1st Corinthians - Wayne Barber/Part 53 | John Ankerberg Show

1st Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 53

By: Dr. Wayne Barber
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By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1998
Have you noticed the silent theme in chapter 7? The theme is that the believer is not to be distracted from his life’s purpose of being a vessel through which God can do His work. He has to live attached to Him and Him only.

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1 Corinthians 7:34

Our Supreme Goal in Life – Part 2

Have you noticed the silent theme in chapter 7? It is all through the Scriptures, particularly in Corinthians. It is very clear and very precise. Sometimes it is silent, in the background, underneath. It is holding up the teaching of what Paul is saying. It was a theme that the Corinthians particularly refused to listen to, and that is the problems that they were facing. They would not listen to it.

What is that theme? The theme is that the believer is not to be distracted from his life’s purpose of being a vessel through which God can do His work. He has to live attached to Him and Him only. You know, at the church of Corinth, they weren’t doing that. They were attaching themselves to Paul, to Apollos, to Cephas, to flesh, to anything they could see, touch and feel. Chapter 3 says they were babies. Babies act like babies. Babies cannot trust what they cannot see. They have to attach themselves to something that makes them feel good, something that they can rationalize and reason out. They weren’t listening.

But we are to be conduits through which God does His work, and the only way to do that is to be such a conduit that nothing hinders the flow of the life of Christ through us, unhindered by any fleshly sin. It starts inwardly, looks upwardly and is seen outwardly. When you don’t have the inward and the upward, then the outward is going to look like the church at Corinth. But when inwardly you love Him and bow before Him and are looking upwardly to see what He wants you to do and be, then by His grace, outwardly people see His life in you.

Now Paul noticeably picked the theme up and made it very clear in 6:19-20. In the context of immorality, he brings that theme to the surface and shows them what they are supposed to be. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 he says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” Do you not know this? Verse 20 says, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” The word “glorify” means to give Him the proper estimation, let Him be recognized in and through your body. That’s our purpose. That’s the good news. That’s everything that Jesus came to do and to be in us, so he reminds them of that in chapter 6.

He continues the theme in 7:16 in the questions of should I marry or should I remain single, mostly stimulated by a wrongful idea of sexual intimacy in marriage. They had a perverted idea of any mention of the word “sex.” Paul says in verse 7, after setting things right, “Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am.” I said it when we studied it before and I am going to say it again. Even our context in the latter part of the chapter bears it out. He does mean that he is single—“I wish you were single like me”—but that is just a little portion of what he means. What he really means is what he said in Philippians 4:11, because if you know anything about Paul and you follow this underlying theme all the way through, you can see it. What he really means is, “I’ve learned to be content in all things.” In Philippians 4:11 he is talking specifically about “whether I am poor or whether I am wealthy, whether I am with nothing or without I am in abundance, I have learned to be content.”

The word “content” means selfcontained. He is saying, “I have learned that everything I need is in the One who lives in me. I don’t have to go outside of Him.” He brings that same thought, I believe, into Corinthians. He says to the single man and to the married man, “I wish you were living as I am living, in the sense that I have learned something, that whether I am single or married, I can be content in whatever state that I am in. I find my joy in a person, and that person is Jesus Christ.” That’s what he is saying.

With that statement, he draws them back to their purpose, I believe. Then in verse 17 a lady has had her unbelieving husband just abandon her. Can you imagine the pain and the hurt? The apostle Paul, trying to help her, takes her to the cross and takes her back to the purpose of her life, this same purpose. He says in verse 17, “Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And thus I direct in all the churches.” In other words, let this be God’s assignment for you. He allowed it. Now in that assignment, you let Him be glorified in your body. See to it that this assignment causes you to be a vessel through which Christ can be seen. Keep focused on your purpose. He says this in the midst of a very difficult circumstance.

In 7:19 he again says, “but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.” It is not what you want, it’s what God wants. That’s what matters. Verses 29-31 tell us, “Let no man be distracted.” Don’t let your spouse distract you. Don’t let your joy distract you. Don’t let your sorrow distract you. Don’t let your business distract you. Don’t let anything distract you from your surrender to Christ.

