Dr. Ed Young - Lasting Relationships
Let me ask you a question: Would you let someone spoke in this pulpit, this evangelical, believer in Bible, if they had been part of the persecution of many Christians in the Middle East, you would have seen a lot of people be executed and they would have applauded it, and they would have organized groups to carry out this terrorist activity to persecute Christians, and that person came to know Christ? Would you let them stand in the pulpit here?
What happens if someone looks at a beautiful woman, He looked out the window and she was taking a bath and he he wanted her, and he went and invited her to a social gathering and he had sex with her and fell in love with her and arranged for a hitman to kill her husband so that he could marry her, and he married her? Would you let that person stand up and speak in this pulpit? Well, we just excluded the apostle Paul and David. My point, God heals, God forgives, God cleanses and gives to those who follow Christ a new and fresh beginning. That is the Gospel, that is the good news. We don't cancel people. We say, "Come to him for his healing and forgiving grace".
So Paul takes these first 6 chapters, and it's almost a shotgun approach, deal with this, with this, with this. And in chapter 7, remember the context, he answers specific questions the church had asked him as its founding pastor. And then you get to chapter 7 and look what it says. "And now about the things you wrote to me". It was about time. He said, "Now I'm going to answer those specific questions". And then it begins, in chapter 7, and deals of marriage, singleness and divorce. The first thing Paul talks about in 7 is marriage. "It is good for a man not to touch a woman. However, because of sexual immorality, let every man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband give to his wife the affection that he corresponds, and in the same way also the wife to the husband".
The wife has no authority over her own body, but the husband does. And neither does the husband have authority over his body, but the wife does. Do not deprive each other except with the consent of a time, so that you give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of his lack of self-control. "But I say this as a concession, and not as a commandment". Let me stop here and help us understand 7, Paul You're answering specific questions, okay? We don't know exactly what the questions are. And so you can take a verse here and it might say: "The Bible says, 'A man should not touch a woman,'" and someone would take that and say, "Man, this is what God he says in his Word".
In context, we have to understand things. He's talking about the body, and he's talking about the body and the culture of Corinth in that day. For example, there is a total understanding of the body, that the body is a morally neutral zone. What does that mean? It means that the body does not mean anything, what is important It is the soul. What is a soul? It is everything that is not meat. Do you understand that? Everything about you and me that is eternal, that is not flesh, that is your soul and that is my soul, this body does not It is made for eternal existence. Do you understand?
What he's saying here, there was a whole philosophy of that the body is a neutral moral zone. Therefore, you can do whatever you want. And that is hedonism, sex anywhere, anywhere moment, consent, we have heard that. There is a hedonistic vision of life, the body is neutral It doesn't make any difference, the only important thing is the soul. And the other extreme is that the body is a malignant zone, a malignant area. The body is so evil that celibacy must be practiced. Celibacy, without relationship with the opposite sex. Those are the two extremes, celibacy or promiscuity. That was the culture.
Now, understand what's happening, these people are coming from all over the world, all kinds of visions of marriage and sex and relationships, and Pablo is trying to establish and say, you have two extremes in the church, some They are celibate and some are hedonistic. And then he comes and says what happens in private in the Marriage, in marriage, body and soul unite. That is the magnificent vision of physicality in marriage and sex. In the marriage you have in the church, and that is the beauty of a Christian marriage. Pablo is dealing with this, and then he deals with being single.
What if Pablo had been married and had children? Could he have done for God what he did, travel all over the world, bring the Gospel to Europe, could it? No, no, no, it would be very limited. He would have more responsibility towards his wife. and your family, right? So Paul is saying, "I wish you could be single, like me, because I'm free to do things". So you have the married life and the single life, and by the way, married life is much more complex than the single life. We could not run this church without men and women single, it would be impossible. If we list all the things that these tremendous Single for us, we sit back and say, "Whoa".
Now, for the first time in American history, Today there are more single people in the United States than married. For the first time in history, then being single is in fashion. And in the crisis that they saw in Corinth, Paul is saying: "It is better to be single, and some of you who have the gift of singleness, it is better that you are single". Now, others would say, "Well, I don't have the gift. I don't have the gift of singleness, I want be married". But then we understand spiritual gifts, follow me carefully. I don't have the gift of hospitality in the sense that I love preparing all that and cooking and doing. Many men have it, but I don't have that gift.
I like people, I like meeting people, I like conversation that revolves around hospitality, but the gift of all the preparation, that's not me. But many times, I have gotten involved in the preparation of the hospitality and doing things and preparing things, I don't I liked it because it was my duty, but I don't have the gift. I didn't enjoy it, it's my duty. So you may not have the gift of singleness, but in This moment is within you, your capacity to be pure and chaste and being single. This lifestyle is blessed by God, the lifestyle marriage is blessed by God. So it is important that we understand everything the topic of singles.
