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Flourish // Part 3


Series: Flourish

Speaker: BJ Chursinoff

In this message we’ll identify 4 lies many people believe about singleness, and then tackle a question for the ages: How can I know if God has called me to be single or to be married? 

Transcription (automatically-generated): 

As a Christian, I absolutely love the Bible. I know it as God's word and I love it as God's Word. I love what the Bible says. But you know what? I also love what the Bible doesn't say.

Take, for example, Jesus words recorded for us in John chapter ten. In John chapter ten, starting in verses seven, we read Jesus said again, Truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers. But the sheep didn't listen to them. I am the gate.

If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and out and go out and find Pastor, a thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. So here's what it says. Here's what Jesus is saying. Jesus has come so that they in verse is may have abundant life.

Now who is this they that Jesus is referring to in this passage? Well, verses seven and eight tell us that they are of the sheep, and a sheep in this context is anyone who comes to Jesus. They in this passage is referring to Christians. So Jesus came so that all Christians can experience abundance in their life. Or if we use the title of our sermon series, Jesus came so that all of his sheep, every single one of them, can have a life that flourishes.

That's what Jesus is saying in John chapter ten, and it's awesome. But now I want you to notice very importantly what Jesus doesn't say in this passage. He doesn't say at the end of verse ten, I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance, except if they're single. If they're single, they can't have a life of flourishing and abundance and they are relegated to a second-class type of Christian life. Jesus never said those words.

Aren't you so glad that Jesus never said those words? He never said them in John ten. He never said them in any other part of the Bible. Jesus came to give abundant life to everyone, and this includes you even if you're not married. The abundant life that Jesus came to give us is not out of reach for the person who has known singleness their whole life up to this point and who will continue to know it the rest of their life.

The abundant life that Jesus came to give us is not out of reach for the person who has been married before, but now finds themselves single again, either because of a divorce or due to the passing of their spouse. However, which way a single person has come to be single, whether they have always been single or whether they have become single again after having been married, Jesus is not limited in fulfilling his words to them in John ten, where he States, I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. We're in part three of our verse is relationships. And if you haven't figured it out by now, we are addressing the topic of singleness in this message. I'm going to expose four lies that many people believe about singleness.

And then I'm going to try to answer one big question that many, if not most, single people have. And the question is this. How can I tell if God is calling me to singleness or to marriage? But first, before we jump into those, I have some preliminary thoughts that I want to share with you on the front end. I'm not going to just be talking to singles in this message.

I'm going to be talking to the whole Church, which is made up of both single and married believers. I'm talking to the whole Church because both single and married need to understand this topic. I don't want married people to tune out during this message about singleness just because they aren't single. And I don't want single people to tune out during the message next week about marriage either, just because they're not married. If you are a Christian, you need to understand both singleness and marriage.

And there's a couple of reasons why you need to have a good grasp on both. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but there is the very real possibility that if you are currently married, you may not remain married for the rest of your life. That's not guaranteed to anyone who's married. And if you find yourself single again one day, you need to have a biblical vision for your singleness. And even if you are married until the day you die, you need to have a biblical grasp on singleness so that you know how to love and encourage and understand your single brothers and sisters in the truth.

And the flip side is true, too. If you are currently single, you may not remain single for the rest of your life. And I can hear the single people through the audio saying a big Amen. You may not remain single for the rest of your life. So it will be good to have a solid vision for what God's design for marriage is, if that is what he calls you too.

And even if the Lord doesn't call you to be married one day, you still need to have a biblical view of marriage so that you can encourage and support your married brothers and sisters in the truth, too. The whole Church needs to understand both singleness and marriage because we are all doing this thing called life together, and every one of us is either single or married. I always try to keep everyone in mind when preaching a message, both believers and those who are still exploring what the Christian faith is all about. But you need to know that in this message I'll be speaking primarily to believers about what the Bible teaches us about singleness. Some of the stuff shared here will get you laughed at if you're going to bring it up in the lunchroom at work this week.

Because Christianity, if you didn't know this by now, is weird in the world that we live in. It goes against the grain of what our culture believes and teaches. But unlike the culture that we live in, we're not taking our relational cues from what we see on TikTok or watch on Netflix. So with the Bible as our guide, we're going to cut through a lot of the noise surrounding singleness. If you're watching this message and you're not a Christian, I'm so glad that you are watching this message.

Just don't be surprised if you hear some very different ideas than the ones you're normally used to hearing when it comes to singleness. It's not lost on me that singleness can be a painful reality at times for a lot of people, both inside and outside the Church. It isn't always an easy topic for everyone, and social media hasn't exactly alleviated the situation. So I'm going to do my very best to be aware of that reality. As I talk about this subject with you, I want you to know that I am painfully aware that this message on singleness will be inadequate on a couple of levels, and that has weighed on me this week as I prepared it's impossible for me to address every single angle and every single aspect that exists surrounding this topic.

