Questions About Marriage
1 Corinthians 7:1-9
Introduction: In the first six chapters of 1 Corinthians Paul has been writing to them based upon what he had heard about what was going on there. In chapter 7, he begins to address some situations that they had wrote to him about. In Chapter 8 he writes concerning meat offered to idols, chapter 12 spiritual gifts, and chapter 16 the offerings, (you won’t want to miss that one)! Here in chapter 7 he addresses some questions that they had about marriage.
Remember that the city of Corinth was a place that was very immoral. Last week we saw that some of the teaching of that day was that the body did not matter and that you could do anything you wanted with it because it was only the temporary part of man. Hedonism, that pleasure should be the goal of life, was being pursued by the masses, kind of like today. Also many claimed that the freedom that was their in Christ actually allowed them to be involved in immorality. Paul as you remember pointed out the fallacies of both of these positions and said, “may it never be”.
At the same time Gnosticism, another misconception that was prevalent, was that the body should be denied anything that was pleasurable. Many had swung to the other extreme and taken the position that if something was found to please the flesh it could not please the gods. This teaching had found it’s way into the church and they wrote a letter to Paul to find out what he thought about it.
This morning we take a look at the two questions that they asked him about marriage.
1. Is it better to be single or married? Vv.1-2, 6-9
a. Paul gives his opinion from his own experience and speaks with permission from the Lord.
b. Paul thinks that it is good for people to remain single like he is now.
c. He probably was married and his wife died. He was a member of the Sanhedrin at one time and marriage was a requirement for that position.
d. He will state latter in this chapter that a single person can have a single hearted devotion to the Lord and that can be an advantage in service. We will deal with this in more detail in the weeks ahead.
e. One thing that Paul is clear about, although he prefers singleness at this point in his life, it is not right for everyone and neither is it more spiritual. God Himself instituted marriage so we know that it is a good thing too.
f. Everyone has their gift from God in this area. It is a gift to remain single and it is a gift to be married.
g. Which gift do you possess? Well for most people they have the gift of marriage. If you are presently married you have the gift of marriage. If you are single at this point you may or may not have the gift of singleness.
h. Do you long for companionship and intimacy that comes from a good marriage relationship? If so, then you probably don’t have the gift of singleness.
i. Do you like being alone and the physical marital relationship is of little interest to you? Then maybe you have the gift of singleness, unless you are already married!
j. Remember Paul is talking to people who had come up with the idea that they were to deny the body of all physical pleasure. Some were leaving the spouse because they though it was the more spiritual thing to do.
k. Paul says each person has their particular gift. One may have certain benefits over the other, but being single was to be looked on as being a gift and being married was also a gift from God.
2. What about the physical relationship in marriage? Vv.2-5
a. Paul makes it clear that people who have a desire for sexual fulfillment should get married and express those desires inside of the boundaries of marriage only.
b. He says that there should be a one husband, one wife relationship and then he gives some very candid instructions about what their physical relationship should be like and why it should be that way.
c. He says that husbands and wives have a duty to meet the physical and sexual needs of each other. He reminds them that it is on of the main reasons that people get married so they can enjoy each other on a whole new level with God’s complete blessing.
d. Do you remember your wedding ceremony? Do you remember the vows that you made? Do you realize that in getting married one of the vows that you made whether you said it or not was “I promise to give up the ownership of my body to you”. Now you may not remember that part, but that is what Paul says is true of the marriage relationship. Look at verse 4. It says that the wife’s body actually belongs to the husband and the husband’s body actually belongs to the wife.
e. Christianity always goes against the grain of mainstream culture. The culture then and now says that you are your own authority and it is looked down upon to be told what to do by anyone else. To place yourself under another’s desires would be ludicrous.
f. Paul says that you are defrauding each, depriving each other and cheating each other when you fail to meet the physical needs of your spouse.
g. To withhold yourself from your spouse as means of manipulation, punishment, or lack of interest is not an acceptable response. The reason for halting a physical union in a marriage is outlined by Paul.
i. By mutual consent. The husband and wife must both agree to it.
ii. For a limited time. (short)
iii. Specific reason: for prayer and the KJV adds fasting. (by that I would assume that when you see your spouse open their eyes or start eating then the time is up.
h. Paul also adds one of the reasons for having a vibrant physical relationship in marriage. If we don’t, we may become easy prey for Satan. In other words since one of the reasons that we got married in the first place was because there was a need for companionship and a desire for physical interaction. When that is not taking place within the marriage, we maybe prone because of our own weakness to look outside the marriage for that fulfillment.
i. Some disturbing numbers:
i. 25% of internet searches are on the subject of pornography. Porno search accounts for some 68 million daily searches.
ii. The pornography industry in this country is more than the total gross national product of 132 other nations.
iii. 53% of the men attending a Promise Keepers Convention admitted to viewing pornography during the week.
iv. 20% of men and 12% of women admitted to accessing pornography while at work.
v. 47% of believers said pornography was a major problem in the home.
j. Paul says that it is our duty our responsibility to make sure that we are meeting the physical needs of our spouse. Don’t allow them to be tempted by Satan because we defrauded them.
Conclusion: What should our response be to such a message? Do what God’s Word commands!
1 Corinthians 7:1-9 (NASB95)
1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.
3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6 But this I say by way of concession, not of command.
7 Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.
8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.
9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.