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1149. The Usefulness of Singleness pt. 2

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
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December 23, 2021 7:00 pm

1149. The Usefulness of Singleness pt. 2

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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December 23, 2021 7:00 pm

Dr. Alan Benson continues a series entitled “Divine Design” with a message titled “The Usefulness of Singleness pt. 2,” from 1 Corinthians 16:13.

The post 1149. The Usefulness of Singleness pt. 2 appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones entitled Divine Design, which is a study of biblical manhood and biblical womanhood. Today's message will be the second sermon on singleness and will be preached by Vice President for Student Development and Discipleship, Dr. Alan Benson. I started into the topic, and if you will, kind of dealt a little bit more with the philosophy and understanding of singleness, and this week I want to really get to nuts and bolts, things that I believe will help you. And again, realize that we have dealt with the universal nature of singleness, and in that light I want to be very helpful to you as a student body. And so I'm going to preach some things that are directed at you now as singles and realizing that some of you will be single longer than others, some of you maybe it's a gift of singleness for all of your life.

And so I'm going to try and address all of us as I address some things with regard to nuts and bolts. So we talked about the usefulness of singleness, or if you will, how can I be useful while single? And what can I do to make sure that as long as I am single, God is at work in my life and God is working through my life.

Because I think we've determined this, that God has a plan for me that is explicit to me, that my identity is in Him, and if we think back about the creation of Adam, we'll realize that even as we contemplate that, that God made Adam first without Eve, that God had a relationship with Adam before Eve, that Adam had tasks to do in naming the animals before Eve, and that tells us this, that God has a relationship with and God has a purpose for us in singleness. And that purpose may be adjusted, it may be carried out through a different gift if God gives us the gift of marriage, but it doesn't change the fact that we as individuals have relationships with God and that God's purpose for us in singleness is not some form of a secondary or second rate purpose should I not get married. God has a plan, even in this dispensation, for singles to faithfully serve Him in and through His church in ways that are unique and with capacities that are unique, and so we talked a little bit about singleness. Now, clarification, I did get a question this week, and it was this, that if I'm talking about singleness, am I talking about the time when you're not married or am I talking about the time when you're not dating? We're talking about the time when you're not married. That's the singleness we're talking about, and I know sometimes we use that phraseology, I'm not dating anybody right now, so I'm single. We're actually not talking about that in this capacity, that time of dating is actually part of singleness, and singleness is not being married, just for clarification.

And so we talked some about the issue of maturity, and I really want to come back to that because I want to give you some nuts and bolts with regard to maturity and why it's an issue, and what I want you to see is that we're going to talk about maturity, and we're going to talk about identity, and we're going to talk about purity, and I want you to see that it's necessary that the tower that you build with those three is built on a platform, and that platform has to be that you start with maturity. In these days of singleness, and for as long as these days of singleness should last, God has a plan that you would intentionally as an individual grow in Christ. There is nothing to the full expression of Christ-likeness in your life that isn't possible simply because you don't get married. And I think sometimes within the church, that's one of the things that we struggle with. We set tables at banquets at churches, and we typically set them with even numbers of chairs, and so singles feel like I don't belong, or I'm somehow outside the bubble of regular church life, and nothing could be further from the truth. That's our fault if we do things that make those who are single feel awkward or out of place, because there is nothing about you as an individual in your walk with God that cannot and should not be fully blown in its maturity in your life as a single. And in fact, I want to encourage you that should God have for you at some point the gift of marriage as the pathway for you to live for Him, that you focus now in these days on rightly pursuing maturity so that you're actually prepared for marriage when it comes.

There are too many that are thinking, well, that'll come later, or I'll grow up when I get married. Believe me, guys, your wife-to-be does not want the task of growing you up before she grows her children up. My wife is joking. We've been now married for 25 and a half years, and she's beautiful, by the way. I still look at her in the mornings and think, how in the world did I ever get you to marry me? That is my coup d'etat. I pulled it off.

I still don't know how. She's smarter than me. She's better looking than me. She handles money better than me, and I got her to marry me.

It's my coup d'etat. But anyway, I look at her, and I say, you know what, babe? I'm probably going to die early, and if I die early, there's going to be a lineup at the door waiting to marry you, and she said, not a chance.

I am not going to raise another husband. So I feel that. I live that. So I understand.

So listen to me, guys. The thought of, well, when responsibility comes, then I'll get mature. The problem with that is it doesn't happen, and carrying out your responsibilities falls apart. These are the days to focus on maturity, and so as we do, I want you to see what we talked about.

Maturity is a values proposition. That means I move from living with a cost basis on life. I stop thinking about, well, if I do that, what will it cost me?

