• Matt Beaney

#540 (18/2/22) THE TIME IS SHORT…SO BE UNDIVIDED


'I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.' (1 Corinthians 7:35)

This is a great summary of the chapter. Whether married or single, they were to serve God with ‘undivided devotion’.


i) ’I am saying this for your own good’

What Paul has been saying from verse 29, is for there good and not their harm! Each has either the gift of marriage or celibacy which is to be pursued, enjoyed and put in service to God and others. Paul’s teaching - God’s teaching - is for our good.


ii) ‘Not to restrict you’

Christian teaching on marriage and singleness is not restrictive as might appear. To work at and pursue the gift of singleness or marriage according to God’s call is freedom and is fruitful. If we are unmarried, we are to embrace celibacy for the sake of serving God as a positive thing. Alternatively, If we are in a difficult marriage, which is not uncommon, we are to work at its restoration - this is good and not restricting!


iii) ‘That you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord’

To ‘live in the right way’ is to embrace our married or unmarried state in faith. To live in the right way is to serve God using the benefits of our current relational state to serve Jesus in ‘undivided devotion’.


As we consider the sexual and relational ethics of 1 Corinthians 6-7, It’s important that we listen to God as a loving Father who is not out to restrict and ruin our lives. The devil is very active in dividing the church and in seeking to discredit God’s wisdom. Living according to God’s design for marriage, celibacy, who to marry, that sex is only to be within marriage… is what it means to ‘live the right way’. This is all set in the context that ‘the time is short’. People around you need you to be serving Jesus in undivided devotion rather than distracted with bad and restrictive relationships which divide your devotion to serving them in Jesus name.


As we seek first Jesus’ Kingdom, the good news is that He will provide and lead us in what’s best in our relationships. Look ahead and run your race and God will give you people to run with you and one of them may become a spouse!


'But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.' (Matthew 6:33)


 

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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