Loving When You’re by Yourself

Rob Green July 31, 2016 1 Corinthians 7:25-40

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3 ways that one can love when you’re by yourself

I. Appreciate the value of being single (1 Corinthians 7:25-40)

A. Remember that being single is preferred in some situations

1 Corinthians 7:25-28 - Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.

1 Corinthians 7:39-40 - A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

B. Recognize that married folks have obligations that single persons do not

1 Corinthians 7:32-34 - But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

C. Remember that undistracted devotion to the Lord is for your benefit

1 Corinthians 7:35 - This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

II. Invest focused energy into the mission God has given you

1 Peter 2:9-10 - But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

A. God wants you to remember who you are

B. God wants you to focus on declaring His praises

C. There are many possible ways that God wants this accomplished

III. Guard against those sins and distractions that take you off mission

A. The challenge of self-pleasure

Philippians 2:3-4 - Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

B. The challenge of discontentment

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

C. The challenge of purity

1 Thessalonians 4:3 - For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality…

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Well this year our annual theme has been loving our world and this summer we have dedicated part of our time to study a series specifically entitled loving the world under our roof. In our series we've considered subjects such as loving enough to solve conflicts or to ask for forgiveness or to avoid bitterness. Three crucial areas for family or really any close relationship at all. Then we consider loving our spouse by being a safe place through which to deal with both sin and suffering. Then loving our children by raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. David [inaudible 00:00:40] was here helping us think about loving enough to use our testimony as a way to help others see their need for Christ. Then Paul [inaudible 00:00:50] was willing to share with us a little bit about how we could love enough to prepare for our eternal future. Then last Sunday Doc Smith and Pastor Trey walked through how do we love enough to properly care for a loved one in failing health.

Today is the final day in our series and it focuses on a portion of our population that doesn't get a shout out very often. That is our single population. I think we all know that God created marriage, He blessed marriage and the expectation is that many maybe even most individuals will participate in married life at some point. However, and this is a very big however. However, the Lord also discussed the significance and the value of being single.

Therefore today our task is to think about loving when you're by yourself. How do you love the world when it's just you? I'd like to encourage you to turn to first Corinthians chapter seven. 1Corinthians 7:25 just to start off with. That is on page one thirty-three of the back section of the Bible in the chair in front of you. First Corinthians chapter seven, and as you're getting there I'd like to start with just two opening words. The first one is that this message is going to apply to all of us. Just like the message on loving our spouse or loving our children applies to everyone, so does the message particularly directed at singles apply to all those who are in fact married. Please don't check out of the message you think, "Oh man great, this is going to be an easy Sunday, it's for singles and I'm married great. I just get to sit back, chillax, maybe even take a little nap and prepare for my day."

Well, I want to suggest to you that this message applies to you in a couple of specific ways. One of them even if you're married is it can help you learn to relate to singles in how to discuss single life. Secondly that there are truths that you can use to encourage single people in your sphere of influence. Then third, some of the truths that apply to singles apply to everybody and so it's not like this is only for singles, it's for all of us regardless of our condition. I want to encourage you that this message actually applies to you. Then the second thing is that this is going to come from several different places of scripture. We're going to try to do a little short biblical theology of singleness if you will, instead of just one passage where we're focusing all of our attention. With our time this morning I'd like us to consider three ways that one can love, love the world that is when you're by yourself.

I. Appreciate the value of being single (1 Corinthians 7:25-40)

Here's number one; to appreciate the value of being single. To appreciate the value of being single. It's pretty hard to love other people when all of our focus is on ourselves do you notice that? It's really hard to care about others when you tell yourself fifty times a day that you wish your condition was different. For those of you who are single I want to encourage you that your ability to love others will be partially based on your willingness to appreciate the value of the condition that you're in right now. First Corinthians Chapter seven God actually gives us several reasons why you should in fact appreciate being single.

First one is that being single is preferred in some situations. Being single is preferred in some situations. Notice how the text says it. Verse twenty-five says, "Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. I think then that this is good in view of the present distress. It is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife, but if you marry you have not sinned and if a virgin marries she has not sinned yet such will have trouble in this life and I'm trying to spare you."

Paul who was single at this particular point in his life he may have possibly been married at some point earlier, but he's single now and he's writing to a church encouraging people to remain in the condition that they're in. If you're married great stay married. If you're single great stay single and that's not surprising because he was living in the Roman Empire. The Pax Romana or the piece of Rome was not built because of this warm fuzzy approach to peace but was built on ruthless brutality and fear and so peace meant for submission to an all-powerful empire and emperor.