That leads us to verse 32 where he says, “But I want you to be free from concern.” Don’t let anything distract you. This has been the underlying theme of everything Paul has said. Now, that’s not their theme. That is not their question. This is his answer. He weaves it in all of the answers that he gives back to them. Make sure nothing distracts you from living attached to Christ, inwardly surrendered, looking upwardly in obedience and then seen outwardly, let Christ’s life flow through you.

In verse 32, there are two meanings for a particular word. He says in verse 32, “But I want you to be free from concern.” As we studied, the word “concern” has a good meaning and it has a bad meaning. The good meaning of it is to be full of care, to be full of compassion and concern for something, and that’s good. It is a good word to use. But when that becomes the wrong sense of the word, it becomes a distraction and causes anxiety and causes worry in one’s life.

Do you realize the fine line between a Godly burden and a fleshly distraction? It hit me as I was studying this. Let’s say your focus is missions. You’ve got the wrong focus. That has become a fleshly distraction. If your focus is evangelism, that’s the wrong focus. That is a fleshly distraction. If your focus is ministry, that’s the wrong focus. Your focus must be Christ, then ministry becomes a godly burden that He enables, and missions becomes a godly burden that He enables, and all these other things find their place. But you cannot put them in front of Christ. They become a distraction when your eyes are pulled away from Him and focused on that particular thing, whether good or bad. There is a fine line between them.

Therefore, Paul says, “Don’t let anything distract you, nothing. You be free.” And he uses the bad sense of the word, from anxiety, from worry. Don’t let anything, even if it is good, don’t let it distract you from the best which is Christ who is your focus. The context of chapter 7, being married or remaining single, is not Paul’s main focus and it is not the focus of us. It should be becoming and remaining attached to Jesus Christ. That’s Paul’s focus, and that should be our focus.

By the way, ma’am, if you are dating somebody and Christ is not his main focus, you may want to think twice before you consider marrying him. What makes you think if Christ is not his main focus now, He will be his main focus then? That is what Paul is saying. So, ladies, you might want to check a few things out before you make that step. Find out what his focus is. Inwardly if he is not surrendered and upwardly if he is not focused, then outwardly it is going to make a difference in the way he lives and the way he loves. It won’t be God’s way.

If you are thinking about getting married, remember, when you choose to get married, you are asking for responsibilities that you don’t have right now and it is going to be added to you to where God will hold you accountable. They cannot become a distraction. They must be a godly burden, but you must have these unavoidable concerns in your life. Paul is not saying it is wrong to be married at all. He is just saying that these unavoidable concerns go with the territory. If you are going to get married, it is part of it. And if the focus is Christ, inwardly, upwardly, then outwardly you can care for these things and it will work out the way they are supposed to.

The phrase in verse 33 “please his wife,” as we saw the last time, means to fit oneself to, to adjust to someone. A married man has some adjustments to make, especially if they have been single for a while.

Well, he says to everyone, live undistracted lives. To the single man, learn to live an unwavering life of surrender to Christ. To the married man, learn to understand the unavoidable circumstances, but don’t let them distract you. Let them be the godly burdens that His grace will enable you to accomplish. Don’t let them become the focus of your life. If they do, then they will pull your eyes off of Christ and the marriage will begin to crumble.

Well, we continue. Next Paul speaks to the single woman. Live an unquestionable, holy life before God. That is what he says to the single woman. Now, we’ve got a problem with the translation here. I have wrestled with it. I don’t want to confuse you. We are going to have to work with this a little bit. The King James translators took a word and used it one way and the New American Standard translators took the same word and used it a different way. Let me see if I can share it with you without confusing you.

