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God’s Plan in Singleness, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2024 9:00 am

God’s Plan in Singleness, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 21, 2024 9:00 am

Singleness is a gift. That might not be how we’re told by culture to view it—or even what the church sometimes tells us about it. In this message from the “Forever Family” series, Pastor J.D. teaches how to see singleness as a unique opportunity in ministry, relationships, and God’s kingdom.

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J.D. Greear

Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. God never says all you need is me. When he looked at Adam in the garden, he said it's not good that man should be alone. He didn't look at Adam in the garden and say, hey, just do your quiet time a little bit longer, right?

You got me. That's enough, isn't it, Adam? No, God created us with the need for companionship.

It's just that marriage is not the only way that God takes care of that. Thanks for joining us today on Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Let me start with a strong statement. Singleness is a gift.

That's right, it is. That might not be how we are told by culture to view it or even what the church sometimes tells us about it, but that's what God's word shows us. Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D. Greer teaches us how to view our season of being single as a unique opportunity in ministry, relationships, and God's kingdom. Learn how to clear the path so that you can leverage this gift and cultivate a spiritual family that will last forever.

Remember, if you've missed any of this teaching series called Forever Family, you can catch up free of charge at jdgreer.com. Let's jump back in where we left off yesterday in our message titled God's Plan in Singleness. Loneliness is the one ache that we have that does not come from sin. God created us in a perfect state to still desire human companionship. In heaven, there will be no marriage or biological family, and that is not to say that we will there in heaven have lost our need for companionship or to say that it's okay for us to be lonely up there. It's simply that God will deal with our loneliness in a new and better way. Marriage is no longer going to be his plan A for dealing with that loneliness, and so that means whoever we are married to down here, we're not going to be married to them up there.

In fact, we won't be married at all. Now, I will admit to you freely, okay, part of me finds that a little sad. Well, there's no sadness, of course, in heaven. That's because in heaven, you see, our joys, we know this, are not diminished at all. Nobody's in heaven felt like they're missing out on anything.

Our joys in heaven are not diminished. Listen, they're heightened. They're transformed. They're matured. C.S.

Lewis in his book Miracles had a great example for this. He said a toddler, a toddler thinks that the single greatest pleasure in life is candy, right? So imagine you're a grandmother trying to explain to your toddler granddaughter some of the things you most love about life.

Staring out at the beauty of the Grand Canyon, reading a good book, falling in love and getting married, watching one of your kids graduate. And as you're trying to explain this to your toddler granddaughter, she looks back at you and says, yeah, but can you eat Skittles while you do those things? You've got a hard time explaining to her that these pleasures that you're describing are so much better than eating candy. So much so that when you're wrapped up in one of those pleasures, you're not even going to think about Skittles.

C.S. Lewis said that we, like that little child, lack the ability to understand the joys of eternity. What we know now are the pleasures of earthly things like sex or married life or nuclear family. We do not know except in glimpses though he said, the other thing which in heaven will leave simply no room for them. What that means is whatever God has for us there is gonna be even better than what we have here.

And that means that whatever it's like up there, I will be even closer to my wife and closer to my kids as the family of God there than I am here, which makes me less sad. The point is, Jesus asserts the radical idea that marriage is not ultimate and that's proven by the fact that we don't take it with us in the resurrection. And that means that these relationships now that are so important, mothers and brothers or wife or father, they're only temporary. The relationships you form in the body of Christ, however, those are permanent.

Marriage is temporary and it will finally give way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along, Christ and the church. It'll be put away the way a picture is no longer needed when you see somebody face to face. When you're separated from somebody you love, you pull out your picture, you look at them.

I do it when I'm on a trip and I miss my kids. I'll look and pull out a picture of them. But when I'm with them, I don't pull out pictures of them.

I look at them because they're standing right in front of me. It's that marriage is a picture. It's a picture of a more beautiful relationship, Christ and the body of Christ and the relationships there.

