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Let's Keep The Home Fires Burning #4
1 Cor. 7:1-5 GOD'S WORD TO MARRIED COUPLES
Intro: Columnist Mike Royko of the Chicage Tribune
proposes the following warning be placed on every marriage license issued in the United
States. "Warning: Use this at your own peril. The Census Bureau statistics say that
using this license could be real dangerous to your future mental, physical, and financial
health and could make you miserable for the rest of your life, if you live that long. It
could lead to arguing, yelling, screaming, boozing, sulking, getting the old silent
treatment, and a bunch of kids that are goofed up and making you feel guilty."
That is a gloomy outlook, but no one can honestly say that
the institution of marriage is not in serious trouble. When one-half of all marriages end
in divorce and when many young people are choosing to live together instead of get
married, proves that marriage is not as honored as it used to be. When 85,500 children in
this country are involved in divorce proceedings every month, something is dreadfully
wrong. All of this is terribly sad, but some will say, "Well, that is just the way
the world is. You can't expect the lost to live godly." In response to that let me
remind you that the divorce rate among Christians is equal to that of the lost world. Even
ministers are not exempt. The divorce rate among ministers of all Protestant denominations
is nearly 20% and among Southern Baptists, the rate is 4%.
When we read statistics like these, it is an indication
that something is terribly wrong! Why do our marriages fall into
trouble? Why do they fail? Why do many husbands and wives share a home and a bed, yet live
like total strangers? What can we do to save our marriages? Is there hope for the home?
The answers to all of these questions lie right here in the Word of God! In this great
chapter, Paul addresses the Christian home and the problems faced there. He gives some
very practical advise, that if followed, will make a world of difference in the way we
live and carry out this business of marriage. Over the course of the next 3 Sunday
evenings, we will be looking at what Dr. Ken Trivette calls, "Paul's Domestic
Theology." Tonight, we will begin our study of this chapter with God's Word To
Married Couples. In these verses, you will find help for your home.
I. V. 5 A WORD CONCERNING THEIR SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP
A. There Is An Awareness That Must Be Developed
- Verse 5 clearly teaches us that the Christian home is an area of special attack by the
Devil. The picture that is given is of a couple who are apart physically and sexually for
an extended period of time. Paul is teaching us that such a time provides the Devil with
an opportunity to bring temptation in that area. But, let's be honest, this isn't the only
area where the marriage relationship is under attack. Satan knows that if he can get your
marriage to fail, or if he can cause it to be weakened, then he has won a victory. He is
always lurking nearby seeking an opportunity to tear your home apart. As Christians, we
must be diligent in standing against his intrusions, 1 Pet. 5:8.
There are several ways in which Satan infiltrates our homes. Being wise
to some of them can greatly enhance our chances of making our marriages last.
1. Attitudes - Becoming constantly critical of
one's spouse is a sure sign that Satan is at work. Another attitude is that of being
hateful. Having a smart mouth is also a problem area. These are attitudes where Satan will
be allowed a foot in the door if we are not careful. When we allow these things to go
unchecked, they produce resentment in the heart of our spouse and will come back to haunt
us. We should take the Scriptural admonition to heart, Col. 4:6.
2. Actions - Often one spouse or the other will
act in certain ways that can breed resentment. Among them are giving the other the old
cold shoulder. Ignoring your spouse will cause a problem. Devoting too much time to
hobbies, interests and friends will result in sore spots in the home. Taking each other
for granted will open wounds that will be hard to heal.
3. There are a thousand little ways in which we can rub each other
wrong. When these things happen, each partner must be willing to work together to see that
the offensive behavior is stopped and that forgiveness and reconciliation are quickly
(Ill. Someone has listed 6 common myths about relationships that are
helpful in this discussion. Some commonly accepted ideas about romance,
love, and marriage are not only untrue, but they can also keep you from experiencing
fulfillment in your marital relationship. The following six myths can overload your
marriage with unrealistic expectations.
1. You should read my mind. Some
husbands and wives fall into the trap of assuming that a loving spouse can figure out what
you need even before you realize it yourself. They see this ability as a confirmation of
the closeness of their relationship when, in fact, it can drive a wedge. Don't expect your
mate to know what you need unless you tell him or her.
2. Intimacy and sex are the same.
Physical and emotional intimacy should not be equated. Often a man who believes this myth
will use sex to fulfill all his emotional needs. The more he focuses on the frequency of
intercourse, the more his wife feels like a sex object. Such husbands "need to see
sex as a response to closeness, not as a means to closeness."
3. I can treat you any way I want.
Just because you love someone it doesn't mean you can verbally abuse them. When words and
actions don't match up, the negative message is what comes through.
4. I have a right to fix you.
Unrequested criticism, even if intended to be "constructive," is never
appropriate. One of the biggest fears husbands and wives have is that as they grow closer
their spouse will discover traits he or she doesn't like. If you start correcting your
spouse, the natural reaction is either anger or defensiveness, or both.