I want to talk about it all. I just don't have the time to do that in one message. And even the stuff I do talk about with you can't be exhausted the way that I would like it to be. So that means we're going to be flying pretty fast over some parts of this discussion. And if, as you're listening, the thought hits you, hey, he didn't mention this or he didn't address that part, trust me, I know that I'm missing it.

This topic is so important that we need to talk about some of it, even if it means we can't talk about all of it. So I pray that the Lord will take and use what's shared here to bless you. Okay, that's all the intro stuff. Let's jump in. Four lies that many people believe about singleness.

Here's line number one, and it's the first filling on your outline. Number one, a single person is incomplete because they are not married. This is a lie. Do you want to know who one of the biggest false teachers is when it comes to propagating this particular lie? He's been preaching it for years, since all the way back in 1996.

It's Tom Cruise. Technically not Tom Cruise, per se, but it's one of the characters that he's played in one of his movies. Jerry Maguire has perpetuated this lie for the last 26 years. The lie would he found in one of the most iconic scenes in that movie. It's the scene where Jerry walks in the door near the end of the movie and gives this speech to his wife, played by Renee Zellweger.

Dorothy is at home with a bunch of her girlfriends over when Jerry comes through the door. I'm going to quote Jerry's lines for you. Hello. I'm looking for my wife. All right.

If this is where it has to happen, then this is where it has to happen. I'm not letting you get rid of me. How about that? This used to be my specialty. I was good in the living room.

Send me in there, I'll do it alone. And now I just. I don't know. But our little company had a good night tonight a really big night. But it wasn't complete.

It wasn't nearly close to being in the same vicinity as complete because I couldn't share it with you. I couldn't hear your voice or laugh about it with you. I missed my wife. We live in a cynical world, and we work in a business of tough competitors. I love you.

You complete me, and I just. And then Dorothy chimes in, Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello and seen. So what's the message that's being preached in this scene by Jerry Maguire?

I'm not complete without you. I'm empty. There's this void in my life that only you can fill. But with you now I'm complete. Now I'm whole.

Now I'm satisfied. You are the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is my life. Sounds romantic. Just too bad it isn't true. This idea teaches people that one spouse completes the other.

And if this were true, and it isn't, but if it were, then by default, single people are incomplete persons simply for the fact that they are single, that single people are incomplete because they aren't married, that they need a romantic relationship for them to be truly human, to flourish. This is a lie that many people believe about singleness today. Now, with that said, I do feel I have to be straight with you. This concept is not totally untrue. There is a person that completes you, and this same person completes me.

And if you don't have this one person in your life, then you are incomplete. And this someone is a very specific person. And his name is Jesus. You do have a gaping hole in your life. But that chasm isn't designed to be filled by a husband or a wife.

It's designed to be filled by God alone. Jesus alone is the one who completes us. He is our very life. Because when we have Jesus, we have God. And when we have God, we have everything we need.

We have everything we were made for. We are complete. In him. Psalm 34, Ten says, Young Lions lack for food and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing. Jesus, in John chapter 1511 says, I've told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

And Paul writing to Timothy in two Timothy, chapter three, verse 16, says, all scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man or woman of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. God is the only person anyone needs in their life in order to be complete. With this logic, there are many married people who are incomplete. Why? Because there are many married people today who don't have Jesus.

And if they don't have Jesus, then they don't have God. And that would make any person single or married utterly incomplete. Maybe you still don't believe me. Now it's time for a case study in the Scriptures to look at a few single people who are anything but incomplete. We read about a woman named Anna in the early pages of Luke's Gospel.

Anna was married for seven years, but when her husband died, she remained single for the last 84 years of her life. Listen to what Luke says about Anna's life. Luke, chapter two, verse 37, halfway through, says she did not leave the temple serving God night and day with fasting and prayers. Now, if you're not a Christian, you might think this description of Anna's life sounds lame. But if you have the Spirit of God in you, then you know that there is nothing lame about Anna's life because it says she didn't leave the temple serving God night and day with fasting and prayers 84 years, she dedicated her entire life to enjoying the presence of God, and then she got to see the Christ in the flesh.

Anna was single. And from the very little that the Bible has to say about her, it paints a beautiful picture for us that she lived a complete life. We also know from the Bible that the Apostle Paul was single because when writing to the Corinthians, he said this about himself. Referring to his singleness in one Corinthians, chapter seven, verse seven, he says, I wish that all people were as I am. I wish all people were single like me, he says.