Or if I do that, what will it gain me? I move beyond that to thinking about what matters to me. What is really important in life, and I should be willing, even at times if there is a cost, to make a sacrifice for that which matters most to me. That means moving beyond the things of like, should I speed or should I not, because the ticket's not that expensive, and there's likely not any cops anyway, to thinking about, you know what, I've got friends in this car, and I value them. It is thinking about what I do with social media, because realizing that I'm leaving a permanent footprint, and at some point I value my future, so I'm going to be careful about the things that I expose myself to, and then expose about me with social media. This is maturity.

It is a values proposition, but then it's also a vehicle for producing community. As I mature, I begin to think about others around me. I begin to think about how what I do impacts them. I begin to think about how valuable they are in my life, and how valuable God intends for me to be in their life, and so I begin to function with the internal accountability of the one and others as we see in the Scriptures. I think more about what can I get out of this relationship, I think more about what can I give, how should I love one another, what should my role be in exhorting one another, how should I be edifying one another, how should I work on not defrauding one another, and it actually creates community that begins to reflect the glory of God. And thirdly, I want you to see that maturity has characteristics, and that's where I want us to go in 1 Corinthians chapter 16 and verse 13, and I believe that in this passage of Scripture, Paul actually is going to capture in five short phrases the whole of the instruction that he's been giving to the church at Corinth throughout the book.

And I won't take time to elaborate on that, but if you want to go back and check, you'll see the things that he says here in these short phrases surrounding an interesting phrase. In the middle of 1 Corinthians 16, 13, and 14, we find this phrase in the King James, quit ye like men. That's some people's life verse.

I'm never going to grow up, real men quit. That's my life verse. Now that's not what it's saying. It actually is a call to act like men, not to act like children. So Paul writes this, watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong, let all your things be done with charity. And I believe he surrounds this phrase of quit you like men or grow up, which we touched on last week, with four modifying phrases. And I believe that those things are characteristics of maturity. Here is how I should rightly act who I am in Christ.

This is the way that I actually should display that I am maturing. And so he actually says several things and I want us to see what those things are. He says, first of all, watch ye or be sober. The Greek word that he uses means to be alert, to be awake, to be conceived of as staying awake. And it actually is a phrase that is used, this phrase be sober in several places in the book of 1 Corinthians. And it actually has this calling of being aware and it has a positive impact and a negative impact. 1 Corinthians 15, 34, awake to righteousness and do not sin for some do not have the knowledge of God.

I speak this to your shame. There's this sense of being aware of righteousness or right doing or right standing. And really this phrase be sober is a call of I'm going to mature to understand my values, to understand my beliefs, to understand what I really believe and why I really believe it.

It's something that I ought to pursue aggressively. Paul challenged Timothy in 1 Timothy 4-7 to exercise himself toward godliness. He said to the Corinthians this in 1 Corinthians 9. And everyone who competes for the prize is tempered in all things.

Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore, I run thus, not with uncertainty. Thus I fight, not as one who beats the air, but I discipline my body and bring it into subjection lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. Notice he says I'm not running with uncertainty. I'm coming to the place where I know what I believe, where I know what matters and where I live pursuing that with all of my heart.

If I'm going to mature, no matter how long I am single, one of the things I must do is come to grips with what really matters to me. What do I believe? So I ask you, what do you believe? Do you know what you believe? Do you know why you believe it?

And do you really believe that what you believe is really real? I'll never forget, back in my college days, I went down on extension to Atlanta. I was handing out tracts in downtown Atlanta, and I handed a tract to a group of people that were also handing out literature. And when I did that, the man that I handed it to looked at me, changed his whole tone of voice, and almost went into a preaching mode. I handed a tract to a group of what were known at that time as black American Muslims.

It was a denominational movement here in the United States, and they were out there promoting that form of Islamic faith. He immediately began to preach by preaching at me. When I turned around, there was about 150 people that had gathered behind me, between me and this guy. And then the crowd got bigger and bigger and bigger, horns started to beep, the crowd completely closed off the street, and I'm still standing while this guy's now preaching to a crowd.

So, I didn't know what to do. I turned around and started handing out my tracts in the middle of the crowd. I was all out of tracts, so I made my way through the crowd, I got to the back of the crowd, and as I got to the back of the crowd, there was this guy.

He was huge, big, tall, stately guy, and he looked at me and he said, I know who you are, you're Satan, and I'm not fooled. Well, I didn't know much back then, but I did know that I wasn't Satan, I was pretty sure on that. But I found myself in a scenario where now I was going to have to defend my faith. Young people, do you know what you believe?

Because this world, whether it's something like that, or whether it's another encounter, is going to call upon you to defend what you believe. It's not enough that you have your parents' faith. It's not enough that you have your parents' convictions. See, as a parent, I do not want my children to have my convictions. I want my children to have their own convictions, and I want their convictions to look just like mine.