Imagine living in a situation like that. Imagine living in some of the situations that we find ourselves in. What Paul writes and I think it's very important here to recognize that this comes from the heart of God is that there are times and there are places, there are seasons, in which being single is actually preferred. It's certainly true that there are some situations that are more stable than others but I want you to see the heart of God in this passage where He suggests that there are times, there are places in which it is better to actually be single.

Now some of you who are single you get it. You are right there right now you appreciate your singleness, you are happy in Jesus without a spouse. Praise God for you. That is exactly where you should be. You're glad that the Lord has you in this condition. Sometimes others struggle and I want to encourage you that loving your world is going to require that you remember that you are single right now because a loving God is choosing to spare you a little bit of trouble. I want to encourage you to think like that. He's paving you a little bit of trouble. Later on Paul actually wrote this, "A wife is bound as long as her husband lives but if her husband is dead she's free to be remarried to whoever she wishes only in the Lord but in my opinion she's happy if she remains as she is and I think that I also have the spirit of God." His argument is still the same. That if you are married great stay married, if you're single whether you are single because you haven't been married or you become single then stay single.

Paul of course allows for remarriage. Paul of course will tell Timothy later on to the younger widows encourage them to be married. There is of course biblical balance in all of this. I want to suggest to you that at least one side of the balance is that singleness is good and it should be valued and appreciated. The text goes on. Recognize that married folks have obligations that single persons simply do not have. Please don't hear me say to all of you who are single you have sixty hours a week with absolutely nothing to do. I know that's not true. You have laundry, you have cleaning, you have car repairs, you have cutting your grass, you have cooking, you have cleaning etc. that you don't get to share. That's true, but on the other hand notice how the word of God puts it. He says, "I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord. How he may please the Lord but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife and his interests are divided.

Well similarly, the woman who is unmarried and the virgin she is concerned about the things of the Lord. That she may be holy both in body and spirit but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world. How she may please her husband. In other words, apparently these responsibilities are not entirely equal and it may be that this is part of the trouble that Paul was saying in verse twenty-eight, "I want to spare you from." God may want to spare you from certain kinds of trouble and so rather than be upset about that you can view it as a loving God who is caring in a very special way for you and before you run to the place that you are convinced that marriage is going to solve your problems. I want to encourage you to think of some of the trouble that exists in a marriage. Here's just a few of them. These are all real life illustrations.

What would you do if your spouse who you thought was Mr. or Miss wonderful five years later becomes rather harsh and mean and demeaning and hard on the two little children that you just have? What are going to do? How is it you're going to walk through that situation? What would you do if your spouse went a little crazy with the discipline last night and now you have a legitimate fear that maybe the law was just broken? You have trouble no matter what you decide. What about what happened to one of our recent seminary graduates? Got married, three weeks later his wife was having all sorts of physical challenges and discovered that she actually has a very serious disease for which neither one of them knew about prior to their wedding day.

It's fair to say that he got a little different wife three weeks later than the one he had the day they got married. Or what if your spouse suddenly decided that they were not going to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ anymore? Now you have the pleasure of raising your children where one spouse says "Yes Jesus is supreme king," and the other spouse says, "No Jesus was just some historical figure who died, was buried, and rot in His grave."

What if your spouse decides that they don't want to be married anymore and so you spend five hours a week for the next fifteen years of your life trying to figure out how you're going to handle the logistics of getting your children from one place to the other. One of our other former seminary students contracted brain cancer during his time with us and over the last several years his wife did not know that that is exactly what she was signing up for but she has been in the waiting room while he's had brain surgery on multiple occasions. She has been there when he has had chemo treatment after chemo treatment after chemo treatment and radiation treatment after radiation treatment after radiation treatment and unless the Lord heals him, she will bury him.

Last year the story broke that while a young pastor was exercising in a local gym his wife was killed. I'm not suggesting that every single one of these burdens comes upon every single married family. I'm just simply highlighting the fact that there is legitimate trouble. Every day there are people in our country who are in the process of losing a child. What started out as giddy excitement that you're going to have a baby ends with a disappointment that you're not.

