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God’s View of Singleness, Intimacy, Divorce & Remarriage

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist
The Truth Network Radio
August 23, 2022 3:03 pm

God’s View of Singleness, Intimacy, Divorce & Remarriage

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist

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August 23, 2022 3:03 pm

August 21, 2022 – Message from Pastor Josh Bevan

            Main Scripture Passage:  1Corinthians 7:1-16

            Topic: Relationships


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In your Bibles, if you look with me to 1 Corinthians chapter number 7, 1 Corinthians 7, we have been in a study since last December through the book of Matthew, and we came to Matthew 5, 31, and 2, where it has to deal with, you could stand at this time.

Some of you are thinking, are we standing? We always stand for the honor of God's word. But we are looking at marriage and divorce, and remarriage, what God has to say about that, and what our Lord says in Matthew 5 is expanded here in 1 Corinthians 7, so we are moving over here for one Sunday to look at some things Paul has to say.

I pray this will be edifying and encouraging. 1 Corinthians 7, we'll read down to verse 16, it says in verse 1, now concerning the things wherever you wrote unto me, so they had written, Paul, with some questions, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. That's a Jewish euphemism for intimacy and marriage. It says in verse 2, nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife do benevolence, and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not authority or power over his own body. The husband, and likewise also the husband, hath not power of his own body, but the wife, the fraud ye not one of another, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourself to fasting and prayer, and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your lack of self-control or incontinence. Verse 6, but I speak this by permission, and not of commandment, for I with it all men were even as I myself, but every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this man, or another after that. I say, therefore, to the unmarried and widows, it's good for them if they abide even as I, but if they cannot contain, let them marry, for it's better to marry than to burn, or to burn with passion. And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord. Let not the wife depart from her husband, but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. And let not the husband to put away his wife, but to the rest speak I, not the Lord. If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which also hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. And the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband, else were your children unclean, but now they are holy. But if they, if the unbelieving depart, let them depart, let him depart.

A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God hath called us to peace, for what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband, and for what knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife. Father, we do thank you for your word today. It is a joy and honor to be able to stand for the word of God, and we pray that your blessing would rest upon this service.

We do ask that the will of God would be revealed through the scriptures of what you desire for single people, for married people, for unmarried. Lord, I pray that you would give grace, wisdom, guidance. I pray that we would submit ourself to the word of God and not the will of man and the sins of this culture that have been so problematic to families and relationships, and I pray that you would just bless this congregation, Lord, this morning. Thank you for a wonderful earlier service. May you bless this second hour. We ask it in Jesus' name, and God's people said, Amen.

You may be seated this morning. For the last couple weeks, we've been examining marriage, divorce, remarriage, and my prayer is that this has been a blessing for you, that it would edify you, that it would help us all to elevate the importance of marriage and that God-honoring institution that God has made. Those who are married would look at marriage in a way that would honor the Lord, that it is not just a commitment between two people, but it is a God-given covenant between three, between a man, a woman, and God, that God hates divorce and desires our marriages to be till death would part us, and that if you have been divorced, that you would understand there is grace, there is forgiveness and healing, and that you would live in the blessing of God as you seek Him, that if you're remarried today, that you would treat that marriage as sacred as God says it is and love one another in that marriage covenant. Today, I want to dive into 1 Corinthians chapter 7 where Paul expands the brief teaching that the Lord gave on marriage in Matthew 5 and verse 31 and 2 and Matthew chapter 19 where Paul expands this. Jesus dealt with marriage between believers, and he was writing to a strong Jewish audience where Paul is dealing with marriage between both believers and unbelievers and dealing with the heavy Gentile culture at Corinth in this book of Corinthians.

And so there's some things that you need to understand as we get into this. Paul says a statement multiple times through here where he says this is something the Lord commands and not I but the Lord. He says that in verse number 10 and under the married I command yet not I but the Lord. And what he's saying here is that Jesus spoke to this, but then he gets down to verse 12. He says but the rest speak I not the Lord. What he's saying is he's not saying I'm opposing what Jesus said.

He's simply saying Jesus didn't address the situation of people married to unbelievers. So he's not contradicting what Jesus says in Matthew 5. He's expanding the will and word of God here in those situations that Jesus didn't specifically speak to. And you need to understand what Paul says is as authoritative as what the Lord Jesus Christ says because it's all given by God.

This is the word of the living God inspired by the Holy Spirit. So Paul also is foreseeing the Lord's return. He thought it was very soon, but he also saw the coming persecution that was both present, but was about to fall like a hammer from Rome upon the early church.

And under the in about 17 years from this writing the clinician the Roman Emperor would bring great persecution against it was a first wave of Christian persecution. And so he tells them it's good to be single if you're if you're not married. It's probably better to not marry because of the coming distress that he mentions in verse 26 of this chapter. So he highlights the the value and singleness because of your devotion to the Lord your singleness of mind to the Lord.

But if you have a heart to marry then you need to do that and we'll understand that as we walk through this passage today. Let me give you some context about marriage and Paul's day because last week we looked at the Jewish culture. We looked how things were going among the Jews. The Jews had the greatest ideally they had the greatest view of marriage and divorce because it was given by God in the Old Testament. The problem was they had moved away from the Old Testament view of what divorce and remarriage was in light of what God's Word says about it that that marriage is to be this covenant between two people. And that they're to become one flesh according to the book of Genesis chapter 2.

And there was a school by Rabbi Hillel who had died about 20 years before Jesus. And he had a very liberal view that was propagated throughout the Jewish culture that you could get divorced for about any reason and you can get remarried. And that was the case and so marriage had deteriorated in their day because they had a very low view of Deuteronomy 24 where Moses addressed divorce. And they thought it was a license to get divorced for any cause. Jesus clarifies that in Matthew 5 31 and 32 and says you're not to get divorced except for the case of sexual sin by your spouse.

