Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 10 months ago

Principles for Marriage

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1 Corinthians 7:7-39

Our heavenly father. We thank you that we can abide in you and that we can dwell in your house forever. We thank you that you shepherd us through the trials and difficulties of this world, the many that they are, and we asked that you would continue to do so even now, as we come to the reading and preaching of your word. We asked that by it, you would direct our paths, that you would help us to know and to better understand your will and your way, that we might follow after you, and not only in our specific actions, but in our hearts and in our minds. We asked that you would help us to do this by the strength that we have in Christ, who died for us and for has forgiven our sins. We pray this in his name. On men, please be seated. Let's turn in our bibles to First Corinthians Chapter Seven. First Corinthians Chapter Seven. So in this passage Paul deals with a number of questions concerning marriage. I'm going to read. I'm going to read from verse six, six through the end of the chapter. We considered the first first five verses in an earlier sermon and encourage you to ask me questions about that or listen to that online if you're able, and I did want to mention that there is a lot that is covered here in this chapter. I thought it would be helpful to kind of get all at one time, because it does hold together. But because there's so much, I will be doing q and a after the service. So if anyone would like to stay after some snacks around one hundred and fifteen, will meet back in here and if there's any follow up questions that you'd like to ask, we can do that. I'm looking forward to that with you. For now, let's give our attention to God's word. First, Corinthians seven, beginning at verse six. Now as a concession, not a command, I say this I wish that all were as I myself am, but each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried in the widows, I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am, but if they cannot exercise self control, they should marry, for it is better to marry them to burn with passion. To the married, I give this charge not I but the Lord. The wife should not separate from her husband, but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband, and the husband should not divorce his wife. To the rest, I say, I not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever and she contents, consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him, for the unbelieving husband is made wholly because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made wholly because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is they are wholly. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases, the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will have saved your husband? How do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has a sign to him and to which God has called him. This is my rule. In all the churches, was...

...any one, at the time of his call, already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was Any one, at the time of his call uncircumcised. Let him not seek circumcision, for neither circumcision counts for anything, nor UNCIRCUMCISION. But, keeping the commandments of God, each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a bond servant when called to? Not Be concerned about it. But if you gain your freedom, avail yourself, or if you can gain your feedom, avail yourself of the opportunity, for he who was called in the Lord as a bond servant is a freedman and of the Lord. Likewise, he who is free when he was called, when he when called, is a Bond Servant of Christ. You were bought with a price. Do not become bond servants of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called there, let him remain with God. Now, concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who, by the Lord's mercy, is trustworthy. I think that, in view of the present distress, it is good for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife, but if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. This is what I mean. Brothers, the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as those as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it, for the present form of this were world is passing away. I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord, but the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit, but the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint on you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his beloved or 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 undernown necessity but having his desire under control, he has determined this in his heart to keep her as as 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 he is, as she is, and I think that I too have the spirit of God. Hey, God bless his word to us. So here in our passage, as I mentioned in this is totally obvious from what I read. Paul talks about marriage right, he talks about it a lot. He talks about being married and being unmarried and how we think about each situation. And what he does is he walks us through various scenarios various life situations in which you might find yourself in, and he helps us think each one in the various categories about who should get married and who shouldn't. So if you're looking for advice on this topic right now, it would do you well to pay...