In some cases, it requires inevitable procedures that no one wants to have and unending conversations that no one would like to talk about and unending celebrations of your friends who have children while you go home childless. Marriage does have its blessings and its benefits for sure. We've talked about many of them, but it also has its troubles. If God has put you in a place where you are single today, then maybe he is choosing to save you from some of the trouble that comes from married life. I want to encourage you to praise Him, to thank Him, and to appreciate the value of the condition that He's put you in right here and now.

For those of us who are married I want to encourage you to have appropriate wisdom as you speak to singles. God may in fact have a spouse for that person but until the Lord reveals that let's remember to support our singles in the very things that God has called them to do. A third reason why we appreciate our singleness is remembering that undistracted devotion to the Lord is actually for your benefit. Undistracted devotion to the Lord. That's how the text puts it in first Corinthians seven, "As is this I say for your own benefits not to put a restraint upon you but to promote what is appropriate and to secure on distracted devotion to the Lord. There's a sense of purpose here. God's goal is to secure devotion to Him that is undistracted. That's because the Lord sees our lives to the great of eternity. I have a little illustration; little visual I would like to do here for a second.

I brought with me one-hundred-foot extension cord and I'm just going unravel a little bit of this. Here's my hundred feet of extension cord. I want to consider that this extension cord is your life. This is your life. The sum total of your life. This plug represents your life on earth and this represents everything else. This small portion right here represents your life on earth and yet there are times that we spend ninety-nine percent of our time and our effort and our energy focused on the very small percentage of our actual life. One of the things that God says and by the way this is for married people too, but one of the things that say God says especially to singles is He says this frees you up. When you are single you are freed up to think a little bit less about this and more about all of this and that is actually for your benefits because when the day of judgment comes it's going to represent all of this. I want to encourage if you're single appreciate that.

That God has given you some focused time and energy in order to devote it to what is coming later and to think not just about what's going to happen today or what's going to happen tomorrow, but to think what is going to happen when I'm in the presence of Jesus. If it's one thing that ... A merely a situation reminds us of is it could be any time. It could be any time. I want to suggest to you that the first step in loving our world and the first step for a single in order to love their world is to appreciate the condition that the Lord has you in right now. Here is the second thing.

II. Invest focused energy into the mission God has given you

Invest focused energy into the mission that God has given you. Invest focused energy into the mission that God has given you. Once you're free to appreciate what God has given you and you're no longer clamoring after what the Lord has not given you, then you're free to invest your energy into doing what God wants. Singles God has a mission for you. Your life doesn't start the day you get married, your life starts the day you were conceived.

Then there's something to live for and therefore there is something to be excited about. You can wake up every morning charged and juiced up that God has given you a special joy and mission to accomplish and therefore you have the privilege of going after it. Now first Peter chapter two is one of those passages, probably my favorite passage regarding purpose.

When it comes to purpose what is it that God says we're to do? Since you are a chosen race of royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, here comes purpose, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. For once you were not a people but now you are the people of God. You had not received mercy but now you have received mercy. One of the things that this reminds us of is God tells us who we are and the point of the first part of verse nine, those four descriptions have a very rich history in the Old Testament. I have time to unpack all of them but I'm going to describe what each of them are in brief.

A chosen race, the Bible does not use race which in this passage to refer to skin color. It refers to lineage, to heritage, and the people of Jacob, the family of Jacob were God's chosen people. From all of the other nations God chose a certain group of people and now Peter applies that very same terminology to all those who have repented of their sin and trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every New Testament believer is part of the chosen race.

I want to encourage you if you are here this morning and you have never placed your faith and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus that you can do that today. It implies that you actually have a need that you cannot solve. It implies that you have offended a holy God and the only way for that offense to be erased is for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to take your place. If you want to talk about that more please see one of the service pastors that are floating around all morning or talk to somebody that you know, a friend of yours and let's get that handled as quickly as possible.

One of the reasons why you would want to do that is so that these descriptions could be true of you. Which says not only a chosen race produces a royal priesthood. As soon as you hear the word priesthood you're thinking "Wow God has made New Testament believers a kingdom of priests? We get to be priests ourselves and the answer is yes and what a privilege." You remember as you've been [inaudible 00:20:17] by the fellowships you've been studying through first Samuel and one of the things that results in Saul being dismissed as King is that he offers sacrifices when he is not authorized to do so.