He uses a Greek word porneia and we translate that as adultery or just any type of sexual sin outside of your relationship with your wife. And so Jesus brought a great contrast and clarity to what was going on in that day. Now you need to know in Paul's day not only was marriage a mess among the Jews but it was even a greater mess among the Gentiles. Both the Greek and Roman cultures that Paul ministered in had some severe problems.

The Greeks were the great world power up until Rome defeated them in 146 BC at the battle at Corinth and then Greece became part of the Roman Empire. And the marriage problems were heavy at Corinth which was just right above Greece and it was dominated by the Greeks. W. Veril the great classic scholar said one of the chief diseases from which the ancient civilizations died was because they had a low view of women. Among the Greeks having extramarital relationships committing adultery was not only seen as not wrong but it was expected.

Domitius it was a Greek statement in Athens in 4th century BC. He writes this, we have courtesans or basically prostitutes for the sake of pleasure. We have concubines for the sake of daily cohabitation. And we have wives for the purpose of having children legitimately and of having a faithful guardian for all of our household affairs end quote. I mean that's what was the norm of the day.

You were married, they were children, they took care of the children at home. But men were just loose in the area of adultery. What's interesting among the Greeks is they demanded their wives to be absolutely pure and moral. So the men would run around when the women were not even allowed to leave the home.

Like they were not allowed to talk to other men. It was demanded of them to be pure. Also religion among the Greeks involved, their religion involved prostitution, sex and drunkenness. Their gods were gods of sex. Aphrodite was a goddess of sex at Corinth. Bacchanalian feast, the goddess Bacchus was a god of wine. Drunken prostitution was what their religion was. Basically what their lusts were showed up in what kind of gods they served.

Same thing happens today. You ask somebody, so what do you believe about God? And they say, well God to me is, and they begin to define God by what they are. And their God who they're defining looks very much like them. It's idolatry of the heart. And so God is not made in the image of man, man is made in the image of God.

You believe that today? And so in Greek society extramarital relationships were the norm and wives were kept secluded and purity was demanded of them. A second problem among the Greeks was divorce required basically no legal process.

The only thing that was required was you had to have two witnesses and then you returned the dowry. But outside of that it was just easy divorce, easy remarriage. Now the Romans also were as problematic.

William Barclay said the history of the development of the marriage situation among the Romans is a history of tragedy. The whole Roman religion and society was originally founded on the home. It really blows your mind when you begin to study Roman history because at the onset of the Roman Empire, when Rome the Commonwealth was established, family life was very strong. I mean they had a distorted view on some things and some things were very wrong but the family units stayed together is why I say that. They had what they called the patria potestas or the father's authority. And the father literally had power of life and death over their family.

This lasted basically throughout their lives. To the Roman the home was everything. The Roman matron or the mother of the home was not secluded like the Greek counterpart. She took part in life with everyone else. There were prostitutes in the Roman Empire but they were looked down upon.

You would not intermingle with them because that was a dishonorable thing. So high was the standard of Roman morality that for the first 500 years you will not find one single instance of divorce for 500 years in Rome. Is that amazing? How long has America been around?

I mean that's amazing isn't it? The first case of divorce was a man named Spurius Carvelius Ruga in 234 BC and he divorced his wife because she could not have children. Very honorable right? Mess. So what happened was the Romans conquered the Greeks militarily in 146 BC and though they conquered them militarily it was said that the Greeks conquered the Romans morally and socially. By the second century BC Greek morals had begun to infiltrate the Roman Empire and the descent was catastrophic. Divorce became as common as marriage. Seneca who was a Roman historian and statesman who lived during the time of Christ speaks about women who were married to be divorced and who were divorced to be married.

He speaks about women identifying the years of their life by the husbands that they had. There are cases such as poet juvenile who cites the case of a woman who had eight husbands in five years. Some historians in that day wrote of wives and husbands having 20 to 25 different spouses. I mean that's the insanity that marriage turned into and divorce turned into inside of this culture. In an attempt to rescue marriage Rome began to pass laws that began to penalize people who were not married or bless those who did and who had children. But Rome was not able to save it through their laws. Rome was infected with the sins of the Greek culture resulted really in the destruction of the family and of marriage.

So that gives you a little bit of background you say why are you telling us these things because you will never understand 1st Corinthians 7 until you understand the history of some of this. And so there were four basic marriages inside of the Roman institution inside of marriage. There was four different ways marriages were established. The first was among those who were in slavery. Slavery was there were tens of thousands of slaves inside of the Roman Empire. Many of the early Christians were slaves.

Paul writes about that. And so if two slaves wanted to be married they would allow them to be married in what was known as a contubernium which was known as a tent relationship. Basically it was an arrangement that they come together and that was kind of a loose way of marriage but it was considered a marriage nonetheless. Secondly there was a marriage that was known as a usus and it was kind of an informal way of marriage.

People who lived together in a marital sense would be considered married after they stayed together for one year. It's what we would refer to in our day as a common law marriage where you live together thanks for seven years there's ten states that still practice that that you would be married. Third way was what was known as a coemptio was a sale of a daughter to a husband by a dowry price and that kind of faded from view. It was an old means of marriage but that was going on also in Roman times. The fourth way of marriage in that day was really the most elevated way of marriage.

It was practiced by the Patreon class or the ruling class of Rome. It was called conferiatio and it was a marriage where the two families would come together. There would be an exchange of rings. The rings would be placed on the third finger of their left hand because in Egypt, ancient Egypt, they said there was a vein that ran from your finger third finger all the way up to your heart. And then they would have ten witnesses to be present.

They shared a cake. There would be a matron who would go along with the bride. There would be a basically a bridegroom with the guy and the Roman Catholic Church adopted this in the medieval ages. They added some Christian things to that and then it went through the Protestant Reformation. And that's really where we get our, obviously you can see where we have our Christian ceremony in the modern form of that today.

And so this is what's going on. There were divorces, remarriage. There were some people again in that slavery type of marriage, that tent companionship that were in the church. Some have their wives taken away, put with somebody else.

