Paul Speaks of Marriage

1 Corinthians

Paul Speaks of Marriage

October 2nd, 1955 @ 7:30 PM

1 Corinthians 7

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God. Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.
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PAUL SPEAKS OF MARRIAGE

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Corinthians 7

10-2-55    7:30 p.m.

 

 

Now, in our preaching through the Word, we are in the seventh chapter of First Corinthians, and you may turn to that chapter which is one of the most difficult in the Bible.  And there are some things in this chapter that are astonishing, and we shall look at them tonight.  Now, we shall read almost all the chapter – and it’s a long one – but I don’t know how to do this without reading the Word: the seventh chapter of First Corinthians.  The last sermon was on the sixth chapter, and now this is the seventh one:

 

Now concerning the things whereof you wrote unto me:  It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

Let the husband render unto his wife due benevolence, and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband.  And likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Defraud you not one the other except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

For I would that all men were as I myself.  But every man hath this proper gift of God, one after this manner and another after that.

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows: It is good for them if they abide even as I;

But if they cannot contain, let them marry.  For it is better to marry than to burn.

And unto the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: Let not the wife depart from the husband.

But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.  And let not the husband put away his wife.

But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean

– illegitimate –

but now are they holy.

But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases.  For God hath called us to peace . . .

[1 Corinthians 7:1-15] 

 

But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk.  And so ordain I in all the churches.

Is any man called being circumcised?  Let him not become uncircumcised.  Is any man called in uncircumcision?  Let him not be circumcised.

Circumcision is nothing, uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

Art thou called being a slave?  Care not for it; but if thou mayest be free, use it rather.

He that is called in the Lord being a slave is the Lord’s freeman.  Likewise also he that is called being free is Christ’s slave.

Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the slaves of men.

Brethren, let every man wherein he is called therein abide with God.

Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment of the Lord; yet I give my judgment as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress–I say, that is good for a man so to be:

Art thou bound unto a wife?  Seek not to be loosed.  Art thou loosed from a wife?  Seek not a wife.

But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she hath not sinned.  Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh, but I spare you.

But this I say, brethren, the time is short, it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they had none,

And they that weep as though they wept not, and they that rejoice as though they rejoiced not, and they that buy as though they possess not.

And they that use this world as not abusing it.  For the fashion of this world passeth away.

But I would have you without carefulness.  He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord–how he may please the Lord.

But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world–how he may please his wife.

There is difference also between a wife and a virgin.  The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.  But she that is married careth for the things of the world–how she may please her husband.

And this I speak for your own profit, not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely and that you may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

[1 Corinthians 7:17-35]

 

 

Well, what do you think of that?  What if you had to get up here and preach a sermon on that?  Well, I’m just like you were.  You just read all that, and – I’ll say!  I’ll say.  But as you pray about it and study it and prepare concerning it, why, there’s a revelation, a truth, a great deliverance from God in this chapter about us and our lives that all of us ought to know.  So we’re going to start out on it tonight, and I hope I can make it very plain and simple as we go through this chapter.

In the application of the principles of the Christian faith to everyday living, these Corinthian Christians found great difficulty.  So they wrote Paul asking him some questions about how to live the Christian life in this world, and Paul here is answering some of those questions: "Now, concerning the things whereof you wrote unto me" [1 Corinthians 7:1].

Now, his answers fall into two categories.  The first category concerns instances where he has a clear commandment of the Lord: "Now, this I say, yet, not I, but the Lord says it" [1 Corinthians 7:10].   That’s one category. 

Now the other category lies in realms where he says: "I don’t have any commandment of the Lord concerning this, but I give you my judgment."  For example, in the sixth verse, he says, "I speak this by permission, and not of commandment" [1 Corinthians 7:6].  In the twelfth verse, "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord" [1 Corinthians 7:12].  Twenty-fifth verse: "Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment of the Lord; yet I give my judgment as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful" [1 Corinthians 7:25].  And the last verse: "She is happier if she so abide single, after my judgment–and I think also that I have the Spirit of God" [1 Corinthians 7:40].  

So in that chapter, now, when Paul says this and this and this about the application of the Christian message and faith to how we live every day, he says, "Now this is the commandment of the Lord.  This is what God says."  Then this other, he’ll say, "Now this is a matter of Christian prudence.  This is what I think.  In my judgment, this is what you ought to do."