But there's a huge difference in those two things. If they simply hold to my convictions, even with strong will, sooner or later, that will fail. Your convictions must be your convictions, and that's a dynamic of maturity that you ought to be building no matter how long God leaves you single. Be sober. Know what you value.

But then there's a negative, and that is this. Understand your vulnerability. Peter wrote this in 1 Peter 5.8, be sober. Be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. You have an adversary who is hell-bent on destroying you. And hear me if he can do it in these days of early singleness, and impair you in ways that you think you're useless to God for the rest of your life.

That's what he's after. He'll put you in situations that impair you, and then he'll preach the message of destruction to you to keep you from ever serving God. Yet we live in these days as though these are the days of our invincibility. Wake up.

Be sober. Be vigilant, realizing that there is one who is looking for every possible way to find you when you're distracted, and to find you when you're weak. Those are the two types of prey that lions prey upon. They don't like to waste energy. They don't chase down their prey like cheetahs. They don't stalk like tigers. They actually look for the distracted, so they're easy prey. And they look for those that are vulnerable because of weakness. And he's looking and he's hunting for you. In maturity, stop and think, I am vulnerable.

What must I do to guard my heart? Maturity looks like being sober. Maturity looks secondly like being stable. He uses the words here to stand, to hold one's ground, and literally here it is to stand firm in the faith. 26 times you'll find the word faith preceded by the definite article, the faith. And when you find that in the New Testament, every time it is talking not about your beliefs, it is talking about a body of truth. The faith is the word of God. And they're challenged, the Corinthians are challenged to stand firm in the faith.

Young people, I challenge you in days of singleness as you pursue maturity, know the word. Your word have I treasured up in my heart that I might not sin against thee. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way by taking heed thereto according to thy law. But this book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night. For then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Young people, it's not enough for you to rest in a lot of verses that you memorized years ago. It's not even enough for you as rote memory to memorize verses because your Bible doctrines are biblical themes. Take the word of God and pour yourself into knowing and understanding it so that you might apply it to your life.

Go to the Scriptures and interrogate them. Who wrote this? Who did he write it to?

Why did he write it to them? What does that mean to them now? What does that mean to me? And take God's word and apply it to your life.

You have unique opportunities to do that in singleness. And the dynamic of maturing in your faith is that you will stand firm in the faith, but then he gives them another phrase and he says that they should be strong. And what is interesting about this word here, be strong, is actually it is an imperative verb, but it occurs in the passive. And it's almost the idea of realizing your weakness so that you can allow yourself to be made strong.

Realize that you need to be growing. It's a submission of heart more than a strengthening of body. It is an idea that says, you know what? I am not all that I should be. But by the grace of God, I can be all that he intends for me to be. So I am going to pursue from my weakness, allowing God through the means of grace to strengthen me in my walk with him. This is a mindset that says the word of God is the authority in my life. I'm not strong.

I don't have it all figured out. But God has all of the answers and I will allow God to strengthen me in my faith. Be strong. And then finally, an interesting one, he says, let everything you do be done with charity or with love. He says be selfless. Be selfless. Maturity looks like becoming more and more and more selfless. It looks like intentionally pursuing ways to give of myself. It's setting aside an attitude of selfishness.

One of the characteristics of immaturity is one who is not just self-oriented and self-focused, but one who is self-serving. As I mature, I come to the place where life's not all about me. Now do you hear why in these days of singleness, maturity is so important?

These four characteristics of maturity are absolutely non-negotiable if you ever hope to have a successful marriage. That you find a way to know what you believe and realize that you're vulnerable. That you come to the place where you realize, I have to be strengthened through God's word. That you come to the place that you realize that there needs to be a stability in your life and an understanding that you're not all that yet. And then you begin to live with a mindset that is selfless rather than all of life being self-oriented. One of the ways that you can find usefulness in your singleness is through pursuing maturity. But then secondly, I want to move to the issue of identity.

And this is one of the areas where in singleness people really struggle. We struggle with if I'm not married, who am I? Where do I fit? Can I serve? Does God have a place for me?

Why didn't God love me enough to give me a spouse? And all of these thoughts that go through our mind. And I want you to realize today that nothing could be further from the truth. In pursuing a right identity, I must come to grips with whose I am. Whose I am.

Who do I belong to? God made us individually. He made Adam and Eve individually. And as individuals he made them with purpose and with plan. And God made each of us individually. God saves each of us individually.

God gifts each of us individually. And so in answering whose I am, I ought to find there a sense of security. That I have one who will be greater than my husband could ever be to me. And in fact if I try to find my identity in my husband, I will actually hurt our marriage. Because my husband cannot be God to me.

