of Christ, the bride of Christ. Always has been, but I'm sensing it being ratcheted up.
And I am sensing the present crisis, and I mean the world crisis, the COVID crisis, and the political crises that are a part of that around the world have magnified that. And so to speak out in truth before you could do that. There's a pastor in Canada because he spoke out about same-sex marriage. Basically, he just taught what the Bible said about a man and a woman, and that's the family that God ordained to be married, and nothing else is in God's eyes right. He was arrested, sentenced. Another pastor in London arrested for the same thing.
A member of the Finnish parliament, a medical doctor, a gal who is an evangelical Lutheran, a medical doctor, she's an academic, because she stands up for biblical marriage and has tweeted that she is now under indictment for hate speech. We used to say, you know, watch out, it's coming. It's here. We're in it. It is a present distress.
And you couple that with governments who are just loving the control that they get to have because of a pandemic, just realize we are in a very unique situation. It's being ratcheted up, and I believe ratcheted up toward the last days and toward the last days, not just we're in the last days like Paul was 2,000 years ago, the last days of the last days before the Lord comes back. So I suppose, therefore, that it is good because of the present distress that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife?
Aren't you glad I said we'll finish Chapter 8 if the Lord wills? Are you bound to a wife? Now, I'll answer that. Yes, I am. Happily. I'm a happily married man. Are you bound to a wife? Yep. Do not seek to be loose.
No problem. Are you loose from a wife? Do not seek a wife. Now, perhaps, I'm guessing now, I'm guessing part of the complication they were writing Paul about is, well, Paul, if it is true that to be single is to be unencumbered and undistracted in serving the Lord, maybe it would be better if I dumped my wife so I could serve the Lord in an unencumbered way. Paul would say, don't do that.
That is not a spiritual thing, as he's already talked about in previous verses. Are you loose from a wife? Don't seek a wife.
Now, that is not to say don't have, don't look. If you're sensing, I don't have the gift to be single, I have the gift to be married, so I want to find the right one, but now I shouldn't look for one. The idea is don't take that to mean you shouldn't be on the lookout if the Lord brings her or him to your path. I would just say don't make that the overriding, dominating, controlling factor of your life. But even if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned.
Nevertheless, such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you. But this I say, brethren, the time is short so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as those who did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it for the form of this world is passing away. What does he mean when he says the time is short? Well, he talked about a present distress, so he could mean A, life is short in and of itself, B, the Lord is returning soon, so don't get your roots down too deep, or three, C, and this is what I believe, that persecution is on the rise.
It's coming. Time is short before that full-blown persecution that I'm sensing is going to hit. So if you're married, you may have to make some choices and live as though you were not. I mean, it could get down to it, and I'll explain that as we go down. Let me give you a scenario that could have happened in the first century. Let's say there's a married couple in Corinth, and both of them are Christians, and the wife gets captured by unbelievers. This did happen.
I mean, this was happening as time went on. She is captured, and she is tortured for her faith in Christ. Let's say the husband is not. Now the husband's at home with the kids. If she was a single woman and didn't have a husband with kids, that would be horrible if she was tortured or killed in that prison under those circumstances. That would be horrible. But now it's worse because the children that depend on mom will be taken away, or will be left abandoned, excuse me, because she, the mother, will be taken away. She's going to leave the kids and the husband to fend for themselves. Or here's another scenario. Let's say the husband is arrested, and the wife and the kids are at home.
And let's say they torture him and they kill him. In those days, a widow with children in that culture was often completely destitute, would go into bankruptcy, and would not be able to extreme poverty. So Paul will make the case that because of the present distress, if you're single, you may want to think, unless the Lord hasn't gifted you that way, you may want to think about staying single. Now, if you get married, no problem. You haven't sinned, don't worry about it.
But there's this distress that is coming soon. So he's weighing one against the other. Verse 32, but I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world, how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.
But she who is married cares about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you. I don't want to regulate that you should or shouldn't get married. I don't want to put a leash on you to that standard extreme. But for what is proper that you may serve the Lord without distraction. Now please understand the emphasis here.
It's not to regulate them, it's not to control them, it's not to put a leash on them. He's saying you can get married or you can stay single. That's going to be up to you before the Lord. I'm saying this to you and the emphasis is because I care for you.
