Calvary Road Baptist Church

ďADVICE TO A SINGLE MAN ABOUT MARRIAGEĒ

Proposition #2

Consider marriage only if you need to consider marriage.

Matthew 19.12; First Corinthians 7.2

 

This will not be a lengthy message, but I am convinced it will be a provocative one. My desire this evening is to challenge your thinking. I want you married couples to do two things, and I want you single people to do one thing. First, I would like you married couples, especially you married couples with children, and to give serious thought to the approach you take to child rearing and how you will impart to your youngsters the values and assumptions they will make for living their lives concerning marriage and church. Next, I would like to provoke you to at least passing thought about the importance you place on your marriage in relation to serving God and living for Christ in connection with church. Switching to you single people, I want you to address this matter of marriage against the backdrop of Christian ministry in the church, serving God in the church, and eternity. My hope is that we will accomplish each of these three objectives before we clear my introduction this evening.

You should be reminded that since Jesus Christ bore my sins on Calvaryís cross, and took upon Himself the wrath of God for my sins, I face no judgment for sins before the throne of God. Lost people, however, will face the Great White Throne judgment referred to in Revelation 20.11-15:

 

11     And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12     And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13     And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14     And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15     And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

Though believers in Jesus Christ will not face any future judgment for sins, but must face the chastisement of God for sins in this present life, we will face a future judgment for service, referred to as the Judgment Seat of Christ. Please turn to Romans 14.10-13, where Paul refers to the Judgment Seat of Christ:

 

10     But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11     For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

12     So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

13     Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brotherís way.

 

Now turn to Second Corinthians 5.10, where the Judgment Seat of Christ is explicitly identified for the last time in the New Testament: ďFor we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.Ē

At this time, I would like you to turn to First Corinthians chapter three. Though there is no explicit mention of the Judgment Seat of Christ in this chapter, it is very clear that the criteria by which believers will be judged and the basis upon which believers will be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ is set forth. The text of concern to us in First Corinthians 3.8-17:

 

8      Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

9      For we are labourers together with God: ye are Godís husbandry, ye are Godís building.

10     According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

11     For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12     Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13     Every manís work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every manís work of what sort it is.

14     If any manís work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15     If any manís work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16     Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17     If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

 

Allow me to quickly rehearse some things you will find to be true in this passage when you have had time to carefully consider Paulís argument: First, though he begins with the metaphor of husbandry, Paul quickly passes over to a building metaphor, specifically a temple metaphor, likening the church congregation to a temple in which worship is conducted. Next, he likens Christian ministry and service to the building materials used for construction, be it wood, hay, and stubble, or gold, silver, and precious stones, which represents the proper quality of service for construction of a place of worship. Keep in mind that the fire of judgment implied here is the Judgment Seat of Christ, where the quality of a Christianís service for Christ after conversion will someday be evaluated. Thus, the Judgment Seat of Christ will be a place where Christian ministry and service will be evaluated, not the quality of your home life or your marriage.

The point that I seek to make is that there are rather typically two types of couples who are involved in any gospel preaching church. There are those who see church attendance from an entirely utilitarian perspective, and there are those who see church attendance as the means ordained by Christ for Christian ministry and service. To restate the matter in even more stark terms, some couples see church as being helpful for their marriage, and they attend church primarily for the benefits to their marriage that are derived from church attendance. That is, attending church helps to order their lives, helps them to raise their kids, helps to provide structure and moral support. In short, Christianity and church attendance is for pragmatic reasons.

Others, however, see the situation in reverse terms. Church is not primarily seen as existing for the purpose of being helpful to family, so that church involvement is something that caters to benefit of the family life. Instead, and this is the Biblical view, family is seen as something that is useful to church life, and serving God through Christís church. Thus, family is properly seen as that which strengthens, reinforces, and adapts to benefit the church, rather than the churchís ministry, the churchís schedule, and the churchís needs always playing second fiddle to the family.