Let me tell you singles, whether you are divorced or widowed or never married, Handle your appointments biblically and sensibly. I suggest you read CS Lewis' book "Four Loves". It's a bit old-fashioned, but CS Lewis talks about four words that can be translated love. Talk about eros, that is love and sexual attraction. Talk about storge, that's a kind of affectionate love. You feel a love there. And talk about agape, that is that total committed love what you have in marriage, total commitment. Then he speaks of phileo or philos, and that is love of friendship that you have. Philadelphia, city of brotherly love, philos, "Four Loves".
Now, if you are single and you go to a room and there are seven or eight people of the opposite sex, okay? And you're single, who do you tend to be attracted to? I'd probably, be honest, gravitate towards chemistry, towards eros, or maybe towards storge, you know, someone who be warm and loving, you are going that way. And that's where people make mistakes, we start with that attraction, that chemistry, that eros, that storge, and suddenly we approach this relationship backwards. We need to shuffle those loves and take the dates and the relationships if you are single: eros, sexual love, and put it aside. And what are you looking for in that room of eligible singles? What are you in? What are you looking for, first of all? You are looking for philos, phileo, friendship. You are looking for someone who will be your best friend, your best friend for the rest of your life, that's where you start.
It is true in Genesis, God created, "It is good, it is good, It's good, it's good, it's good, it's good, it's very good". Then he said, "It is not good for Adam to be alone". Well, what's Adam's problem? He is alone. Which is the answer? Eve. What does God say in your marriage? "Go away". He doesn't start with "Get naked". You start with friendship. If your wife, your husband is not your best friend, yes you have someone, "Oh, that's a better friend than you", You are in trouble. Start with friendship, and then you will get the order of these loves the right way. You start with phileo, you start with friendship, and then that friendship warms and becomes storge, becomes affection, and then finally it becomes agape, and then you make it commitment, everything you have, top priority of your life, total commitment of love, and then comes a total expression of eros.
You understand it backwards and they will make mistakes so many times, not every time, because we know that today divorce is in decline because there is a lot of coexistence. You know, "Let's live together and see if it works". Those who live together get married around the 63% of the time, but only about 36% of those marriages last. So if you want your marriage to last, don't start with coexistence. Don't start there. So what am I saying? I say that sexual relations in marriage It is an expression and celebration and it is something sacred. I say that outside of marriage it is zero and null. I'm saying in a dating relationship you're looking someone who will be your best friend and confidant in your life. Because marriage is dangerous. Your partner completely reprograms your life and your image.
If you get married and think, "Well, I'm pretty smart," and your wife and your husband say, "You're stupid, You just can't think clearly," That partner is reprogramming you. And they can reprogram you positively or negatively. They may say, "Wow, I think you have this and you you didn't know," and it works both ways. Ladies and gentlemen, marriage is the decision most important thing anyone does, outside of the decision to receive Jesus Christ. So make sure, if you want your marriage to sing, we have been talking about it for about five weeks, comes back and listen and study and it will work every time. We talk about singleness, then we talk about divorce and what happens in divorce is devastating. Because remember, I already told you, what is divorce? It's suicide. Two become one and that one dies. That's divorce, that's suicide.
So we look at the Bible and say, "Well, what does God say About divorce"? And I want you to see that God says there are three areas, three Areas Where God Speaks Clearly About Divorce in several different passages. Number one, Jesus says: the Pharisees ask him about divorce, trying to catch it between the two extremes. Do you remember the extremes of that day? In Roman culture, for more than 500 years, there was no a single divorce in the Roman Empire in any record and They keep track of everything. Did you understand it? 500 years, no divorce in the Roman Empire, why? The father was King Kong, the father determined everything, and marriages were managed through negotiation between the father of this female and the father of this male, and a dowry was set up.
And this happened when, generally... The children were about three years old. Hello? "And I will give you my daughter when your son is of age, and I will give you this dowry, this amount of money so that take care of her and protect her", and that is where the negotiation It took place, right there. And therefore, in Rome, they did not divorce. But remember, the Romans conquered the Greeks, but The Greeks conquered Roman culture. And in Greece, "Hey, man, I don't like the way you You cooked my eggs this morning, I'm leaving here, we're getting divorced".
Bang, it was done. Promiscuous society. And then, when the Romans came down to Corinth and began to fill other parts of the world, suddenly the culture Greek, even if they lost the war, the Greeks won culture and divorce was uncontrolled in Corinth. And then we see that this is what happens. Do you know buyer's remorse? Buyer's remorse?