This is the heart of a pastor caring for his flock. I want you to be, verse 32, without care. When I was single, I could do whatever I want, whenever I wanted. I can't do that now.
I don't want to do that now, but I can't do that now. When I was a single male living in California shortly after the death of my brother, I just had this hankering to see the country and I called a friend of mine. I said, would you be willing to go on an excursion with me? He goes, what do you mean an excursion? I said, let's drive through the United States and Canada, wherever the Lord might lead, I'll bring my guitar, we'll preach the gospel, we'll camp, and we did it for three months. I could just pick up, go where I wanted to go, maybe take an odd job here or there, get money for gas, get money for food, eat very meagerly, just kind of work, and we did it three months through the United States and Canada.
Had a blast. Slept in the car, slept on the ground, slept on benches. Now, if I were to try to do that now, honey, we're going to go across the country and I'm going to have you sleep on this bench, that'll be your bench, this'll be my bench, it wouldn't go over really well. When I first married Lenny, we were coming out this way, we did stop partway on the first night, and I said, we'll just sleep here. She goes, sleep where? I said, right here.
Where? We're in the car, we'll just sleep in the car. So I learned really quick the meaning of 1 Corinthians 7. It didn't take me long, that he who is married is concerned for the things of his wife in a very different way than when I was single.
So learned my lesson. When two people get married, they adjust to each other, normal and natural. Sometimes it's easy, usually it's not. I look at marriage sort of like as two porcupines trying to get warm on a cold night.
So they need each other's body heat, but they have to be very careful how they snuggle up, because each has many fine points. But they'll feel those points if they don't adjust just right. And so you just want to get those things in sync together, and okay, that's good. You make adjustments because you each have your own habits, your own views, your own ways of doing things, some like the toilet paper going over, some like it going under, some like everything neat and in its place, others are slobs, just little things everywhere. And it's interesting to watch the porcupines adjust.
But it is an adjustment. When you're single, no adjustment needed, it's just you and yourself. Hang out, do whatever you want. The Lord calls you to do something, you go. Camp out for three months, go.
Take a mission trip overseas, go. But when you're married, you care for the things of your spouse. I said last week, it's hard enough for one sinner to be by himself. You get two together, and that's the porcupine effect.
That's the adjustment. That's why Queen Elizabeth I, she was back in the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth I said, I am married to England. My husband is England. She was just devoted to that cause as monarch. A believer who is unmarried can be focused on the things of the Lord solely.
Again, the caveat, if that is their gift. And he says at verse 35, I'm saying this for your own profit. Verse 36, but if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she has passed the flower of her youth, and thus it must be, let him do it. Let him do, excuse me, what he wishes, he does not sin, let them marry. Nevertheless, he who stands fast in his heart, having no necessity but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, he does well. It's my belief that these verses in particular are dealing with that father I told you about, that first century Christian dad in Corinth who had a daughter or daughters who were getting up into marital age. And he, the dad, thought, man, I don't know if I want them to get married.
We're living in tough times, troubled times, a bad age. And dads in those days, especially in the Greco-Roman culture, had complete power over their children. There was a Roman law called in Latin patria potestas. Patria potestas means the absolute authority of a father over the life of a child, even to the point of death.
Complete control. So if you have fathers who are saved, they're in the church at Corinth, they have control over their daughters, some of them might be thinking, I don't want my daughters to get married. And so that seems to be what he has in view. In fact, some believe that some of these fathers made a vow because of the pressure of the ascetics in the church, saying, you know, if you're really spiritual, you won't let your daughters marry. So maybe some of the dads made a vow to the Lord. Lord, I'm dedicating my daughter to you that she'll live in perpetual virginity. You might want to consult your daughter, Paul is saying. He says in verse 37, nevertheless, he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, and the word necessity means being constrained. And that means being constrained by your daughter. She's saying, hey, what do you mean you made a vow for me to be celibate the rest of my life as a virgin? I want to get married.
I've met this cute guy at church. So Paul is saying, you know, make sure that you're not constrained or necessity. So verse 38, then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better. Both are fine. It depends on what? Go with the gift.
Go with the gift. God gives gifts to people to be single and gifts to people to be married. Verse 39, a wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives. But if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes only in the Lord. Death breaks the bond of marriage. I mentioned last week that God's original design was one man, one woman for one lifetime.