I mean it was just a mess. Paul was dealing with all these kind of things, people going on in multiple different marriages throughout their life. And so Paul has to deal with this. Now he's writing this book to this church at Corinth. And if you know anything about the Bible, if you've read much of the New Testament, you know the city of Corinth was a mess. The church of Corinth had a lot of problems, right? So the city of Corinth was a very wealthy city. I actually have some pictures here for you. It was about 45 minutes, 45 minutes, yeah.

Do we have that first picture? It was about 45 miles west of Athens. So here's Athens and here is Corinth. And it was a seaport city. This is Greece. Israel's over here and these are Paul's missionary journeys.

And so if you have that next picture, it kind of gives you an idea. And it had this canal that they would have. They would roll ships actually through that passage from one body of water to the other. In Corinth were the famous Isthmian Games, like the Olympic Games. They were very big in Corinth. It was not only wealthy, but Corinth was also very wicked.

It was known as a seaman's paradise. Sexual immorality ran rampant. To Corinthicize someone meant to literally go to bed with a prostitute and to be involved in drunkenness. Corinth had an acropolis or a high city that rose 2,000 feet and was both used for a place of defense as well as a place of pagan worship. I have a third picture there and you see this is a rendition of a temple to Aphrodite. This temple, which was above the city of Corinth, and this is the water and area down there at the bottom, there was a thousand temple prostitutes that was housed there and they would descend upon the inhabitants of the city in the nightlife. And if you slept with one of the prostitutes, you were sleeping basically with the goddess Aphrodite, who was a goddess of sex. This was their religion. So if you lived in Corinth, at the pinnacle of your city was a brothel. I mean this was religion.

Can you imagine? This is how they grew up. Like if you want to be really religious, this is what you partake in.

Drunken sex. I mean this is Corinth. This is who Paul is writing to.

Even if we get that fourth picture, even today these are ancient ruins from that temple still lasted a couple thousand years later. So let's jump into this today. That lays a little bit of the foundation.

I hope that gives you some more foundation. So when you read 1 Corinthians, you understand a little bit more of what's going on here. Now it starts off and we're going to look at verse 1 through 5, answering questions about intimacy. And the reason this is dealt with is because Paul deals with it because in that city, sex had become so sinful that some believe that sex was sinful itself.

And so Paul has to answer some questions. Is celibacy God's desire? Is it spiritual for someone to remain celibate and unmarried? Is it also right for people that are married to abstain from sexual intimacy inside of their marriage?

Is it wrong? And so Paul answers some of these questions. So in verse number 1 of chapter 7, notice what he says.

Now concerning the things wherever you wrote unto me. So they're asking him about this. Why are they asking him about intimacy? Because all they've known is immorality in that area.

It's all they've ever known. And so he says it is good, literally morally good, for a man not to touch a woman. And what he's saying there, that word touch a woman is a euphemism among the Jewish conversation about sexual intimacy with someone. So it's good for someone to remain celibate. If you're asking me is it wrong to be celibate and not married, yes, that's good to do.

It's right to do. Paul is not against marriage, but he's just simply answering the question it's okay to be single as long as you remain sexually pure. But then he goes in to answer that singleness can cause some problems. Verse 2, nevertheless to avoid fornication let every man have his own wife and every woman have her own husband. There are some problems that arise if you just think that's the only plan for God. Now what would happen if God's will for everyone was to be single and celibate?

Humanity's gone, right? There's an old group called the Shakers. It was a combination of the Quakers and the Pentecostalism. And they said that sex is wrong even inside a marriage. And they had thousands of people in that group about 50 years ago. Today in 2011, the last statistic, there was three of them.

Such groups die off, right? Because you don't have any children. So that's not God's desire. Also, God said in Genesis 1-28, be fruitful and multiply, right?

Children are a gift of God, Psalms 1-27-3. Genesis 2-18, God says it's not good for man to be alone. So clearly there are some problems that come around the idea of just being single. But it also, what Paul says here is it causes the potential of temptation. Paul warns those who were believing that they needed to remain single that, hey, if you have the gift of singleness, if you are completely content and have no desire to be married, then that's great.

You can fully devote your life to God and have nothing else that pulls your attention, then that's great. But if you have urges to be married and you desire that, then you need to get married because there's nothing honorable to God about living your life with temptations you're battling with constantly. And so he's saying to avoid falling into sexual sins, let every man have his own wife, let every woman have her own husband. Now let me give you at least four biblical reasons for marriage.

There's probably more than this, but I just wrote down four, so that's what you'll have. So first of all, God gave marriage for the purpose of parenting, to have children. Genesis 1 28, God says, be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth. Children are a blessing, friends, aren't they? Love my kids. I love spending time with them and love when they bring me a sweet tea. I love our kids.

Parenting is a blessing. Secondly, God gave marriage for pleasure, to enjoy one another. Both in Proverbs and in the Song of Solomon, God says to enjoy one another physically. And I understand we have some young years today and I'm guarded in how I communicate these things, but the Bible tells us that we are to be satisfied inside of our marriage and to enjoy one another. Proverbs 5 18, listen to what Solomon writes.

He said, let thy fountain be blessed. That's literally the procreative ability of the husband he's speaking of. And rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe. Let her breast satisfy thee at all times and be there ravished.

That word literally means intoxicated also with her love. And so what he's talking about in Proverbs 5, if you're familiar with that passage, is don't give into harlotry, don't give into sexual temptation, but rather allow that desire to be fulfilled in your marriage covenant. Enjoy one another, fulfill one another. Hebrews 13 4 says, marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled. You can't defile the bed in marriage. That's intimacy is a blessed union there.

But whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. So not only parenting, not only pleasure, but also for partnership. Marriage is a companionship. God said it's not good for man to be alone. I don't want to go through life by myself. I love being married.

I enjoy doing things with my wife, having activities, going hiking, just living life, raising kids. It's also a place where husbands and wives get to serve one another. And then fourthly, it's also a picture. Marriage is a spiritual reflection of Christ's relationship to the church. And it's a beautiful picture of that institution where God, who is the husband in Christ, who care and love for his wife and the wife to show reverence and love and respect to her husband.