And when you're finally in the face to face with a person, you're not gonna need a silly little picture like marriage any longer. Let's go on to Paul now in 1st Corinthians 7. Here's how Paul talks about it. Picks up on Christ teaching and he says, the appointed time of Christ's return has grown very short.

Won't we long for He's back? From now on then, let those who have wives live as though they had none. You're like, what in the world does that mean? Let those people with wives live like they didn't have a wife. That sounds like the mantra of people going to spend a weekend in Vegas, but that is not what Paul is saying.

I can assure you, okay? Here's what he says. Verse 30, for the present form of this world is passing away. The world is passing away, Paul says, and that means along with it, watch marriage and biological families because that's something for this world. So for a married man to live as though he had no wife means that he must reflect on the fact that his marriage now is neither permanent nor ultimate. And the flip side of that means that those of you who are single now should reflect on the fact that your situation is not permanent either. Both situations, marriage and singleness are light and momentary.

And soon both of those situations will give way to what is permanent and ultimate, the body of Christ. Marriage and singleness, Paul says, are temporary gifts that God gives to fulfill his purposes on earth in this age, but not in the next one. So Paul says, 1 Corinthians 7, regarding marriage, I wish that all were as I myself am, but each has his own gift. By the way, what is Paul?

Paul's single. I wish everybody was single like me, Paul says, but each has his own gift. Charismata is the Greek word. It's where we get the word charismatic from. Everybody has their own spiritual gift from God.

I wish all of you were like me, Paul says. I wish you were single, but not all of you were given that gift. Everyone has his own spiritual gift from God, one of one kind, singleness, and one of another, marriage. Marriage and singleness are charismata.

They are spiritual gifts. You need spiritual empowerment to do either marriage or singleness well. You're like, well, okay, I get how marriage could be a gift, but, you know, in marriage you get a companion, you get somebody to compliment you and not compliment you like, tell you you're awesome, but compliment you like complete you. But how could singleness be a gift? Paul explains in verse 33, he says, you see the married man, married man has to be anxious about worldly things, like how to please his wife, and as a result of that, his interests are divided. But as a single, Paul says, I've been freed up now to devote time to special assignments that I couldn't give myself to if I were married. I mean, you guys have heard me talk enough here, you know, that I regard my wife to be an incredible, a wonderful gift to me, and the best earthly gift that God has given me. But when I got married, my interests became divided.

They had to be. God gave me now somebody to serve, somebody to take care of. He gave me through kids. He gave me people whose needs I became responsible for.

I had new responsibilities with my money, right? I mean, before I got married, if I needed to move like from one apartment to the other, all I needed was a Ford Mustang, a few bungee cords, one buddy in 15 minutes, and we could move the whole, the whole shebang. Now, in order for me to move, if our family was going to move, it would take a full-size SUV just to haul the pillows that sit on top of my bed.

Maybe like three trips with that. It would take another whole SUV just to haul the toiletry products that Veronica has stocked in our bathroom. I look around our bathroom and I wonder, what does all this stuff do, right?

But before I got married, I think my entire bathroom set up was one bar of soap, right? So I started doing different things with my money and I couldn't live simply and just give it all away. I had new responsibilities with my time. I'm just not able to go on all the mission trips I want to go on anymore. One of our singles here was telling me recently about the most amazing ministry that God has given to her recently, hanging out with a group of Muslim refugees until 10 or 11 on multiple nights of the week. And she's like, listen, the ministry really gets started around nine o'clock.

That's when they kind of open up and they let the guard down. You can really start talking to them, right? And I just can't do that anymore. I can't hang out at 11 o'clock, you know, around the community. I got to run people to soccer practice all evening. I got to help do homework. I got to help people get ready for bed.

So I'm guzzling five hour energy drinks on the way home from the office because my day is really about to start when I get home. One of my married friends said, he said, when you get married, particularly when you have children, whatever pockets of margin you had just disappear into black holes of obligation. Singleness can be a gift that allows you to be more devoted to God's kingdom. And that might be a gift He gives you temporarily so that you can complete some assignment like your education or military service, or it might be something He gives you on a more permanent basis, or at least permanent in this life.

