Summary: Paul gave some important advice about singleness and marriage for the Corinthian’s and their time that also applies to us and our time.
A. Today we want to talk about the spiritual counsel about marriage given by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 7.
1. Before we get into the text, let’s lay a little ground work.
B. Some questions about love and marriage were posed to kids ages 5 to 10 and here are a few of their responses.
1. An 8 year-old named Judy was asked, “What is the proper age to get married?” She replied, “Eighty-four. Because at that age, you don’t have to work anymore, and you can spend all your time loving each other in your bedroom.”
2. A 10 year-old named Jim was asked, “When is it okay to kiss someone?” He replied, “You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a ring and her own VCR, ‘cause she’ll want to have videos of the wedding.”
3. The question, “How can people make love last?” was posed to 8 year-old Roger and he replied, “Don’t forget your wife’s name. That will mess up the love.”
C. Picture a radiant bride and a nervous groom standing before a minister solemnly repeating their marriage vows.
1. He pronounces them husband and wife. They kiss and they live happily ever after.
2. So goes the celluloid, artificial representation of marriage of a generation ago.
3. It was unrealistic then and is almost forgotten now.
D. Today’s young people see a different version of human relationships on TV and in the movies.
1. Portrayed for us today, in graphic detail, is sex without love or commitment.
2. They see couples grabbing satisfaction for the moment without any thought for tomorrow.
3. Trained by Hollywood, each generation harbors its false illusions.
E. So who has a clearer view?
1. Neither of Hollywood’s depictions of marriage sees it as it really is or should be.
2. The biblical view of love and marriage stands in sharp contrast to Hollywood’s portrayals.
3. Yesterday’s bride, faced with the reality of dishes and diapers, soon discovered that she had been misled – marriage has thorns along with the roses. The hopeful groom also had his awakening.
4. As real life crowded out fantasy, some of those couples adjusted and made good marriages, but many failed to do so.
5. The divorce rates testifies to the number of people who say, “I do,” and then “Don’t.”
6. Today’s couples are also learning that the movie script for life and love has been a sham.
7. A few unhappy experiences and several morning-after episodes of loneliness and guilt have taught them that sex without love is empty.
F. Let’s work toward a biblical perspective for a moment.
1. God made it clear from the beginning that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18).
2. So God made woman to be his companion and helper.
3. God brought the two together and instructed them to hold fast to one another in loving commitment and permanence.
4. The Bible says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” (Prov. 18:22)
G. As we will see from 1 Corinthians 7, there is no obligation that anyone has to get married and have a family.
1. In fact, Paul himself was unmarried.
2. He even recommended the single life to certain people and in certain circumstances.
3. Certainly, times have changed drastically from Paul’s day to ours.
4. Marriage as an institution will probably never again be what it was in Paul’s day, nor 50 years ago in our country, nor should it be.
5. The traditional marriage in which the man goes to work and the woman stays home to care for the home and children is giving way to dual-careers and stay at home dads.
6. People are waiting longer to marry than their parents did.
7. We can’t, and probably don’t want to, turn back the clock and make society what it was 50 or 100 years ago – much less what it was in the first century.
8. What we can do, however, is keep reminding people that some things about the nature of marriage do not change with the passing of time or shifts in societal patterns.
H. The biblical view of marriage is more than that of two people who just happen to live under the same roof.
1. In a true marriage there is a sharing of a life – with all its joys and sorrows.
2. In a true marriage the two become “one flesh,” and it is more than just a sexual union.
3. The oneness is an acknowledgment of the couple’s interdependence.
4. God has made us male and female and he has made us for marriage.
Questions From Corinth
A. As we have seen from our study of 1 Corinthians so far, this letter is a carefully structured presentation.