First Baptist Church of Howard City
February 21, 2021
      • 1 John 4.7-9ESV

      • 1 John 4.10-12ESV

  • Speak O Lord
  • Sanctuary
    • Intro:

      I really enjoy getting a good laugh from the crazy things said from children. As I did last week, I will begin this week’s sermon with another good one I heard about. This one was from a pastor who was visiting a fourth-grade Sunday School class to talk about marriage. In his introduction, he asked the class, “What does God say about marriage?” Immediately one boy shot up his hand and replied, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!”
      It’s certainly true that some people get married not knowing what they’re getting into. I hope that wasn’t you. To those who are single, please forgive us for we know not what we do when we put pressure on you to get married, or make comments, or tease you, or just leave you out of things. Forgive us as a church for the times we’ve made you feel second class or unimportant. That’s wrong as the Bible states. We must do a better job helping you live out your singleness with single-minded devotion to the glory of God.
      Today, as we journey further into the questions posed by the church of Corinth, I hope that we all walk away with a better understanding of what God intended for us in these positions. It is a privilege today for me to have my sister and her husband here with us. (Yes, this is the sister for whom I mistakenly said that I married… haha… and I’m sure many of you will happily keep reminding me of it). But with all jokes aside, it was a real honor to officiate the ceremony in joining these two together. I can recall the many hours we spent together talking and looking over scripture to seek out the wisdom of God in pursuing this life-long commitment, what does it truly mean to be a husband, a wife, what does love look like, what does leave and cleave truly mean. As we looked through those many verses, it was exciting to see their understanding of God and each other grow, but yet even as much time as we spent searching through scripture, and the hours they put toward it, a perfect understanding of all that marriage entails cannot be attained before marrying. It is a lifelong pursuit.
      So today, we are gonna revisit and continue in thought on these considerations that both singles and married couples should think through regarding this important topic. My sister and her husband didn’t know they were coming for more marriage counseling, haha, or I might now use the phrase marriage discipleship. But we all could use more, and I know, that when we lean in, when we seek out and consider the wisdom that God has for relationships, and when we chose to faithfully follow his words, healthy relationships are sure to follow and real satisfaction can be found in it. Whether you’re single and living out your gift of singleness in the Lord, or married and living like intentional singles, being wholly devoted to the Lord through your marriage and not allowing that to become a distraction, you will be satisfied when you’re faithfully obedient in the place that God has you.
      So let’s take into consideration more wisdom from God for our marriages and for those considering such things found in 1 Corinthians 7:36-40.
      As we read this passage, the meaning and application are difficult for us to grasp because of the cultural distinctions of that day being vastly different from our own. What I would like to do then is give you the best understanding of this text as what it would have meant to them then see how these truths could possibly apply to use. The way in which I have done this is by offering in a way of overview of a marriage ceremony. The main points of this sermon will fall into things you might have heard, said, or practiced in your marriage ceremony, and I hope this will be a challenge to renew the thoughts in your marriage or equip these thoughts for potential marriages in the future.
      So Let’s read our passage and look at Considerations for the Married and the Single- God’s Wisdom for Relationships
      1 Corinthians 7:36–40 ESV
      If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better. A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
      Our first point to consider will be in the using of the marriage phrase....

      I. Considerations of the Parents (v.36-38)

      Most of our typical, traditional marriage services will have the father walk the bride down the aisle to then at the appropriate moment, answer the question, “who gives the women to marry this man,” the father would respond “her mother and I”. In Genesis,
      Genesis 2:24 ESV
      Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
      We read in Ephesians 5 and especially verse 23
      Ephesians 5:23 ESV
      For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
      God has instituted the man as the head of the household. So in these marriage ceremonies, as it has been passed down for many generations, probably stemming back to the days of arranged marriages, Father’s giving their daughters away to another man for marriage was a sign of his blessing on the marriage but also it was a symbol of the transfer of responsibility to the groom. The daughter was now to ultimately submit to her husband’s leadership over her fathers and he in turn would be responsible to love, protect, cherish, and provide for his wife instead of her father.
      So what does any of this have to do with our passage. Let’s again read these first three verses in passage.
      1 Corinthians 7:36–38 ESV
      If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
      1 Corinthians 7:36–38 CSB
      If any man thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, if she is getting beyond the usual age for marriage, and he feels he should marry—he can do what he wants. He is not sinning; they can get married. But he who stands firm in his heart (who is under no compulsion, but has control over his own will) and has decided in his heart to keep her as his fiancée, will do well. So, then, he who marries his fiancée does well, but he who does not marry will do better.
      1 Corinthians 7:36–38 NIV
      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. 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. So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.
      This is a really hard section of verses. From my understanding, two different takes have been made about this passage. The first one is presented through these three versions of the Bible.