Now, there are things like that in all of our lives.  There are things that are eternally right and eternally wrong.  There are things that are immutable and unchangeable.  There are things that pertain to the commandments of God, and they are settled forever in heaven and in earth.  Then there are things that pertain to Christian prudence [Romans 14:5-8; 1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23-24].  There’s no particular right.  There’s no particular wrong.  There are just things that, if I do this, these things follow; and if I do that, other things follow.  For example, this thing of shall I be celibate in my life or shall I marry?  Shall I stay single, or shall I seek a husband or a wife?  Well, Paul says, "You don’t have any commandment from the Lord either way, so this is my judgment concerning a single life and concerning a married life" [1 Corinthians 7:25].  Now, those are the two categories in which his answers fall. 

All right, now let’s look at these answers.  Here is a commandment from the Lord about being married: about Christians being married, about a married man who is a Christian, and a married woman who is a Christian:

 

Unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord:  Let not the wife depart from her husband.

But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.  And let not the husband put away his wife.

[1 Corinthians 7:10-11]

 

That is a commandment from God.  When two Christian people are married, that marriage is to stay until it is dissolved by death.  That is a final and irrevocable and eternal commandment of the Lord.  Two Christian people to marry, [they] marry for good; they marry for life; they marry until death dissolves that partnership; they are never to break it.  "That’s a commandment," Paul says, "of the Lord" [1 Corinthians 7:10].  All right, that’s clear and plain.  And you’re not to enter it wantonly, foolishly.  When Christian people marry, it’s for keeps.  It’s forever.

All right, now, there’s another category of marriage:  "If any brother hath a wife that believeth not" [1 Corinthians 7:12].  Now you’re entering the category of a Christian who is married to a reprobate, or married to a pagan, or married to a heathen, or married to an unbeliever.  Now, what about that?

 

If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let them dwell together, let him not put her away.

And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children illegitimate

– but they’re not illegitimate; your children are holy, even though one of you is a Christian and the other is an unbeliever –

But if the unbelieving brother depart, let him depart

– or an unbelieving wife depart, let her depart.

A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. For God hath called us to peace.

[1 Corinthians 7:12-15]

 

 

If there’s a fine Christian man married to a woman that’s not a Christian, he is not bound to live with that woman, for God hath called us to peace [1 Corinthians 7:15] and not forever and eternally to be fightin’ and feudin’ and fussin’ and living in hell and torment. Same way about a woman married to a reprobate of a man.  If a woman is married to a reprobate – a heathen, a pagan – and they live in misery and in torment and in agony, God hath called us to peace [1 Corinthians 7:15], not to torment and misery and agony.  Let him depart.  Let them break up.  Let them separate.  It is better for the pagan, the unbeliever, to depart than it is to try to build a Christian home with a man with whom you can’t build a Christian home.  It’s better for the couple to separate. 

Now, they don’t have to separate, Paul says.  If they are pleased to dwell with one another and one’s a Christian and one’s a pagan, they can, in God’s sight, still live together [1 Corinthians 7:12-13] because, otherwise, their children would be illegitimate.  But their children are not illegitimate; their children are holy [1 Corinthians 7:14].  But if they decide to separate, they are at liberty to separate.  A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases for God hath called us to peace [1 Corinthians 7:15].

Every once in a while, I am frank to say, as I said to a mother in this congregation this morning. I said to her, "It is better, this thing that you’ve done, for to rear your children with a husband like you had would be a sin against those children."  Do you think it’s a blessing to children to have a father come home and act like some fathers act?  Why, it’s a damnation to them.  It’s a horror to them.  It’s a hurt to them.  "It’s a whole lot better," I told her this morning. "Take these children of yours, and he’s gone, and he’s forever gone, and keep it that way.  And you take these children down here, and you rear them in the love and nurture and admonition of the Lord" [Ephesians 6:4], "and they’ll grow up strong, we pray, in the faith of the Lord Jesus."  And may the Lord pity that reprobate of a husband who is out there going his way, not loving God, not loving the church, not loving his faithful, Christian wife, and not good to those precious little children.  All right, I didn’t say that.  That’s in the Book.

All right now, the next thing that he talks about, the next thing that he talks about – and I have had more trouble with this.  I have wrestled more with this thing this week than anything I ever read in the Book in my life.  I am astonished what I find in the Book.  I can hardly believe, sometimes, this thing that I read in the Word.  Now, listen to this: every Christian is to abide in the place wherein he is – wherein God has called him [1 Corinthians 7:20].  For the Christian faith is not a program for social amelioration or social revolution.  Christianity does not deal with externals but internals – not with a man’s outside but with his inside.

Now, you look here.  Three times in this little passage, Paul will say – now listen, verse 17, verse 20, and verse 24 – now listen to Paul: "As God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk.  So ordain I all the churches" [1 Corinthians 7:17].  All right now, the same thing again: "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called" [1 Corinthians 7:20].  All right, the twenty-fourth verse: "Brethren, let every man wherein he is called therein abide with God" [1 Corinthians 7:24].

