I HAVE AN APOLOGY TO MAKE – BECAUSE OF SOMETHING I DIDN’T SAY IN THE SERMON THIS PAST WEEKEND. Last weekend at Celebration Church we launched our new message series, BEHIND FAMILY LINES. In this series we’re learning from God’s Word how to have healthy and happy families – whether they are two-parent families, step-families, or single parent families. Our topics in the BEHIND FAMILY LINES series will include marriage, parenting, communication between the genders, sex, healing from divorce, and the management of finances.
This past weekend we learned about the “magic of marriage.” We learned from the story of Adam and Eve how to have strong, satisfying and successful marriages – marriages that are characterized by Companionship, Cooperation, Commitment and Intimacy. The Lord really utilized this message to bring healing and help to lots of married couples, and to bring hope for a healthy marriage in the future to lots of single adults. By the way, if you weren’t able to attend one of our Campuses this past weekend, you can view the message each day this week at 12 noon and 7 pm on one of our Online Worship Services (www.celebrationchurch.org, or http://live.mediasocial.tv/celebrationchurch).
Now, our Pastors and I received lots of positive feedback from singles, teens and senior adults as well as from couples concerning this message on marriage. Many singles communicated to us that the message helped them immensely because it helped them to understand what type of marriage they should be praying and planning for in the future.
However, there was something that was left unsaid in the message that I wish that I had said. In the section of the sermon where I taught about how God brings people together in a marriage relationship so they don’t have to be alone, I neglected to say that sometimes the Lord wants people to be “alone” for a season of time until they can become healthy enough to enter into a dating or marriage relationship. In fact, the Bible teaches that sometimes it is better for people to be single for a season (and for a few for a lifetime), so that they can overcome hurts, become healthy, and become fully devoted to the Lord.
The Apostle Paul, who himself was a single adult, wrote about this in 1 Corinthians 7. Paul said:
- “I wish everyone could get along without marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the gift of marriage, and to others he gives the gift of singleness. Now I say to those who aren't married and to widows—it's better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can't control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It's better to marry than to burn with lust.” (1 Corinthians 7:7-9)
- “In everything you do, I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord's work and thinking how to please him. But a married man can't do that so well. He has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be more devoted to the Lord in body and in spirit, while the married woman must be concerned about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. But if a man thinks he ought to marry his fiance because he has trouble controlling his passions and time is passing, it is all right; it is not a sin. Let them marry. But if he has decided firmly not to marry and there is no urgency and he can control his passion, he does well not to marry. So the person who marries does well, and the person who doesn't marry does even better.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-38).
Here is what Paul is teaching us in 1 Corinthians 7. First, he’s teaching us that God has a special calling for some to be single adults for a season in their life, if not for a lifetime. He said that “God gives some the gift of marriage, and to others he gives the gift of singleness” (1 Corinthians 7:7). What that tells us is that we don’t have to have someone in our life to be content, but that we can be happy and content in our relationship with the Lord.
Second, Paul teaches us that one of the reasons that the Lord wants people to find a partner and get married is so they don’t fall into sexual sin. He said, “It’s better to marry than to burn with lust” (I don’t think that I have to explain that statement to anyone).
Third, Paul taught that oftentimes the Lord wants people to be single for a season (if not for a lifetime), because they can better devote their lives to growing in the Lord and serving the Lord. He writes in 1 Corinthians 7:38, “The person who marries does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better.” Paul says that because he knew that the person who is single has more time and opportunity to focus on the Lord and His will and way for their life.
So here is what I want people to clearly understand (and what I wish I’d said this past weekend). Marriage is indeed a relationship that should help people overcome loneliness in their lives (although some of the loneliest people in life are married individuals). However, when a person is not married or doesn’t have someone special in life it doesn’t mean that they are a “second class citizen” or that the Lord has abandoned them to a life of loneliness. It simply means that the Lord is using that “single time” in their life to draw near to them, strengthen them, and utilize them in great ways to serve Him and serve others.
So what are some “take aways” from this article? One, if you’re single, utilize this time in your life to draw near to the Lord, get healthier, and get involved in serving Him. Two, if you’re married, you’ve got to work extra hard to keep your focus on the Lord because of the distractions created by having a spouse. Three, even in the longest sermons, the Pastor sometimes forgets to say all that he needs to say. Four, I thank God for the many Singles in Celebration Church who are being utilized mightily to bless the Lord and bless others. They will be rewarded by the Lord in many different ways in this life and in the next life.
P.S. To receive information about ministry to Singles Adults at Celebration, go to the Celebration Facebook page (facebook.com/celebrationchurchsingles), or contact our Singles Pastor Tony Leverett (email@example.com, or 504.831.9673, ext 302).
Tue, May 8, 2012
by Dennis Watson