So it's a picture. Now, verse three through five, Paul makes clear that celibacy is honorable before God, and it's the only thing to do before your marriage to remain celibate and pure. But celibacy is not for marriage. It is not for marriage.

He says in verse three, Let the husband render unto the wife do benevolence and likewise the wife unto the husband. You know, we live in a day where people speak about the intimacy inside of a relationship in such crude terms. It's always filthy, nasty.

It's drug through the mud. God created this beautiful relationship, and the world just wants to turn it into something nasty and vulgar. And here Paul doesn't use filthy language. He calls it due benevolence, word for affection like goodness and kindness and render unto the husband, wife, render unto the husband, husband render unto the wife the affection that's due to them. And then he says, and notice what he says in verse number four, The wife hath not power or authority of her own body, but the husband likewise, the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. What that's simply saying is when you get married, you give your body to your spouse. Just like when you get saved, God becomes like owns you. First Corinthians chapter 6, 19, 20, you're bought with a price.

Our bodies belong to God now. When you get married, you're saying, I'm giving you my life, my body, my heart, and likewise. And so you're committing one to another. You say, Well, does that mean that somebody can become abusive in a relationship?

Absolutely not. That's wicked and sinful. It's not to be used for lust. It's not to be used for abuse.

There is no way would a husband love his wife and treat her in some kind of disparaging way here. It's saying, though, that we're not to defraud each other. And that's why he says in verse five, The fraud ye not one another, except it be with consent for a time. Like don't keep each other from intimacy.

Like don't refrain from each other. God forbid celibacy in marriage. You say, Is there ever a time to abstain?

Yeah, he mentions that in verse number five. He says, except it be with consent for a time that you could give yourself to fasting and prayer. If you're, Hey, we want to go into a focus of fasting and prayer, and we have something really heavy on our hearts. And, you know, we're going to say, God, we're going to give up food and intimacy and anything else. We're going to sacrifice for this season of our life. But notice what happens if you continue to refrain from one another.

You know, you're not going to fast 364 days in a year. Wife or husband. Okay, you can't use that. And it's also it's a mutual consenting. You consent together with this. But if you continue to do that, it tells us that you open the door up for someone to come into your marriage. And this has come together again.

Verse five that Satan tempts you not for your incontinence or your lack of self control. What happens is when people get upset with each other in marriage and and I've pastored long enough and counseled for the last 20 or so years and and I've seen where couples can get mad at each other. And wives refrain from intimacy with the husband and or the husband does that to his wife.

I've seen it go both ways and they get hurt and they get upset. And let me ask you a question. Who's the only person? That you're allowed to be fulfilled intimately with in the entire world if you're married. It's your spouse.

There's no one else. So if you're refraining from your spouse and you're depriving them of that, you need to understand that is wrong to do. God tells us not to do that.

You are opening up the door for Satan to really get a hold of your marriage and ruin some things. You're causing a very potential great potential of sin there. And so see each other as a ministry. I can tell you it's better to give than to receive. You need to love one another minister to each other in that area.

I would say this. Make sure as husband and wives you sleep in the same room and in the same bed. I don't care if there's crickets and I don't care if there's a 500 Amen. I don't care if you're a married couple. There's over the years I've had people say we haven't slept in the same room for 10 years, for 15 years. Really?

How does that work? Well, we just you know. Well, yeah, you need to be in the same room and then after you get in the same room kick the kids out. This is the pastor of lighthouse telling you this, okay? Do not let your kids sleep in your room.

And again, I don't care if if a thousand people Amen or they don't. You need to do this. You do not let your kids sleep in your room. You want to know the you want to know how do you put some coldness in the air of intimacy in your marriage? Let little little Bubby and toddler come in there. They always they always know when to knock, don't they? Hey dad, mom. You don't want them in the same room.

I'm being serious about this. Listen, I have counseled with some guys and counseled in some marriages where it has become such a problem. That there is so much division inside of a marriage because they let that child in that room.

Listen to me. You're not benefiting the child. You're not benefiting your marriage. And the worst thing you can give your kids is a broken marriage. And the best thing you can give them is a loving marriage who loves Jesus and loves one another.

Amen. Believe your preacher when you say that. Well, what am I going to say to my child? You need to care more about your marriage and your child. Sure, I'll get a letter on that.

I don't care. And I will say this, intimacy isn't about filling your needs. It's about fulfilling your spouse.

Learn to love and care for your spouse's needs. Also, God can give celibacy as a gift in verse six and seven. He says in verse seven, I would that all men were even as I myself, but every man at this proper gift. Paul was single at this time. He was a celibate at this time in his life, though I do believe Paul was married prior to this. And the reason I believe that is because it's believed that Paul was a part of the Jewish Sanhedrin. And if you're part of the Jewish actually pronounced Sanhedrin, then you would be you would have to be married.

It was a requirement. Plus, among the Jews, you they saw it as a sin if you weren't married by 20. Unless you did devote yourself fully to the word of God. So so I believe Paul was probably married. And so that's why he says in verse eight, I say, therefore, to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them to bite even his eye. And but but he was single at this time. He was celibate. And he says, not everybody has that gift.

But if you do have that gift and then it's good to remain single. Now, let me give some answers for those who are unmarried. And he talks about this in verse eight and nine. Now, in verse eight, Paul is speaking to the unmarried and widows.

The word unmarried is the Greek word agamas. It's used four times in the entire Bible. And it's used only in the book of First Corinthians, chapter seven.

The word agamas, I believe, refers to the divorced. So Paul is speaking to four different groups of people in First Corinthians seven. If you don't know these four groups, you're going to miss interpret some things when you read First Corinthians seven. He speaks, first of all, to people who were never married. He calls them virgins in verse twenty five, twenty eight, thirty four. He talks to the married people in verse nine, ten, twenty eight, thirty three, thirty four and a couple other verses. And then he refers to widows who had spouses that died. And he refers to them in verse thirty nine and forty, as well as in verse eight. And then he refers to a group called the unmarried or the agamas.