God intends for him to be God to you. And I can settle that issue in my singleness no matter how long a period that might be. I can settle that in my singleness even if I find myself there after my spouse dies. That I belong to God.

I find there a sense of security. Paul could say, I know whom I have believed. An intimate term of relationship. Psalm 100 and verse 3 says, know ye that the Lord is God. It is he that hath made us and not we ourselves.

We are his people and the sheep of his pasture. As I pursue identity, I must come to grips with the fact that my identity is not in what I have. But in a consumeristic culture, that is what is being pushed upon us all the time. Your identity is in what you have. It's in the labels that you have.

It's in the symbol that's on your car. It's in the type of things that you're able to show. Young people, this world will destroy you if you start finding your security and identity in what you have. It is not in what you have accomplished. Your identity is not in what you have accomplished. It's not in the positions that you attain. It is not in what you have earned or deserved.

And it's not in any human relationship. Your identity is found in Christ. That is why Paul could say that with godliness and godliness there is great gain when it comes with contentment. Find your security in your relationship with Christ.

That is something that will not change whether God has the gift of singleness for your future or the gift of marriage in your future. Settle your identity knowing that you have security in Christ. But then secondly, not just security but authority.

A proper sense of authority. And whenever I realize whose I am, I come to grips with the fact that there is someone that I answer to. Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6, Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's. In what you do and in what you think, in how you act and in what you believe.

Glorify God there. And that's to you as an individual. And as I live, I am to live unto the Lord. That I have identity because I am His and He is mine. I am loved with an everlasting love. And that means that I find my security in Him and it means I live under His authority. But then secondly, not just whose I am, but who I am.

Who I am. Singleness is a time for me to discover who God intends for me to be. And so I must have a proper understanding of my stewardship and I encourage you sometime to go read and read all of Romans 12. Because there in Romans 12 we have details of how God gifts people. Paul talks about it in 1 Corinthians as well, that we're gifted individually.

Young people in your singleness, one of the things that you ought to be doing is looking at what it is that God has given you to serve Him. What gifts do you have? What abilities do you have? You say, man I don't even know how to do that.

Do I do some kind of gift inventory? You know what I encourage you to do? Serve. And in serving, listen.

Listen to what people say. Are you being a blessing to them? Is God using you to impact their life?

Are they being encouraged in their walk with God? And there you will find that you are probably starting to use the giftedness that God has given you. Couple that then with joy. I really enjoy doing that.

I enjoy finding ways to help in that way. And begin to ascertain what your giftedness is. And realize that that's part of what your identity is in Christ. And you will find the greatest satisfaction in life when you actually live doing that which God has equipped you to do. The avenue through which you use those gifts may change if God has marriage for you.

But your usefulness and your effectiveness and your ability to serve God doesn't change if you don't get married. These are the days to discover your giftedness. To come to grips with who you are and the stewardship of that gift.

And then looking at how can I use it. What are ways that I should take this giftedness and use it? It's not all for me. It's not just about a career. In fact you will find that there's greater satisfaction for a believer serving God with his giftedness in the pathways of service and life. That are better and more satisfying than just your career. God intends for you to use your giftedness to serve him to reach the world through the church.

And that is his intention whether you're single or whether you're married. And these days of singleness are days to discover those gifts and discover how best to use them. And should God bring you into a relationship with another person you'll find ways together to use those gifts.

But whether or not that is true you find ways to serve God through his church. Lastly and I close with this is purity. I want to challenge you to go read 1 Thessalonians chapter 4.

1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 1 through 8. And the reason I build to this is young people you are living in a sensuality-soaked society. And this is a culture that is telling singles every day that your value is found in your sexual prowess.

And young people are destroying their lives because they do not recognize that God's will for them verse 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 is even your sanctification. Your value is not in being a sex symbol. Your value is not somehow in somehow being engaged physically with others to find some sense of security and fulfillment.

Your effectiveness will actually be found in submitting your sexuality to Christ. And that is true in marriage as well as in singleness. But if you're going to pursue effectiveness, usefulness, usefulness in singleness it starts with saying you know what this is time for me to grow to mature.

And in doing that to rightly understand my identity and how I should live for God and to guard my usefulness by making sure I guard my heart and stay pure. Young people don't waste these days of singleness no matter how long they last. Let's pray. Father, help us to hide your word in our hearts.

Help us to value singleness no matter how long that gift lasts because you have purpose in it. Transform us. Help us to grow. Help us to become secure in Christ and help us to stay pure for your glory in Jesus' name. Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Alan Benson which is part of the study series about biblical manhood and biblical womanhood entitled Divine Design. Join us again tomorrow as we continue this series here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-05 18:08:03 / 2023-07-05 18:18:41 / 11

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