Sunday, February 15, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 14 – Serving the Lord

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 14 – Serving the Lord
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Paul's letter to the church in Corinth, up until last week, was addressing the things he had heard about them, including incest, adultery, over-spiritualized behaviors, wandering away from the Word of God, and an overall pride about them.

Over the last few weeks, we have read about Paul addressing the situations going on in the church in Corinth.

He spoke about the falsehoods of forced celibacy, the sin of adultery, how married couples are to treat each other's needs, and only the needs of your spouse. Last week Paul specifically spoke about being content.

Not being content has lead to many problems in this world, and especially in relationships.

Not being content can lead to selfish and prideful behaviors.

We will close the seventh chapter of this letter to the Corinthian church with Paul speaking to the unmarried, the married, about their responsibilities and a message to the widows.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE I Corinthians 7:25-40
25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am 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.

36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.

39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 40 In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

                   I.            UNMARRIED
a.      A message to virgins like Paul
                                                                         i.      This message is given in the light of the persecution from Rome and the crimes being committed against those who followed Christ at the time.

                                                                      ii.      We must remember when this letter was written, the purpose of it, and the time frame in which it was given.

                                                                   iii.      If you have the Spiritual Gift of celibacy then you will have grace from God, which will give you the ability to have no desire for physical needs.

b.     This is good to be single "in this present distress"
                                                                         i.      The context in which Paul writes

                                                                      ii.      This message is probably being preached right now by fellow followers to those believers in such areas of distress, like muslim controlled regions.

c.      Are you bound? are you loosed?
                                                                         i.      If you are married, stay so, and if you are single, stay so in these troubling times.

               II.            MARRIED
a.      Time is short
                                                                         i.      Followers of Christ need to make the most of it.

                                                                      ii.      Those who are married must still serve the Lord

                                                                   iii.      Do not wait until children have grown and left, or spouse has died, then devote yourself to the Lord, do so now, for the time is short.

b.     We must not dwell on earthly things
                                                                         i.      Because they are all going to pass away.

                                                                      ii.      They are all temporary

                                                                   iii.      All but the souls are going to be destroyed in the end.

c.      Weeping, rejoicing, buying, using things of this world
                                                                         i.      It should be as if it never happened...

                                                                      ii.      We should not focus on these things...for they are temporary

            III.            RESPONSIBILITIES (During this time of distress)
a.      Do not be burdened with care
                                                                         i.      unmarried men can devote everything to the Lord

                                                                      ii.      married men must divide their cares for their family and wives needs

                                                                   iii.      unmarried women can devote everything to the Lord

                                                                     iv.      married women must divide their care for the needs of the family and their husbands

b.     Your virgins can make up their own minds though
                                                                         i.      Speaking of fathers who have daughters

                                                                      ii.      If she passes the age of flowering (20 years old typically)

                                                                   iii.      The father must permit his daughter to marry if she so chooses.

                                                                     iv.      But if she decides not to marry and stay a virgin, devoting herself completely to the Lord, he must keep her, and take care of her so she may do so.

            IV.            WIDOWS
a.      vs 39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.

b.     However she may be happier if she stays alone in these times

So Paul's advice is this;

Considering the terrible times we live in with Rome wanting to kill us all, if you are married, stay married. If you are not married, then don't get married.

The time is short...whether you are married or not, you must serve the Lord.

Do not worry about earthly things, because they are all going to pass away. However, the souls of people need to hear the Gospel that will preserve them for eternity.

If you have a daughter who wants to marry, and she is of age (18 years old in our modern day), then let her do so. However, if she does not want to marry, and devote herself to the Lord, fathers, you must continue to take care of them during this time.

Widows, if your spouse passes away, you are free to marry again, but taking into consideration our terrible present time, you may be happier alone.

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