God says, "You have disobeyed my rules. Here's the way it works. You come to me through the priesthood," there is a mediator and God in His grace now after sending Jesus Christ says you have as a believer in Christ free access yourself. A holy nation. Holy means to be set apart and more specifically it means that those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ therefore have the imputed righteousness of Christ on their account and so when God sees them He sees them through the righteousness of Jesus.

Then a people for God's own possession this is the one that is most amazing in my mind. That if you have trusted in Jesus Christ you are God's inheritance. Every time I think about myself as God's inheritance I'm thinking, "Am I like that old vase that nobody else wanted? That somehow ended up in my possession because nobody wanted it from great grandma Suzy?" Yet God says, "Those of you who have placed your faith and trust in Christ you are God's inheritance." If we really understand who we are in Christ, then we can stop worrying about all the things that we don't have and start praising God for all the things that we do. The reason that God has done this for us is He wants us then to be focused on declaring His praises. If that's true, if these descriptions are in fact true, here is why they're true, so that you may proclaim the excellencies or the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His light.

Our task is not about envying someone else who has something, our task is not about throwing a pity party and hoping everyone will come. Our task is not wallowing in our depressive thoughts. Our task is to declare His praises. Our task is to wake up every single day thinking and thanking God for the privilege of serving Him. Well, that raises the question though. What does it look like to do that? What does it look like to declare the praises of God with your life? What is the mission that God wants you to accomplish? I want to suggest to you there are many possible ways that God wants to accomplish in your life. When I remember what God has done for me and I see the mission that God has for me then the only question becomes well how do I live that out? How do I do that? This is probably a good time as any for a little testimony.

I didn't grow up thinking I was going to be a pastor. I didn't grow up imagining that I would be part of a counseling ministry that has the privilege of serving people in our church and serving people in our community and serving ladies who come to vision of hope or serving men who go to Bethany farms or serving in Latin America, I just never dreamed about any of that. I never dreamed about writing a book, I never dreamed about being involved in training other pastors in the personal ministry of the word through biblical counseling. How in the world did I get here? That's the beauty of the Lord's leading in life isn't it? Where you just start by doing what you think God wants you to do today. When I graduate from high school, I didn't really know what God wanted me to do with my life but I knew this, He wanted me to go to school so I went to school.

Two years after I started going to school I realized maybe God is leading me in a different direction than I initially thought, but I kept that path, kept working, discovered that well yes indeed God had a plan because at that very same time he brings a young lady into my life whose name was Stephanie we got married and she wasn't done with school yet so we now knew what our next step was. Help her finish her school. Then we got done with our school and we started looking at each other like okay what does the Lord want to do now and we began seeing that God was directing our path to go to seminary, so we quit our jobs and we moved out to [inaudible 00:25:06] Pennsylvania to go to seminary. Then while we were there I don't know where our next step is, I don't know if we're going to end up in California or Florida or Ohio or Maine or where, I don't know where God is going to take us but we know where we're supposed to be right now so just get your homework done.

Then the next step was, you need to go to an internship, you know you go to a church and someone looked at me square in the eye and said you need to go to ... Well what you used to call Faith Baptist Church in Lafayette Indiana. I was like why do I want to go to Faith Baptist church in Lafayette Indiana? Purdue University is there, I mean I'm a bad guy. I had no idea why I wanted to go to Faith in Lafayette Indiana but God knew that because God said well, I've got a plan I'm directing your steps and so how is it that you end up to teach in a seminary? How is it you have the privilege of working in a counselling ministry? How is it you have privilege to be in here? The answer was one step at a time. God leads one step at a time. If you're single and you're just waiting for God to bring the lightning bolt to your life that's suddenly going to clarify the next forty-two years of your life, that is not going to happen.

Can I suggest that what God is going to do is He's going to lead you one step at a time? Just be really faithful at the one step that you know He's got you in right now. Just do that one step that He has assigned to you at this particular point in life and go for it passionately and if God at some point decides to maneuver that situation somewhere else, then God can in fact do that. For those of you who are singles are thinking, "All right I get it. Learn to hold my own row. Get that, get this part right. Do this one right and then God may have me in this row forever or He may lead me somewhere else but at least I'm in the position to do that and I'm also in a position to love my world because I'm seeking to bring honor and glory to Christ.

For those of you who are single who you think maybe haven't been stewarding your opportunity very well or maybe the Lord is asking you to do a little bit more, here's a couple ideas to consider. Maybe God wants you to start a ministry or maybe He wants you to start a business that's going to glorify God. Maybe He wants you to do that because He's put you in a place where you can and He wants you to be a person who's going to live every single moment of your life for Him.

