Summary: Christian singles will be rewarded for their devotion to Christ.
I love marriage. I love being married. I love talking about marriage. I love performing marriage ceremonies and I love to encourage young people that marriage blessed by God. In a culture that promotes promiscuity and living together, it is important to encourage young people that God’s way is blessed and it is good.
Our sermon series on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has emphasized marriage and the blessings for the home that come through marriage. But today I want to address singleness and the blessings that God provides for those who are not married.
There are several important reasons for this emphasis today.
1. Although most of us will marry, many will not. The percentage of single people has been in creasing in our culture.
2. Church life, schedule and leadership are structured around married people. It is important that we do not overlook the contribution and giftedness of single believers.
3. There are unhappy singles, AND there are unhappy married people. Marriage or Singleness does NOT DETERMINE your happiness or godliness.
4. Single Christians are under represented in church leadership.
5. Christian Singles need to be encouraged in our marriage and family environment.
Our approach for this sermon will be as follows:
1. We will examine the PROPHETIC and CURRENT understanding of Isaiah 56:1-5.
2. We will develop a theological perspective on Singleness and Marriage
3. We will ask, “What can the CHURCH learn from our Singles?”
4. Finally, we will examine Practical Considerations for the church, including the subject of online dating.
Faithfulness is More Important than Marriage. Isaiah 56:1-5
“Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:1–5, ESV)
The emphasis on eunuchs and foreigners is significant in this passage. Both of those groups were excluded from certain aspects of the worship life of Israel and many of the blessings associated with God’s reward for the faithful. In the fulfillment of God’s future kingdom, eunuchs and foreigners will be given the same rights as every other child of God, and according to this passage, a name “better than sons and daughters.”
When Messiah comes the people of God will no longer be an ethnic people expanded through the birth of more ethnic Jews. Foreigners and eunuchs were unable to produce new Jewish babies. Instead, Messiah’s Kingdom will be a kingdom expanded by those who “keep the sabbath.” This is a reference to the necessity of faith in order to be a part of God’s family. We see this emphasis in many Messianic passages in the OT and throughout the teaching of Jesus and the words of the Epistles.
I am Indebted to a sermon by John Piper, and a paper by Barry Danylak for thoughts on this passage. (John Piper, “A Name Better than Sons and Daughters,” April 29, 2007, desiringgod.org. Barry Danylak, “A Biblical-Theological Perspective on Singlenss,” 2006.
The Context of Isaiah 55-60. This passage provides a warning to Judah and hope for the future.
First, notice the emphasis of MESSIANIC HOPE in this section of Isaiah’s prophesy.
Isaiah 58:6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”
58:8-9. “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,” (Isaiah 58:8–9, ESV)
59:19-20 “So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives. “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord.”
60:1-2 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples,but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.”