Then he illustrates it.  He illustrates it first ecclesiastically, religiously.  Here in the eighteenth verse now:

 

Is any man called being a Jew?  Let him not become a Gentile.  Is any man called being a Gentile?  Let him not become a Jew.

A Jew is nothing, and a Gentile is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

[1 Corinthians 7:18-20]

 

Well, what do you think about that?  Suppose one of these Jewish men were to come down the aisle and say to me, "Preacher, I want to take the Lord Jesus as my Savior; and I want to be baptized, and I want to be a member of this church."  Paul says he can still remain a Jew and still be a Christian.  He can be both.  If he was a Jew and he became a Christian, let him stay a Jew!  Let him stay a Jew.

Well, I got to thinking about that.  My, my, these things you read in the Book.  I got to thinking about that, and I turned my mind back to those people in the Bible.  Paul: Paul was a Christian, but to the day that he died, he was a Jew.  At Cenchrea – Corinth is right here, Cenchrea’s right there, the eastern seaport town, oh six miles over there – at Cenchrea, he shaved his head according to a Jewish vow [Acts 18:18], and he went up to the temple in Jerusalem, and he paid off that vow with those other Nazarites – paying for himself the offering and for those other Nazarites [Acts 21:20-26].

You will read in Josephus about the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Jerusalem – James, the Lord’s brother.  You’ll read in Josephus that that James who was the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Jerusalem was the most devout and zealous and faithful of all the Jews who lived in Jerusalem!  And yet, he was pastor of that church, the first one in Jerusalem. 

You will also read that because Timothy had a Jewish mother and his father was a Greek [Acts 16:1], because of that conflict, when the Greeks looked on him they didn’t know whether he was Jew or Gentile.  And when the Jews looked on him, they didn’t receive him because his father was a Greek.  You’ll read that Paul took Timothy and circumcised him and presented him as a full-fledged Jew as he presented the gospel of the Son of God [Acts 16:1-3].

Now the separation between the Jewish faith and the Christian faith did not come because of a pronounced and commanded revolution, but the separation came because of the difference in our spirit, our inside, our heart.  It arose from the soul of the thing, from the spirit of the thing, from the heart of the thing, from the inside of the thing.  But it did not arise by commandment or by social or ecclesiastical or religious revolution.  It came from the genius of the Christian faith itself.  There was nothing in the Bible about a violent revolution against the Jewish religion that separated Christianity from it.  It was a development of the spirit of the Christian faith on the inside in the heart and in the soul.

Well, if you think that’s not enough, you look at the next thing that he takes.  Not only does Christianity have nothing to say about the externals of this thing of religion – being a Jew or being a Gentile: "Let every man stay just like he was called" [1 Corinthians 7:20].  Well you listen again: "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called" [1 Corinthians 7:20]. 

And now he illustrates it civilly.  He illustrates it profanely.  He illustrates it secularly – out here in our secular world. "Art thou called being a slave?" [1 Corinthians 7:21]  Now, can you imagine that?  The most abominable of all of the institutions of human history is slavery, human slavery.  Why these Caesars took their slaves and sometimes would feed them to the fish just to watch the fish eat them.  These Caesars would take those slaves and put them in those great amphitheatres, and they’d fight with live beasts, and they’d fight in gladiatorial combat with one another.  Slavery – slavery in that ancient day was not even like the slavery we knew here in America with our colored people.  It was an abominable institution worse than anything you could ever think of. 

Now, you listen to this: "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.  Art thou called being a slave?  Care not for it; if thou mayest be free, fine, take advantage of it" [1 Corinthians 7:20-21].  But don’t mind it if you’re a slave.  Think nothing of it "for he that is called in the Lord, being a slave, is the Lord’s freeman" [1 Corinthians 7:22].  He may be manacled on his hands.  He may be tied down with a ball and chain by his feet, but he is a free man because his soul is free, his heart is free [John 8:31-36].  He is the Lord’s freeman. 

Likewise, also, he that is called, being free, is Christ’s slave [1 Corinthians 7:22].  If a man is not a slave, if he’s a freeman in this world, he’s still a slave.  He’s a slave of Jesus.  You are bought with a price, and you are not to be the slaves of men [1 Corinthians 7:23].  Whether we’re a slave in this world or a freeman in this world, it doesn’t make any difference.  All of us are free in Christ and all of us are the slaves of Christ.  "Brethren, let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called.  Let him abide with God" [1 Corinthians 7:24]. 