And we know much more about Paul than we do about Anna. Paul wrote the majority of the New Testament of the Bible. Paul traveled around the known world at that time, preaching the gospel and establishing the Church. Paul lived a robust, full, adventurous life where he poured all of himself out for the sake of Jesus Christ. Now, I don't have access to Paul's heart and mind, but when I read what he wrote in the New Testament, I don't come away thinking to myself, Poor chap, he seems really incomplete.

Too bad he wasn't married. Instead, I think to myself, wow, what a full and complete kind of life he had. And the Bible also talks about the only perfect person to ever live Jesus. Jesus was never married. Was Jesus an incomplete human being?

Because he wasn't. Jesus is abundant life. He didn't just come to give us abundant life. He is the very source of it. And he didn't need to be completed.

He is the one who came so that he could make everyone else complete. In Him, Jesus was the only perfect, complete human being who ever walked this Earth. And he was totally complete in his singleness. So if you were ever tempted to think that single people are incomplete, just remember Anna and Paul and Jesus line number two about singleness now and the next villain on your outline. You must have sex to flourish as a human being.

You must have sex to flourish as a human being. We're going there a little bit in this conversation about singleness, but what does sex have to do with a message on singleness? You might be asking yourself, Remember, we're talking to Christians about what the Bible has to say about singleness. And Christians try to live every aspect of their lives according to God's good design. Christians believe what the Bible teaches about sex.

And according to God's design, sex is to be enjoyed only in a monogamous, covenantal marital relationship between one biological man and one biological woman. So that means that single Christian men and women don't express themselves sexually simply for the fact that they aren't married. But that does not mean that if you choose to honor God's design, your ability to flourish will suffer in the slightest. But that's not what our culture would tell you, is it? Don't let our culture trick you.

Don't let it form you into its mold. Because here's what the wisdom of this world sounds like. You have a natural urge, the sexual urge. So it's natural to fulfill that urge. Anything less than that would hinder your ability to flourish as a human being.

Our culture says there's nothing morally wrong with doing something that feels good. Why would you withhold something good from yourself? And to me, that message just sounds like the exact same message that was preached way back in the Garden of Eden. It's preaching it all over again today. Remember, that fruit looks good, doesn't it?

Why deprive yourself of it? Go for it. Have a bite. What could possibly go wrong? What's the culture's answer to a single person who has a sexual desire where it's very simple to our culture, find a consenting partner and have sex or watch porn and gratify yourself sexually.

Why suppress these natural desires you have if it feels so good? Why deprive yourself as long as it's consensual have as much sex with whoever you like. So what should you do with your sexual desires as a single Christian person? Well, the answer is not to pretend that those desires don't exist. Understand your sexual desires in light of God's word.

God is not against sex. Sex is his idea. He invented sex. It's a good gift. He created this gift to be enjoyed within boundaries.

And it's a good thing that can turn into a bad thing when it becomes the ultimate thing. So don't worship it. Don't idolize it. Don't believe that having sex, even in marriage, will solve all your problems because it won't deal with your sexual desires the same way that you would any other temptation. Don't stimulate your desires.

Don't awaken them. Don't watch things that will turn the switch on. Don't hide it. Talk about it with trusted friends. Bring your desires and temptations into the light.

Abide in Christ, because the closer that you walk with him, the harder it is to give in to temptation. Okay, that's it for now. You can breathe. Sex is too big of a topic to cover in a single point in a message like this, and we can't say all there is to say. But I also didn't want to skip over the topic completely.

I just need you to know that your potential to flourish as a human being is not tied to whether you have sex or not. And if you doubt that again, just remember Jesus. Jesus flourished his entire life, and he was a Virgin his entire life. Line number three. Next, fill in on your outline.

Single people must be lonely. Single people must be lonely like they have to be. They don't have any choice in the matter. Married people aren't lonely, and single people are lonely. Now, that's a lie.

It's a lie that single people have no choice but to be lonely all the time. Now, some single people are lonely, to be sure, and some married people aren't lonely. But the flip sides are true for some other people. Some married people are very lonely even though they're married. And some single people aren't lonely at all even though they aren't married.

Believe it or not, when it comes to being lonely or not lonely, it's not marriage or bust. Okay, so what do you do if you're single and lonely? Is there anything you can do to cultivate a lifestyle that's chock full of meaningful, life giving relationships? Yes. I can think of four areas of relationships that should be maximized if you're single and this is true for every person.

So here's the first one. You want to maximize the relationship that you have with God. On one hand, I don't want it to sound like I'm throwing a timeless Christian cliche at you when I say that God's your friend and that you're never alone because he's always with you. I don't want to speak Christians to you and throw Christian platitudes at you if you're struggling as a Christian in the area of loneliness, I don't want to be like the person who comes upon another person who's facing a severe hardship in their life. And I don't want to skip along and say, oh, it's all good.

Don't you know what the Bible says in Romans 828 that it's all going to work together for good. Hey, so just cheer up. It's going to get better one day and then I would skip away. And I don't want this to come across like that to you. If you're lonely, I don't want to throw platitudes and cliches at you.

