1 Corinthians – Put God First

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Uncategorized

“But if a man thinks that he’s treating his fiancée improperly and will inevitably give in to his passion, let him marry her as he wishes. It is not a sin. But if he has decided firmly not to marry and there is no urgency and he can control his passion, he does well not to marry.  So, the person who marries his fiancée does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better. A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but only if he loves the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:36-39

Paul addressed here the fathers of the unmarried girls. In that day, it was the parents who arranged the marriages, the father in particular. Paul had already said that he was not laying down an ironclad rule for everyone to follow, regardless of circumstances. Now he made it clear that the father had freedom of choice whether or not he would give his daughter in marriage.

Even though our modern approach to dating and marriage is completely foreign to the Corinthians, the counsel Paul gave them still applies today. It is a wise thing for couples to counsel with their parents and with their Christian leaders in the church, lest they rush into something which afterward they regret.

It is God’s will that marriage union be a lifetime, permanent commitment. There is no place in Christian marriage for a trial marriage, nor is there any room for the escape-hatch attitude. If it doesn’t work, we can get a divorce. This is not God’s way for marriage. Marriage must be built on a firm foundation. That foundation is Jesus Christ and God’s Word. The main message that Paul is trying to get across is that we must put God first in all that we do; in every area of our life.

1 Corinthians – Concerns of Life

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 1 Corinthians

“I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him.  But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.  I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

One thing about Paul’s writings, they are practical. Here Paul is looking at the practical side of marriage and serving the Lord. Paul is telling us that we can serve the Lord better when we don’t have the concerns of life to worry about. We can devote more time to serving God if we don’t have a wife and children that we need to worry about. I know that this is true, but in my case, I don’t believe that I could serve the Lord as well if I did not have my wife as my partner. She has been my partner for fifty-three years. I have no doubt that God put us together. I can look back at my life and see that God has been leading us to this point in our lives. “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21) No matter if we are married or not, we must allow the Lord to lead us in the right way.

1 Corinthians – Time is Short

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 1 Corinthians

“But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short. So, from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.” 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Paul is reminding us the truth that time is short. “The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7) Yes Jesus is coming back soon and the end of the world is coming, but we need to realize that we are not promised the next moment. God could take us home at any time. This is not my home anyway. My home is in heaven. So, we don’t need to become too involved in the world. The time is getting shorter. We need to be looking forward to the day that Jesus will come back.

“But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:10-13) We should not become attached to the things of the world.

1 Corinthians – A Time of Distress

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 1 Corinthians

“Now regarding your question about the young women who are not yet married. I do not have a command from the Lord for them. But the Lord in his mercy has given me wisdom that can be trusted, and I will share it with you. Because of the present crisis, I think it is best to remain as you are. If you have a wife, do not seek to end the marriage. If you do not have a wife, do not seek to get married.  But if you do get married, it is not a sin. And if a young woman gets married, it is not a sin. However, those who get married at this time will have troubles, and I am trying to spare you those problems.” 1 Corinthians 7:25-28

The people of Corinth were in a battle. They were fighting a spiritual war. Satan was wanting to discourage them in their walk with Jesus or just get them to leave their walk with Jesus. This is our problem today. We are in a spiritual war like none I have seen before. Spiritual warfare is not so much about demon possession, territorial spirits, or generation bondage as it is overcoming Satan’s lies and deceit in our own life. The Corinthians were living in a time of stress. It was a time of lawlessness and a time where people were far away from God. They were living in a time like we are seeing today. Marriage and the family were being destroyed. Marriage is stressful in the best of circumstances. It is very hard on newlyweds. They are in the process of getting to know each other and learning to live with another person. Paul is saying that it is best if you don’t get married, but it is not a sin to marry. In this time of stress, we must have God in our relationships. Our marriage cannot last unless God is in the marriage.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) In our relationships we need to realize that we are not fighting the person; we are fighting a spiritual battle.

1 Corinthians – Don’t be a Slave to the World

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 1 Corinthians

“Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you. Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it. And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you.” 1 Corinthians 7:20-24

Paul is continuing to tell the people at Corinth that they are to stay where they are when they are saved. We should also listen to what Paul is telling us. When we are saved there is something about the change that comes over us. Our life changes and we feel the freedom and peace that comes from Jesus living in our hearts. It can be hard to explain unless you have invited Jesus to take control of your life. You want to tell everyone how wonderful it is to have this new life. There is a story that Gipsy Smith tells, he was a British evangelist who conducted evangelistic campaigns in the United States and Great Britain for over 70 years. A woman came to him and told him that God was leading her to into the ministry. He asked her a question, “are you married? She said that she was. “How many children do you have?” She answered that she had five. He said, “That’s wonderful. God has called you into the ministry and He has already given you your congregation.” We are a witness to everyone around us that we come in contact with as being part of the world. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) Don’t be a slave to the world. We are only a slave to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

1 Corinthians – Christians Living with Unbelievers

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 1 Corinthians

“Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a fellow believer has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. And if a believing woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him. For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. (But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the believing husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace.) Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?” 1 Corinthians 7:12-16

This scripture deals with the marriage of believers and unbelievers. On this Paul has to give his own judgment, because there is no definite command of Jesus to which he can refer them. The background must be that there were those in Corinth who declared that a believer must never live with an unbeliever; and that, in the event of one partner of a marriage becoming a Christian and the other remaining a heathen, separation must at once follow. In fact, one of the great heathen complaints against Christianity was exactly that Christianity did break up families and was a disruptive influence in society.