And these are divorced people. These are divorced people because he's not dealing in verse eight with the virgins because he would refer to them. And in verse eight, he says, I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, there's only two ways you could be unmarried. Either you're a virgin and he refers to them specifically so he wouldn't call them unmarried or you've been divorced. And so here he's referring to the divorced because even the next time he uses the word is in verse eleven. And he says, but if she depart, let her remain unmarried agamas.

It's again, the second time it's ever used in the entire New Testament. So so the unmarried, when it's used in First Corinthians seven, is referring to the divorced previously married people. Now, Paul was not married again at this point in his life. That's why in verse eight, he says to the divorced and the widows here in verse eight remain his eye. He groups himself into that group. That's one other reason why we believe he's probably previously married in that previous wife.

Probably would have passed away is why they're no longer together. But verse nine, a closing thought about celibacy and singleness, he says in verse nine. But if they cannot contain, if you cannot remain a celibate, let them marry. It's better to marry than to burn with passion.

That's the idea that if you don't have the gift of singleness, you're not more spiritual by struggling your entire life with sexual temptation. Get married is what he's saying. I'm going to take a few minutes and talk to you about some keys, how to find the right spouse. Okay, some keys to finding the right spouse. Anybody want to find the right spouse? If you're married, do not raise your hand, okay?

Do not raise your hand. If you did raise your hand and you're married, Braden will be dealing with those marriage counseling sessions this week, and he'll be on the schedule, all right? Keys to finding the right spouse. This is important, young folks and anybody that may be older that you are in a position to move toward a relationship according to God's will. You need to first of all, seek to be the right person instead of seeking the right person. Instead of seeking the right person, you seek to be the right person.

God will bring the right person in your life when you're ready, but sometimes we're not ready and he has to prepare us for that. Secondly, be content where you are. We're repeatedly called to be content in the New Testament. 1 Timothy 6, Philippians 3, Paul says to be content where you're at. Realize Christ will satisfy you.

He will be your fulfillment until God brings the right person. He'll give you the strength you need. 1 Corinthians 10 13 says you will not be tempted above what you're able to bear. Then in any relationship, number three, that you come in to build your relationship with God in the center. Put God in the center. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10 31, whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the what? To the glory of God. Everything we do should be done for the glory of God. Put God first in your relationship. You say, I don't even know how to do that.

Yeah, you do. People in love with Jesus and it will come in and talk about him. Bring bring the person you're interested in to church. Read the Bible with them. Pray with them.

Put Christ at the center. And why should you put God first? Because who would you rather marry? The person that God has for you and desires for you are the person that you would want. You want to marry who you think is best or who God knows is best. I can tell you, we've all messed up in probably dating, going out or sometimes don't raise your hand if you're married. OK, but but but you can get in wrong relationships. We know how to do that. We want God to put us in a right relationship.

Amen. Also, if you put God first, you will quickly eliminate people that don't want that. If you say, hey, you know, I. You know, really want Jesus Christ to be the center of our relationship. I really want Jesus. You know, whatever happens here to this friendship, we move into like being more than friends and begin to date or whatever, that we would have Jesus at the very center if they're like, no way, what are you talking about?

They start looking at you like you're crazy. Then that's not what you want to be a part of. Amen. You don't want somebody who doesn't want Jesus. You want to be in a relationship with someone who loves Jesus more than they love you.

There's no one. The greatest thing that I get from my wife is that I know she loves Jesus more than me. She would never have dated me. We would never be married if if I didn't love Jesus ever. No way.

Would we? No way. She's like, no way. You have to shake it that hard. I mean, good night. Break your neck down there.

Good grief. Number four, build your relationship on the spiritual features over the physical. You know, physical features will fade out. I know some of these young ladies are like, I want to marry Captain America. Well, you're not going to marry Captain America.

And but if you fall in love with Jesus and he's in love with Jesus, he will be your Captain America. So you need to understand that that those physical features are not what will what's what's the foundation of a healthy relationship. It's the spiritual. Elevate the spiritual over those things.

Have conversations with your kids. Don't have a list of things that you desire among your future spouse. That's no different than an unbeliever's desires.

Right. Number five, do not date an unbeliever. Second Corinthians 6, 14 says, Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. You say, well, I'm dating somebody who's not saved right now. Well, don't don't be in that relationship like that.

Do not. Well, we've been going out for 10 years. Well, then break that off. Well, well, what? Break that off. And if God will save them, God will save them.

Don't think God's blessing will fall on you, disobeying the word of God. Because I can tell you, they don't have the same view of sexual intimacy as you do. And if you're with them for 10 years and you're not married, you're probably in or you're probably crossing some lines. Maybe not, but I would assume probably so. Unless I don't know.

I don't even want to know. So do not date an unbeliever. They don't have the heart for the things of God.

They're not even a Christian. The Bible commands us not to do that. Number six, be patient and do not skip over the friendship stage. Be patient in the friendship stage. Learn to enjoy just each other's company. Totally no physical, no nothing, just friends.

This is a lifetime commitment. You want to know the person before you spend the rest of your life with them. Number seven, build your relationship on love and not lust. Have boundaries that that protect you from physical.

Lines that would get crossed. Lust is a taker. Love is a giver. Lust demands now. Lust says I'll wait. Love seeks righteousness. Lust seeks self-fulfillment. Number eight, set clear limits, guidelines and boundaries before you get into a relationship. 1 Peter 5 says Satan seeks to devour. I can tell you, you don't have some boundaries and guidelines.

People say this to me. I don't know how we messed up, pastor. I don't know how it happened. I was over at her house, you know, it was midnight. We were watching a movie. The lights were off. It was dark.

No one was home. I don't know how we did this. I mean, we were in church last Sunday.

We heard your sermon and we were like, you know, we've got him for God. And what do you mean you don't know? There's no one in the world that can withstand that. That's called dumb, OK? D-U-M-B, dumb. Don't do that. Don't do that.

Don't be alone by yourselves. Is this legalism? No, this is not legalism. This is safety. Safety.

