• Matt Beaney

#537 (15/2/22) THE TIME IS SHORT…SO SET GOOD PRIORITIES


What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.’ (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

Paul says some, what appear to be strange things in this text. Let’s see how each of these five rhetorical examples are about setting good priorities in light of the fact that the time is short.


1. ‘From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not’


This is not an encouragement to neglect our marriages or be unfaithful. Paul is encouraging us to live for God’s mission rather than idolising and living for our marriages. Marriage is to serve God and others. Let’s talk and pray with our spouse so as to have a shared vision of serving Jesus wholeheartedly together.


Christopher Ash, in his fantastic book, Married for God writes,


‘The moment I make my ‘relationship’ the goal of my life I doom myself to disappointment. Surprisingly, the key to a good marriage is not to pursue a good marriage, but to pursue the honour of God. We need to replace this selfish model of marriage with one in which we work side by side in God’s ‘garden’ (that is, God’s world), rather than gaze for ever into each other’s eyes.’

2. ‘Those who mourn, as if they did not’


Christians are to mourn with hope. We know that those who die in the Lord are in heaven. We will be reunited with our loved ones when Jesus comes. Paul urges us,

‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.’ (Romans 12:15)

We do mourn but we are to continue to trust Jesus and walk with Him toward healing.


3. ‘Those who are happy, as if they were not’


This is not an encouragement to live without joy. Life has many good gifts and joys for which we are to be thankful and joyful. This is an encouragement to find our ultimate happiness in that coming life. We are not be be caught up with the joys fo this world.


4. ‘Those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep’


What we buy we do not keep. We came into the world naked and naked we will depart! Christians are not to be possessed by their possessions. We hold our wealth lightly. We are generous because we have eternal vision.


5. ‘Those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them’


Phones, cars, tech, houses, boats, planes… are not our obsession. We are engrossed in serving Jesus. His worth and work are of superior and eternal worth.


Gordon Fee wrote,

‘Those who have a definite future and see it with clarity live in the present with radically altered values as to what counts and what does not.’

Each of these examples are about living in our relationship with people and things as if the coming of Christ was imminent. Do you and I live like Jesus’ return could be any day?


 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians. Nev spoke from 1 Corinthians 7:25-40. His message was entitled The Time is Short.


Please read 1 Corinthians 7:25-40.


Paul is teaching about the advantages of remaining single, whilst teaching that it’s good to marry if one feel sthat this is God’s will to do so. Too often relationships are set as our highest goal and priority. We can define ourselves by our relationships. Sex can be idolised. Paul reminds the Corinthians to put all of their relationships with people and material things into the context of eternity because ‘this world in its present form is passing away’.


On Sunday Nev shared a prophetic picture from which He illustrated his message. He saw in his mind's eye, a great mountain the base of which was shrouded in a dark cloud that was rising, slowly, up the mountain. Many people were on this mountain. Some were walking toward the top which was the great goal. Some were alone and were thus able to stride unencumbered toward the top (single people). Others were in small groups and were making slower progress as they had to wait for one another (those married and with families). Many had come to a stop at the sides of the path (the discouraged). Many, however, were streaming down the mountain and away from the summit (those needed to hear the gospel).


'The time is short... The world in its present form is passing away'. This should cause us to serve others. Many are discouraged and have stopped climbing the mountain; if we are single, how can we help them? If we are married how can we help them? Many are streaming down the mountain to destruction; if we are single, how can we help them? If we are married how can we help them?


Discussion questions

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) Paul teaches that 'those who marry will face many troubles in this life'. What are these and how can we help to support married people?

iii) We are told that 'the time is short...this world in its present form is passing away.' How are we to live in light of this fact?

iv) What do verses 32-35 teach us about the benefits of being unmarried?


SIV (Serve invest and invite)

i) Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

ii) How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

iii) Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.







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