...attention. But even if you're not, this passage has great value for you. For One, knowing God's will in these matters can give you the tools that you need to prepare for the future or perhaps fix something in the present, or perhaps help someone else in their situation. It's never a bad thing to know what God's will is on just about anything. Another reason it might be a benefit to you is this. Paul's discussion on marriage here is a great example of how Christians ought to think through any of life's important choices. Now, of course, some of what he says here is specifically tied to marriage and some of what he says is even more specifically tied to the church, as it is in Corinth. But nevertheless, the way he thinks, the way he argues and reasons morally about these life choices is a provides an example for us about how we can think through other things, even not related to marriage. There's lots that we can learn from his example and his guidance here. And the third thing I'll mentioned is that Paul takes marriage as much as it is here and he places it in a bigger context. He puts it in a bigger perspective. That helps us to know God better. So let's consider now the core of what he's saying about marriage, and it begins with the question that I didn't read, but it is found in verse one and I'll read that now. The question comes as kind of a thesis statement. Right, if you remember in school, your teachers make you write, you know, your thesis statement and then you have to defend it. Paul is given a thesis and these asked what he thinks about it. And here's the thesis in Verse One. It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. So that's the thesis. It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. True or false? Right is it would be the question. And Paul doesn't answer that way. His answer is it depends, as most good moral reasoning does answer. So what Paul says is simply this. While in most cases this is true in the context of marriage. It's not not true. It's not good to refrain from marital intimacy in marriage, and in verses two through five. To review from what we covered previously, it's not only good, but it's it's necessary that a husband and wife give themselves to each other and not deprive one another. You know that in life there are things that belong only in one place. Though you might be able to use them outside of that place, outside of their intended context, you would perhaps ruin them or do damage to other things. Imagine you had a very expensive set of dishes that was only used for a very specific purpose at a very specific time, and you tell your kid to set the table and you find them pulling all the expensive stuff and throwing it out on the table. No, that's grandma special dishes. We don't use that here. Right. Sure, you could use them for that purpose. They're capable of holding food, but that's not what they're for and that's why they're capt in a special cabinet in a special place. Another example might be a judge's gavel. Right, it's not a hammer. It's perhaps capable of hammering things, but it's not a hammer, it's a gavel. It even has a special name, it has a special form, it's put kept in a special place. Marital intimacy is like that. Sure, the physical act of touching in these ways can be done outside of marriage, but when it does happen that way, it debases the thing and it causes all kinds of problems because, like the gavel, or like the set of China...

...or or, marital intimacy has a special place and a special purpose, and when it's used for that, good things happen. We considered before how it creates a bond between a husband and wife, it renews and creates this covenant of one flesh and which each is for the other, and it creates children which are, in a way, the one flesh to becoming one. And for these reasons marital innacy is wonderful and good. But then we get to the end of verse five and we find out that Paul has more to say about the answer to this question. Is this thesis true? He affirms its goodness in a certain place, but then he has more to say, and he says this in verse six. He says now, as a concession, not as a command, I say this, and this is what he says. I wish that all were as myself am, and he clarifies what he means by that in verse eight when he says it is good for them to remain single, as I am. In other words, Paul wants a to know that though those sex within marriage is a good thing, that doesn't mean that everybody should get married. In fact, he says singleness is preferable, it's the better option and he wishes it for everyone, but he's very careful in the way that he says it. Notice the distinctions that he makes. He is careful, though he prefers it, and from an apostle that carries a lot of weight, and he'll give reasons for that. Though he prefers it, he doesn't command it for everyone. Why? Well, he has several reasons. One is that it would undermine what he just said about marriage if he were to now command everyone to be single. But the reason that he gives that comes in verse six rather in verse seven, is this each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. So Paul can say, well, I wish that everyone were single. I think there would be really great things about that. He says in another way, I don't wish it, because everybody has their own gift from God and it is right that each acts according to that gift. So then that leads us into this long section about. Well, now what Paul? Who should marry and who shouldn't be married, who should stay single and and who should seek marriage age? And he lists a whole bunch of different categories. Let me, let me list some of those for you now. Paul addresses single people who have never been married. He address a single people struggling to control sexual desire. He talks to married people. He talks to married People's whose spouses want to leave them because now they've become Christians. He talks to married people whose spouses have died. He talks about to people who are about to get married and also to people who are about to get married but are not being chased in the period of their engagement. So, depending on how you divide these things up, there somewhere between six to seven, eight maybe different categories of people that he's mentions. So what's the right thing to do? Well, it depends. Right a lot of things in life are like this. Our life choices, they depend on the situations we find ourselves in. Now, some of us are in, I'd say all of us are in one or another of these situations. Some of us have been through a few of them. Paul has something to say for everyone here, and let's go through these different categories and think just how does he answer the question?...