I've been doing this for more than two years, all right? You want to have a pure relate? Let me ask you, would you rather have a relationship that honors God or fulfills your flesh?

Would you rather have a relationship that God wants to bless or a relationship where you lose his blessing? And also, girls, you need to know this because I don't think girls know this. The way you see guys is not how guys see you. I mean, I know today that there are there are I don't even get it, but there are guys like if a guy came in today with shorts up to here, everybody would be like, ah, cover him. I mean, oh, it's gross. There's not one person in here that's attracted to that.

And I don't know how this stuff comes back. I like to see my grandpa's old basketball pictures. I'm like, grandpa, come on.

I mean, your legs. What are you doing? Is there no decency? I mean, is this Corinth? It's unbelievable to me. But but but girls, you need to understand that this is very serious. The Bible says to not put a stumbling block before other people. What you may not be attracted to or turned on by. I can tell you guys don't.

They see things differently and you don't want to bring a stumbling block into the picture with them. If you're dressing in provocative ways with holes up to here and holes in the back and trying to show half your leg. I mean, I used to wear anybody. I used I have so many jeans at home that I've worn through.

I'm like putting stuff all over, patching up the holes in the legs and the thighs and the bottom parts wherever it tears. And it's like, you know, you try to conceal that stuff. But today they sell them that way.

Don't buy them that way. I mean, so. So anyway, but just just protect yourself. If you're dressing in a provocative way, you're going to attract the guys that you wouldn't want to marry. And God would not want you with dress in a pure way.

And parents, make sure you help guard that. The Bible says don't put stumbling blocks and occasions to fall in others way. I had a guy come to me a few months ago and this guy came out of a world of brokenness and addiction. And he's living for Jesus now and he loves the Lord. And he said this to me. He said, Pastor, is there any way somebody could talk to a couple of those ladies because they are dressing so provocative in church? He said, I can't even hardly get inside. He said, I've for so long only looked that way that it's hard for me when I see women dressing in inappropriate ways. I can tell you, ladies, you're putting if you do that, God's not OK with that. You're putting a stumbling block before a brother in Christ who loves Jesus and says, I can't even get in there to worship because somebody is dressing in a. Don't. It's not cute.

It's not. It's not cute to me at all. If a girl was dressing like in a very inappropriate way, I never would have dated it.

Situation I would say that some other guy be be part of that situation because I want I want somebody who's pure and loves Jesus and is not going to be attracting and flirting around with other guys. And listen, some I think a lot of girls are just completely naive to it. They don't have any idea. I can tell you guys are not naive to it. And there should be a dad somewhere that steps in and says, hey, I'm not naive to this. I know how guys think you need to be protected.

We're brothers and sisters in Christ in this church and we need to protect each other. Amen. So you'll never hear this anywhere else. You won't turn Fox News on or MSNBC and they're like, you know what, girls, you really need to dress modestly. You know, it's not going to happen.

Also. Let me give you some word of wisdom to the parents. Do not let your kids get too serious, too young in a relationship.

Physical temptation is hard enough. How much harder when you let them get involved in relations so early. I've seen people that are 11, 12 years old act like they're in a marriage relationship.

It's the silliest thing in the world. You're 11. You're 11.

You're 12 years old. Acting like they own the other person, like they're in some kind of. Marriage relationship.

You always have some Terminator dragging some guy or girl around like they own them. How dare you talk to that other boy or that girl? Who do you think you are? You're a child. You don't act that way one day when you're married anyway. And so stop. You don't control anyone. And if your kids in a relationship like that, you get them out of that. The Bible tells us in First Corinthians 723, you're bought with a price. Be not the servant of men.

I'd like to see some guy come along, try to do that to one of my daughters. Like you are. You fired up already. So. People ask me this question, when is the right age to date?

When is the right age to date? Now, again, this is a parent's decision. You run your home.

You need to figure out how to do that for me and my home. It's never it's never. And the discussion. I don't even know how to answer this is like the one that was uncomfortable. I thought I need to say something about it. When they're like 16 ish. Ish.

But each child is different. You are married. Let me ask you, who did you date in your past that you would say, wow, I would love to. I'm so glad I dated that person.

None of them. You would say I would have withhold myself from all of those relationships for my present spouse. Raise your hand if that's the case. OK, every parent, every marriage should be raised in their head. OK, you had your hand up.

I saw that peripheral vision. OK, so you don't if that's the case for you. Why would you let your child you think they're going to get married when they're 11 all the way through? But you know what happens is you learn to get in relationships. You open up some doors that don't need to be open. And when those doors get open, it's hard to turn it off. And so protect that. Protect your young people.

So important. And let me say one last thing of device. Once you know you're getting married, have a short engagement. Have a long friendship relationship. Take your time. But when you know you're getting married, three to six months is long enough.

And Mogan said, amen. He is 34 days away from getting married. It's 34 days.

He is a man in short engagements. She's like, I'll take another couple of weeks. You know, we'll just keep extending it. No, no. He's like, no, no, no. Thirty four days is enough. He said, don't even cut it down.

No, we're going to give it 34 days. OK. But you know what? People get engaged.

It's a place of temptation. It's hard. It's not easy. And so just understand, don't don't people come and they say, well, I'm going to get married.

And say, oh, really? When you get married in two years, two years. What do you mean in two years? Well, you know, we got to get done with school and you're going to.

Really? You know, it's going to happen in those two years. They're going to struggle.

They're going to struggle in it better that you have holiness than your flowers picked out. Right. Amen. Let me go down to one last point.

We've got to be done. Paul expands his teaching on divorce and remarriage in Chapter seven. He says in verse number 10, we're going to we're going to move down quickly through verse 16, but he tells us here because there were some people for some reason wanting to get a divorce. And he says to them in verse 10, and I say to the married, I command yet not I, but the Lord.

This is something the Lord taught on. Let not the wife depart from her husband. Like, don't get a divorce. And these divorces were happening for something other than adultery because Jesus dealt with that. And Paul is dealing with them divorcing.

