Intro: Singles are a swiftly growing portion of our society. In fact,
only 42% of all households in the US are headed by single adults. Nearly 20 % of the adult
population of the United States have never been married. The singles population increased
385% between 1950 and 1982, from 4 million in 1950 to over 19 million in 1982. In 1989,
the Census Bureau noted that 39.9 million singles over the age of 18 had never been
married. When you add to this the fact that 50 % of all currently single women have been
previously married and that 50% of all marriages will eventually end in divorce, you begin
to see that those who are single comprise a significant portion of our population. Then
when you consider that as of 1987 there were 11 million widows and 2 million widowers you
can see that there a whole bunch of people who are not living the married life today.
There used to be a time when people who reached their adult years in a
single condition were looked down on, and considered inferior to others. However, that
perception has begun to change. Many are making a conscious decision to remain single.
They have a special place in the kingdom of God and there is a special word here for them
this evening. This passage speaks only to those who have never married, who are ready for
marriage, or to those who are widows or widowers. God's Word speaks to the issue of
divorce in the passage we will consider the next time we take up this chapter.
Therefore, as the Lord gives us liberty this evening we will consider God's
Word To Singles.
I. V. 7-8; 26-35 THE BLESSINGS OF THE SINGLE LIFE
(Ill. Some fell that there aren't any!)
A. V. 7-8 In Regard To The Will Of God - It is
not God's will for everyone to be married! There is no shame or reproach in choosing to
remain single if that is the Lord's will for your life.
(Ill. There have been times when being single was a badge of shame. In
ancient Greece, unmarried girls were thought to be prostitutes. The Jews considered
unmarried girls to be a shame and a disgrace to the family name. The Jews were
particularly harsh on the unmarried. Jewish men who were single were said to have
"slain their posterity and to have lessened the image of God in the world." The
Jewish belief in marriage was so strong that they even taught that "a Jew who had no
wife; or who had a wife but no children," was automatically forbidden from entering
Now, with all that in mind, we must remember that it is alright for a
person to be single if that is the Lord's will for their life. I believe that we can say
with all honesty that it is not God's will for most, but for those whom it is, God will
give the necessary tools to meet the need. You see, to live a clean, faithful, godly and
satisfied Christian life as a single, requires the gift of celibacy. If the Lord wants you
to be single, you can be sure that He will "gift" you for that lifestyle.
(Ill. Dr. Percy Ray was a man with this gift from the Lord. In fact, he
was engaged to be married to the daughter of Dr. R.G. Lee, but felt the Lord would have
him to remain single, and as a result, God richly used him and blessed his life.)
B. V. 26-35 In Regard To The Work Of The Lord
1. V. 26-32 Singles Generally Have Less Distress -
Singles typically face less demands physically, emotionally, materially and financially.
The word "distress" speaks of one's needs. Generally speaking he needs of
singles are less that those of their married counterparts. Two can not live a cheaply as
one! Then, in verse 32, Paul uses the word "carefulness." This word speaks of
stress and strain. Married couples have stress in their lives that singles simple do not.
To say the least, singleness is not without its stresses and strains, but when a husband,
a wife or children are factored in, the stresses become greater.
2. V. 32- 35 Singles Generally Have Less Distractions -
There is no one to please or to answer to but the Lord. When 2 people are married, they
are mutually responsible to provide care, love, intimacy and to meet the physical needs of
their mate. Just ask anyone who was single for a number of years and then got married!
Singles, however, are free to focus on the Lord and his will for their lives. There are
simply less distractions in the life a single individual!)
(Now, less anyone misunderstand, neither lifestyle is more spiritual
that the other. Each has its place in the work of God and each has its advantages and its
disadvantages. The secret is finding God's will for your life and then exercising the
gifts He has given to you!)
I. The Blessings Of The Single Life
II. V. 9, 36-40 THE BURDENS OF THE SINGLE LIFE
(When one is single, there may be certain needs that cannot be legitimately met. These can
include physical needs, the need for companionship, the need for emotional support, etc.
Those who have been gifted by God with the gift of celibacy have been given special
control over their sexual drive and urges. Those who have net been called to a life of
singleness do not have this special control in their lives. For those who have not been
gifted in this manner, Paul advises marriage. In these verses, Paul speaks of the special
burdens singles face.