5. Love is a feeling. Often couples
will reach a point in their relationship where they don't "feel" in love
anymore. The real issue, though, is not their emotional state. The question is whether
they are behaving toward each other in loving ways. Couples need to be committed enough to
keep doing loving things even when they don't feel like it. In time, the emotions will
6. You have to tell all. There can
be no true intimacy without honesty, but that doesn't mean revealing everything about
yourself and knowing absolutely everything about your mate. In some cases, your spouse
might not be ready to handle everything you could tell him or her. The guideline is to
share only those things which help build the relationship.)
B. There Is An Allegiance That Must Be
Developed - In this verse, Paul assumes that the married couple will spend
time in spiritual pursuits together. That is, they should pray together and for one
another. They should attend worship together. They must make their relationship with God
the primary relationship in their lives. Both as individuals and as a couple, there must
be spiritual unity and closeness. There is something very special about a husband and wife
who are totally committed to the Lord and His will for their lives. Sadly, this often
seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Before all other considerations, the
married couple's relationship with the Lord must have primacy!
I. A Word Concerning Their Spiritual Relationship
II. V. 1-5 A WORD CONCERNING THEIR SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP
(Ill. Years ago, I preached a sermon out of Proverbs 7 about the dangers
of sexual promiscuity. A woman in the church was later asked what i had preached about
that Sunday and she said, 'Can you believe, that preacher preached about sex?!" If
someone were concerned about my frankness in the pulpit in the matter of sexuality, I
would respond by reminding you that we live in a world that is filled with much
disinformation about human sexuality, and that there is no more appropriate place that the
House of God to look at what the Word says about this topic. After all, I'd rather you
leave here a little red-faced, knowing the truth that to live your life having only heard
the lies of the devil and as a result make mistakes that could easily be avoided.
Therefore, we are going to look a the married couple's sexual relationship as discussed in
A. V. 1-2 A Word To The Waiting - Paul begins
this great chapter by addressing the virtues of celibacy. The word "touch" in
verse 1 does not refer to casual contact, it refers to a touch that
"stimulates." His reference is to sexual stimulation. His argument is that
people would be more fully devoted to the Lord without the added devotion to a mate, vrs.
32-33. However, he says that in an effort to avoid "fornication", or illicit
sexual activity, a person should enter into a marriage relationship. This admonition
reveals 2 very important principles that need to be addressed and understood by everyone
who is not part of a marriage relationship.
1. Sexual Desires Are Not Evil - Every male and
female possess sexual desires. They are not wrong, in fact they were placed there by God.
It is helpful to understand that these desires are not wrong, as long as they are kept in
their proper context.
2. Sexual Expression Outside The Marriage Relationship Is
Evil - When sexual desires are followed through outside the marriage
relationship, then the parties have entered into a sinful relationship. Plainly stated,
any "touch" that simulates the sexual desires outside the
confines of marriage is sinful. This refers not just to the act of sexual intercourse
itself, but to any touching that fans the flames of sexual passion. This prohibition is
not just for young people, but also for divorced people and for any situation where the
partners are not married.
(Ill. Many would argue that this is just too difficult a command to
keep. God never said it was easy, but the secret lies in not allowing yourself to be
placed in a situation where sexual temptation becomes a reality. Another helpful
consideration is to spend much time in prayer as an individual and with the one you love.
After all, God will bless the sexual relationship when it is carried out within the
marriage relationship as He has said, and He will judge it when it is not - Heb. 13:4. It
all boils down to who you want to please, yourself, your lover or your God. By the way, I
admire any couple who has the resolve to place God before their own fleshly lusts.)
B. V. 3-5 A Word To The Wedded - While sexual
expression is absolutely forbidden outside the marriage relationship, it is commanded
within the marriage relationship. God has ordained the marriage union as the only
acceptable place where sexual needs are to be met. A careful examination of the word Paul
used in this passage will go along way in helping us to understand what our duties are to
our spouses. Before we begin, an understanding of why Paul would feel lead to write about
such issues might be helpful.
(Ill. First, it appears that the Corinthians had written to Paul asking
about these matters. He is merely answering their concerns. Secondly, in Corinth, as in
other great cities of the time, sexual promiscuity was the normal way of life. Among the
Greeks and the Romans, there was a marked lack of sexual discipline. In fact, many Greeks
and Romans had several sexual partners. There were the consorts which were people of the
same sex. There were concubines which were people of the opposite sex. Then, there was
one's husband or wife. Even in many of the heathen temples sex was used in the worship
process. In Corinth, for example, there were 1,500 temple prostitutes in the Temple of
Diana. Worship was performed by having sexual intercourse with one of these prostitutes.
Now, when these people became Christians, they had to overcome all of these longstanding
social practices. They had to have their minds renewed and had to begin thinking God's
With that in mind, we are ready to see what Paul says about his most
special of human relationships.
1. V. 3 There Is A Debt - The term "due
benevolence" carries the idea of a debt that is owned. That debt, as is
indicated by the immediate context of the verses, is that of sexual fulfillment. All the
Lord is telling us that each partner has the responsibility for meeting the physical needs
of the other. By the way, "render" is a command, not an option.
