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1 Corinthians 6:12- 7:40 A counter cultural talk on: Sex, singleness, divorce, marriage, and contentment
A counter cultural talk on: Sex, singleness, marriage, divorce and contentment

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 6:12-7:40

Last week we began a series in the Book of Corinthians. Despite having every resource and blessing possible in Christ, the Corinthian believers were seriously messed up as a church- suing each other, sleeping around, divorcing one another left and right, making a mockery of The Lord's Supper, fighting with each other, viewing the Christian faith as a stepping stone to power and influence, rebelling against Paul and Timothy, doubting the resurrection of Christ.

The one encouraging part of Paul's letter to the Corinthians is the assurance, that, despite there rebellious ways, that they belonged to Jesus and that he would finish the work He had started in them- fitting them for Heaven. (1 Cor. 1:8-9)


This morning I want to take you on whirlwind tour of 1 Corinthians 6:12-7:40.

In this portion of Scripture we will discover that every instruction of the 1 Corinthians 6:12-7:40 is completely counter cultural-- BUT THIS IS OUR CALLING-- TO NOT GO ALONG WITH THE WORLD BUT WITH THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST AND THE BIBLE

The topics we are going to cover: Sex,Singleness, Marriage, Divorce, and Contentment.

READ TEXT

Question: If by chance, when we read the Scriptures and we find our beliefs in conflict with the Scriptures, how are we to respond? We are to change our minds!

I. SEX 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

In 1 Corinthians 6:12,13, when Paul says "Everything is permissible for me" and "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food.", what Paul is doing is capturing the spirit and philosophy of his age and ours. The belief being that "I can do whatever I want" "If the other person is a consenting adult, it's all good" "I'm a sexual being. Sex is natural, why should I deny myself. Why should I restrict myself."

As you may surmise, what our culture teaches and believes about sex is almost completely at odds with what the Scriptures teach

Our culture on sex

Go for it. Consenting adults, experiment (this is taught to our youth), Gay or straight -- it doesn't matter. There is nothing wrong with pre-marital sex, extra marital sex, prostitution, porn, etc


The Bible on sex

God made it. It's good. Sexual activity is for those who are married. Save sex for marriage. Have regular sex as a married couple. Sex in marriage is for pleasure, intimacy, pro creation

Our calling: "Flee from sexual immorality....your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit...You are not your own; you were bought at price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

If you are sinning sexually-- REPENT and resolve to live a sexually pure life.


II. MARRIAGE 1 Corinthians 7

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, has a lot to say about marriage

One of the big things about Paul's instructions on marriage is that he did not elevate it as his culture did. For Paul, the "be all and end all" of life was not marriage. As you will note in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul actually argues, that, while marriage is good, singleness is better.

Paul on marriage

Note: Paul was single v.7-8 (Possibilities: Always such, a widower, had been divorced)

-He responding to some questions that the Corinthians had asked him about marriage v.1
-It's better not to marry v.1,8 (Paul explains this in v26 and v.28-29, saying, for example, that he wishes to spare them the troubles that marrieds face. Paul also speaks of "The present crisis"-- perhaps he prophetically had in mind the persecutions that broke out against the church in the A.D 60's??, Further, Paul speaks of how the world is passing away)
-Don't rush into marriage.
-It's better to marry than to burn with passion v.9. See also 1 Timothy 5:1-14 (Paul counsels younger widows to marry as a guard)
-Marriage is a guard against sexual immorality. It's the only God ordained outlet for sex. v.2
-Sex is a beautiful gift that God designed to be enjoyed regularly by a husband and wife. v.3-5
-Marriage is for life, being exclusively between a man and a woman
-When looking to get married restrict your search to those who belong to Jesus Christ. v.39. Paul speaks more of this in 2 Corinthians 6
-A husband's/wife's responsibility is to "please their spouse" v.32-34. Are you married? One of your jobs - and a key to marital health- is to please your spouse.

MARRIAGES TAKE WORK. Put the effort in. Strong marriages are in the best interest of everybody-- our children, us, our spouse, our community

Recent article I read: On how nagging is very destructive to the health of a marriage.


III. DIVORCE AND RE-MARRIAGE I Corinthians 7

Note: For some, this might be the hardest part of today's lesson to accept -for the Bible's teaching on this subject

a.Except for two circumstances (divorce initiated by an unbelieving spouse and sexual infidelity by ones spouse) divorce is forbidden. See v.10-14. See also Malachi 2:16 wherein God says "He hates divorce). Further, see Jesus' instructions on marriage and divorce in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19 which totally "blew away" his disciples (who held the same values as their culture on divorce)

Please note: I would counsel temporary separation in the case of violence/abuse

Further: In the case of sexual infidelity, divorce is not an automatic option either. I would counsel for forgiveness and reconciliation

b. If you are married to a non Christian, do not seek to divorce them just because they are not believers. Do all you can to share Christ with them and to live a godly life before them v.15

1 Peter 3:1-2 says; "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.


A note on v.14 and the phrase "For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband"

Meaning: This does not of course mean that one's spouse is saved because you are. What it means is this, your unbelieving spouse will share in some of the blessings that God will pour on you because of your faith in Christ.


c. If you divorce, remain unmarried v.10-11

Take a look at v.10-11 "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife."

This is not a Pauline command but a command from Christ himself. Note what Jesus says in Matthew 19:8-10 and the disciples response; "Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."

3 exceptions: Remarriage allowed in the case of marital unfaithfulness, divorced by an unbelieving spouse, the death of ones former spouse (v.39)

APPLICATION:

Enter into marriage very carefully. Do all you can to divorce proof your marriage and to keep your marriage strong.

If you get divorced-- and it's not for the reasons just mentioned-- you are to stay single.

Further note: If for some reason you have disobeyed this teaching of the scripture and gotten remarried when you really should not have-- ask for forgiveness, counsel others not to do as you have, thank God for his grace, live for the Lord.


IV. SINGLENESS

You might have noticed from reading 1 Corinthians 7 that Paul makes a strong case for Singleness.

If you want to boil Paul's teaching down, it would be like this. Marriage is good. Singleness is better.

Why singleness is so good

-You will avoid the troubles that come to marrieds v.28. (fights over money, sex, how to raise the children, etc)
-A single person does not have to worry about the safety and security of a spouse in a time of crisis (v.29-31). In view is the persecutions that the church faced and the trials that are coming as the time of this age draws to an end)
-A single person has their freedom-- a freedom that the Scriptures exhort the single person to devout to the service of Christ and His Church. v.32-34

Application

Are you single? Are you content-- the grass on the other side of the fence is not always as green as people think

If you are interested in marriage-- there is nothing wrong with that--- pursue marriage carefully and above all, consider no one who is not a follower of Jesus Christ

Are you single? Do you have the vision that the Scriptures present- that your singleness provides you with some incredible opportunities to serve Christ and the church.

THOUGHT FROM AN ARTICLE I JUST READ: Being happy/content as a single is a pre-requisite to a successful marriage.


CONCLUSION:

AN IMPORTANT KEY TO LIFE IS THIS: CONTENTMENT
1 Corinthians 7:17-24

In 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 Paul's whole point is this: Learn to be content, whatever your situation in life is. This reminds me of another verse in Scripture "...godliness with contentment is great gain" 1 Timothy 6:6


Are you single? Be content
Are you married? Be content
Are you poor? Be content
Do you have plenty? Be content
Are you healthy? Be content
Are you sick? Be content
Do you have new/old stuff? Be content
etc

Pray

-sexual purity
-strong marriages
-For our singles
-For contentment