      I)A. The Bridegroom Position

      In these three versions, the man described is referring to a man who is engaged to be married. The understanding would follow pretty simple. The engaged man has determined that he may not be acting honorably toward his would be wife. Perhaps this engaged man has considered what Paul has said about singles and the advantages that Paul presented. The engaged young man has also considered Paul’s present distress and realized it may be unwise to marry at this point. What was he to do? They were engaged before receiving Christ, or engaged before they understood these things, so what to do with the wedding? If we follow this line of thinking, the young man is told that if his passions are strong and there is necessity to marry, marry then is just fine an answer. No problems. But as verse 37 states, if he can control his desires, and he is firmly established in heart, to be able to remain single, or refrain from marriage, it is said that he will do even better. The phrase in verse 37, “and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed.” NIV translates that to say, “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.” The context would make sense for this to mean that he is strong in heart and has passions in check not to simply prolong the engagement, but to refrain from marriage. In fact, that would be one of the reasons he may be acting dishonorably toward his finance. She is getting on in age, and for him to continue waiting, would potentially put her in the “past her prime of life” and less likely to find another possible suitor. So in answering the question whether it might not be better for an engaged couple to refrain from going on to marry, Paul replies that it would indeed be better to not go on and marry; but that if they marry they not only are not sinning, but they also do well.
      The strengths to this thinking is certainly consistent with context of 1 Corinthians 7. There is also strengths in this argument for the words used in vs 37. Having his thelema (thel’-ay-mah) under control. Which means “his will, his desires, his pleasure, his inclination. So it very well could mean desire and pleasure in and for marriage.
      But this interpretation is not the interpretation that I believe to be the correct interpretation. I’ve described this interpretation because if you read from these translations, this would likely be your understanding of the text. It goes to show how we must carefully understand the original text to get the clearest understanding of God’s inspired Word. Let’s look at another position.

      I)B. The Father of the Daughter Position

      Read again from the KJV
      1 Corinthians 7:36–38 KJV 1900
      But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.
      That last verse is certainly interesting. Let’s now look at the NASB
      1 Corinthians 7:36–38 NASB95
      But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry. But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.
      The NASB as well as the ASV include the word daughter but in italics, meaning the word “daughter” is not included in the original language. So why did they add daughter. Look again at verse 38.
      1 Corinthians 7:38 ESV
      So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
      1 Corinthians 7:38 NASB95
      So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.
      The two versions use different choices of words. One says marries like the ESV, NIV, CSB and the other says gives in marriage like the KJV, NKJV, NASB.
      The word here in greek is gamizo
      Gamizō- to espouse (a daughter to a husband):—give in marriage
      Matthew 22:30 ESV
      For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
      The word marry is gameō
      The word given in marriage is our word gamizō
      And there is a difference between these words. In fact, you can see our word gamizō used several times throughout the gospels in particular and it always equates the idea of being “given in marriage”.
      So then going to our passage, how can the man described in this passage, if it is referring to the groom, give this virgin in marriage?
      I believe that then this passage makes more sense then to be speaking to fathers who are in the position of giving their daughters to marry another. Again, remember that arranged marriages were quite common then, it was especially common in Jewish culture. The law of that time even allowed for fathers to “sell” their daughters to possible suitors.
      So in this way, the father’s may have been concerned about the fact that they may be treating their daughters unfairly. A father may have decided that his daughter should not marry, possibly due to reasons similar to the reasons Paul wrote about in 7:25-34. But in coming to this decision, the father had not recognized the fact that his daughter might not be able to remain single. She might not possess the gift of celibacy like Paul did. If so, Paul recommended to the Father that he should not feel obligated to hold to his commitment but instead let his daughter marry.
      So then how would verse 37 be understood. But if the father stand firm in his heart, that is, does not change his mind about the promise; and is under no constraint (that word means necessity) either by his daughter’s necessity to marry or by the necessity of his master if he was a slave. Remember again that the master of a slave had the ultimate authority under the law to chose whom his slaves were allowed to marry. So if he was under no constraint, and has a good and pure motive (has authority over his own will) and is deeply commited (decided this in his own heart); he may keep his own virgin daughter.
      1 Corinthians: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary The Promises of Fathers

      Only the daughter’s unwillingness to keep the vow should cause the father to change his mind. His steadfastness in his vow will encourage his daughter to be steadfast in hers. In doing that he will do well.