(Ill. A note about the verb "render" is in order. This verb is
in the Present Tense, implying continual action. That is, this
is a debt that is never paid, the sexual relationship between the husband and the wife is
to be an ongoing thing. It is in the Active Voice which implies
that both partners are to be instrumental in seeing that the needs are met. It is in the Imperative
Mood which means that it is a command and not an option.)
2. V. 4 There Is A Devotion - We are told that
when a couple comes together in the marriage relationship, they each lose something. While
each gains a spouse, they each lose the right to their own body. This does not mean that
each becomes the other's slave to fulfill their whims and pleasures. What it teaches is
that each places the other's sexual satisfaction ahead of their own. Each possesses a
desire to fulfill the needs of the other and when this is accomplished, both find that
they are fulfilled.
(Ill. I will say that while there is a command to both partners to be
involved in the fulfillment of the other's needs, there must also be mutual respect.
Neither should hold this verse of Scripture over the head of the other and expect them to
always be at their disposal sexually. There will be time when this is not practical. There
will be times when one or the other just isn't interested. This needs to be respected, but
at the same time, both partners need to recognize the danger involved in long periods of
3. V. 5 There Is A Demand - Here, couples are
told not to "defraud ...the other." This word
literally means to "deprive." As should be clearly
evident by now, the sexual relationship within the marriage has been ordained by God to
meet the physical needs of the marriage partners. Unfortunately, many people are guilty of
withholding sex from their partner. Some do so out of spite, others do so in an effort to
punish, some do it for other equally selfish reasons. But, whatever the reason, it is
still a sin! When you withhold sex from your spouse you are committing 2 terrible errors.
1.) You are depriving your partner of his/her right as your mate. 2.) You are opening the
door for satanic attack. We must be certain that we keep these fires of passion burning
brightly in our marriages!
Many a neglected partner have found themselves ensnared in Satan's web
because they yielded to temptation. They received the attention and affection they were
denied at home somewhere else and sin was the result. Married couples need to remember
that our marriage partners are never to be ignored, neglected or denied what is rightfully
theirs. Warren W. Weirsbe puts is this way, "Sexual love is a beautiful
tool to build with, not a weapon to fight with...to refuse each other is to commit robbery."
I. A Word Concerning Their Spiritual Relationship
II. A Word Concerning Their Sexual Relationship
III. V. 3, 5 A WORD CONCERNING THEIR SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
(Ill. Lest you leave here with the wrong impression, marriage is far
more than sex. Paul tells us about 2 areas of the marriage relationship that are often
neglected, and as a result, cause the marriage to suffer. Notice 2 very special area of
the marriage relationship that must be maintained if your's is to be a healthy
A. V. 3 There Must Be Closeness - (Ill.
Benevolence - Affection and good will) Too often, there is a lack of sincere affection
between husbands and wives. This is needed more by the women than the men, but the more
affection that is displayed, the closer the relationship will become. If we as married
couples could learn the simple truth that it is the little things like holding hands,
kissing, spending time alone together and just being kind to one another that tend to make
all the difference in our relationships. God help us to work on being more intimate with
B. V. 5 There Must Be Communication - (Ill.
Consent - This word indicates the idea of two people reaching a decision together. To
accomplish this, there must of necessity be 2 way communication.) It is sad that men and
women often share the same home and the same bed, but they don't share themselves. There
is no sense of unity, of singleness of purpose of being one flesh. This is a serious
thing! We should never just assume that our mate knows how we feel! We must learn to
communicate likes, dislikes, interests, wants, needs, love, etc. We must also learn to do
this without being critical or without demanding change. If husbands and wives would
simply learn to talk to one another about their needs, their fears, their worries, their
lives, etc, it would go a long way toward solving much of the trouble in our homes. Why is
it that w can talk to selected friends about things that we would never share with our
spouses? The marriage relationship was never intended to be this way. God's ideal is for
husbands and wives to be one flesh. God's ideal will only be realized when married couples
learn to talk once again!
Conc: Dr. Ed Young, a long time Baptist Pastor says this, "The ideal marriage is not give and take. It is give and give."
He is exactly right! If you want your marriage to fit into God's ideal for what a home
should be, then it will require much giving on behalf of both parties. When a marriage is
lived right, it is a thing of great beauty and tremendous blessing. It brings a
fulfillment to life that cannot be duplicated. However, it takes work! It takes pray. It
takes commitment! It takes people who are willing to place their own desires on the back
burner and place the needs of their spouse ahead of their own. It takes people who are
willing to live by God's standards instead of the standards of society. How is your
marriage this evening?
Without a doubt, there are some couples who need to come to
this altar together tonight and pray for one another. There are
others whom God has spoken to this evening. You need to come and deal with those issues
that God has brought to your mind tonight. Now is the time when this message must be dealt
with. You can either face it right here, or will face God with it later. Which will it be?