Continuing 1 Corinthians.
The church in Corinth is one that has a unique story. I pray that you are encouraged through this journey. I want to give you a few encouraging points from these chapters.
Read: 1 Corinthians 7-8
In chapters 7-8, Paul writes some remarkable truth for us. I pray that you are encouraged and convicted by these truths. Pray over these chapters as you seek to better understand them. Pray that God the Holy Spirit would illuminate these verses to you.
1. Marriage (7:1-16): Now, in these 16 verses are several different aspects of marriage and singleness. I do not attempt to write a full explication of all that Paul is writing about, nor do I claim to have all the answers on this subject. Instead, my hope is simply to give us thoughts to pray over, to apply, and also, in thoughts when raising children.
A. Your body is not your own. We live in a world today that loves to say, “my body, my choice.” We know that according to scripture and logic, this is not a true statement. There are tons of choices that you can not make with your body. (On the subject of abortion, this will be discussed later, but it’s not your body, it’s God’s). In marriage, you are no longer two individuals, but one. You are to be considerate of one another. We are to serve one another in this manner. Paul writes that the wife has rights over the husband and vice versa. Our point being, we are to look to the interests of our spouse, ask yourself, how can I serve them today?
B. Single or Married. Paul wishes that everyone would stay single. Being single has perks when it comes to fruitful ministry. I’ve discovered in a marriage that you are not as free to do things as you once could. I pray that you’ve found that too. Single people have more time to devote to the ministry and service of others. Though if you burn with passion for being married, then get married. In raising children, this means that we should be training our children how to be husbands and wives. We are raising them to become good moms and dads. This also means that you don’t hold them back from marriage when it’s time. Instead, encourage them to pursue the Lord, to prayerfully consider what to look for in a spouse, and teach them these things.
C. Continue in marriage. I know this one is difficult. Divorce is prevalent in our culture today. Jesus says, and Paul echoes, you should remain married. I know some of you reading this will begin to say, “you don’t know my situation, or you don’t know my first husband.” The answer is, you’re right, I don’t. I do know what God’s Word says about the matter. That outside of adultery, abuse, and abandonment, we should not seek divorce. Even in those matters, it should never be the first response. As a pastor, when couples come to me and ask my advice on the subject, I tell them, I am always going to fight for the marriage to continue. So if you are currently in a rough spot in your marriage, get help, get counseling, don’t let it get to the point of making a decision that violates the Word.
2. Live as you are called (7:17-25). In reading this section of scripture, it is essential to understand the context in which this was written. First-century Rome was vastly different than 21st century America. When Paul writes, “remain as a servant,” this is vastly different than our thoughts of slavery. The point being is to focus on verse 17. Live the life that you are called. You are called to be someone, you. Don’t try to be someone you are not. The Lord saved you, He called you, He has a purpose for you. That purpose is not to be someone else, to try and fulfill another’s calling. So if the Lord has called you to be a behind the scenes individual, don’t try to become a preacher. Be who the Lord has called you to be and do it with all you are!
3. Marriage revisited (7:25-40): Are you married, seek to stay that way. If you are single and you do not burn with passion, do not seek a spouse; instead, continue in your service to the Lord. Our culture has made it seem that if you are not married or in a relationship, then you are a failure. This is simply not true. When you are married, some anxieties come with that. I love my wife and family to death, but I have to feed them, clothe them, etc. If it was just myself, I would only have to feed myself. When you have a family, there is more responsibility that takes away from serving the Lord. Now don’t misunderstand me, I absolutely adore and love my family. I seek to remain married to the same woman, raise our wonderful children, and preach the Gospel. The Lord has called me to be faithful to what He has given me. He is calling you to be faithful to the season of life that you are in, be faithful to your spouse, be faithful to your family, and serve the Lord.
4. Food to idols (8:1-13): Just last week, we dove into this subject. I refer back to our study of Romans. Paul says that food sacrificed to idols is of no sacrifice. Why? Because the idols are not real. Therefore, if you have this knowledge, eat and be merry. But if you are eating with someone that takes great offense to this, knowledge is nothing in comparison to love. This is our true calling as brothers and sisters. That we love one another in our weaknesses.
Friends, I pray that God speaks to you during these thoughts. Let the Lord use His Word to mold you and shape you. Encourage one another as long as it is today.