      So it’s really hard for us to grasp this text because it is sooo different than our own culture. So being this is dramatically different than our own time, what application can we take from such a passage.
      Each situation is unique, and parents and children must seek the Lord’s will. It take more than two Christian people to make a happy marriage.
      Dr. Warren Wiersbe
      What I see in this text is the important role parents play in the lives of young people, looking to be married or even newly married. We already stated that there is a new family that forms as it separates itself from the old family. But to leave and cleave does not mean total separation from our other families. To do that would be unwise.
      Exodus 20:12 ESV
      “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
      Mark 7:9–13 ESV
      And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban” ’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
      1 Timothy 5:8 ESV
      But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
      Their is still an ongoing relationship. So for those looking to marry, for those who are newly married, for those who have been married for quite some time and are now readying your children for marriage, and for those who’s children are now married; here are excellent principles for you to consider in how you can have good parent-child relationships in the topic of marriage.
      These come from Dr. Wayne Mack who is an incredible counselor and writer on the topic of marriage. From his book strengthen your marriage, he gives 6 ways in how your relationship as a new couple must be radically changed as parent and child.
      It means that you establish an adult relationship with them
      It means that you must be more concerned about your mate’s ideas, opinions, and practices than those of your parents
      it means that you must not be slavishly dependent on your parents for affection, approval, assistance, and counsel
      It mean that you must eliminate any bad attitudes toward your parents, or you will be tied emotionally to them regardless of how far you move from them
      it means that you must stop trying to change your mate simply because your parents do not like him the way he is
      it mean that you make the husband and wife relationship your priority human relationship
      He further writes and children should be concerned about being a good son/daugher or mother/father but should be more concerned about being a good husband/wife. Children do not need indulgent parents who continually neglect each other. They need parents who will show them how to be good husbands and wives; and how to relate to other people. We need parents to set the example
      If you are parents, your goal should be to prepare your children to leave, not to stay. You should be preparing yourselves for the day when your children leave by cultivating common interests, by learning to do things together, by deepening your friendships with each other so as to keep that line of communication open for when they need wisdom and counsel.
      Then when your children do marry, you don’t try to run their lives, but allow the young husband to be head of the home, to make decisions for themselves, to look to his wife as his primary responsibility and helper. You must encourage your daughter to depend upon her husband, not you, for guidance, help, companionship, and affection.
      When parents understand their new role in their children’s life, that brings great blessing and encouragement to the new family. It sets them up for success. Sometimes the answer of the parent needs to be, you and your spouse need to figure this out on your own. That’s one of the wisest things my mother ever told me but her father told her the same thing, and it’s Biblical. But certainly maintaining relationships with the family is important. They are also a great source of encouragement and comfort, and we are to continue to honor them even after we have left the home. If anything, this passage goes to show how important the family is in making these important decisions. There is a reason why Father’s in that time were so involved in their daughters lives’ and choices. He was guarding his home and being responsible. God will work and long as we faithfully try to follow his plan and principles in scripture.
      This moves us into our final two verses and last point of evaluation and consideration. After giving consideration to the parents role in the young singles life, Paul now addresses the singles who have lost their spouses. What should they now do. Here is the consideration that I would like us to consider.

      II. Considerations of the “Yet to Be” Married (v. 39-40)

      1 Corinthians 7:39–40 ESV
      A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
      There are considerations that Paul certainly shares with these Corinthian widows but also apply to many of us in various ways.

