What are 1-2 things that have encouraged you in how the Church has addressed singleness? “ummm, can’t think of any” “I have to be honest, it was a lot easier to think of what is discouraging.”
What are 1-2 things that have encouraged you in how the Church has addressed singleness? “The big ‘C’ Church has done nothing to be a blessing to singleness.”
Singleness in the church “For me, the most discouraging part of the Church’s attitude toward singles has been a lack of open discussion and encouragement. Singleness is either treated as a disease to be cured or a topic to be avoided altogether. Very rarely do I find that others are willing to have a legitimate conversation about singleness. I think that people are scared of it. Scared that, maybe, just maybe, the mantras and slogans and “just date Jesus” phrases will fall away and we’ll be confronted with an issue that is deep and painful. An issue that needs attention and care. One that calls for open hearts and struggle.”
#1 – Marriage is temporary. Not disposable. Temporary. Matthew 22:23-33 23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”
#1 – Marriage is temporary. Not disposable. Temporary Matthew 22:23-33 29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
Hebrews 4:15 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Singleness and Paul 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
#2 – Jesus Christ. Single. Legit. ”We think our sexuality is part of our personhood, and not to enjoy it is to be incomplete people. We have no intention of getting married to meet the expectations of any puritans. And we think a life of slavery to virginity would mean being only half human.” ~Negative respondent to celibacy
#3 – Bible esteems marriage and singleness. Both have advantages. Both have struggles. Isaiah 56:3-5 3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” 4 For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”
What's the point of sex anyway? God created sex to be received as a gift and experienced at his direction for ever-increasing intimacy and benefit.
What's the point of relationships anyway? God created relationships to be received as a gift and experienced at his direction for ever-increasing intimacy and benefit.
#4 – Bible esteems eternal spiritual relationships over temporary biological ones. Matthew 12:46-50 46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
#5 – God is Lord. Sovereign over singleness. Psalm 103:19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
A Word of Encouragement “Through no fault or choice of my own, I am unable to express my sexuality in the beauty and intimacy of Christian marriage…To seek to do this outside of marriage is, by the clear teaching of Scripture, to sin against God and against my own nature. As a committed Christian, then, I have no alternative but to live a life of voluntary celibacy. I must be chaste not only in body, but in mind and spirit as well. Since I am now my 60’s I think that my experience of what it means is valid.”
A Word of Encouragement “Why must I live alone? I do not know. But Jesus Christ is Lord of my life. I believe in the sovereignty of God, and I accept my singleness from his hand. He could have ordered my life otherwise, be he has chosen not to do so. As his child, I must trust his love and wisdom.”
#6 – God is Lord. Grace in singleness. 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. 8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
A Word of Encouragement “I want to go on record as having proved that for those who are committed to do God’s will, his commands are his enablings.” “My whole being cries out continually for something I may not have. My whole life must be lived in the context of this never-ceasing tension. My professional life, my social life, my personal life, my Christian life – all are subject to its constant and powerful pull. As a Christian I have no choice but to obey God, cost what it may. I must trust him to make it possible for me to honor him in my singleness.”
A Word of Encouragement “That this is possible, a mighty cloud of witnesses will join me to attest. Multitudes of single Christians in every age and circumstance have proved God’s sufficiency in this matter. He has promised to meet our needs and he honors his word.”
#7 – Maturity results from intimacy with Christ. Matthew 12:46-50 46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
A Word of Encouragement “If we seek fulfillment in him, we shall find it. It may not be easy, but whoever said that Christian life was easy? The badge of Christ’s discipleship was a cross.”
A Word of Encouragement “When Christian was crossing the River at the close of Pilgrim’s Progress, his heart failed him for fear. He began to sink in the cold, dark waters. But Hopeful, his companion, helped him to stand, calling out loudly, “Be of good cheer, my brother; I feel the bottom and it is good.” Then Christian recovered his faith and passed safely through the waters to the Celestial City.”
A Word of Encouragement “If there are singles who find the waters of singleness dark and deep, who feel, “I sink in deep waters; the billows go over my head; all his waves go over me,” this is my message to you concerning singleness: “Be of good cheer, my brother, my sister; I feel the bottom, and it is good.” ~Margaret Clarkson