But on the other hand, I have to say this to you because it's true. The relationship that you have with God is a real relationship with a real person. God is a real, alive person and you can know Him and enjoy a relationship with Him. It's the single most important relationship you will ever have in your life by a long shot. You can deepen your relationship with him too, and it can get better each day, and this will go a long way in alleviating any loneliness you may feel.

How do you maximize the relationship that you have with God? The same way you maximize any relationship that you have with any other person quality time with them and listening to them and sharing your life with them. We do this with God by listening to Him speak to us through his word, speaking to Him in prayer, and setting aside time to each day just to be with God and to prioritize growing your relationship with Him. Jesus did this. He was so busy all the time, but the scriptures document that he would go out and find time to be alone with his heavenly Father.

Jesus was single, but Jesus was never alone. And if you're a single Christian, this means that you are never alone either. You might feel like it, but you're not. Number two, maximize the relationships in your biological family where you can when God said in Genesis Two that it is not good for man to be alone, he was not given a prescription for marriage to be the solution for every single person's loneliness. Adam was the very first human, and the Earth couldn't be filled with other humans unless Eve was made and given to him as a wife.

Because Adam and Eve were married and started a family, that meant from that point on, every person who would ever be born was born into a family. Therefore, no person would ever be alone because the family unit existed. God didn't design it so that every single person would be married, but he did design it so that every single person would never be alone. God gives us Family Now I know that nobody has a perfect family, and when it comes to your biological family, you don't choose who's in your family. Some families are good and some aren't so good.

Some individual relationships within the family are good, while others aren't so good. But the family you have is the family that God gave you, and these relationships are meant to have a positive impact on your life. Okay, but now for a couple of but what ifs, but what if you're a single adult who doesn't live at home anymore. Therefore, you don't experience those familial relationships in close proximity and with a high degree of frequency. Now, I'm not suggesting that you need to move back home in order to maximize the familial relationships that you have.

I'm not against that idea, but I'm not saying that it's necessarily the answer. You can reach out and connect with your parents or your siblings. You can get together for dinner and not just on Christmas and Thanksgiving. If they live out of town. You can call every once in a while or take the initiative to plan a visit.

Yes, but what if there are broken relationships in your biological family? Well, the Lord. If you're a Christian, the Lord is calling you to make peace. As far as it depends on you own up to any part of the brokenness, that's your fault and prayerfully. Consider how to address any issue that the other person is contributing to the fracture and be prepared to forgive them freely.

You may need to learn what healthy boundaries are in unhealthy family settings, but this is something that God's wisdom can supply you with. Yeah, but what if I don't have any biological family left? This is such a devastating reality for some people. A person can come to this place a number of different ways through death or abandonment or rejection because of the Gospel. All of these can Rob us of family ties.

So what can a person do if this is them and they have no biological family to speak of? This leads us to the next relationship that we can maximize it's the third one maximize the relationship in your spiritual family, which is the local Church. One of my favorite lines I've ever heard about the Church. It's so simple and it's so good. It goes like this.

The Church isn't like a family. The Church is family. It's the family of God. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. The one relationship that survives eternally is the one we have as the bride of Christ to our beloved Savior.

The relationships that we all have as brothers and sisters in Christ are the ones that will not end. And these need to be cultivated as much as family life is cultivated. And because we are a family, that means that no single Christian should find themselves in a position where they don't have meaningful, life giving relationships in the local Church. We don't pick our biological family, and in a sense, we don't pick our spiritual family either. The scripture says that it's God who arranges the parts of his body as he sees fit.

He's placed you in the Church that you're part of. And we can see in the Scriptures that Jesus placed an incredible importance on the Church family because of a couple of passages where he spoke about it in the Gospels. In this first passage, I'm going to show you Jesus biological family comes to see him while he's ministering. We can read about this in Matthew chapter twelve, starting to verse 46, and it reads like this. While he was still speaking with the crowds, his mother and brothers were standing outside wanting to speak to him.

Someone told him, look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside wanting to speak to you. He replied to the one who was speaking to him, who is my mother and who are my brothers? Stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, Here are my mother and my brothers, for whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. Jesus wasn't being rude or downplaying the importance of his biological family in these verses, but instead he was elevating the importance of his spiritual family. Jesus elevated the relationships that we share with the people who choose to make Jesus the center of their lives.

Jesus also says this about our spiritual family in response to Peter, reminding Jesus that the disciples had left everything to follow him. Matthew, chapter 19 Picking up in verses 28, Jesus said to them, Truly, I tell you in the renewal of all things, when the Son of man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve Thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields because of my name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life. This used to confuse me, but when the Penny dropped for me, it became one of the most beautiful realities of the Church for me. Jesus said, Everyone who has left brothers or sisters or father or mother or children because of his name will receive 100 times more.