Well that institution of slavery: there’s not a single syllable in that Book against it – not a one.  Not a one.  Not a one.  And here, Paul says, if you are a slave, just remain a slave.  It’s all right; it’s all right.  "Art thou called being a slave? Care not for it; if you can be free, use it" [1 Corinthians 7:21].  But if you’re a slave, think nothing about it.

And yet the Christian faith destroyed the institution of slavery.  How did He do it?  The Christian faith did not do it by social revolution, by commandment, by the ransom of human life!  But Christianity destroyed slavery from within – destroyed it from the heart, destroyed it from the soul. 

When Paul met Onesimus in the eternal city of Rome, he sent him back to Philemon, his master [Philemon 1:10-14].  "Onesimus," said Paul, "You’ve done wrong.  You’ve escaped from your master, but you belong to Philemon, your master.  You’re his slave.  Now, Onesimus, you’ve given your heart to God.  First thing you’ve got to do, you’ve got to go back to Philemon, your master – got to go back."  And he put in Onesimus’ hand a letter and sent him clear across the Roman Empire from [west] to [east] – sent him all the way from Rome to Colossae in the Roman province of Asia with that letter in his hand.  But on the inside of that letter was something that destroyed the institution of slavery. 

"Philemon," said Paul, "I’m sending him back to you, but you are to receive him this time not only as a slave, but you’re to receive him as more than a slave.  You’re to receive him as a brother beloved.  And if he owes anything, lay it to my account.  If he’s stolen anything when he ran away, put it on my account.  I, Paul, will repay.  I’ve written it with my own hand" [from Philemon 1:10-19].  That destroyed slavery.

It’s the spirit of the Christian faith working on the inside of a man’s heart that changes life and social institutions and nations and kingdoms and the destiny of humanity.  That’s the only way it can ever really ever be changed.  When you think by legislation and by concordat and by leagues and by all of these outward things you’re going to change humanity and its institutions, you’re going to ride for failure and disaster.  But if we can change the heart and the soul, you’ve changed the nation and the institution and the life.  Christianity says, "It’s not the outside of a man, it’s the inside [Matthew 23:25-28; Luke 11:39-40].   It addresses itself not to externals but to the heart, to the soul.

Let me illustrate that.  Oh, Billy, do you have these choir members take off their jewelry?  Well, I didn’t know that.  Well, here I was going to use that for an illustration and you got ’em taken off.  All right, let’s look around us.  Almost – Mary, yeah, she’s got ’em.  Almost every one of these women got somethin’ hangin’ on their ears – almost every one of ’em.

All right, I was listening to Lloyd Corder who’d been down in South America on some little islands right off the coast of Colombia.  He was preaching there to some aboriginal natives, some South American Indians.  Now that particular tribe, that particular tribe of Indians – those primitive Indians, those aboriginal Indians down there – all those women down there, all those primitive women down there, wear rings in their noses just like that, just like that.  They all wear rings in their noses.  Well, Lloyd Corder went down there, preached the gospel to those aboriginal Indians with all the women sitting out there in front with rings in their noses, and God blessed him.  They had a great revival, and they came down the aisle and were saved and became Christians, did those primitive aboriginals. 

Well, when Lloyd Corder told that – how God had blessed him and how they’d come down the aisle and given themselves to Jesus and got right with the Lord – why, one of those women spoke up and said, "Uh, uh, listen, uh, uh, Brother Corder, listen. Uh, uh – when those women came down the aisle and gave their hearts to Jesus, did they quit wearing rings in their noses?  Did they quit wearing rings in their noses?"

And Lloyd replied.  He said, "Well, well" he said, "I – I don’t know."  He said, "I never thought about that."  He said, "I don’t know whether they quit wearing rings in their noses or not, but," he said, "What is that got to do with the Christian faith?"  He says, "What does it matter whether you wear the ring in your nose or whether you wear it in your ear?" 

How many of you women wear a ring in your ear?  Yeah.  Does it keep you from being a Christian to wear a ring in your ear?  Does it keep you from being a Christian to wear a ring in your nose?  Boy, if we men could get our women to wear rings in their noses, man, we could lead them around, couldn’t we?  Couldn’t we?  What does it matter whether you dress like a westerner or not or whether you dress like they do over there in the Orient with long sweeping robes?

