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To Marry or Not to Marry? (Part 3 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
June 2, 2022 4:00 am

To Marry or Not to Marry? (Part 3 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 2, 2022 4:00 am

Knowing that we’ll live forever should change our priorities and our view of relationships. So how do we prioritize God and His work without neglecting marriage and family? Is it better to stay single? Hear the answers on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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You married or single, God your central priority can be hard work. How do husbands and wives serve God faithfully without neglecting their marriage or their family.

Is it better if you're single just to stay single bucket married Alastair back answers questions like these today on Truth for Life brother. We are grateful for the privilege of giving us to sing your praise and to be reminded in these words of song that when the perspective of eternity. Cast light upon our pathway, things are different and we pray that as we look to your holy word tonight that the perspective of eternity may dawn upon our souls. A fresh as it relates to the most practical of questions concerning singleness and marriage and family teachers Lord so that we might know ourselves to be under the instruction of the word of God and that we might see Jesus in whose name we pray.


Let me invite you to take your Bible and will turn to first Corinthians 7 once again tremendous power in God's word is a great privilege to just be able to teach it consecutively as we tried to do are concerned last time. In verses 25 to 40.

We began to look at under the heading to Maddie or not to Maddie.

If you're here tonight without the benefit of the study of last time.

I then are titled simply remains the same. We would put to after it and last time we noted that the content are the context of his teaching was in light of the fact that, as he says in verse 26.

There was a present crisis as he then went on to point out in verse 29. The time is short and then in verse 31 this world in its present form is passing away. We then went on from the context of the concern of his teaching to see that his concern was that they might be protected, that they might be provided for and that they might live in the right way in devotion, as verse 35 points out I'm saying this for your own good not to restrict you but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. We then said that when we get to grips with the context of the teaching and the concern of the teaching, then we are in a better position to be able to understand the content of the teaching and we suggested that verses 29 to 31. What are the heart of this and look together.

The fact that when we realize that crisis in the brevity of time and the passing world. It will change the way that we look at all these things that he mentions here we dealt with them in reverse order. The way in which we will deal with culture, with possessions with happiness with death and with relationships and we were working is aware from the bottom of the page to the top and we left it last time without considering the second sentence in verse 29. At least the first part of it which is where we begin our study tonight and eternal perspective changes the way we view relationships is because of God that he is able to say from now on. Those who have wives should live as if they had none.

Now those of us who are alert will find ourselves immediately resetting to the fifth hours which we studied some weeks ago now where we were reminded of the mutual obligation that exists within the framework of marriage that that is to be no deprivation of one another, especially in the physical realm. And so he clearly cannot be that Paul is contradicting himself in a matter of some 24 verses, nor can it be that he is contradicting himself at all. So when he says from now on. Those who have wives should live as if they had none. He is not setting aside the instruction he has already given what he is saying is this marriage should not reduce the believers obligation to the Lord and the Lord's work reset again because I believe this is the principal marriage should not reduce the believers obligation to the Lord and the Lord's work. The responsibilities of marriage right along with them the responsibilities and privileges of family and I think were justified in absorbing that within this heading. These responsibilities are no excuse whatsoever for slackness when it comes to the things of Christ and his kingdom. In other words, we cannot allow our relationships with one another. Whatever those relationships, however prized they might be to be a ground for removing ourselves from the realm of obligation to the Lord and his work when we do that we invert the priorities which God has given us and I hope you will misunderstand me when I say that I think that, largely, that is the predicament of the church in our day that we have, in fact, invert in the priorities which God is given us, and that is one of the reasons that we find ourselves as we are. What I mean by that is this, it is customary to hear people speak their personal priorities as follows. You may want to write these down because there is a more than even chance this is how you would state your priorities go like this. God family.

