Summary: God's design: singleness is a blessing, not a curse.

Today, we’ll wrap up our series on Biblical manhood and womanhood. I know that for the past four weeks, I’ve encouraged those of you who are single and who might be tempted to think that much of what we’ve learned over the past four weeks really isn’t relevant to you to listen carefully and be patient. And today, I’m going to spend a good portion of our time addressing how all of this applies to you specifically.

That brings ups a whole different potential problem this morning, because now those of you who are married may decide that what I have to share with you this morning really isn’t relevant to you. So this morning I want to encourage you to be patient and listen carefully and bear with me because I think you’ll see that this is indeed relevant for you.

There are over 100 million single people over the age of 18 in the United States – nearly ½ of all adults. Over 60% of those singles have never been married and the rest are either widowed or divorced. I know that we have people who fit into all those categories right here in our body.

As we’ve seen over the past four weeks, Biblical manhood and womanhood is not simply a result of marriage. It is rooted in God’s design at creation. So it is clear that a man does not become a man by getting married nor does a woman become a woman by getting married.

But it is also clear that the way that Biblical manhood and womanhood is expressed and lived out is going to take on different forms based on the varying types of relationships that men and women are engaged in. The way that God’s design for men and women is lived out in the most intimate relationship of marriage is obviously going to be quite different in the way that design impacts relationships in the workplace, for instance.

So here is what I’d like to do this morning. First, I want to show, from Scripture, that Biblical manhood and womanhood are not dependent on marriage. Then we’ll close by seeing if we can’t develop some principles that can help us live out our God ordained roles in the relationships we have outside of the ones we’ve already looked at – family and church.

Before we do that, let’s take one last opportunity to summarize and review what we’ve learned so far.

God’s design:

Men who mobilize men and women for ministry

Men who love by serving like Christ

and Women who love by submitting like the Church

Man is the head; Woman is the helper

Man and Woman have equal worth but different work

Biblical manhood and womanhood for singles

With that foundation in mind, let’s know see how what we’ve learned applies to those of you who are single. Go ahead and turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul addresses this issue in quite some detail. Since we don’t have time to read and comment on the entire chapter, I’m going to focus on just a couple short passages:

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 and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.

(1 Corinthians 7:6-8 ESV)

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 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 upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

(1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ESV)

Although there is some disagreement about whether Paul was ever married, there is no doubt that by the time he wrote this letter to the church in Corinth he was single – either he had never married or he was now a widower. It’s instructive that he devotes such a substantial portion of this letter to the whole concept of being single. And if we were to sum up his main point in writing this chapter, we could say that…

Singleness is a blessing, not a curse

Let’s look at just a few of the reasons that is the case:

• Singleness is a gift from God

When Paul calls singleness a “gift” from God in verse 7, he uses the same exact word that he uses in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 when he writes about spiritual gifts.

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