Here is the King James translation of Verse 34. If you have a New American Standard, look at yours and see how different it is. It says in verse 34, “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. [That is the phrase we are going to be looking at, by the way.] The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”

Now the word that the King James translators brings out as “difference” is the Greek word merizo. It’s in the perfect passive indicative, which means that this person is in the state that they are in because of something in the past. It refers to someone or something. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a person, but something is in the state of being that they are in because of something in the past. It means to be divided in something or to be different in something. The problem is, which one definition do we use—divided or different? It is obvious that the King James translators picked the word “different,” but the New American Standard translators picked the word “divided.”

Now if you look in both translations and find the word merizo, every time except here it will be translated “divided” in both translations. So what are we going to do with it? Which translation are we going to use? You see, the King James translators said that word “difference” refers to the woman and to the single lady, the virgin. But the New American Standard doesn’t do it that way. It says in verse 34, “And his interests are divided.” That’s the word merizo. They refer it back to verse 33 to the man who has these unavoidable concerns in married life. Read it with verse 33 and it makes all kinds of sense: “but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided.” It makes a lot of sense to me. That division does not mean in the sense of anxiety or worry. It just simply means his life has a lot more areas in it now to deal with than he had before.

Well, which translation are you going to take? Are you going to use the King James Version or the New American Standard? I am going to take the New American Standard simply to avoid confusion, because I guarantee you if I took both of them, we’d be so confused.

To the single woman — let nothing distract you from your surrender to Him

Verse 34, then, man, goes back to verse 33 and then switches to a brand new group of people—single women. He says, “And the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit.” It appears from my study that Paul is making a distinction among single women because there are several arenas that they fit into. The unmarried would include the divorced and the widows. We know that back from 7:8. Go back to verse 8 and I’ll show you. He uses the term “unmarried” and attaches to it the term “widows.”

It says in verse 8, “But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.” So Paul is referring to the unmarried being the divorced, the widows being married before, but now they are single for a different reasons. Their husbands have died.

Here in verse 34 he adds the term “virgin.” So there seems to be three categories of single women; divorced, widows and virgins. The word “virgin” can mean one who has never had a sexual experience or can be and has been translated as a woman of marriageable age. Either way there is a definite distinction made among groups of single women. Paul is saying to these single women that they live holy lives before God. Now to do this is going to require an inward and an outward focus, you see. It goes back to the same purpose we have been talking about, that inward surrender and submission has got to be there for the outward to be around.

Look at verse 34: “And the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit.” The word “holy” there is hagios. It means to be set apart, but it also means to be consecrated and devoted to someone. So she is to be holy to God and then it says, “both in body and in spirit.” Now, the human spirit is where Christ’s spirit dwells. So, therefore, it is inward before it can be outward, obviously. That is the whole theme of the Christian life. That is going to be the total focus. It’s got to be inward, upward, as we said earlier, and outward. One who is surrendered inwardly will take care of the outward temptations that come in the flesh.

By the way, they will come. There will be temptations of the flesh. And so, to the single woman, he says she is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she might be holy in both body and spirit.

Back in 7:8, that we read a few moments ago, he tells the divorced and the widows, “stay single just like I am.” But then he gives a warning because he knows what is going to come. He says in verse 9, “But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.” So he knows the temptations of the flesh, particularly in Corinth. Corinth was the most immoral city in the world at that time and he knows that single women are going to have a tremendous pull towards immorality.

Therefore, he gives the answer in verse 34, and that is to be holy in body and in spirit, to be consecrated first inwardly so that outwardly you can battle and handle the temptations of the flesh.

Well, to the single girl, divorced, widowed or one who is a virgin, Paul makes a statement but he is also challenging them to keep on living as they are living, be unaffected by the temptation that is around you. Live an unquestionable, holy life before God. Continue to let nothing distract you from your surrender to Him.

To the married woman — be unceasingly faithful in your marriage responsibilities

Well, he has dealt with single men, with married men and now with single women. Now he is going to come to his fourth category, which is the married woman. Paul speaks to the married woman saying be unceasingly faithful in your marriage responsibilities. I am going to tell you something, ladies; we are living in a day where women are fighting for their rights. That is fine, and legally you can do that; but when it comes to being a believer, we don’t have any rights. We only have privileges and we have a responsibility to line up under what God’s Word says.