He gives it to you for a lifetime. Well, if you're single, you're sitting there and you say, well, yeah, but I just, I don't want to be alone. Didn't God Himself say it's not good for us to be alone?

Well, see, that's the point I keep trying to emphasize. You're not supposed to be alone. It's just that marriage is not the only way anymore not to be alone.

Listen, I told you this last weekend. A lot of times I hear people say, all you need is God. All you need is God. And that sounds so awesome and so spiritual.

And I've probably even said it from right here. It's just, the problem is God never says that. God never says, all you need is me. When He looked at Adam in the garden, He said, it's not good that man should be alone. He didn't look at Adam in the garden and say, hey, just do your quiet time a little bit longer.

Right? You got me, that's enough, isn't it, Adam? No, God created us with the need for companionship. It's just that marriage is not the only way that God takes care of that. Look at Mark 10. Mark 10, truly, truly, I say to you, there is nobody who's left house or brothers or sisters of mother or father of children or lands for my sake and for the gospel's sake, right? So God, in obeying Him, hasn't brought you that life partner, who will not receive a hundredfold, watch this, now, in this time, as well as, He says, the time to come. In this time means right now. It means that the reward for that is not just in heaven, it's also now. So what does He mean that you'll see a hundredfold? He's talking about the church.

That's what He's talking about. He's saying, right now, in my forever family, I will actually multiply the relationships that are ultimate. Listen, in the book of Acts, you read it through, the early church faced a lot of hardship, didn't they?

Persecution and famine and poverty, they went through the wringer on just about everything. The one thing you never find anybody in Acts struggling with is loneliness. And all the stuff they went through, that church was a family to them and nothing they went through did they go through alone. If you're single, you say, yeah, but if God assigns me to that, then I really want to have kids, though. Jesus would say, spiritual offspring are more important and more eternal than biological offspring. If you're single, that means you need to get involved in the discipleship ministries of the church because spiritual offspring are going to be more important than biological offspring ever are. Listen, I just want to say, I don't want to try to be hyper-spiritual here.

It's okay for you to mourn the lack of ability to have biological kids. I understand that's a real loss, but by grace, even that genuine grief can be overshadowed by the real joy of having eternal spiritual children. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer, and we'll get right back to today's teaching from this series called Forever Family in just a moment.

But first, I wanted to make sure that you heard about our new featured resource that we're offering to our faithful supporters this month. It's a 60-day devotional written by Pastor Kyle Eidelman called One Day at a Time, a 60-day challenge to see, serve, and celebrate the people around you. This time of year, we focus a lot on relationships, specifically around Valentine's Day, but the Bible has a lot to say about all of our relationships. One Day at a Time offers a 60-day plan full of rich teaching from the Bible, as well as a daily challenge for how to practically love God and love other people.

Build a new habit of loving others with every moment, every interaction, and see what God will do as you trust Him in this way. With your gift of $35 or more, we'd be delighted to send you a copy with our thanks. To give now and reserve your copy, just give us a call at 866-335-5220 or give online at jdgreer.com. Now let's get back to today's teaching here on Summit Life.

Once again, here's Pastor J.D. We got a letter recently from one of our single missionaries who just came off the field where she has served for six years. She wrote this, and I just thought it was fantastic. She says, for the first few years on the field, she said, when I realized that at least for the next several years I was going to be single, I grieved the loss of being able to have biological children. I grieved it, but God used that by grace and through tears to make me the proudest and most joy-filled spiritual mom on the planet the day that I saw my spiritual son baptized in the unreached corners of East Asia. Honestly, I don't know what it's like to hold my baby for the first time in my arms after his being born. I would imagine it feels like your heart's about to burst with joy. I'd imagine that because that's exactly how I felt as this young man came up from the baptismal waters reborn as a child of God. It was a beautiful moment for me. This doctrine of spiritual eternal children has by far been the most inspiring, joy-giving, biblical doctrine maybe of my whole life. And another perk, I only had to wait six months for a spiritual grandbaby, so there's that. Jesus was a eunuch, so to speak, who never had biological children, yet God gave him spiritual children all over the world that he rejoices in and glories in.