Paul dealt with this problem with supreme practical wisdom. He knew the difficulty and he refused to make the problem worst. He said that if the two could agree to live together by all means let them do so; but if they wished to separate and found living together intolerable, let them do so, because the Christian was never meant to be a slave.

There is value in Christians living with unbelievers. The unbelieving partner is consecrated by the believer. The two have become one flesh and the wonder is that in such a case it is not the taint of heathenism but the grace of Christianity which wins the victory. There is an infection about Christianity which involves all those who come into contact with it. A child born into a Christian home, even into a home where only one of the partners is a Christian, is born into the family of Christ. In a partnership between a believer and an unbeliever, it is not so much that the believer is brought into contact with the realm of sin, as that the unbeliever is brought into contact with the realm of grace. The Christian can also lead to the saving of the unbeliever.

1 Corinthians – Divorce

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 1 Corinthians

“So, I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust. But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife.” 1 Corinthians 7:8-11

The book of 1 Corinthians can be a very hard book. It can be a very convicting book. Paul is telling the Corinthians how they should live as Christians. The Corinthians did not want to hear about all of these issues that Paul writes about. Just like today in most churches if the Pastor preached on the issues in 1 Corinthians some of the people would leave the church. Every issue in this book was given to Paul by the Holy Spirit, which came from God.

Divorce is a problem in our culture today, not just in the culture, but in the church also. It seems that if you have a problem in the marriage the first thing you want to do is divorce, this should be the last thing that we even think about. What Jesus said about divorce really says it all. “Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?”  “Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts.  But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. ’Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Mark 10:3-9) I know there are reasons for divorce, but we need to realize all the problems that come from divorce. 

1 Corinthians – Sex in Marriage

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 1 Corinthians

“Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  I say this as a concession, not as a command.  But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.” 1 Corinthians 7:5-7

The principle in this passage is important. God makes it clear that there is nothing wrong, and everything right, about sex in marriage. Satan’s great strategy, when it comes to sex, is to do everything he can to encourage sex outside of marriage, and to discourage sex within marriage. It is an equal victory for Satan if he accomplishes either plan. This can be seen in the way some of the Corinthian Christians thought it was just fine to hire the services of a prostitute, and other Corinthian Christians thought it was more spiritual for a husband and wife to never have sexual relations. A Christian husband and wife must not accept a poor sexual relationship. The problems may not be easily overcome or quickly solved, but God wants every Christian marriage to enjoy a sexual relationship that is a genuine blessing, instead of a burden.

 Satan, who knows the temperament and disposition of men and women, may tempt them not only to hatred of, and quarrels with one another, but to impure lusts and desires, to fornication, adultery, and all uncleanness; a very good reason why, though abstinence from the marriage bed for a short time, by the consent of both parties, for religious purposes, may be lawful, yet ought not to be continued; since Satan may hereby get an advantage over them.

1 Corinthians – Marriage is a Partnership

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 1 Corinthians

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.” 1 Corinthians 7:3-4

This passage arises from a suggestion from Corinth that if married people are to be really Christians, they must abstain from all intercourse with each other. This is another manifestation of that line of thought which looked on the body and its instincts as essentially evil. Paul declares a supremely great principle. Marriage is a partnership. The husband cannot act independently of the wife, nor the wife of the husband. They must always act together. The husband must never regard the wife simply as a means of self-gratification. The whole marriage relationship, both in its physical and spiritual sides, is something in which both are to find their gratification and the highest satisfaction of all their desires. In a time of special discipline, in a time of long and earnest prayer, it might be right to set aside all bodily things; but it must be by mutual agreement and only for a time, or it simply begets a situation which gives temptation an easy chance.

“Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’” This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” (Genesis 2:22-24) In a marriage that is a partnership, the husband and wife become as one in spirit.

1 Corinthians – Issues in Marriage

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 1 Corinthians

“Now regarding the questions, you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:1-2

This chapter concerns issues in marriage. This was an important issue in Corinth; just as it is an important issue in the world that we live in today. Satan is working at destroying marriage and family. The Bible is our instruction manual on everything about life and how we should live. We need to understand all the issues of marriage.

The Greek thought there was strong tendency to despise the body and the things of the body; and that tendency could issue in a position where men said, “The body is utterly unimportant; therefore, we can do what we like with it and it makes no difference if we allow its appetites to have their fullest play.” But that very tendency could issue in a precisely opposite point of view. It could move a man to say, “The body is evil; therefore, we must bring it into subjection; therefore, we must completely obliterate, and if that is not possible, we must completely deny, all the instincts and desires which are natural to it.” It is that second way of looking at things with which Paul is dealing here. The Corinthians, or at least some of them, had suggested that, if a man was going to be a Christian in the fullest sense of the term, he must have done with physical things and must refuse to marry altogether.

Paul’s answer is extremely practical. In effect he says, “Remember where you are living; remember that you are living in Corinth where you cannot even walk along the street without temptation rearing its head at you. Sounds like today. Remember your own physical constitution and the healthy instincts which nature has given you. You will be far better to marry than to fall into sin.”

This sounds like a low view of marriage. It sounds as if Paul is advising marriage in order to avoid a worse fate. In point of fact he is honestly facing the facts and laying down a rule which is universally true. No man should attempt a way of life for which he is naturally unfitted; no man should set out on a pathway whereby he deliberately surrounds himself with temptations. Paul knew very well that all men are not made the same. “Examine yourself,” he says, “and choose that way of life in which you can best live the Christian life, and don’t attempt an unnatural standard which is impossible and even wrong for you being such as you are.”