You can invest your time and energy into that. Maybe God wants you to be active in the big brother or big Sister or after school tutoring programs that are available around in our community and instead of being frustrated about the fact that you don't have children of your own maybe God really wants you to love the world by loving those who are children who don't have that. Maybe God wants you to help a widow in your neighborhood do some of the simple tasks that she cannot do for herself. Maybe God wants you to give more generously. Maybe He's blessed you in some of those areas and quite frankly you don't need to save for little Johnny's braces and if you've never bought braces that's a big statement by the way. For those of you who have its two point two million dollars all up front and these are just ideas. There are thousands and thousands more what God may be directing you, leading you to do certain things because He has equipped you and He's called you to that.

Can I encourage you to get excited about that and to be invested in that? Can I encourage to get up every morning thinking, “Man, God you’ve given me this great privilege and I just need to do it with all of my heart for You.” I think there's tons to accomplish singles and I think God wants you to be excited about your single position right now. My argument has been pretty simple to this point, that the Bible encourages those who are single to appreciate their single status and maybe a status that you have for life or it may be a status that you have for a certain period of time but as long as it exists I want encourage you to live with thankfulness and appreciation and with passion that God has put you there. Second; the argument has been well, fulfill the responsibility to declare the Lord's praises in the various ways in which He wants you to serve and so if you don't have every picture of your life clear at least have one picture of your life clear and that is today. What God wants you to do today.

III. Guard against those sins and distractions that take you off mission

Now the third piece that I would like us to think about this morning is; what are some things that prevent that. Let's guard against those sins or those distractions that might take you off mission. What is it that gets us derailed from the things that God has called us to and I want to suggest three of them. There are many more but here's a few. The first one is the challenge of self-pleasure. See I believe that God has designed us to be happy. He's designed us to be happy in Him. Pleasure by itself is not bad. It's part of the way in which we were made but sometimes the pursuit of pleasure occurs outside of our walk with Christ and so it takes forms that God did not intend and Philippians 2:3 and 4 remind us, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interest but also the interests of others.” See rather than caring about people it's possible to use them in order to accomplish our own self pleasure.

That's the opposite of loving our world. It's using them instead and so each of us have to be on guard against taking our own God-given desire for pleasure and turning it into a self-directed pleasure. Here are a few questions that you might ask yourself to help you evaluate whether that's true for you. Are you actively involved in service in which there is no reward? If there is no reward then it is clear that I'm just doing this because I love Jesus and I want to honor Him and if He chooses to reward me with something great, if not that's fine too but I want to make sure that I'm honoring Christ even if this person does not honor me.

Do you help others without asking for anything in return? Just help because there is a need and there's an opportunity for you to do something about it. Do you mentor someone because you by God's grace are in a position of greater spirituality than that other person is at this stage of their life and then ask yourself where you're able to accomplish the mission that God has for you? If you're convinced that God wants you to do A B C and D and you don't have time to get B done. Maybe the reason you not time to get B done is because you have spent too much time on self-directed pleasure. That's one possibility.

Singles; really all of us, right? Let's not miss out on the opportunity to do what God is giving us to do in order to make a significant difference for eternity. I mean when you think about it this one plug is a rather small portion of the core, just one portion. Let's not spend all of our time thinking about this when there's all of that that is worth time and energy and focus. A second challenge is the challenge of discontentment. The challenge of discontentment, Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Him who strengthens me and if we took the time to pack that passage we would see that the reality is that this is given in the context of contentment. Some singles do not struggle with this but others do. They want to be married, they want to have a child, they want to be a stay at home mum, they want to be ... They don't want to career but while these may be desires of your heart you do not have to have them. Can I repeat that? You don't have to have them.

Paul desired to be with the Lord. He says that in Philippians chapter one. He says it in 2 Corinthians Chapter five, “What would I prefer? I would prefer to be at home with Christ because that's a whole lot better but for your sake I am planning to remain.” I think God wants me to remain and so as long as it's good for you I'm going to remain here even though I'd much rather be at home in heaven or can you imagine being wrongfully imprisoned for five years when you penned those words. Five years in prison and you would think if you were a church planner you would be thinking that being in a box would not be a great place to be. Your thought, “Man I need to get out there and win some people to Christ.