And many of them sit right here in this room. The only part of your life that will be unfulfilled if you are single is sexual. And again, that's a legitimate loss, and I do not want to minimize that. But God says he will give you a special charisma tie, a spiritual empowerment for that. Listen, you don't have to turn to porn to make up that loss. In fact, I beg you with all of my heart to avoid that.

That is a black hole of decay that it is really hard to come back from once you've gone down it. You've got to look to God for the enablement to live holy. It's a charisma tie. It comes from him, and he can give it to you. God can enable you to live a happy and fulfilled life without sex. You should remember, the most joy-filled, love-filled man ever who walked the face of the earth lived without sex. But the other things that marriage supplies for you, companionship and offspring, God gives you those now in ultimate form, in eternal form, through the church. My point is, if God calls you to singleness, whether that is for a season or whether that is for your whole life, he will supply you with all the necessary graces to live a happy and fulfilled life in that calling. Which brings us now back to Matthew 19.

We'll pull the bus right back on the station where we left. Jesus ends his little teaching on singleness with the phrase, but the one who is able to receive it, let them receive it. The Greek word for receive there is the word koreo, and it means literally to make room for, to clear a path for. If this is what God has called you to, whether it's temporary or it's going to be for the rest of your life, clear a path for that calling.

What does that look like? I'll give you four quick little suggestions here, four quick big applications. Number one, to make room for it would be, first of all, to devote yourself to God. You're going to need God's grace to make it as a single person, just like you're going to need his grace to make it as a married person. So whatever state you're in, you need to look to God first because what you will find is that horizontal dysfunction always goes back to vertical disruption. When this right here has broken, these relationships, whether they're single or family, are going to become problematic, and a lot of times we're looking to fix the wrong problem.

We're like, the problem is here. The problem is I'm single and I want to be married. The problem is my spouse is a jerk. The problem is that my kids are not honoring and respecting me the right way.

The problem is my friends aren't taking care of me and they don't treat me like a special enough person, and that's never the problem. All that dissatisfaction, all that jealousy, all that worry, all that kind of, all that stuff, it goes back to a vertical disruption where you're not, you don't have God in the right place. So you need to seek first the kingdom of God, just like he tells you. You focus on that relationship and let him add to you whatever blessing he wants to add to at the time that he has, okay? So you need to focus on God first. Some of you may not like your singleness, I understand that, but I can promise you God means it for good in your life.

He means it for good. He is going to produce in that singleness a love for Christ in you, and he's going to produce a Christ-likeness in you. Number two, the way you can make a way forward is you can leverage your singleness for all it is worth. I plead with you who are single, don't waste your singleness. Don't waste it by trying to get to the next stage faster than God has it for you.

I read that the average young adult male spends 10,000 hours of his life playing video games, 10,000 hours. Or I hear about singles who spend all their time hanging out or goofing off or traveling. Understand that's not why God gave you that gift right now was for you to focus on you.

A decade of just me time and just focusing on living a selfish life. God gave you that chapter to leverage for the kingdom. And we desperately need a generation of singles in this church who will rise up with the compassion of Jesus in their hearts, who will put the video games away, and use the advantages that were afforded by their singleness to open up their hands and their hearts to the needs of the world and to invest in God's eternal family now to make disciples for eternity. You might not know when you're going to get married. You might not know if you're going to get married. But I promise you if you use that chapter to invest in God's forever family, that is a decision that will have eternal ramifications and one you will never forget.