Now, that is not always maintained in many cases. Jesus spoke about another exception besides death, and that was adultery. If there's somebody who commits adultery, that gives a freedom to divorce one's spouse. And thus, if one chooses to remarry, so death, divorce. And then Paul gives another, and that is departure, departure of an unbeliever. If an unbeliever departs the marriage, then you're also free.
But in this case, he's just referring to death. A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives. If her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes only in the Lord. That is, only marry a Christian.
Not, well, I met this guy, and he's really cute. And he says he's interested in God. Really, has he always said he's interested in God, or just since he met you?
That's a very important thing to find out. Because if suddenly he's interested in God because you're interested in God, and you think, I'm going to missionary date him. That is, I'm going to date this unbeliever, and as a missionary, I'm going to lead him to Christ.
Maybe and maybe not. And listen, people change, but not that much. If you marry somebody, this is just marriage advice I would say to anybody. When you marry somebody with the idea of, I'm going to change that person, don't. Don't. No. You should go into the marriage, I'm allowing myself to be changed by the spirit and power of God, and that other person, if they're doing that, great.
That's how it should be. But if you're going in thinking that you're going to make adjustments and tweaks and change that person, no, they'll change and you'll change the porcupine adjustment factor. But make sure they know the Lord. Make sure that is their priority, they love the Lord. Make sure that that guy loves the Lord more than he loves you. Make sure that gal loves Jesus more than she loves you. That's the pursuit. So only in the Lord.
But she is happier, she remains as she is, according to my judgment, and I think I also have the Spirit of God. Now chapter 8. Chapter 8, these 13 verses deal with an issue of Christian liberty, now concerning things offered to idols. And he's going to get into, in the next few chapters, what we would call gray areas. Gray areas. There are issues that we face today that they didn't face 2,000 years ago.
There were issues going on in Corinth that Paul had not addressed with them, hence the questioning. Gray areas. And their gray area was, can I eat meat sacrificed to an idol?
Our gray area would be different. Christians for generations have debated issues like, can women wear pantsuits? I remember when pantsuits were big. When was that? What decade was that?
70s, 80s? And some people interested, women can't do that because she's wearing something that pertains to a man. That's men's clothing, and that's forbidden. And then there's debates about, can Christians see movies? Can Christians smoke cigarettes? Can Christians dance? And when people ask me, can Christians dance, my answer is, some can, some can't. I can't.
Never been good at it. That's why I played in the band. Anyway, another story. So these are gray issues, and one of the issues was food sacrificed to idols, meat sacrificed to idols. Concerning things offered to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up or edifies. When it comes to gray areas, not black and white areas, we know certain things are wrong.
Biblically speaking, we have enough working knowledge to know certain things. That's wrong. Won't do that. Stay away from that. That's right. Get into that.
Do that. But then there are things we're not quite sure about. When it comes to these gray areas or non-essential issues... Now, it's good, by the way, let me just back up. It's good for you to know what is essential and what is non-essential.
And why is it important? Because we must never raise non-essentials to the level of essentials, and we must never lower essentials to the level of non-essentials. When it comes to who is God, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, the atonement of Christ, the vicarious atonement, Him dying in our place, salvation by faith through grace, or by grace through faith, all of those things are essentials. If you don't believe in certain things, you are not a saved individual.
You are not a child of God. They're essential. There are other things that are not essential. Eating meat sacrificed to idle, non-essential. Going to a movie, a non-essential. Having a cigarette, a non-essential. Some people take and raise non-essentials to the level of essential.
Oh, you smoke, you're going to hell, that's where all the smoke is, you know. You've just taken a non-essential, friend, and raised it to the level of an essential. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from the series Expound First Corinthians. Now, here's Skip with an important message for you. We want to connect more listeners like you to God's never-changing truths in these ever-changing times. So we would love for you to consider partnering in this work today so that many others can continue to know God's truth and be transformed by His love.
Here's how you can take God's word to more listeners like you around the world. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.
800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. And come back tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares how you can help build unity in the church by focusing on essential truths to the faith.
Then there's people who take essentials. It doesn't matter if you believe in the Trinity. It doesn't matter if you believe in the resurrection. It doesn't matter if you believe in the atonement.
And when they do that, they are stripping the gospel of the gospel. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection. A connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-10 09:21:03 / 2023-03-10 09:30:39 / 10