So what I'll do is I'll address each category and pull together the various verses that we find throughout the chapter in what his answer to that question is. All Right, here we go. So the first one. Are you unmarried and able to remain unmarried? Are you able to control your desires? That that's a question. The answer is then you should. If you are unmarried and able to remain unmarried, then you should stay single. That's not because marriage is bad, Paul says in verse Thirty Six. It is no sin, but because being free from the obligation of marriage allows you to give yourself more freely to God and perhaps others as well. We also see in verse seven that Paul, as we've read Paul, prefers singleness. In verse eight he says to the unmarried and the Widows, I say that is good for them to remain single, as I am. In Verse Thirty Eight he sums up and he says, he who marries his betrothed does well and he who refrains from marriage will do even better. In Verse Twenty Six, Twenty Six, he says. I think that, in view of the present distress, it is good for a person to remain as he is now. This, of course, applies to married people, but it applies to single people to let me pause just here and talk about what this present distress is. There was a famine. There were multiple famines and food shortages during this time, and so there was a lot of stress in the world. You can read, you can imagine what famine would do and you can read in both in the New Testament and outside of the New Testament. What happened is, when there is food shortages, we experience something not too long ago where we didn't have a shortage but it was difficult to get right. We went into the grocery stores that there was no milk, there were aisles with empty things. And how did that had? How did that go, where people calm and relaxed, the people just take what they needed and shared a lot, or did it create a lot of stress and anxiety and frustration and confusion? Food shortages can cause riots. Food shortages cause anarchy, great disruptions, all kinds of things happen and during this time in Corinth and particular, there were food shortages and it was not good. We have records of one wealthy person basically bailing everybody out, I believe. I for I think it was he. I forget whether he provided the grain or he sold it at a low cost, but he had done this multiple times and we know this because their inscriptions to this man, I'm all over, that we find in the city of Corinth during this time, multiple times and in a way that wasn't received by anyone else, for him being this benefactor and basically saving, saving the city. It was a stressful, stressful time, and so people, in the middle of this big, stressful time, are asking what about marriage, I mean, is this a good time to get married? And Paul says better to stay we're you are better to remain as you are, in a broader way, not tied to the particular present distress. In Verse Twenty eight he says those who marry have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that by worldly troubles he doesn't mean sinful things, he means things of this present age things that are passing away. And then finally, in verse forty, to the widow who decides not to remain mayor or or not to remarry. He says, in my judgment, she is happier if she remains as she is. I think Paul adds in my judgment there is a way to qualify a statement just a little bit. He doesn't know every single widow that ever has been or ever will be and their particular situations. He speaking in a broad way, of to a broad category, and says it is my judgment that...