And these are these are some different cases here. And and so Paul says, do not get a divorce. But if you do get a divorce for something other than adultery, he says here in verse number 11 or if you get a divorce for any reason, he says in verse 11, if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. Let not the husband put away his wife. Don't be getting divorces. Don't be getting divorces like remain in your marriage.

And so this is not a suggestion. This is the will of God. God says, if you if you get a divorce, remain unmarried or be reconciled.

Now, the question comes is this. But what if we got a divorce not based on adultery? And now my previous spouse is married to someone else. I can't remarry them anyway. Do I remain single the rest of my life?

I'm struggling. I would like to get in, move toward a marriage relationship. Well, if there was someone else than you and you were divorced for illegitimate reasons, then their remarriage constituted an act of adultery, an act and not perpetual adultery, but an act of adultery.

And that would set you free. As I mentioned last time, last week, though their marriage was an act of adultery, I do not believe it is perpetual adultery because it's viewed in the Bible as a legitimate marriage. Notice verse 11 again. But if she depart, let her remain, it says, unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. Also, when you go over to Matthew 532, where it's a little bit more clear, Jesus says, if you get a divorce and remarry, and it's an illegitimate reason to get remarried, but he's saying that there is still a legitimate marriage. So God sees that marriage as being legitimate. But also, verse 11 highlights that when that divorce happens, you're viewed by God as being unmarried.

He said, let her remain unmarried. When you get a divorce for legitimate or illegitimate reasons, when the writ of divorce, as we taught on last Sunday, happens, then you are divorced. You're no longer married in the eyes of God. You can't say that to somebody. Well, you're still married in the eyes of God.

No, you're not. If divorce happened, then you are divorced. Now, going on, he talks about what a Christian should do who's married to an unbeliever. Some of the questions that would have arisen was, what do you do if you're married to an unbeliever? Am I like bringing Christ and Belial together in the language of 2 Corinthians 6? Should I divorce them and marry a believer?

What if they won out? Should I let them go or should I try to make them stay? Is the only way they can get saved is if I keep them in this marriage. And so there are all these questions. Now, Jesus didn't directly speak to this. So Paul says in verse 12, but to the rest speak I, not the Lord. He's simply saying this is something Jesus didn't address. He says, if any brother hath a wife that believes not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

You know what he's saying? If they want to stay in the marriage, stay married. God is not in the business of ripping families apart, but building them up together. The question comes, but doesn't the unbeliever corrupt the home relationship? They were worried that, you know, if you're married to an unbeliever, does that kind of defile you as a Christian? And he says in verse 14, for the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife. And the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband. What he's saying is, on the contrary, the unbeliever doesn't pollute you, rather you purify them. This sanctified, people say, well, what does this mean? Does this mean that your spouse is now saved because you got married to them? Well, if they're saved by you being married to them, if that's what sanctified means, then no Christian could ever be married to an unbeliever.

Because the moment you got married, they would be a believer, right? So what he's saying here is that the grace of God that's on your life, that Christ who's in you, that grace now comes down upon that home. Do you remember when Jacob was in the home of Laban? In Genesis chapter 30 verse 27, he's working for his father-in-law. And Laban said unto him, because Jacob had the blessing of God upon him, and Laban said, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry, for I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for thy sake.

So the blessing of God fell upon them because of the presence of God upon Jacob's life. Now verse 14, he says, else were your children unclean, but now are they holy. Again, this doesn't make your children saved, but they have a greater potential of being saved because the grace of Christ is upon that one parent who is a believer and much more likely that they would come to know Christ in that situation. Now Paul then declares for Christians to stay married if the unbelieving spouse will stay. First Peter chapter three verse one through four talks about wives should remain in that marriage and seek to be a testimony of their unbelieving husband because they could help bring them to Christ. Now another question is, what if they want out of the marriage because you're a Christian? He says in verse 15, but if the unbelieving depart, let him depart.

Our brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God's called us to peace. And so if you're married to an unbeliever and they want out, the Bible tells us to let them go. Let them go. Let them, it's literally a command. You have to let them depart. I've seen people through the years who tried to force their unbelieving spouse to stay in a marriage.

You know what it does? It creates incredible tension, problems. And what does he say at the end of verse 15? God has called us to peace.

One of the things you lose is you lose peace. If you're married to an unbeliever and they're like, hey, I want out. You're a Christian.

I don't want any part of this. The Bible says, let them go. You desire their salvation.

You desire reconciliation. You desire the marriage to work out. But if they went out, the Bible says you cannot keep them in. It says you're not under bondage. The word bondage there means that you're no longer bound by that marriage. And according to 1 Corinthians 7 here, the spouse is free from the marriage bond when the unbeliever wants out.

When you let them go, then you're free. And according to, you compare this to Romans 7, verse 1 through 3, where it talks about you're bound in marriage until your spouse dies and you're bound in that marriage legally. But when they die, then you're a widow or widower and then you can, you're free to marriage.

So the bondage there is talking about the bondage of marriage and then you would be free to remarry. According to Paul and according to the Word of God here, if you have an unbelieving spouse that wants out, you let them go and then you're free to remarry. Biblically, any time that divorce is allowed, remarriage is allowed. Let me give you three reasons, biblically, why you can get remarried. First of all, in the case of continual adultery or sexual sins by your spouse with someone else, according to Matthew 5 and Matthew 19, Romans 7, according to Romans 7, and also according to 1 Corinthians 7, verse 39, that if your spouse dies, the Bible says you can remarry. It says only in the Lord, though, you're only to marry someone that the Lord would have you to marry according to God's will that they would be saved and so forth. And then 1 Corinthians 7, 15, whenever a spouse who is, if you have an unbelieving spouse, they went out of the marriage, then you can let them go and you're free to remarry.