Now, may I make one comment?  And I can’t preach all night long.  I’ve got to quit.  Now listen.  May I make one comment?  The one tremendous handicap – and it’s a disastrous one – of the Christian mission enterprise of our Southern Baptist Convention is this: that when they go abroad, they are interested in making Americans out of the black people in Africa and out of the yellow people in Japan as though the Christian faith were identified with our Western American culture!  And it isn’t!  And it isn’t.  If a fellow wants to wear pajamas like they do over there in Cairo instead of wearing a suit like I have, let him wear pajamas.  It doesn’t make any difference.  Doesn’t make a bit of difference in the world.  And if they want to wear a ring in their nose or put a bone in their hair up there – I would just stop at this: I do think that they ought to put on a few clothes in Africa when they come to church, and they’ve all agreed on that.  I think that’s all right.  But I would think a fellow could be a Christian and go half-naked even. I believe he could.

You are not to identify the Christian religion with externals says Paul.  You’re not to do it.  The Christian faith is a matter of the soul.  It’s a matter of the spirit.  It’s a matter of the heart.  It’s the matter of the insides of a man.  And the little key here: "Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God" [1 Corinthians 7:24].  That’s the key.  Let him abide with God.  We’re to seek union with God [John 15:4-5].  Our souls and our hearts and our lives are to be joined to God, and if a man is committed to God and given to God, all the rest will take care of itself.  You don’t need to worry about that man in the governor’s chair, in the president’s office, in the house, in the home, in the bank, here, yonder, anywhere.  If a man’s given to God, he’s all right.  Paul says he is: "Let every man, wherein he’s called, abide with God" [1 Corinthians 7:24]. 

Now, dear people, I have to quit.  But I have just come to the climactic principle that Paul uses as the basis for all of this that he says.  I’ll read it, and then I’ll stop.  It’s in the twenty-ninth through the thirty-first verses of the chapter:

 

This I say, brethren, this I say, the time is short: it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they had none,

They that weep as though they wept not, they that rejoice as though they rejoiced not, they that buy as though they possess not,

They that use this world, as not abusing it.  For the fashion of this world passeth away.

[1 Corinthians 7:29-31]

 

The great principle that lies back of it all is this: the time is short.  The world and its fashion is passing away [1 Corinthians 7:31].  We’re to get ready for the great eternities of God.  And if we’re right with God, if we’re right with God, brother, whether it’s long or short, whether I’m married or unmarried, whether I’m old or young, whether I’m rich or poor, those things don’t enter into that great and ultimate assize when I stand before God.  If I’m right, if my soul is right, if my heart is right, whether I weep, what does that matter?  Whether I rejoice, what does that matter?  Whether I have anything in this world, what does that matter?  Or whether I have nothing at all, what does that matter if I am hid with Christ in God? [Colossians 3:3]

Well, we have to quit.  But thank the Lord, if He delays His coming, we got another day, and we’ll be back looking at the Book, learning once more what the Lord hath to say.  Now, Billy, let’s sing our song.  And while we sing our song, while we sing our song, somebody you, somebody you, give your heart to Jesus.  Give your life to God, somebody you.  While we sing the song, you come, you come.  Anywhere, anywhere, give me your hand.  Come down here and give the pastor your hand:  "Preacher, my life I’ve given to God, and I give you my hand as my confession.  This is my committal.  Here I am and here I come, and here’s a whole family of us, Pastor.  We’re all coming down here.  We’re coming down here."  As the Lord shall say and lead the way, you come while we stand and sing.

PAUL SPEAKS OF MARRIAGE

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Corinthians 7:1-40

10-2-55

 

I.          Introduction

A.  In the application of Christian principles to varying circumstances of life, innumerable difficulties arise

1.  Corinthian Christians asked Paul

B.  His answers fall into two categories

1.  When he speaks by commandment of the Lord(1 Corinthians 7:10)

2.  When he speaks by permission, gives his advice(1 Corinthians 7:6, 12, 25, 40)

 

II.         Marriage

A.  Marriage between two Christians(1 Corinthians 7:10-11)

1.  Not to be entered wantonly – it is for keeps, forever

B.  Marriage between a Christian and a pagan(1 Corinthians 7:12-16)

1.  If in peace, that also sanctified; if not in peace, then separate

 

III.        Christian faith does not seek to change external relationships, but internal(1 Corinthians 7:17, 20, 24)

A.  Ecclesiastical, religious(1 Corinthians 7:17-19)

1.  A Jew, a Gentile, let him remain the same as he is

2.  Judaism, Christianity parted because of internal spirit

B.  Civil, slavery(1 Corinthians 7:20-23)

1.  Onesimus back to Philemon(Philemon 10-19)

C.  Christianity works not from what is external, but internal

1.  Our chief effort should be to abide with God (1 Corinthians 7:24)

a. Lloyd Corder

D.  Foundation principle – time is short(1 Corinthians 7:29-31)