You may not know that everything you buy, there is a given study, of everything we all buy in America, 486 billion items are returned. That's right, 10.6% of everything we buy is returned. And they have studied, groups of real estate agents and groups of sales, and they studied all this very carefully and said: "Because"? And for two reasons. Unmet expectations, number one. It didn't work out as simple for you as it did on TV, did it? It didn't cure St. Vitus' illness like they thought, right? One way or the other. Unfulfilled expectations. Number two, I got a better product. I got a better product. And does this sound like today's marriage? Getting married, "unexpected expectation, did not live up to Therefore, I divorce," or "Wow, I have this good handsome boy, and he is interested in me, and I I'm walking away from you, I have something better".
Interesting, in the secular market, men generally is realized first of all, in the world of purchasing and Secular selling usually recognizes, "It's not fulfilling my expectations" and generally exercise the understanding that there is something better. Men are quick at it, but men rarely, Compared to women, they offer refunds. They don't return it. Women, men, they return it, they want a refund, and the same thing in marital relationships. Women file for divorce many times more than men. men, although men realize that expectations are not met and, "Wow, there may be a better one or a prettier one here, a richer one here outside".
Interesting. Just like divorce in ancient times, I will send her I come back and here is the dowry I gave you in the first place. Divorce is deadly. Biblical reasons for divorce, number one, asked the Pharisees Jesus, "What about divorce"? Jesus says, "No divorce except," Matthew 19, "Pornea, for sex, for adultery". But the Pharisees wanted to get him, they said, "Oh, wait, wait a minute. Moses said all you had to do was get two witnesses and give a certificate and you are divorced". And Jesus says: "It was not like this in the beginning, divorce takes place now because of hardness of heart".
Hardness of heart, what the hell is that? Dispute with your wife, your husband, There is a wounded heart, right? We all know it, and it stays for a while and that The bruised heart becomes a cold heart. We talk, but it's very formal: "No doubt, I'd be happy to do that". It's cool, you know? "Don't sit there so pious, you're with me, I know".
There is a cold heart, and then that can happen to a heart hard arguing, fighting, ah-ah-ah. And then it can go into an apathetic heart, that's really a big problem, "I don't care what he does, I don't care what she does". But a hard heart, Jesus said this is allowed Because of marriages that have this hard and impious heart, and it is expressed through adultery, a reason for divorce. And then Paul elaborates on this in our passage in this seventh chapter Corinthians. He talks about desertion, and that is a broad and expansive word.
You have to be careful how we use it, but here It means someone who is brutal, it is someone who goes to overwhelming physical or emotional humiliations, They deserted, go away, they are not a part, they are there in body, but they are not there at all. Desertion is one area, Paul deals with that. And finally, the third reason is found in 2 Corinthians chapter number 5, "If anyone is in Christ, it is a new creation". All things are new. What does it mean for all things to be new? It means that all things are new. It means that before being a Christian there could be a divorce, and that divorce in the eyes of God no longer existed because you are a new man or woman.
Now let me tell you how serious this is and I'll read you a tragic letter. "I'm one of those, I'm sorry", blank, blasphemy, "That they cheated on his wife of 20 years and his two children, with her best friend. I married my best friend the day after that my divorce was final. and I have regretted it ever since, every second of my life. Yes, you get what you deserve in this life. My regret for the divorce is immense. I would give anything to go back in time knowing what I know now and loving my first wife like I never had before have loved, honoured, appreciated, respected or admired in his life, but I can't. I have been wrong beyond words. I had the best life anyone could have asked for, a beautiful, loving and dedicated wife, two beautiful children and sweets, an in-laws that loved me very much, But I was bored with all that. People kept telling me how blessed I was, But I couldn't see it. I was blinded by selfishness, so I bet everything to someone I thought was my soulmate. Oh, how wrong I was, very wrong. Five years later, I still cannot ignore the overwhelming guilt and shame for what I did. For a couple of minutes a day, a memory of me first wife and children and family leave my mind. I can't watch a movie or listen to music without thinking in her. I was already married to my soulmate and my true love, But I pushed her away. Oh, if life were like the movies, where sometimes We have second chances. I can't put into words how much pain I feel, but I know that's insignificant compared to how I broke him My heart goes out to my wife. I'm so sorry, sweetheart. If you ever read this, I'm so, so, so sorry. The irony of what I have done is this: I have broken my own heart, Anonymous".
Friends, don't let divorce define your life. Whatever, guilty, not guilty, whatever. God and Jesus Christ heals, restores, forgives and gives us a new beginning, and with the power of Christ in your life and Holy Spirit, there may be joy in the days ahead. That is the impulse of the Word of God.