Now Luke records the same scene in his gospel, but he adds the detail that this 100 fold influx of family members brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers will be added at this time, not some future time in heaven. How could one person have 100 mothers or 100 fathers? Or how could we have 100 brothers or 100 sisters today? This only makes sense when you realize that Jesus is talking about the dynamic of the Church family we are spiritually born into when we believe in him biological. Moms and dads who are now a part of the Church can be surrogate mothers and fathers to those who don't have any parents, or they can be parents to those who still do have parents, but maybe they don't have healthy relationships with them.

Or they can even be an extra parental influence to those who do have good parents. Because even if you do have a great mom and a great dad, they aren't perfect. So having many fellow believers in the Church who happen to be moms and dads meets a great need in the body of Christ that exists when people don't have a mom or dad anymore for a variety of reasons. And the same goes for our brothers and sisters too. In the Church, there are hundreds of moms and dads and brothers and sisters.

We have such a huge family. As Christians, it's so big that no one ever has to be alone. So, to the single Christians, invest in your relationships in the Church. Attend the service on Sunday regularly. Get involved and serve.

Be a part of a home group during the week. Enjoy organic, spontaneous get-togethers with fellow Christians. Don't dwell on your loneliness. Don't sulk or stew waiting for someone to initiate something. Put yourself out there.

Now, this is true for married couples. To married couples, open up your lives to your brothers and sisters who aren't married. This doesn't mean that married couples aren't allowed to go on double dates with just other married couples sometimes. But it does mean that married people have an opportunity to share their lives and their marriages and their families with singles. So married couples, make sure you get plugged into a home group.

Your single brothers and sisters need what you bring to the table relationally, and you need what they bring to the table for you. Again, Jesus did this so well, didn't he? He didn't just say that whoever does the will of the Father is his spiritual family. He lived that reality out. He called his twelve disciples, and he spent so much time with them.

It was like home group 24/7 for three years with Jesus and his disciples to maximize the relationships that you have in your spiritual family. And then number four, maximize your relationships in the world where you can what an untapped Avenue for relationships and a necessary one for all Christians. Spend time with people who don't have a relationship with God yet and build friendships with them. Leverage your life and take risks for Jesus to love them and to show them the love of God to be salt and light in their lives and maybe even lead them into a relationship with God one day. Again, Jesus did this so well.

He spent time with those who were far from God. He did this with a man named Zacchaeus. In Luke 19 verse one, it says he Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. There was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was not able to because of the crowd since he was a short man.

So running ahead he climbed up a Sycamore tree to see Jesus since he was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today it is necessary for me to stay at your house. So he quickly came down and welcomed him joyfully. All who saw it began to complain. He's gone to stay with a sinful man but Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, Look, I'll give half of my possessions to the poor Lord.

And if I have extorted anything from anyone, I'll pay back four times as much. Today Salvation has come to this house, Jesus told him, because he too is the son of Abraham. For the Son of man has come to seek and save the lost. Now we can't do it exactly like Jesus did with Zacchaeus. I can't just go into the streets, into the cul de sac where I live, into my neighborhood, and look across my neighbor Bob and say, hey, Bob, fire up the Barbie tonight because I'm inviting myself over to your place for dinner today.

Can't do it exactly like Jesus, probably. But we can initiate relationships with those who don't know God yet. In another well known passage, we can see that Jesus was well known for eating with sinners, and he had one of the best nicknames that I could ever imagine for Jesus. He was called the friend of sinned. Mark, chapter two, verse 15.

While he was reclining at the table in Levi's house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him. When the scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinned and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinned? When Jesus heard this, he told them, It is not those who are well, who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners might be difficult if you're an introvert, but the principle is not rocket science. Spend time with people who are far from God.

And so just to recap, maximize your relationship with God, with your natural family, with your supernatural family, and with those who don't yet know Christ. These are keys to minimizing loneliness in your life as a single Christian. And these are things that Jesus did so well, and we can look to him and walk in his footsteps. And I'm not saying that you'll never have to endure waves of loneliness washing over you, but when you are lonely, can you honestly say that you've exhausted all the realms of meaningful relationships that you currently have? You can wear yourself out in a good way when you see how much opportunity you have to not be lonely.

Okay, this brings us to lie number four about singleness. And the next fill in on your outline. Being married is better than being single. Line number four, being married is better than being single. No, being married is not better than being single.

Now wait for it. And being single is not better than being married. The Bible says that both are gifts from God. God has designed both singleness and marriage to be equally good, yet different. Kind of like the way men and women have the same value, but are different.