...this is typically how things are. She would be better to remain as she is. Well, this is the longest of these sections and it reminds us how much, and perhaps a way that might surprise you, how much emphasis Paul puts on the preference for singleness. If you have ever doubt that this is the case, I'm just take a look at these verses and see what he says. singleness is not a second class category for Paul. It's not a problem or a thing to be avoided at all costs. Paul says it's great, you'll be happier, you'll be freer from will they troubles? Go for it, if you can do it, this is a good thing and a gift from God. So for this category of people, if you are unmarried and able to remain unmarried, go for it, do it. It's a good thing. That's what the Scripture says. The next category deals with unmarried people who are struggling, however, to control their sexual desires and to then Paul says you should get married. So in verse nine he says if they cannot exercise self control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. In Verse Thirty Seven, he says those who remain unmarried are those who can keep their desire under control. In Verse Thirty six, Paul, as will get to in a minute, speaks to those who have who are engaged to be married, but are not being chased in it, and he says get married. It's not a sin. Not Their fornication. That's a sin, but getting married is not a sin and they should do it. And then again, in Verse Twenty Eightc he says if you do marry, you have not sinned. So you notice the balance here. Just as Paul emphasizes his preference for this state of singleness, he doesn't make unmarried people feel like they've done something sinful. In fact, he says two times explicitly, you have not sinned. He tells us that it is a good thing and not something to feel bad about her guilty about. Marriage is God's ordinance and we do well, he says, to get married. All right. Next up, are you married? What do you do then? Stay married. That's what Paul says. A Verse Twenty Six. I think that, in view of the present distress, remain as you are, as we mentioned. In verse ten, he says to married. I give this charge, not I, but the Lord. The wife should not separate from her husband, and the husband should not divorce his wife. The in Verse Twenty Nine, he says a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives, and that applies to husband's as well. And when we are to be married, we should not take a part of what God has put together. Next, what if someone leaves you or dies? He says, then you are free to remarry. The first part about being left specific. He applies to a specific question that they have, and that's this question of conversion. Right. So imagine that you are married, you're living with your spouse and neither of you trust or follow Christ. And then one of you becomes a Christian. Does your identity and Christ is your now being owned by him, belonging to him, change your relationship with your spouse in such a way that you should divorce that person? Paul Says No, remain married, and he gives various reasons for that, which we won't go into now, but he says remain married. This is in versus twelve through sixteen. Remain married. But if your spouse says I'm out, I don't want anything to do with this, I'm not willing to remain, then you are free to remarry. Similarly, he says that in verse thirty nine and following...

...that, if a spouse dies, person is free to remarry. Now, what if you are engaged to be married and you become a Christian or you're under this present distress? Should you call it off right and Paul Says No, remain as you are. Go ahead and get married. You have not sinned. So he says this in Verse Twenty Seven. If you're bound to a wife and he doesn't meet here, that you are already married but bound to marry this person. That's what he means if you're bound to a wife, do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. But then he says, whoever in Verse Thirty Seven, whoever has a step who's firmly established in his own heart, being under no necessity the but having again his desire under control, he has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. Now, when Paul says keep her as his betrothed, he doesn't mean keep her in a perpetual state of engagement. Right. That's not a good thing. Right, don't marry her just if you he's not saying if you have decided that you don't need to get married, just keep her constantly engaged. That's not what he's saying. That would be cruel. The word here for betrothed, or or it couldn't means means something like of marriable age, someone who is unmarried. Sometimes, it is translated, is engaged, sometimes virgins, sometime as young woman. But basically he's saying let her remain in that state, keep her not as your own, but do not marry her. Essentially, if you've decided that, you can be single and would do well, you can remain as you are or or stay unmarried. Now, what if you are engaging in unchaste ways, if you are having sex while you are engaged, and Paul says get married? Sex outside of marriage is sin, but getting married is not. And again that goes back to this principle of dealing with our desires in proper ways. All right, there we made it through. We went through the different categories that Paul mentions and we talked about the the advice that he gives under each now, that's a lot, right, and if this is the first time you've heard it, that can be a lot to take in. It can feel kind of overwhelming, kind of hard to hold in your head all at the same time. That's okay, it's there. You can go back to it, you can read it again, but take this away and I'll give you a summary as well. First of all, remember that various situations require very different responses. We ought to be sensitive to that. It's an important part of wisdom, and so take that away with you. Take away the sense of I it's important for me to be sensitive to my situation and then to think about that according to the principles of God's word. And if we were to summarize all the advice together, we might say something like this. If sexual immorality is getting you into trouble, then you should get married and put sex in its proper place. It's no sin to get married. Indeed it's a good thing and you do well, but if it's not necessary, you do well to remain single, and in fact it's even better. So then he who marries his betrothed does well and he who refrains from marriage does even better. So this are the rules that Paul gives.

