One of the very real challenges of a text like 1 Corinthians 7:1-9 (especially in our current COVID era) is the fact that kids are inevitably going to be in our services with us. That’s why on Saturday afternoon, I sent the text out about the content of the sermon. I realize that it might’ve been a touch late, but with all the emails we sent last week. So, obviously my hope was that I was discreet. If, as a parent, you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to let me or one of our elders know.
The other issue with Sunday is that the 2 sermons were a bit different. I added some thoughts in 1st service that I didn’t add in the 2nd, and vice-versa. For instance, in the 2nd service, one thought I gave that I didn’t say in the 1st service, was that as Christian parents, raising Christian kids, the tendency is to treat sex as bad, rather than good, when it’s in its right context. So, it’s important, as parents, to teach our kids (age-appropriate) about the goodness of this gift from God, inside the context of marriage and the dangers of misusing this gift outside the context of marriage.
Finally, there’s so much to this text that needed to be cut and it is one of the most challenging texts in its syntax. So, in this blog, I’d like to write about several of these things.
Challenges & the Cutting Room Floor:
- Paul’s thoughts in this chapter have been terribly misunderstood.
- Many take the comment in vs. 1 about it being good to not have sexual relations with a woman, as derived from Paul. So, they deduce that Paul encourages people who are single, to stay that way and that’s the most spiritual way to live. As I mentioned in the sermon, this statement was not from Paul, it was a comment from the Corinthians. And vs. 2-6, is Paul’s answer to that.
- Another comment that is misunderstood from Paul is vs. 6 & 8 about remaining single. We’ll get into this more later in chapter 7, but there was a “coming distress” that seems to have caused Paul some concerns about people getting married if they weren’t already. But, it’s my assessment, as stated in the sermon, that Paul was giving “legitimacy” to singleness, as a gift from God, and singles having a huge role/impact in the kingdom of God.
- One question that some have about this text and even its application is: “what if my spouse or I cannot have sex because of physical limitations or challenges? Does this mean that our marriage won’t be protected from temptation or Satan?”
- In response to this, we have to remember that Paul is speaking in normative terms. Meaning, the usual, normal, non-unique situation…
- So, in a non-normative situation, like the question above asks, the rest of Scripture would need to guide us. If normal sexual relations are impossible due to physical limitations/challenges, then relational intimacy, serving one another for the good of the other spouse all come into play. If possible, those things can still be at work in your marriage.
- What about those living together?
- I’m only speaking to this because the current wave in our world is to disregard marriage because some see it as outdated.
- Paul makes it really clear in this text. I hope this gave you some tools to help your family members and friends.
- However, a word of caution: people who are living together, normally have thought it about a lot and they took the risk to do this. All you can do as a faithful Christian is share the truth with them and then demonstrate a godly, fulfilled marriage or a joyful singleness, in front of them. Then, when the hurt comes (which is more than likely will), be there to point people to Jesus’s grace and be a loving, caring friend. In my opinion, there should never be an “I told you so” moment. People will have serious pain and regret. Offer the care that only Jesus could offer.
- Sexual mistreatment inside the confines of marriage…
- One issue that I didn’t have time to develop for Sunday is the issue of sexual abuse inside marriage. Paul’s words here, especially in vs. 3-4, show us the incredible care and sensitivity that each spouse plays in the sexual fulfillment of their spouse. There is zero tolerance in Paul’s mind for sexual abuse in marriage.
- Another issue in this regard is disregarding the concerns or conscience of your spouse. For instance, a spouse may have a real concern or it bothers them to do something that you think is ok or fun. A truly caring spouse, who’s out for the benefit of their spouse, will not only listen but will graciously serve. Both spouses can do something: one spouse can learn, grow, and ask difficult questions about why their conscience is bothered and “inform” their conscience if needed. But the other spouse can be patient, kind, and work to learn the challenges of their spouse. There’s so much to be said about this because of what pornography and sensual movies have done to our culture. Those things have warped the God-given joy of sex in marriage. Fulfillment in marriage happens when each spouse looks out for and cares for the other.
- Singles and marrieds…a word of caution:
- I think it’s critical, as I said in the sermon, that we applaud the God-given seasons of life God has given us.
- But the thing to keep in mind is this…let’s not be critical of one another or jealous of each other in whatever season God has put us in…but let’s serve and encourage one another to obey God, no matter which season we’re in.
- And the reason for that is: singles, possibly, if the Lord has this planned for you, you’ll get married. I know that I’ve had many words from my younger years, come back to bite me. I wish that I was more gracious when I was younger. And marrieds, possibly, if the Lord has this planned, you might become single again…this can happen either by divorce or by death (God-forbid either). So, rather than looking with pity on a single, see it as a gift, because that gift might come to your direction one day.
This week, we’re going look at Marriage & Divorce… especially, Christians married to non-Christians We’ll be looking at 1 Corinthians 7:10-16.
From the Cheap Seats:
- Through 4 games, my favorite NFL team is on pace for history…currently, through 4 games, they have given the 12th most points in the history of the league…In the history of the league! Only 11 have been worse…
- MLB Divisional Series week. So far, this has been a blast.
- I watched the full game of Leeds United vs. Manchester City…2 “front foot” teams led by men who are giants in their soccer philosophy. Literally, there was no mid-field used in the game. It was like a fast-break basketball game on the soccer pitch. Amazing to watch.
- Roger Staubach on the joy of being married & being compared to Joe Namath: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqLWQ0oHhBE.
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.