Summary: In this sermon, we examine what the Bible says about cohabitation, and what the Bible says about marriage. The we examine the common reasons people give for why cohabitation is okay.
A. How many of you remember the children’s playground song where you use the name of a boy and a girl whom you want to embarrass (we will use Jack and Jill).
1. It goes like this: Jack and Jill, Sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage”?
2. Think for a minute about that order: first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby.
3. How times have changed! Am I right about that?
4. In our culture today the verse would go something like: first you hook up, then you move in together, love has nothing to do with it, and you can have a baby any time you want.
5. How sad it that?! How far that is from God’s wonderfully perfect plan for His creation!
B. Sociologists David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead made this statement in their study for the National Marriage Project: “Cohabitation is replacing marriage as the first living together experience for young men and women.”
1. Cohabitation used to be called “living in sin” or “shaking up,” but today those labels have been replaced by more neutral terms like “living together” or “cohabitation.”
2. As you know, cohabitation, as a lifestyle, is on the rise.
a. In 1960, the year before I was born, there were about half-a-million people cohabitating.
b. By 1980, just 20 years later, that number had grown to about 2 million (quadrupled).
c. By 2000, 20 years after that, the number had grown to about 4 million (doubled).
d. By 2010, 10 years later, the number had grown to about 8 million (doubled).
3. George Barna has reported that 60% of Americans believe that the best way to establish a successful marriage is to cohabit prior to marriage.
4. According to renowned demographer Larry Bumpass, the current rate of cohabitation before marriage is nearly 70%.
a. And about half of cohabitating couples either marry or break up after 2 years of cohabitation (Kennedy and Bumpass, 2007).
C. Given the predominant rates of cohabitation, it is difficult to believe that only 50 years ago, living together as an unmarried heterosexual couple was both illegal and considered immoral.
1. Times have changed and people’s opinions have changed, but God’s will and His opinion has not changed.
2. We are called as Christians to live in the world, but not to be of the world.
3. Our challenge is to be salt and light to the world while not conforming to the patterns of the world.
4. Unfortunately, because we Christians live in the world, we are prone to take on the attitudes and behaviors of the world.
5. Whenever society promotes and approves of that which God does not, it becomes a challenge for the church to maintain God’s standards in the church.
6. Look at what Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 5: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you” (1 Cor. 5:9-13).
a. The situation Paul was addressing involved a man who was living with his father’s wife.
b. Paul said that that kind of immorality wasn’t even acceptable among unbeleivers!
7. So we learn from that verse that it is not our responsibility to enforce righteous standards for those in the world, but we must maintain righteous standards for those inside the church.
I. What the Bible Says about Cohabitation
A. Let’s ask the question: What does the Bible say about Cohabitation?
1. The truth of the matter is the Bible doesn’t have anything to say directly about cohabitation.
2. The word “cohabitation” doesn’t even appear in the Bible.
B. Someone might say: “Living together must be okay, because the Bible doesn’t say ‘Thou shall not live with someone before (or instead of) marriage.’ ”
1. It is true that the Bible does not explicitly say “Living together is a sin.”
2. But what we must realize is that the Bible is not a book of rules that contains endless lists of everything God says is okay and everything that God says is not okay.
3. That doesn’t mean there are not some passages in the Bible that clearly lay out “do’s and don’ts.” The 10 Commandments in the Old Testament are that kind of list.