We'll look at the goodness of God's design for marriage in part four of this series. But for now we can see the goodness of God's design for singleness in the advantage single people have. As a single Christian, you can practically serve Jesus in a different way than a married Christian can a single person. You are able to give your undivided devotion to Jesus. This is what the Bible says.

Listening as we hear how Paul addresses the Church at Corinth concerning this matter. In one Corinthians seven, starting in verses 26, Paul says, Because of the present distress, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife?

Do not seek a wife. However, if you do get married, you have not sinned. And if a Virgin marries, she has not sinned. But such people will have trouble in this life. And I'm trying to spare you.

This is what I mean. Brothers and sisters, the time is limited. So from now on, those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they didn't own anything, and those who use the world as though they did not make full use of it. For this world in its current form is passing away. I want you to be without concern.

The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But the married man is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or Virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord, so that she may be Holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. I'm saying this for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but to promote what is proper and so that you may be devoted to the Lord without distraction.

Here's what Paul is saying about the advantage of singleness. In a nutshell, there are responsibilities you have when you're married that will affect the way you spend your life serving the Lord. And if you're not married, there's a sense where you are more free to pour everything in your life out for Jesus. You have relationship responsibilities whether you are married or single. But those responsibilities differ depending on whether you are married or single, because the Christian who is married the Christian who is married has responsibility to the Lord first and foremost, but they also have a responsibility to their spouse.

The Christian who is single has responsibility to the Lord and only to the Lord. They have no marital obligations. Now, a quick word to single parents. Here you have an enormous responsibility to raise your kids. If you are a single parent, you have to always factor in how your decisions affect your kids.

But your kids won't weigh in on the decision making process in your life the same way that a spouse would. When you're married, your time isn't your own anymore. Your money isn't your own anymore. Your life isn't your own anymore. When you're married, you become one with your spouse.

And that's not a bad thing. It's just that in a very real way, you can't serve Jesus the same way as when you were single. I want to give you a sneak peek into how this dynamic has looked in my life. Before I got married, I thought the Lord was calling me to be a fulltime missionary in Costa Rica. I had gone on a handful of mission trips to that country, and there gas is one particular trip where I went down for a little over three months.

For part of the trip, I stayed with some missionary friends of mine who lived on the edge of the jungle. One of them is from Kentucky and the other is from Costa Rica. So they spoke both English and Spanish in their home, which was helpful for me. The other part of that trip, though, I spent living in the city with a Costa Rican family that didn't speak a lick of English. I stayed with them while I went to school to learn how to speak Spanish because I needed to know how to speak Spanish if I was going to preach the gospel in Costa Rica.

And it was an amazing time that I'll never forget. Now with that three month mission trip had been possible if I was married. Possible, yes, more difficult if I was married, probably because it took a lot of time and money and energy to go. I didn't have rent to pay back back at home when I left for the trip. If I was married, I would have had to make sure my wife had a place to live for three months while I was down in Costa Rica by myself.

If I went by myself as a married man, I would he able to fulfill my responsibility of loving and serving and protecting and leading and providing for my wife. If I was in another country, if I was married at the time I went, I could technically bring her with me. But then I'd have to factor in double the price of almost everything and the challenge of whether or not she's called to the same kind of lifestyle on the mission field. So would it have been possible? Yes, but there wouldn't exist the kind of freedom that would allow me to wake up one day, feel the Lord call me to something, and I just go, when you're single, you can do that.

When you're married, you can't do that the same way. Today I'm happily married, and if you know anything about my wife, Jessica, you know that she is sold out to serve Jesus with her entire life, so we can both be sold out to serve him together. But the fact that we're married does limit what either of us can do in our service to him because we have to think about how it will affect the other person. Okay, one more thought before moving on to our next point. If you're single and God has called you to be married one day, what better way to find a spouse than while you're in the middle of pouring out your life in service to Jesus, living on mission for him, whether at home or abroad?

I'm not against other avenues for meeting people, but in my mind, this has to be one of the best. You have your head down serving the Lord, and then one day you lift your head just to see what's going on in the world around you, and then you just happen to see someone else there who's also pouring out their life for Jesus, and they just happened to be cubed. So I just want you to not believe in wrapping this point up, I want you to not believe the lie that marriage is better than singleness, because it's not better. It's just different. Now it's just time to switch gears here on the front end.

I said there's a question burning question on a lot of single Christians hearts and minds. And the question is this. Is there a way a single person can know if God has called them to remain single or to be married one day? Now if you have printed out your outline, you'll see on there that I put a short self test that you can walk through as a tool to help you recognize if God has called you to singleness or marriage. It isn't airtight, it isn't perfect.

I don't think a perfect tool exists for this, but I think it could be helpful. And on the quiz, you simply just check off the box either yes or no or not sure to the following questions. So let me ask the questions and I'll walk through them with you here's. Question number one on the test, do you have a desire, single person to be married? This is a simple one, because if you don't have a desire to get married and you want to remain single so that you can pursue the Lord in some of the ways that we've discussed, then you don't need to finish the quiz.