      II)A. Commitment of Marriage

      1 Corinthians 7:39 ESV
      A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
      It is good for all of us whether we are considering marriage or already in married to lock in our minds that marriage is lifelong.
      In our day, many young couples seem to marry with the thought that if their marriage does not work out they can always get a divorce. When they marry, they vow to be faithful until death, but under their breath they add, “unless our problems are too great.”
      But God says, “No, thats not the way I planned it. I planned marriage to be a permanent relationship. I want the husband and wife to cleave to one another… look at Mark 10:7-9
      Mark 10:7–9 ESV
      ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
      Marriage then is not a matter of blind chance, but deliberate choice.
      it is not merely a matter of convenience, but obedience
      It is not a matter of how the cards fall out, but of how much you are willing and determined to work at it.
      A good marriage is based more on commitment than feeling or attraction.
      Malachi 2:14 ESV
      But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
      Proverbs 2:17 ESV
      who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God;
      Marriage is a irrevocable covenant before God to which we are bound.
      That means wifes promise that they will be faithful even if the husband is afflicted with bulges, baldness, bunions, and bifocals; even if he loses health, wealth, job, charm, and even when someone more caring and sensitive comes around.
      That means husbands promise to be faithful even if the wife loses her beauty, appeal, even if she is not as neat and tidy, maybe she spends money foolishly, or is a terrible cook. Maybe she is not as submissive as he would like her to be; even if she does not satisfy his sexual desires completely (which believe it or not is a large category to why marriages, including christian marriages. They justify it by saying that their just sexually incompatibility)
      We have to be faithful. Our faithfulness in alot of ways represents the faithfulness of Christ to this bride the church. When we act unfaithfully, we don’t represent Christ well when He patiently waits on us. Marriage God’s way will show the faithfulness of God to a lost world that wants faithfulness but cannot have it apart from God. Marriages then that are committed to being faithful will understand even before getting married that they will face problems, they will discuss them, they will seek God’s help in them, they will commit to resolve them rather than run from them. There committed to growing in their relationship to each other rather than just keeping the statis quo. That’s the kind of marriage God wants. And as a matter of application, if you know you’re going to be with them the rest of your life, it would be just smart to do everything you can to make that relationship good.

      II)B. Person of Marriage

      As the passage states, something else should be considered. If women loses, her husband, in this case and is looking to remarry. She needs to only consider those that belong to the family of God. Is this true to those who have not yet been married. There are real concerns about a marriage between a child of God and a child of the world. How can they really work out together? Their vision, their goals, their life pursuits will be misaligned. Unnecessary contention will likely follow. As believers, we are to live for only one purpose. God’s glory. Live with an single task. To walk worthy of His calling. If Paul was concerned that married couples could get distracted from being intentional servants of God, how much more would Christians in a mixed marriage get distracted from serving the Lord. As we have spoken on already, if you're in that type of marriage today, remain in that marriage as long as their is peace, but if you have not made that commitment, only do so with those that you are confident are in the Lord.

      II)C. Decision of Marriage

      The last are very brief point that Paul makes to consider is that of whether or not you should marry or remarry. Remarriage if you’re spouse passes away is certainly acceptable in God’s eyes. But Paul shares that remarriage may not be the ideal; it may not be God’s best for everyone. Again, Paul makes it clear that he is not giving a command, but is giving, counsel for the benefit and blessing of those who take it. A widowed person who has God’s grace for singleness will be happier to remain single.
      Questions may arise about who will care for me, what about protection. A widow can more thoroughly understand that protection and care from God. He will provide for them and so will the church as commanded by God. Passages to consider on this are James 1:28
      James 1:27 ESV
      Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
      1 Timothy 5:3–16 ESV
      Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.
      Conclusion:
        • 1 Corinthians 7:36–40NKJV

        • Genesis 2:24NKJV

        • Ephesians 5:23NKJV

        • 1 Corinthians 7:36–38NKJV

        • 1 Corinthians 7:36–38NKJV

        • 1 Corinthians 7:36–38NKJV

        • 1 Corinthians 7:36–38NKJV

        • 1 Corinthians 7:38NKJV

        • 1 Corinthians 7:38NKJV

        • Matthew 22:30NKJV

        • Exodus 20:12NKJV

        • Mark 7:9–13NKJV

        • 1 Timothy 5:8NKJV

        • 1 Corinthians 7:39–40NKJV

        • 1 Corinthians 7:39NKJV

        • Mark 10:7–9NKJV

        • Malachi 2:14NKJV

        • Proverbs 2:17NKJV

        • James 1:27NKJV

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