The Lord's work or the church daily employment, leisure, and so on, want to suggest to you tonight that number two and number three are in the wrong order that true biblical priorities should read God and then God's work and then family because it is not possible to separate the Lord from the Lord's work. What is it mean to be devoted to the Lord in abstract. How would we ever explained to somebody what devotion to the Lord is, unless that devotion is expressed in a commitment to the Lord's work. I want to recognize along with you tonight that there have been abuses in the remaining use abuses towards family living that have been directly related to a commitment to the Lord's work. Or so we are told and people said that they have abused their family because of their commitment to the Lord. However, I want to suggest that on the basis of God's word. It doesn't have to be that way. It's not an either/or situation and the fact that people have abused their families because of their commitment to the Lord's work is hardly sufficient grounds for justifying the new abuse which is the deification of marriage and the deification of family and the denigration of the Lord's work is a hard thing to teach tonight in a society that has spanned millions of dollars scrambling for an understanding of family values, and I hope that you won't need your get your reaction too quickly because I'd like you to try and think this through with me. Clearly, the Bible is not suggesting the denigration of family or of marriage or of our spouses, it can never do that. There is no question whether the Bible gives pride of place to all of those relationships within the framework that God is intended by this is got to mean something from now on. Those who have wives should live as if they don't, of wife's was, I mean don't come home let me sleep in separate rooms or let me speak once a year, doesn't mean it can't mean that you think that what Paul is providing here by way of instruction is right in line with what Jesus taught on a number of occasions and let me give to you, Luke, chapter 14 and verse 26 Luke 1426 reads as follows. If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life he cannot be my disciple is a quote from Jesus himself, that is radical instruction that is Jesus instruction and that I believe is key to what Paul is saying here when eternities values begin to shine upon the pathway of our lives. It changes everything in much the same whether that song by Andrew Lloyd Webber, love, love changes everything. How you live and how you die and what policy is eternity changes everything.

How you live and how you die and how you deal with the whole question of relationships, not least of all within the context of marriage and the family thing with me tonight for a moment how the cause of the gospel is impacted negatively as a result of our unwillingness to take Jesus at his word and to put himself and his work before our families. Remember that you can never ever put anything in order that God says to put in order and discovered that it is detrimental to your family okay if you obey God rather than obey your father and mother because your father and mother demand that you engage in ancestor worship, then God will take care of your relationship with your father and your mother because you are obeying the great commandment, which is the left and with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength.

God will always take care of those things when we get the order correct. Think of how many families tonight because of a commitment to family deprive their family of the opportunity of worship and instruction on the Lord's day. Think of how many people absent themselves from worship amongst the people of God and the opportunity to be instructed from the word of God because of a commitment to family. That is their decision to make but think how those same families will rearrange the time of breakfast and the time of dinner on every other day of the week in order to accommodate music lessons ensemble singing groups swim meets and basketball practices and ask yourself this question, is there not some correlation between these two things, then get out your sensible people. When Paul says here that we need to have eternity shine on to our family life and specifically onto our relationship with our wives he's saying is this remember what Jesus said in Matthew 2230 at the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage, they will be like the angels in heaven, and will not always be this way and eternities going to be a very long time in relationship to the time that we enjoy right now. If, however, we live completely bound in terms of culture, and death and possessions and relationships, then we will live in the exact same way as lives the world but whenever this shines in upon us. It will begin to change the way we think alcohol is not teaching the neglect of our spouses. I can overstress that but he is showing how an eternal perspective will radically change when we spend time together and how we spend that time together since our children will live in eternity either in heaven or in L. Surely it is a priority to bring them under the instruction of the word of God which may shine their pathway to heaven rather than to sit having a family time that may leave them on the road to hell.

Our children are able to determine what priorities are flawed as we don't need to write them on a blackboard. We just need to live the way in which we guide our wife's is going to be an indication to them of what we regard as very important, honey. I don't want you to miss that class you know how much you like your painting. You know much you love the music, you are much you enjoy those people and that's fine. But does she find the same commitment when it comes to the things of Christ to our becoming a godly woman who's going to live as a single for all of eternity. Listen to John Calvin. All the things which make for the enriching of this present life are sacred gifts of God, but we spoil them by our misuse of them. If we want to know the reason why it is because we are always entertaining. The delusion that we will go on forever in this world. The result is that the very things which ought to be of assistance to us in our pilgrimage through life become the chains which bind us so God give your wife to be in assistance to you through life.

If you begin to worship your wife and worship your time with your wife then that may be the very chain which harnesses and deprives you of usefulness in the kingdom of God.

The longing of Paul's heart and all of this is to see men and women irrespective of their married state. Given over to the service of God without distraction.

The kind of thing that you find in Hebrews chapter 11 where it says of Abraham, describing him in verse eight by faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance later receive as his inheritance. This is not instant gratification. Folks, this is not what do I get when do I get it. This is no Abraham and he went in obedience he obeyed and he went even though he did not know where he was going by faith Abraham made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob who were heirs with him of the same promise. Why what he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. The prospect of a heavenly city so changed his view of his earthly pilgrimage that he was prepared to leave his country, his family and everything that represented security to Jesus said, come follow me in the mindset I have married a wife and Jesus said, come, follow me and the man said. I have bought a few and Jesus said, come, follow me and the man said, I must first. My five. I do remember Jesus answer to all three statements. He probably would not of been invited onto many Christian talkshows to expound his theology. Let the dead bury their dead how heart how unfeeling how one family like how we turn perspective in a moment. Anyone of us may be called from time into eternity in our pilgrimage is over.