This is the guidance that he gives. Now, all that we've had so far gives us a lot of help. But in addition to giving these specific guidances or rules, Paul gets underneath them and gives them, gives us the reasons why. He helps us understand the reasons behind them, and we do well to get them into our system. What is guiding these decisions? ARE THEY RANDOM? Are they just Paul's you know, I think this and I think that, and the seems like a good idea, and that doesn't or is there some kind of deeper moral logic that is leading him to each conclusion in each of these situations? Well, it's the latter. Paul has a way of viewing the world, a way that a Christian way of viewing the world that he wants us to adopt. There's a lot of different situations here, right, but you know what, there's even more and more specific things. You might say. Well, yeah, I see myself in this category, but what about this and this and this? How do I decide about those things? Paul doesn't give me explicit instructions. The scripture is certainly complete in everything that it tells us, but it's not exhaustive. If the Bible told us the exact rule for every situation, can you imagine how big that book would be, how impossible it would be to read and to memorize and know that? So God doesn't tell us every single thing that we ought to do in every single situation, infinite number of things. So instead what he does is he gives us a framework for how to think about life, so that then adopting that framework and adopting on these principles that accord with our situation, that accord with realiti is it is that accord with what God who God is, and what he's doing, we can then go and we can make wise decisions, even in situations that he doesn't explicitly addressed address. So what add what are those things? And will conclude with this. One of the big ones. The the the river which all of these streams and washes like are flowing down this watershed to, is expressed in the latter part of this chapter. He says in Verse Thirty Five, I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any astraint on you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. To promote good order and secure undivided devotion to the Lord. This corresponds to what he says before about each one of US living wisely according to the own gift that we have. When this happens, this or this happens when a single person is not burdened by marriage and when the married person is not burdened by burning desire. In this both married people and single people find freedom and greater devotion to God. This is the big thing that he's after, that we together, as a Church of people under the name of Jesus Christ, are single minded, undivided in our devotion to God and secure and promote among ourselves and in our lives good order. Paul says in coloring a Corinthians, Colossians to fifteen, that he rejoices at seeing this among them, Colossians two five, he says, for though I am absent in the body, I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and your firmness of your faith. So we think about how we make this decision or that decision, ask yourself,...

...am I rejoicing at these things? Am I aiming at these things? Am I looking to live my life according to good order and undivided devotion to the Lord? How important are those two things to you? Is there one or the other that you tend to ignore? Some of us, I think some of us, are devoted to good order, but in a way that misses the point of the order, like always keeping your house clean but never really enjoying it. Others say they are devoted to God but don't really show that in a consistent way because they don't devote or order their time in their space in ways that they need to in order to show that devotion to God. We're not really devoted to order, or where, I should say, we're not really devoted to God if we are live lives in good order, if we don't put him first, are we devoted to good order? You see the way that these things go together. It's not one against the other, but like a good marriage, they go together. So this is Paul's goal here. Is applies to intimate relationships in the church and as we keep that in mind, not our culture, not our feelings in the moment, not anything else, but God first and what he wants, and live our lives in an orderly and devoted way to him. That's what Paul's after. How do we do that, though? How do we achieve that big goal? And Paul gives us, if I could put it this way and summarize some of the things he says, he gives us four steps. The first is that we believe what God has given, each our own gift and in their own way. We take account for things as they really are in our lives. If you struggle controlling your passions and your desires, be honest about that. Don't act like that's not the case. Just be honest about it and if you don't, just be honest about it. Just be wise to how things really are. Be Wise to your present circumstances, be wise to the situations that you find yourself in. If you're in the middle of a present distress, notice it, pay attention to it and then live your lives accordingly. The second thing that we do is we remain open to change. Notice how Paul says this in relationship to bond servants. He says if you're a Christian and you're a servant, a slave or a bond servant, don't seek to you don't have to immediately change that because of your Christianity, but if you have the opportunity to get free, go ahead and do that, because that's a good thing. Freedom is a good thing, right. So notice how Paul says. Respect the situation that you're in, but be open to the fact of change, especially when change leads to better things. Our lives are not static. Our lives are full of change. Things are constantly moving and shifting, relationships are changing. We need to be prepared for that. We need to be open to that and ready to move toward God in orderly ways, as he calls us to. And the final thing that we would remember relates to both of things that have come before, is that these present states, partly because they're changing so much, don't really count for too much, at least in the ultimate scheme of things, and because of that we ought to live our lives accordingly. Paul says some pretty controversial, is perhaps one way to put it, things when he says in Verse Twenty Nine, this is what I mean, brothers, the appointed time has grown very...

