Faithlife Sermons

Putting Sexuality in Perspective

Notes & Transcripts

Putting Sexuality in Perspective

1Corinthians 7:25-40             March 30, 2003



Illus.: The Legitimacy of Singleness

How many single people do we have in the congregation this morning? Will you raise your hands?

I dare say it is a near majority.

Have you ever felt like the church only speaks to the married?

Well, this is your day.

I hope that this message gives you credibility and encouragement.

Many singles are under the self-assumed expectation that that they are incomplete if they are not married.

They agonize for years trying to find a mate – only for many to ultimately find out that it is God’s call for them to remain single in his service.

The world is getting more and more bizarre – the times may seem to call for more devoted singles.

Scripture Reading: 1Corinthians 7:25-40

1Cor. 7:29 “cut short”

The time for doing God’s work is short

“ If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22 NIVUS)

 “ "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.  I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:32-35 NIVUS)

 “ For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.  "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:38-44 NIVUS)

Satan knows the time is short

“ Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."” (Revelation 12:12 NIVUS)

How we live will speed the day

“ But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives  as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.  So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter 3:10-14 NIVUS)

1Cor. 7:31 “passing away”

 “ The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken— that is, created things— so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:27 NIVUS)

(Picture in this morning’s Chgo. Trib. – field doctor on knees holding an Iraqi girl saved from crossfire after Iraqi troops pushed her family ahead of them into battle. Her mother was killed.)

Jesus’ Support of Singleness

“ The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."  Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given.  For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."” (Matthew 19:10-12 NIVUS)

God sees the future even as if it were present. To him all time is present and nothing surprises him. But to our finite lives on this earth, time is short.

Big Question:

What should be my considerations whether marriage is right for me?

What is God doing in the world around you?

How does God want you to be involved in what he is doing?

Where does God seem to be going regarding what he is doing?

How does God want to bless you?

Illus.: Woman in Netherlands marries herself, World, page 12, March 22, 2003

There has been a proliferation of internet ads for singles matching and dating services.

Chgo. Trib. reported a couple months ago that there has been a recent resurgent increase in Catholic women undertaking a ceremony of virgin marriage to Jesus.

Examples of God’s call for singleness or marriage in differing circumstances:


          Personal Testimony about our marriage and how God used it.

          Single by Default

Iola Barron (and Elda)

Married by Ministry

Dan and Sarah Hough

          Unmarried by Ministry

Pat Amsden

          Unmarried by Circumstances

Mobilized soldiers

          Unmarried by Purpose of KOG

Traveling lightly

Having an affirmation of singleness from creation:

We find in the first two chapters of Genesis what seem to be two differing accounts of the creation.

Those two accounts are in 1:1-2:3 and 2:4-25.

Some scholars seem to believe that they came from two independent sources.

If so, which is correct?

Perhaps it is more correct to view them as two differing emphases in creation.

If this is true, then they must be seen as not competing, but as complementing one another.

They would be viewing the creation event from two different angles, much like the four different, but very similar, accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry in the four gospels.

The first account of creation in 1:1-2:3 would be from a cosmological perspective – that is, with a focus on the universe as a whole, with special attention to the earth and all its creatures.

The second account of creation in 2:4-25 would be from an anthropological perspective – that is, with a focus on humankind and its role in the design of God.

How can we support this?

One of the reasons some scholars believe these two creation accounts are from two different sources is because of the two different names for God used in each account.

But this same fact of two different names used for God shows precisely how the two narratives combine to show a full panorama of the divine design.

Elohim, the name used exclusively in the first account, conveys the meaning of “power.”

This fits the creation story that describes the limitless expanse of the universe that was made so by the mere speaking of words from God.

The power of Elohim spoke the universe into existence.

But, Yahweh, the name of God in the second account, is the title that appears throughout the OT that refers to God as the immanent one who brings himself to have fellowship with humanity.

It was Yahweh who brought deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

Yahweh is God’s covenant name, meaning “He is” and used when he undertakes some purpose of partnership with those he calls to himself.

But notice in the second narrative that we do not see the name Yahweh alone.

It is in combination with Elohim so that we read Yahweh Elohim, or in the NIV Bible, Lord God.

The significance of this combination is a declaration that the powerful God of the universe who created with only a word is also the condescending God who created the human race tenderly and carefully as a potter shapes a vessel from a lump of clay.

In the creation of man, Elohim, the God of awe and wonder, comes together with Yahweh, the God of comfort and joy.

What does this mean for us?

It means that the sovereignty of God is exercised through his image bearer, the human race.

The central verse 1:26-27 climaxes all the stages of creation leading up to it, and from it flows the fundamental expression of what it means to be a servant of God at work in accomplishing his will.

The first creation narrative describes the arena of divine sovereignty and the second speaks of man as its agent.

God set the stage for man’s role in implementing the dominion task for which he was created (1:28).

The circumstances that prevailed before man’s creation (2:4-6) clarify why man must come into being and spells out his qualifications.

He must be a creature like no other, a truth seen in the fact that only he would be the recipient of divine inbreathing (2:7).

From this he would understand the awesome responsibilities of servant-hood.

In the garden he would receive instruction in what it means to be God’s image bearer – to work and supervise the garden (2:15).

But as we know, God placed limits on man’s dominion (2:16-17), and it was the violation of those limits that brought the downfall of the entire human race (3:1-21).

Nevertheless, I hope you can see from this that whether you are a man or a woman (even though God made each for the other) you are also individually complete in God as his image bearer.

Indeed, men and women each have pretty much all the same parts – just accentuated differently.

For this fallen human race to continue – and it is God’s will for it to do so in order that he “might have mercy on them all” (Rom. 11:32), and that the population of heaven might be filled – people must go on marrying and giving in marriage (Mt. 24:38).

But you may have a singular purpose, God’s call to singleness to proclaim his dominion in you to accomplish what others cannot in working with him to overcome the fallenness of the human race.


Big Answer:

What should be my considerations whether marriage is right for me?

What is God doing in the world around you?

How does God want you to be involved in what he is doing?

Where does God seem to be going regarding what he is doing?

How does God want to bless you?

Warren Wiersbe suggests five questions to be answered when considering marriage:

          What is my gift from God?

          Am I marrying a believer?

          Are the circumstances such that marriage is right?

          How will my marriage affect my service for Christ?

          Am I prepared to enter into this union for life?

Illus.: Portions of Others May, You Cannot

Timeless Truth:

Sex is not the most important thing in the world (contrary to popular opinion).

The best perspective on sexuality is to submit it to the call of God upon your life, if you can do it, keeping the inherent nature of the flesh in mind.

Remember that Christ was a man, just like us, and he never married, and he never sinned.

His first perspective was the kingdom of God and serving God the Father in filling that kingdom.

His time was short, and his devotion was to the Father.

If you can be like Christ, then do it, but if not, then marry. You will not have sinned.

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