But if you do have a desire to get married, you check the yes box, and that's good. But know this. The desire alone is not enough to warrant getting married, and you should continue down the checklist, which we're going to do. Question number two, do you have a biblical reason to get married? And we're going to look at marriage next week.

But you need to be able to answer this question. Do you understand what marriage is and what it requires of you? Are you pursuing marriage with eyes wide open? Because to me, it would be one of the worst things to get married one day and then realize that it wasn't what you thought you were signing up for. And in case you're unsure, here are a few unbiblical reasons.

Sorry to get married. Don't get married just so you can get citizenship in another country or help someone else get citizenship in your country. Not a Biblical Reason to get Married Don't get married as a cure for loneliness, which we've already looked at some remedies for that earlier in this message. Don't get married. It's not a biblical reason to get married just so that you can have sex.

Now, sex is a part of marriage, but it's so far from being the only part. It's not biblical to get married so that you can just stop the marriage question coming at you, being bombarded from all directions, from all different members of your family, hearing mom and dad and aunts and uncles and cousins and brothers and sisters asking you all the time, hey, so have you met a special someone yet? Hey, are you settling down? Hey, are you getting married? You don't get married just to shut everyone else up.

And it's not a biblical reason to get married just so that you can have a family of your own. Some people might dream of kids and the white picket fence. And a spouse is just a means to that end. You don't get married just to have a family. You get married to be married, and you may have a family.

Come out of that. Okay. Number three, are you attracted to the opposite sex? This is for my brothers and sisters who wrestle with same sex attraction, and it's because it's an important question and we can't take it for granted because marriage is between a man and a woman. If you don't have sexual attraction to the opposite sex, that can be problematic, but not necessarily a deal breaker.

I don't have time to unpack this next statement, but I will simply say it and you can reflect on it. Samesex attraction by itself doesn't disqualify anyone from getting married to someone of the opposite sex. But you have to take this seriously, and this shouldn't be kept a secret from the other person. Marriage is so much more than a license for Christians to have consensual sex. It's not less than sex.

It's just so much more than this. And you need a pastor in this reality when you're trying to discern whether God is calling you to singleness or marriage. Some Christians can't have sex for a variety of reasons, and this also isn't a reason to keep a person from being married. But if you are unable to have sex, this is not something that your spouse should find out on your ending day. Number four, are you eligible for marriage biblically.

This is for people who have been divorced, and the question could be, Was your divorce biblical? Biblical divorce includes My spouse was unwilling to live with me and divorced me against my will. My spouse was unfaithful to me. Unbiblical divorce if I didn't say that was biblical. The first part was biblical divorce.

Unbiblical divorce includes I fell out of love or I fell in love with someone else, or I got too hard, or we just drifted apart. If you care about God's parameters for marriage, you have to acknowledge that there may be circumstances where you should not get married again after a divorce, even though you want to again. I wish we had more time to unpack this, but that's all I can say for now. Number five, are you mature enough to get married? The focus of this question is not on age per se, but on maturity.

You can be 18 years old and more mature than someone who is 48 years old. Just because someone's old, it doesn't mean they necessarily are mature. Age doesn't equal maturity. If you're young. When you get married, there is room to grow immaturity, no doubt.

But before you get married, if that is what God is calling you to, you should look at your life with sober mindedness and ask the question, Am I ready to be married? In marriage, you are joining yourself to another person. Are you actually ready to do that? Or are there some things that you should address in your life before moving forward? Are you mature enough emotionally?

Are you an emotionally stable person? Are there areas in your life that you need to address? Do you have debilitating, anger issues or codependency issues or addiction issues? These don't magically go away when you put a ring on a finger. In fact, these issues can be magnified after you get married, and if they are there in an unhealthy way in your life, do you want to bring that into another person's life right now?

Are you mature enough financially? I'm not suggesting for a second that you need to be in a certain tax bracket before you get married, but ask these questions of yourself. Are you a good worker? Do you steward your financial resources well? Are you in debt?

Do you have a healthy relationship with money? And then are you mature enough spiritually? Do you have a healthy personal relationship with God? Do you build your life upon Him and his word? Do you let his word be the authority over your singleness?

And do you want his word to be the authority over your marriage? Consider all these when you think about whether you are mature enough now, right now to be married. And then number six is just asking the same questions about your potential spouse. Is the other person also mature enough to get married? Are they emotionally mature enough?

Are they an emotionally stable person, or are there areas in their life that they need to address. Don't turn a blind eye to this. Do they have debilitating, anger issues, codependency issues, addiction issues, just to name a few? Are they mature enough financially? Do they work?