...short. From now on, he's talking about the time between now and when Jesus returns. From now on, let those who have lives live as though they had none. What is Paul saying? Right? He just told us that it's good to get married and stay married and devote yourself to them, and you owe these obligations to them, and now he's saying live as though you weren't married. It helps to read on, he says, and those who mourn is though they weren't mourning, and those who rejoices though they weren't rejoicing, and those who buys those they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. So, as Paul saying out of two sides of his mouth, be aware of your reality and respect it, and then ignore your reality and disregard it. No, he's sang two different things, not opposing things. He's saying pay attention to the situation that you were in, but remember the keep it in the larger perspective. And we know that because of the way he concludes, the reason that he gives at the end of verse Thirty One, for the present form of this world is passing away. It's much like we find throughout the rest of the scriptures. It's not wrong to earn money, it's good to earn money, but don't store it up and store houses thinking that's going to save you from everything or or the trials and tribulations that we often want to be saved from. Don't think that those are going to last forever. Don't think that the thing that you're suffering under, are, the state that you're in, is is going to be the way it always is. Life change is, life moves. The present form of this world is passing away and God is going to bring something solid and stable and complete at the end, and so hold things lightly. Get married, be married, be a great spouse, do well, but don't treat your spouse as a god don't treat your spouse as though that marriage and that relationship is going to save you from everything, because, you know what, it won't. Or don't think that. Okay, that's good, I'm not struggling with sexual desires, I can remain single, and in my singleness I will, repeat, really reach some sort of perfect a holy state in which I will be singlemindedly devoted to the Lord and all will be well, with no problems in my life. No, it's passing away. It's passing away. We need to respect the gifts that God has given us, enjoy the stations that we are in, but not cling to them as though they were God himself, as though there wasn't something greater coming. And with that framework, with that thing in mind, we can approach all kinds of life situations, whether it's should I marry or should I not? Should I get this job or should I not? On what's the next move in this situation? If we think about the end in mind, if we think about who god is and what he's after, if we think about the things that are coming in relation to the things that are, if we think about the things that are as they really are, we begin to get wisdom about the world. Wisdom is about operating from from principle, according to truth, according to reality as it really is, both physical reality, providential moral reality and moral reality. I'll give you a good example and then I'll close. A woodworker who tries to make a wood bench out of plastic is not operating according to reality. He is not a wise,...