So those are the three reasons for the freedom to remarry. Now, last week, I addressed the situation about, well, what if you're married to somebody who's abusive and they're abusing you, you know, but let me say this, abuse can come up in different ways. Some people, you know, it's verbal abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, it can turn into physical abuse. But I've been pastoring long enough and counseling long enough that I know that sometimes people just don't like their spouse and they turn them into a monster. I've talked to guys before, I've talked to ladies in counseling situations before where they talk about how terrible their husband is and I'm thinking, this guy's got to be the devil, man. And then I go sit down and counsel with him and after talking to him for an hour, I'm like, she's married to the spawn of Satan. And I mean, I'm like in the middle of the devil. Like, it's just a mess.

I mean, some tornado messes. I wish you would be in that situation for a couple of times. And what happens is you need to realize there are some people who try to make the other person out to be something they're actually not. They have so much hate, so much animosity that they call abuse what's not actually abuse. It's just hate for the other person. And so there's always three sides to the story.

There's his side, her side, and then the truth. Always remember that. Remember that. Amen. Believe me.

Believe me when I'm telling you this. So in those situations where there is legitimate abuse, you need to get yourself out of that situation, especially if it's any type of genuine abuse. Get yourself out of that situation. Then church discipline would get applied to that situation. We would confront the individual who's into sin. If they repent, then we work through reconciliation. If they don't repent, then they would be viewed over and over.

If they continue to be hardened and obstinate, they would be viewed, according to Matthew 18 verse 15 through 17, as an unbeliever. And if they wanted out of the marriage, you would be free to let them go, and you would be free to remarry. If they are viewed as an unbeliever and they get into another relationship, that would constitute adultery as well. And then you would also be free to divorce and remarry.

So that's how that situation would work out. He says in verse 15, God has called us to peace. God has not called us to constant division. You say, well, what about if we got a divorce, then I feel like I'm the only hope of them getting saved. So he concludes in verse 16. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband, or what knowest thou, O husband, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife. What he's saying there is this. How do you know that you'll be the instrument to bring them to salvation? You don't know that. God's the one who saves.

You can plant seed and water the seed, but God gives the increase. Don't put that burden on yourself as being the only one. So in conclusion, Paul was dealing with a culture filled with perversion, divorce, broken families. Now our culture today is seeing the same things.

Listen to me very closely. The downfall of America is the downfall of the family. What we just did with homosexual marriage has caused a catastrophic event inside the family unit. America is on a spiral down, friends.

You think it's bad, I promise you it's going to get much, much worse. You do not mess with the institutions of God and have light ramifications. We have called destruction upon our nation through easy divorces, through twisting around what marriage actually is. We didn't even know what a man and woman are these days in our country.

I bet the Greeks would be shamed at us. But if you cannot remain single today, if you can remain single, it's a blessing, fully devote your life to Christ, that's great. You can't remain single. You desire to get married, then get married.

Celibacy is not for marriage. You need to love one another, care for your partner. Don't be cold or distant. When seeking a spouse, keep God first.

Put God where he needs to be. Elevate the spiritual qualities in the person you're looking for. Stay pure, have accountability, and don't drag out an engagement. And if you're divorced for unbiblical reasons, remain single or be reconciled to your spouse. If you can't be reconciled due to them already remarrying, then you're free to do... then you're free to let them go and move on into a new relationship. If you're divorced on biblical grounds, sexual unfaithfulness, or an unbeliever who wants out, if you desire to remarry, then you're free to do that. Well, what if I am in a marriage that was not based on biblical grounds? Well, the Bible teaches that's still a legitimate marriage.

Repent over the past, seek God, and he will bless your life if you seek him in that. We've had people... Listen, we've had people who've come to Lighthouse who been together for 10 years, have three kids together.

They get saved here, and they say, Pastor, what are we supposed to do? We both came out of a situation 15 years ago that was not lawful. Now we're together, been married for 10 years, been together for 10 years.

Now we have a 10-year-old, an 8-year-old, and a 7-year-old. Does God want us to split up because we have no biblical basis to get married? You know what I believe?

I believe that God wants you to take whatever situation you're at right now and honor the Lord. You've already broken those... You've already violated God's word. You need to repent of that. You recognize that sinful.

And we've seen... I marry people in those situations. And the reason I do that is because I believe God is not in the business of ripping families apart.

So you come here, get saved. Now mommy's going to live over here and daddy over there, and they can never be together. And kids, we're going to split your home up, okay? That's what God's going to do to your family. And so sometimes you get in such a messy situation. There's a letter of the law, and then there's the spirit of the law. And sometimes there's some areas that gets very messy.

But you know why it gets messy? Because of the hardness of our heart. What did Jesus say? Never God's desire for divorce, but it's never God's desire for premarital sex either. But as you continue to violate it, it's because of the hardness of your heart, God made allowances. Anybody thankful that God's grace can cover the hardness of our hearts sometimes? So today, through this study, I want to elevate marriage.

Let's put it back on the top shelf where America has tried to bring it down to the bottom shelf. You're young, you wait, you be pure, you love Christ. If you're a husband and wife, you put on such a display of love to your kids. You know what I desire my kids to say? I desire my kids to say throughout their life, I want a marriage just like my mom and dad's. I want to marry somebody like my dad. I want to marry somebody that loves Jesus, that loves their mom, and that just is who.

I want a marriage like theirs. And put that on display. If you want to bless your kids, let that be that blessing. Let's all stand together this morning. Maybe today God spoke in your heart. Maybe you just want to come and spend a moment in prayer.

You're welcome to do that. Maybe you're a young person. Maybe you just want to come and say, God, may you just protect my life. Let me be content.

Let me be led in the direction you'd have me to go and whatever future spouse you would have for me. Maybe today you're struggling with some area of your life. You just need to, God's dealt with your heart and maybe there's a spiritual decision you need to make. Maybe you've never turned your life over to the Lord Jesus Christ. You've never truly repented and given Jesus your life. Why don't today I'll be down front.

You can come today. Trust in the Lord as your savior. Give your life to Jesus Christ. Maybe husband and wife, you want to pray at your seat or at an altar. You're welcome to do that. Father, we do thank you for your word. We pray your blessing now upon this invitation in Jesus name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-27 09:55:49 / 2023-02-27 10:22:09 / 26

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