To me that's what I need to do.” Paul's view was as long as God has me in this box I'm going to win as many people to Christ as I possibly can in the box. In other words, I've learned how to be content in whatever situation I am. Did he desire to be freed? Of course he did and he even writes, “I believe that there's going to come a day in which God is going to release me from this imprisonment and I can get out and do additional missions,” but until that time comes I'm going to be blossom right we're I’ve been planted.

I'm going to thrive right where I am. I'm sure many of us wanted to be something that we're not. Maybe we wanted to be in the Olympics or we wanted to be a professional athlete but God never gave us that opportunity so we moved on and I will encourage you. If you're single and you're really struggling with contentment you've got to go to the Lord for that. Run to the Lord for that because it's through His power that you can be strengthened for all things including the thing of contentment. Be careful what you think will make you happy. Can I encourage you with those words? Be careful what you think will make you happy.

For those who have been in Adult Bible Fellowship you know that 1 Samuel has been something that we were studying or some of us are still wrapping up. In 1 Samuel 8 the people said, “We want a King who is going to make us just like all the other nations, who is going to fight our battles for us,” and Samuel was like, “You really don't want that,” and they're like, “Yeah we do,” and he said, he goes to God he says, “God please don't give them that,” and God says, “Well, here's what's going to happen. They're going to ask for it and you're going to give it to them.”

Can I suggest to you that that is an answer to prayer you never want where God says, “Okay, I'm going to give it to you because you're absolutely convinced that you want it so that I can show you how bad it is when you actually have it,” and yet that's exactly the thing that God demonstrated to the nation of Israel. Be careful about thinking that if I just had this then I would be happy and even if God in His sovereignty allows you to have something that makes you happy that doesn't necessarily mean the cause of Christ was strengthened.

Now the final one that I'm going to mention this the challenge of purity. The challenge of purity, 1 Thessalonians 3:4 says, “For this is the will of God your sanctification that you abstain from sexual immorality,” and sexual immorality is such a broad term. Really refers to anything and everything outside of the plan of God. Can I just suggest that this is one of the areas in which singles get in trouble and it's one of the ways in which it prevents singles from accomplishing all the things that God has for them? In some cases, it just means that time and energy and focus is dedicated to the wrong thing, the next sexual pleasure but other times what it means is that the person's immorality puts them in a position where they cannot serve in a way that would fulfill the mission that God has for them.

Can I encourage you to see that that is an obstacle in the way of fulfilling your mission? It's not a help. It's an obstacle and so you remember that well here's one of the things that God says His will is so I may not know what God wants me to do five years from now but I know what He wants me to do today. I know He wants me to avoid this today and so I do have a picture of what God wants from my life right here and right now and so let's focus on it. Now if you are single and you're struggling with one of these areas and you want to talk to somebody.

I want to encourage you to reach out to your service pastor or reach out to the counseling ministry and we have individuals who will serve and would be happy to help you deal with these struggles because we want every single person in a position where they can fulfill the things that God has for them. Well, let me just summarize what I've tried to do in these three points. The first one is to appreciate the value of being single. If you're single appreciate that value. Thank God for the privilege of being in that position today and then second; do what God has called you to do.

The mission-oriented, focused on what God wants for you. Be passionate about it, excited about it, thankful for it and then be on guard against things that could derail that mission. Now for those of us who are married let's be cautious with our words. Let's support and value these missions. Let's not in any way devalue the wonderful place that God has for our singles. After all, let's remember this single people throughout human history change the world like Jesus. Let's pray. Lord thank You for Your loving kindness. Thank you for the privilege of Your word and having it in our language so that we can read it and study it. Lord thank You for the clarity of it in so many areas of life whether we're talking about bitterness or whether we're talking about forgiveness or whether we’re talking about marriage or raising children or whether we're talking about being single.

Lord I pray for those who are single today. I pray that You would help them to value their singleness. I pray that You would help them to fulfill the mission that You've given them and I pray that You would help them to avoid the areas that could derail that. Lord I pray that you would help them to see Your will as one step at a time and it may be that You want to change their course, their path in the days ahead but help them to live the path that You've given them today. Lord I also pray that you would help us who are married to be kind and thoughtful and respectful and wise in our counsel and our encouragement towards of those who are single. Thank you Lord for this series and we asked that You would use it to grow us and to mature us to the image of Christ in Jesus name. Amen.

Rob Green

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Pastor Rob Green and his wife, Stephanie, joined the Faith staff in August, 2005.  Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at the Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the council board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.