Some would say, ďPastor, the family was brought into existence before the church.Ē To that assertion, I would heartily agree. However, the Judgment Seat of Christ will not evaluate the quality of your family life or devotion to members of your family. Instead, the Judgment Seat of Christ will feature an evaluation of your service to Christ to, through, and from your church congregation. Therefore, the church ranks as a higher priority in Godís scheme of things than does family. Most of the time family and church fit nicely together in very complimentary fashion. However, on those few occasions when there is a clash of church ministry and family function, a fair appraisal of Godís Word and the impact on your children will usually reveal that the family function should most frequently give way to the churchís ministry. After all, the church is the primary avenue through which grace is ministered to you and your family, and church ministry is what will be considered at the Judgment Seat of Christ, not your home life or how devoted you were to your unsaved adult children.

You single people need to keep all this in mind as you consider the place of the institution of marriage as it relates to your eternal welfare. That which affects eternity is more important than that which does not affect eternity. That which figures most prominently in the salvation of souls, and in Christians growing in grace, is more important than that institution which figures less prominently. In short, while marriage and family are important in Godís grand scheme of things, family does not figure at all prominently in the future judgment of Christians for rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and family is not a primarily channel through which grace is ministered to either the lost or the saved. Christian parents, do your children sense from the importance you place on church matters versus family matters that church is more or less important than family? Does your priority for church and family reflect what the Bible seems to teach, or are you following the trend of your generation over against the clarity found in the Bible? Now for you single people. Before we go any farther in our considerations this evening, you must recognize where you are with respect to this church and your plans for marriage. Since you will not be judged by Jesus Christ at His judgment seat for matters pertaining directly to marriage, but you will be so judged for matters pertaining directly to your involvement in this churchís ministry, First Corinthians 3.8-17, one institution (the church) should figure more prominently in your thinking than the other institution (the family).

These things all settled in our minds, and taking time for questions and objections, allow me to state my second proposition: ďConsider marriage only if you need to consider marriage.Ē

We know that God commands the lost to repent of their sins. In Acts 17.30, the Apostle Paul declared to the Athenians that God commands men every to repent. Therefore, repentance is not an option. Since the Great Commission directs us to make disciples for Jesus Christ, and we are commanded to baptize those who have repented of their sins and trust Christ, baptism along with repentance is not an option. Now, consider Hebrews 10.25, and the Biblical requirement for Christians to faithfully attend church: ďNot forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.Ē Therefore, repenting of your sins and becoming a Christian is not an option. God commands it. Submitting to believer baptism is not an option. Christ commands it. Faithful attendance at church is not an option. The Bible requires it. Finally, diligent ministry and service as a Christian is required, since Jesus will someday subject such ministry and service to careful scrutiny as the basis for giving rewards in heaven. All of these things are required by God.

What does God not require? Marriage. What is not required by God should never be allowed to interfere with what is required by God, and marriage is not required by God. That is why you who are not married should only consider marriage if you need to consider marriage. Turn to Matthew 19.3-12:

 

3      The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

4      And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

5      And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

6      Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

7      They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

8      He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

9      And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

10     His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

11     But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

12     For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their motherís womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heavenís sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

 

Now turn to First Corinthians 7.2-9, and the last phrase of verse 39:

 

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

3      Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

4      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.

5      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.

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

7      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.

8      I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

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

 

39     . . . only in the Lord.

 

Two considerations for you single men; because since you married men are already married you must deal with the situation you find yourselves in. My remarks are designed to help single men make decisions about marriage, and to help married men make adjustments in marriage.