We saw that back when they were suing each other in court. Legally they could do it; biblically they couldn’t. So it must not come to what the society says. It must come to what Jesus says. It must come to what His Word has to say. And he says to these married women, “You be faithful. You be unceasingly faithful in your responsibility to your husband.”

Verse 34 reads, “but one who is married [speaking of the woman] is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” The very same thing he said about the man, he turns right around and says about the lady. Now, he doesn’t always do that. In the book of Ephesians he says to the woman, “Submit yourself to your husband.” It starts with her and that’s it. He spends the whole rest of the chapter beating us men up. I mean, love her as Christ loved the church, giving Himself for her, sanctifying her.” Boy, he just lays it out. But here he says exactly the same thing to one as he does the other, that they are to be both faithful in fulfilling their responsibilities to one another. It says the exact same thing.

Like the man, she is now concerned with the unavoidable concerns of her marriage: “but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world.” By the way, did you know that “the things of the world” is not a sinful term? What he is talking about are the main concerns that you would have as a married person on planet earth today. You be concerned about those things, because the Word is very clear about them. It doesn’t mean in a sinful way at all, but the same thing that everybody has to be concerned with. The married woman fits into that category; the unavoidable concerns of being married. Like a man who is concerned with adjusting to her, she must be concerned with adjusting to him: “but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”

But both have the same responsibility to fit, to adjust to one another. There is absolutely nothing wrong with fulfilling this responsibility. Only when it becomes a distraction is it wrong. As long as your focus is upon Christ, it will be a godly burden enabled by His grace. Many folks have discovered that and are walking in freedom, and daily their marriages just continue to be a testimony for Christ. Others have not. You can take something good and focus on it and it becomes a distraction. You must take it, lay it at His feet, and let God enable you now in the responsibilities that you have. When you obey Christ, it is never contradictory to anything that He has given. It is always complementary. Always remember that. You don’t live your lives for each other. You live them for Christ. Christ then melts the two of you together. That is where the complementary part of it comes together.

Notice, being undistracted is still the bottom line of all that Paul has been saying. If you are not convinced, look at verse 35. He shows you that this has been his main thought from start to finish. Verse 35 says, “And this I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly, and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” Now everything Paul has said has been for their benefit. Some things you cannot change either way. Some things are kind of grey areas. Paul is saying, “I am saying all these things for your benefit.”

The word “benefit” is the word sumphero. It is the word that comes from two Greek words, sum, together with, and phero, which means to bring, to bring together. Remember, anxiety and worry are a distraction and they scatter. They shatter things. They divide things. Paul says, “What I have been doing is pulling things together for your advantage. All the things that I have said to you are for your Christian conduct in the area of Corinth.”

Remember back in chapter 1 he says Christ’s testimony has been confirmed in you, but the problem is, it’s never been confirmed through them. Paul says if you will just let Christ be your focus and follow the guidelines I have given to you, it will produce a conduct among the Christians there in Corinth that will be an example to the pagans who live around you, to bring together something that is advantageous to them. Paul has been bringing it together for spiritual and eternal value. He doesn’t have a grudge against people who are married. You might think so when he talks about being single. That’s just him. He is single. He says, “You asked me and I am going to answer you. But I don’t have a grudge against people who are married. Just don’t let anything in that marriage become a distraction to your surrender and your walk with Christ.” He personally feels that being single would be better.

A brother came to me the last time I preached in this passage and he said, “Would you tell the people at some point that the single missionaries on the foreign field have already discovered what Paul is saying. Paul had that missionary spirit. They are absolutely unhindered in anything in their service for Christ. But the married couples have found that sickness and family responsibilities, etc., do have a tendency to hold them back.” He said, “I think maybe that is what Paul is saying.” I agree. I think it is, too. That’s all he is saying.