A. V. 9 The Advantage Of Being Married - Inside
the marriage relationship alone can physical needs be legitimately met. Along with that
also comes the resources to meet other needs that require another human being. In verse 9,
Paul says that it is better to marry that to "burn." This word means to be
consumes with passion and lust. Paul is telling us that it is far better to marry and
exercise the gift of sexuality in a legitimate manner that it is to practice fornication
and incur the judgment and wrath of God in your life! If you cannot "contain",
that is, if you cannot control yourself, it is better to marry than dishonor God!
(Ill. Verses 36-38 tell us of the Jewish tradition of a father's
deciding who his daughter would marry. However, Paul tells us that contrary to tradition
it is acceptable for a young person to remain single if that is the Lord's will for their
B. V. 36 The Approach To Marriage - When and if
a person decides to marry, there are certain rules laid down here that need to be noticed
and diligently observed.
1. V. 36 One Should Marry Only After Waiting On The Lord
- This verse had reference to a father who has refused to marry his daughter to the first
fellow that came along. Instead, he has waited to find out what the Lord's will is for his
daughter and this is acceptable, even if society disagrees.
(Ill. Marriage is not something that should be rushed into. Rather,
marrying is a major decision that requires prayer and much caution. Many have rushed in a
marriage and have lived to regret it before too many years had passed. Many have wound up
divorced and disqualified for some duty in the Lord's work because they failed to answer
some simple questions that need to be addressed by all who are contemplating marriage.
1. Is this person I am seeing right for me?
2. Are we mature enough to be married?
3. Are we ready to carry out the responsibilities of marriage?
4. Are the circumstances favorable for a good, godly marriage?
5. Is this the Lord's will for my life?
(Ill. God's ideal for marriage is that is be a permanent union between
one man and one woman for one lifetime. Anything else is something other than that which
God intends for me to be involved in. Ill. One girl heard her pastor preach on marriage
and he was forceful that it was to be one man for one woman for one lifetime. After the
service she came forward and said to the pastor, "Pastor, I want to talk with you
about this business of one man for one woman for one lifetime." He asked her,
"Don't you agree with it?" She said, "Oh yes! I just want to get in on
it!" She was looking for a husband to met some need she felt and was willing to take
the first fellow that came along. I believe that folks should be very cautious and patient
when considering marriage. God has that perfect person in mind for you life and He will
bring them to you when His time is right. Marriage should never be rushed into, but should
be entered into patiently and cautiously and always in the will of God.)
2. V. 36 One Should Marry Only Within The Will Of The Lord
- The term, "he sinneth not" brings a spiritual element into the discussion.
Apparently the father in question is concerned about the Lord's will for the marriage.
This is an area where not enough can be said about being sure as to what the Lord wants.
Many people have married someone because of the way they looked or because they had a
little money or because they met some need or the other. The real issue is this, "Is
this person the one God wants you to be married to for the rest of your life?" Now, I
can say this for sure, If you are saved, God will never lead you to marry someone who is
not a Christian, 2 Cor. 6:14-16. You might do it on your on and it might work, you might
even be able to get that other person in church and eventually see them saved, but that is
they exception rather than the rule! Generally speaking, the lost spouse will eventually
win over the faith of the saved spouse! Folk, it is never God's will for you to marry
outside your faith!!!
(Ill. Many could have saved themselves much heartache and problems had
they simply patient and if they had approached marriage spiritually instead of from a
fleshly point of view!)
C. V. 39-40 The Allowance For Being Married - In
these verses, Paul turns his attention to a third group of singles. Those who are single
because of the death of their spouse. Paul's teaching is that it is perfectly acceptable
and right for those who have been widowed to remarry. He does, however, add this
condition: "only in the Lord!" Again, the Bible is teaching the necessity of
waiting on the Lord and of finding a godly spouse. It makes no difference how old you are
or how you feel about this issue. The only thing that matters is what the Lord has said
about it. And He has said that men could marry, but only in the Lord!
Conc: It is obvious that Paul elevates the condition of singleness. He
seems to be telling us that the primary relationship in our lives is that one which we
have with the Lord Jesus Christ, and that maintaining that relationship is easier if one
does not have a spouse to worry about. However, at the same time, He lets us know that
marriage is acceptable to those who decide to marry. I guess the best advise that Is can
give in this area is that you find the Lord's will for your life and abide therein!