Do they steward that financial resource as well? Are they in debt? Are they mature enough spiritually? Do they have a healthy personal relationship with God even before that? Do they have a relationship with God?

Are they a Christian now? If you're dating someone right now and you'd like to in your mind, marry them one day and you know they're not a Christian, don't try to tell me. I'm not sure if they are or not, but I know that he has a Jesus is my homeboy T shirt tucked away in his closet somewhere. That's good enough, right? Or I think she might be a Christian because she said she went to a Christian summer camp once when she was twelve.

But those by themselves are not reasons to justify or to let you believe that they love Christ. Do they talk about Christ? Do they love Him? Do they love the Bible? Are they growing spiritually?

Is there evidence that the Holy Spirit lives in them? And if the answer is no, you check off the no box on the quiz and you shelf the whole marriage discussion for now. Christian, I want to save you years of pain and heartache and difficulty. Do not marry an unbeliever. If your life is built on the rock and their life is built on sand, what kind of foundation will that make for a life together?

A foundation that is a mix of rock and sand? Marriage is hard enough when both the husband and wife are believers. You do not want to disregard the Lord on this one. Make up your mind today that you will only marry a Christian. And if they are a Christian, do they build their life upon him and his word?

Do they let his word do the authority over their singleness and do they want his word to be the authority over your marriage? I almost didn't get married because I wasn't mature enough at the time. I had been dating Jessica for a few months and then one day in my apartment that I owned and had a mortgage on, which showed some financial responsibility. But here's the other instability of immaturity. My shower broke broke one day, and what a mature person would do is to call the plumber and have them come over that day or the next and fix the shower.

But that's not what this guy did. This guy let it go unaddressed for a day and then two and then three and then four, well over a week, maybe even a couple of weeks before I addressed it. Yes, I bathed throughout that time, but I just would bathe at work or at the gym or at a friend's house. I just found a way to it just wasn't a pressing issue for me to address the shower. You got to think of in your mind.

My girlfriend at the time is a Christian woman, mature and sees a man who won't fix his shower, plays the tape down. So what's going to happen when we get married? She's thinking to herself, and we have a family or not even just me and him. And the shower breaks. Am I going to have to go down to the river to have a shower?

Who's going to fix the shower? And there's a couple of other things that verse is the relationship at that time, but it was a big one. And because of that, she said, I don't think I can get married to you because of this. Broke up with me, devastated. I can tell you this that same day or the next day.

I called the plumber really quick and the shower was fixed. You can't go into a marriage guaranteeing that the other person will change. They might, they might not. So you have to make sure that you weigh the good with the bad and see if you're going to take the bad with the good. You can't turn a blind eye to the immaturity that exists because it's going to come with that person into the marriage.

If they're growing spiritually in their singleness, there's a good chance, not a guarantee that they will continue to grow when they're married. And if you're curious what happened with that? I got mature and we ended up getting married to me and Jess anyway. Okay, that's the end of the quiz. You assess your score.

And if or when you come to the place in your life where you can answer yes to each of the questions on this little quiz, that would be an indicator that God may be calling you to get married. It's not an airtight perfect method, but I think it checks a lot of the boxes you would need checked before transitioning into that new stage of life. So let me close with this. It's not easy. As a single person, when you're feeling loneliness, sexual desire, a Godly desire for a spouse and or a family.

God knows every thought, every fear, and every disappointment. He sees them and most definitely has not forgotten them. Singles need to be reassured that God is faithful. And if you are single, be reminded that God has not withheld his very best from you and that's if you remained unmarried, he has not withheld his very best from you. Jesus came so that you can have abundant life in him.

You pray with me, Father. I just thank you that you sent your son to complete people. We were so lost, every single one of us, Lord. So lost, so broken, so unsatisfied, so incomplete apart from you, as a byproduct of rejecting you and walking in sin, walking in spiritual darkness. I just praise you, Father, that you loved us so much that you didn't just give us what we wanted and give us what we deserve, which is a life apart from you.

But you came in and you pursued us, Jesus you came and lived and died and rose again to make a way for our sins to be removed. To make a way for us to have access to you and to your father simply through placing faith in you. And anyone who is a Christian today and anyone who will become a Christian in the days to come is one simply because you loved us first and we responded to your pursuing love. I pray for all of my single and married brothers and sisters, Lord, that whatever law in life that they have right now, whatever station in life that they're walking in right now, Lord, that they would turn the entirety of that life over to you and say, Lord, I want you to rule and reign and to be God over every part, every square inch of my life is yours. Satisfy me, Lord, if I'm single, Lord, be my satisfaction if I'm married and wherever I am and whatever station of life I'm in be glorified in my life and use my life to that end, Lord to maximize your glory in this world meet us in prayer meet us in our devotion bless us, Jesus we pray in your name Amen.

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