He said, “I am saying it for your benefit, just saying it for your benefit. Your main focus is to Him and being single will help that.” Then he goes on says, “Listen, I am not putting you into bondage to my personal opinions.” You know, some things he said aren’t personal opinions. They are sanctified opinions even when he gives them. But some things you can’t vary either way. But he is saying, “Listen, I’m not putting some legalistic rule on top of you. I’m not trying to put you up under my spell.”

Do you realize that you can take your personal opinion on something, when it is not a command of God, and you can put somebody under a legalistic hold? It can be your view of music. It can be your view of anything. If it is not biblical, you can take that and hold people up under that. Many people have been held under it. Paul said, “That is the way the world acts. I’m not doing that. I’m not doing anything to put you under bondage.”

Proverbs 7:21 tells us a little bit about this. It says, “With her many persuasions, she entices him. [This is the adulterous woman.] With her flattering lips, she seduces him.” In other words, she puts him up under her spell. She puts him up under her bondage because this is what she wanted and now she has him up under that bondage. Proverbs 22:24 says, “Do not associate with a man given to anger or go with a hottempered man.” Why? Verse 25 tells us. “Lest you learn his ways and find a snare for yourself.” In other words, you are going to become just like him. You are going to get up under his spell. He’s going to take his opinions and get you up under them and it’s going to change the way you are.

Do you realize that legalism and communism have the same tactic to control people? It is fear. It is exactly the same thing. One comes out of a religious world and one comes out of a pagan society. That’s the same thing. You put people up under some legalistic opinion you have and friend, you can kill their whole joy and everything else in their walk with Christ. But Paul said, I am not doing that.

He says in the last part of verse 35, “but to promote what is seemly [that is what he is doing] and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” The word “seemly” has the idea of an outward appearance, something that people see. But here, of course, we know that it has to have first of all an inward motivation in order to have an outward appearance.

Paul is saying, “I’m trying to get you to the place that the people of Corinth will look at you and recognize who you really are, that you are Christians, that you are believers, that you are surrendered to Christ. That’s what I am doing: That they might see your outward conduct that comes from an inner and upward and then outward relationship with Christ.”

All that he said about marriage and singleness in chapter 7 has been for their benefit. He says, “I am not putting you under some kind of legalism.” And then he goes on, “and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” There you go. That is the purpose of why he has done chapter 7. “Whether married or whether single,” he said, “I want to secure undistracted devotion.”

The word “undistracted” there is the word aperispastosa, without and perispastos, which means to be drawn away from something, like you are looking at something and something gets your attention that pulls you over here.

When I was in the first through sixth grades every report card I got had a little red mark on the bottom, “He will not pay attention in class.” Do you know why I didn’t pay attention in class? Because I have a curiosity. Do you know where they sat me? By the window. You don’t put a curious kid by the window if you want him to pay attention. I would be looking at the teacher, trying my best and all of a sudden I’d see a dog outside or somebody playing on the playground or something and I would be drawn away.

That’s what the word “undistracted” means. Paul said, “I don’t want any of you to be drawn away by marriage or singleness or anything else, but to be focused upon the Lord.”

He said, “to secure undistracted devotion.” The word “devotion” is a beautiful word. It’s the word that means constantly attending to someone out of love. My dad’s mother was not quite the person my mother’s mother was. My mom’s mom was just absolutely wonderful. My mother had her personality and I got it from her. My daughter also has it. You can just see it in the four generations.

My Mama—that’s what I called by mother’s mom)—got sick, and my mother wanted her to come and live with us. Her Mother was very independent and she said, “I don’t want to fool with it. I don’t want to come. I don’t want to embarrass you. I don’t want to bother you.” But my mother said, “No, you need to come.” So she came.

One night she woke up. I guess she was having a pain or something. She said, “Myrtle, Myrtle!” That was my mother’s name. Boy, my mother jumped up and threw her nightgown and socks on. It was in the winter time, and she was cold. Those old gym socks were slick as they could be on a wood floor. She turned a corner and hit the top of the steps and she bounced all the way down the steps and banged into the door down at the foot of the steps. It could have killed her.