That's why this is so important now in verses 25 to 28 he provides a recommendation. He says this is what I want you to do. Although Jesus is provided no direct instruction on this. He says and when Paul says that we need to realize that his words are no less divine and authoritative truth because as David is read for us tonight. All Scripture is God breathed, he says in verse 25 now about virgins or single people. I don't have a direct express quote from Jesus, but I'm giving you a judgment as one who, by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I have a recommendation for you and is where we come directly to his use of this phrase because of the present crisis, he says, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are.

If you've never been married.

If you are a virgin, then I think that singleness. He says makes good sense.

However, verse 27.

If you are married. I don't suggest that you get divorced. And if you are unmarried, presumably someone who has previously been divorced or their spouses died. He says I don't think that you should look for a wife now in relation to the whole issue of singleness as we saw last time. His instruction makes good sense, because as he says at the end of verse 28. Those who Mattie will face many troubles in this life. Paul is not suggesting for a moment that celibacy is being is something that is more spiritual, but rather he is saying that in the light of the context celibacy he believes is more sensible and there's all the difference in the world between those two things and he says however if marriage takes place.

It's not sin. Verse 27, rather, when high seas are raging. It's no time to change ships so he says within a time of great crisis I think is better that you just hold fire and stay exactly as you are, then verses 29 to 31, which we tried to unfold lunchtime and in that we have an exposition of the principal and now we go to verses 32 to 34 where he gives us an illustration's concern is that they would be spared.

Trouble verse 28 and that he would be free from concern.

Verse 32. I would like you be says to be free from concern.

Now, again, we have to understand that his great ideal and the longing of his heart is to see men and women serving the Lord without distraction singleness is not holier but from Paul's perspective. Here it has practical advantages and those who have been given the gift of singleness verse seven will enjoy fewer distractions in the will of more freedom in serving the Lord. In contrast, he says the married man or woman has an inevitable twofold concern and we alluded to this lunchtime verse 33. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world, how he can please his wife and his interests are divided same thing again in verse 34. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world, how she can please her husband. In this distraction is a real distraction.

Whatever her marital status are central focus our main priority should be God and his kingdom listing to Truth for Life with Alastair back. We hope that each day as you listen to Truth for Life. You are growing in your relationship with Jesus and you should know the this program is entirely funded by listers like you. In fact, Alistair's teaching comes to you at no cost because of the generous monthly giving that comes from your fellow listers known as true partners all this month. Our prayer is that God will substantially grow our true partner team. So if you been listening for a while, but you've not yet moved from listening to partnering we want to encourage you to do that today, your monthly donation will help bring these gospel messages to someone else the same way that another listener brought today's message to you when you sign up. We will send you a welcome kit that includes the newly released devotional from Alastair called Truth for Life 365 daily devotions. This is a hardcover book presents a passage of Scripture to read each day followed by a thought, stirring commentary you could become a true partner by going online to Truth for partner or give us a call at 888-588-7884 and is our way of saying thanks for your ongoing partnership, you'll be invited to request both of our monthly book selections without any additional donation.

So when you sign up today. You can add another copy of Alistair's popular book about marriage to your library. The book is called lasting love.

This book complements our current series. We too are one. Whether you been married for decades or just a few years. It's easy for us to take one another for granted. We may not always remember to express our devotion and our gratitude to our partner in the book, lasting love, Alastair takes a close-up look at the actions that over time can lead to marital decay. He encourages couples to pull the weeds. The begin to sprout up before they overwhelm the marriage weeds like the lack of appreciation or running the merry-go-round faster and faster with our schedules.

When you read the book, lasting love, you'll learn how to approach marriage with the hard work of a gardener who nurtures and cares for his flowerbeds sure to request the book lasting love. When you sign up to become a true partner or if you prefer to give a one-time donation to Truth for Life. Just click the image in RF or visit us online at If you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to truthfully for PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, Ohio 4413 Bob Lapine for listing today. How you make the most of singleness, whether it's just for the time being poor for the remainder of your days will find out tomorrow. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living

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