So stop worrying about things you can't control and start focusing on the things that God has given you to do now that actually matter more than the thing that you're looking for. Listen, this generation that's, you know, the majority of singles would be in, I realize that boomers can't understand this, even as Gen Xers can barely understand it. But you're a generation that is characterized by a little four letter acronym, FOMO, right? You know what it stands for?

Fear of missing out. I'm going to suggest you change that on your Facebook page to just one letter. It's one letter change it. S. F-O-S. FOSO. Not like fo sho, but like fo so.

Fear of squandering opportunity is how I would suggest you change that. You go from being a FOMO person to a FOSO person because God has given you a chapter of opportunity. And it's going to be some of the best things he does in you and he's going to huge you in ways that are going to have eternal ramifications whether it's for a season or your life.

Don't miss it. So I declare you FOSO in Jesus' name. Okay, there I said it. Number three, lean into your forever family. Hey friend, you need the church and the church needs you. You need to get involved. You need to get to know people personally here, not just other singles by the way. You need to get involved in people's families, invest in their children. We have single people in this church who act as spiritual big brothers and sisters or even parents to those children in the church who've been deprived of fathers or mothers or families. And we need many more because that's what the church is.

It's forever family. I'll just say on a personal level, it's been a huge blessing in our family, singles that have gotten engaged with our family and played mentor and big brother and big sister roles to our kids. Get involved in our student ministry. That's a great way to apply this. Because I can tell you, you need that community.

Rebecca McLaughlin, who was for many years single, she's one of my new favorite authors. She says, you won't wither without sex, but you will wither without friend and family connection. So lean into the church. By the way, let me just say to the church, we got a responsibility in this too. And that is to intentionally include the singles of the church in our families. First, we need to start seeing singles as the treasures Paul saw them as. Don't treat them like a project that you need to fix, but you should be aware that their particular calling, like any calling, has its own special challenges and you need to recognize those challenges and invite them into your family to join you in key moments, not just to come over and babysit your kids or to help you move.

All right, and all this God's single said, amen. Okay, that's not the only thing, the role that they have in your life. Invite them into key moments. We have single friends, the Greer family has single friends from this church that have gone on vacation with us. Some have done Thanksgiving with us.

In fact, one of them last Christmas spent Christmas Eve, spent the night at her house and woke up and opened presents with us on Christmas morning. Invite them to be a part of that forever family. Lastly, number four, if you want to get married and you believe it's what God has for you, use this time to build your identity in Jesus. Use this chapter right now instead of being on the prowl all the time, use it to become the person that you're supposed to be. Instead of obsessing about finding who is right for you, focus on becoming the right person that you should be. Become the person that the person you were looking for is looking for. Stop complaining that the person you're looking for isn't out there and you become the person that the person that you're looking for is looking for.

Because that's another way of Matthew 633 focusing on putting the kingdom of God first and then trusting God to supply that when He wants it. Don't wait on a future spouse to give you an identity. Don't wait on a future spouse to determine your values or where you're going or what you're called to determine all that now. Figure out that identity in Christ and where it's going today. Whether you're single or married, lean into your church community. We all need each other. God's plan in singleness has been our subject today from Pastor J.D.

Greer. If you missed any part of this message or if you'd like to catch up on the rest of our series, you can always listen free of charge at jdgreer.com. A little while ago, I got to sit down with Pastor J.D. to ask him about a great resource that we're sharing with our listeners this month. It's Pastor Kyle Eidelman's book, One Day at a Time, a 60-day challenge to see, serve, and celebrate the people around you.

Here's what he had to say. We'd be honored to receive your gift of $35 or more in support of this ministry. And to say thank you, we'll send you a copy of Pastor Eidelman's 60-day devotional called, One Day at a Time, a 60-day challenge to see, serve, and celebrate the people around you. To give, simply call us at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. Or you can always give online at jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Vitovich.

Tomorrow we'll continue our study by looking at a hot topic, dating. You don't want to miss it, so we'll see you right here Thursday for Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-21 12:29:32 / 2024-02-21 12:40:28 / 11

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