She went running into her mama’s room and said, “Mama, what’s wrong?” Her mother was laughing so hard. She said, “I can’t remember. I forgot. It was so funny you falling down the steps.” That was my mother’s mother! I loved her. She always had something funny to share or something encouraging to share. You never met her when she wasn’t that way. My mother loved her so much. I watched my mother for years literally wait on her hand and foot. She became an attendant to her mother because she loved her so much. She was such a precious lady. But my mother served her because she loved her. She waited on her hand and foot.

That’s what the word means. He said, “I want you to be undistracted. Don’t ever be pulled away from your coming before God and daily saying, O God, how do you want to use me? God, how can I be a vessel through which you can work because I love you, Lord. I love you, Lord.” He said, “I don’t want anybody to ever be pulled off of that purpose because if you ever do, then life is going to turn upside down just like it had in Corinth.”

That’s what he is trying to secure, that un-distraction. Whether you are single or whether you are married, you are to live that way. Let it be a godly burden if you are married, not a fleshly distraction. Keep focusing on Him and His grace will enable you to be what He wants you to be. It’s inward, it’s upward and it’s outward. Nothing is to distract us.

If you are inwardly surrendered, it is going to show outwardly. If you are loving Him inwardly and devoted to Him out of that love, that love is going to come out. If it is going to be in your marriage, it is going to make your marriage better than it has ever been. If you are single, you are going to have friends and a love for people that you’ve never had before. God will manifest that. The fruit of His Spirit is this love, but it has got to be first of all your love for Christ. Then you see through His eyes and people notice the difference.

Here is a story about a man named John Blanchard. I don’t think it is the same John Blanchard that is the great Bible preacher from over in England. This is a different John Blanchard that happens to have the same name, as best I understand the story.

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his army uniform and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for a girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn’t. The girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun 13 months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book he discovered the previous owner’s name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort, he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond.

The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like.

When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting, 7:00 p.m. at the Grand Central Station in New York. “You’ll recognize me,” she wrote, “by the red rose I’ll be wearing on my lapel.”

So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he had never seen. I’ll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened. He says, “A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears. Her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness and in her pale green suit, she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose.

As I moved, a small provocative smile curved from her lips. ‘Going my way, soldier?’ she murmured. Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl, a woman well past 40. She had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump. Her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own. And there she stood, her pale plump face was gentle and sensible. Her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small, worn, blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful.

I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though I felt while I spoke, a bitterness of disappointment. ‘I’m Lt. John Blanchard and you must be Miss Maynell. I’m so glad you came to meet me. May I take you to dinner?’ The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile. ‘I don’t know what this is all about, son,’ she answered, ‘but the young lady in the green suit who just went by begged me to wear this rose on my coat and she said, “If you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in a big restaurant across the street.” She said it was some kind of test.’

It’s not difficult to admire Miss Maynell’s wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. A great philosopher once wrote, tell me whom you love and I will tell you who you are.”

Paul would say, “Amen and amen. Until you love Jesus, you don’t love anybody but yourself. Single, married, it doesn’t matter. Until you start loving Jesus, can you even listen to what His Word has to say? But when you start listening to His Word, inwardly changing your will, upwardly saying, “Lord, yes, whatever you say,” then outwardly you are going to be different than you have ever been before. That’s what Paul has been saying all the way through chapter 7. That has been His agenda, not theirs. Their agenda was, “Should I get married or stay single?” Paul’s agenda said, “You stay and live undistracted from your attachment to Jesus Christ. Everything else will take care of itself.”

Read Part 54

Dr. Wayne Barber

Dr. Wayne Barber

Wayne has taught the message of “Living Grace” around the world. He is president, founder, and principal speaker of Living Grace Ministries and Senior Pastor of Woodland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He learned to exegete Scripture by studying for 10 years with Spiros Zodhiates, one of the leading Greek scholars.
Dr. Wayne Barber

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