 

First, CONSIDER THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE

 

You would be surprised at the number of professing Christian women who are, despite what the Bible clearly teaches, totally opposed to the idea of their man approaching the institution of marriage in a Biblical way. This is because our culture has both improperly elevated marriage to an unscriptural status, and at the same time made marriages vulnerable by so improperly elevating them. The safest and most wonderful husband for any woman to be married to is a man who is genuinely spiritual and devoted to Jesus Christ. To be sure, a woman married to such a man may not get as much of his premium time, and may not be the center of his universe, as with a husband whose wife is the be all and end all of his existence. However, any man who is guilty of such idolatry places himself, his wife, and his marriage in a precarious situation. Such distortions, in my opinion, contributes to the proliferation of divorces. Focus too much on one woman and another woman can quickly take her place. However, who can supplant the Lord Jesus Christ in excellency and glory? The single man, therefore, ought to be very clear in his mind about the place marriage to occupy in his life. Not only should Christ and the things of God be priority one chronologically, with salvation coming before marriage, but the church should take precedence institutionally. The church, after all, is an eternal institution, while marriage is a temporal institution. The church figures prominently in a manís evaluation at the Judgment Seat of Christ, while no such prominence is clearly stated in scripture with respect to marriage.

Please do not misunderstand what I say, or the emphasis I place. I am not seeking to denigrate marriage in any way. It is just that marriages are strongest with they are seen in their proper perspective, understood in their proper light, and engaged in their proper context. That is, marriages are strongest when they are not most important in a Christianís life. When you are contemplating marriage, you should not consider how church will fit into your marriage, but how your marriage will fit into your life of service to Christ through your church. When a man is committed to serving God within a set of parameters, and those parameters include Godís plan for every Christian in His church, that man is so much more stable over the long run, which is suitable for a strong and healthy marriage. Such a man is a spiritual leader, putting spiritual concerns over temporal concerns.

 

Then, CONSIDER THE NEED FOR MARRIAGE

 

In Matthew 19, the Lord Jesus Christ informed us that some men need marriage, while some men may only want marriage. I will not get into the precise wording of the passage, since I want to lift out the principle that applies to our purpose for this evening. Some men want to be married. They want physical intimacy, a sense of belonging, children to continue the family name, and such as that. However, there is another category of men who simply must be married. With them, it is not a matter of desire, but of physical demand.

Paul spoke to this in First Corinthians 7.2, when he wrote, ďNevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband,Ē and in verse 9, when he wrote, ďBut if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.Ē Though this speaks to the case of one who is sexually experienced more than it does someone who is a virgin, the feature to keep in mind is that some people simply have to get married to avoid the likelihood of committing a serious sexual sin. Since this is the same Apostle Paul who wrote First Corinthians chapter three, what he writes in this chapter must be seen to be compatible with what he wrote in chapter three. Marriage, and the need to marry because of the physical demands that some people are given by God, are not in any way in conflict with what Paul has already shown us about oneís involvement in the congregation.

 

Some men do not want to marry, which is fine. Other men want to marry, with is also fine. A third kind of man simply has to marry. If you are single, you are the only person in the world who can discern what kind of man you are in this respect. No pastor can discern this. Certainly, no woman can discern this. Only that single man, which leads to a proposition that we will attend to on a later date. However, this is distinct from being a man with a physical appetite. Possessing a physical appetite for sexual gratification does not mean marriage is needful, especially if a manís longings are sinfully stimulated by improper conduct with respect to what he sees, what he reads, what he listens to, and the company he keeps. The pressures that men are subject to in the world we live in, from lewd literature and advertising to pressure from women who are looking for the financial security and status a man can provide them, makes it difficult for men to know whether they have a desire or whether they are facing a physical demand.

In Victorian England, when women were far more modest than they are today, in both dress and deportment, it was not unusual for men to live their lives single without any suspicions. You may remember Sir Arthur Conan Doyleís fictional Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson. They were fictional characters who reflected Victorian values and conduct. Today, however, greater pressure is brought to bear on a man to marry, with subtle pressure being brought on men to feel like they ought to marry. I urge single men to resist such external pressure. It would be terribly unfair for two people to marry who only desired and did not demand that aspect of marriage.

The church where I was baptized had a young man somewhat older than I was at the time, who was a wonderful Christian. That guy had serious ministry, and was extremely effective serving God. However, over time his father and friends coaxed him into marriage. The result? He became a very blasť husband and was worthless as a servant of God.

What a tragedy.



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org