...skillful wood worker. He's not even working with wood. Right, you don't get to make a wood bench out of plastic. He's not wise, he's a fool. This is this is what we are talking about when we're talking about living life wisely according to reality. But there's also a moral reality that he has to respect. If he takes his woodworking skills and he creates a really excellent idol, he has not done well. He is not acted wisely. Sure he is made a beautiful object, but one that is abhorrent to God, and so he a good word would worker, one that is faithful to the Lord, takes account of both of these things. The world as it really is, the moral order as it really is. Our problem is that we're all fools. Our problem is that we're stuck in our sins. Our problem is that we're controlled by our desires and this present world holds us, it enslaves us, and the devil's always wishing us in our ear, saying this is all there is, this is all there is. Grasp cling, hold fast, don't let go. And so we need a savior to point US outside of the things in life under this sun, outside of just the law and a moral order, to a hope that's a beyond those things. If we are to truly live for God, we have to put all of this wisdom in the perspective of the Gospel, because otherwise we just get clobbered by it. We hear the law that we ought to do this and this and this and do it wisely, and we say I'm undone because I'm already a mess, I've already put myself in all kinds of bad situations. I see no clear way out. The forget. The guilt of my sins is piling up and we feel crushed. What God does for us in Christ is he removes that guilt from us, he takes it away and he puts it on his own son, who dies, though he was not guilty, on a cross to forgive us our sins, to release us to service. He creates a relationship through his sacrifice on the cross that allows us not to be battling and at war with God all the time, constantly going against the grain, but have new hearts that love him from inside. How does that happen? How does that happen? It happens when the spirit of God comes into our lives and changes our hearts through the message that Jesus has come to forgive us our sins and lead us into a life that is beyond the things that are passing away. The scriptures tell us that when we put our faith in Jesus, we put our faith in something that is beyond the Sun. We put our faith in the one who made the sun. We put our faith in the one who is from everlasting to everlasting, the one who's steadfast love endures forever. The Gospel removes our enmity with God so that we can respect his gifts instead of fighting against them, ignoring them, despising them or worshiping them, but just respecting them. When Jesus removes our fighting against God and he creates stability and peace with him, we can take food and marriage and singleness and and dancing and music and whole kinds of things and just enjoy them for what they are, not as God's but is from God. The...

Gospel allows us to be open to change. When we clamor after the things of this world, when we make them our only hope, when we fear of them above all things, we're not trusting the Gospel. But the good news is of Jesus that easy comes to save us from all that and establish US permanently in him. And when we're established permanently in him we can relax. We can say so there's a present distress, so there's a famine, so there are foods, sort of just so, there's whatever. And sometimes that's really hard, really really hard and really scary. And that's when we have to remind ourselves over and over and over of what God has done. We have to remind ourselves and we have to be reminded by him, that things are going to be okay, that the sufferings of this present time is Paaul says, are not even worth comparing to the eternal weight of glory that is to be revealed when our Lord returns. It's not even worth compared. It like to stop. In other words, right if you try to take your present sufferings and compare them to what's coming in heaven and in Christ. Well, just stop. It's not even worth spending the time because the difference is so vastly great. What an encouraging thought that is, and that comes to us because of what Jesus has done for us. Jesus, in being our husband and we the bride as his church, in loving us the way that he did, in becoming one flesh with us as he has and joining us into his one body, he allows us to live in this world, this temporary world, in a temporary way and know that we are going to have permanent things, happy things, pleasurable things, in the love of God, in Christ forever. So my encouragement, of my charge to your beloved is look at this world and be wise to it, but also look to the things to come. Look to God, who has entered in this into this world to rescue you from the passing things and know that when you put your trust in him, you will be saved from the things that are passing and you will know how to act wisely in them as well. May God give us the grace to do all this in our marriages, in our singleness and in other places. Let's pray, our heavenly father, we thank you for your wisdom to us and we ask, a Lord, that you would renew our hearts and renew our minds according to your word, that we might move forward according to wisdom, wisdom not only of this world, but the wisdom that is but from above, wisdom that takes into account not only the law but the Gospel to and let us trust you, Lord, for the forgiveness of our sins. Let us not be broken down and in slaved to the things of the past, but instead, let us repent of them and turn into new life in Jesus Christ, turning away from the things that once aid US alive and enslaved us, to enslaved us to death, in turn to Jesus and the living way that was is provided in him. We ask, a spirit, that you would renew our hearts, that we might love you as we ought, that we might honor and glorify you as the one true God, not chasing after the things of this world, not fearing the things of this world more than we ought, but instead, oh Lord, seeing you in all things, seeking to devote ourselves to you in every way...

...and living in good order, as you grant Lord, there are many trials and struggles that we deal with. Many of us came in here this morning with great heartaches and Sadnesses, regrets and troubles in our minds. We asked, Lord, that you would speak to each and everyone here in their own particular situation, that they might be freed, through the Gospel, to the joys that have, that are found in in Christ, that we might that we might all live in this world as you have called us to do and look forward to that which is to come. We pray this in Jesus name on men,.

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