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Seek the welfare of the city
• We meet to conspire to bless others
• Out of divergent approaches – the early Christian after their encounter with Jesus each came to a united view
• Strategy of good works in which we labor hard in good occupations and through acts of mercy as we have a benefactor mindset – using our minds, talents, and resources to bless and build up those around us.
o Good works act as a shield to protect us from those who would seek to harm us in society or to shut down the Jesus movement.
o Good works also point to our father in heaven and the uniqueness of our faith.
o So people see our good works, ask us for the reason for our hope and we share Christ winsomely.
• What is the place of single adults in the household of God? (last week)
o The physically or mentally deformed.
o Those with indefinable gender, or gender issues. In about 1 in 4500 births the baby is born with amibuous genitalia which make it unclear as to whether the baby is a girl or a boy.
o Those with no attraction to the opposite gender (homosexuals and asexuals)
o The divorced that find themselves disqualified for remarriage according to Biblical guidelines.
o Single, though married.
o Those who have advanced passed the age in which they consider themselves to be “on the market” – widows who will not remarry
o Those who choose to forsake marriage for spiritual reasons relating to their calling.
• How might single adults have a particular part to play in seeking the welfare of the city? (this week)
The presence of single adults in our midst testifies that the church is a family of families. When I speak of the church being a Family of Families, yes, it means that the church is a large family composed of smaller households. Yet it also means (and this is more radical) that the church is the family to end all families. Like Jesus is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and his Church is the Family of Families.
Jesus “Family Values”
• Matthew 10:35-37: For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
• Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
• Mark 3:20-22, 31-35: And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
• Luke 20:34-36: And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
• Ephesians 5: Eph. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
• Luke 18: 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Sometimes churches can get so focused on rising up and developing individual families that we lose sight of the radical reorientation that Jesus taught about human relationships. Single adults remind us that relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families. Single adults stand as a testimony to the church that the institution of marriage is temporary and stands to point to Christ.
In an age in which globalization and urbanization have cause people to be at once spread out and rootless, the concept of the church being a family of families may be very attractive to our culture. Everyone has a place here. Christian singles are part of a family no matter where they go in this world, they can set down roots in a community that welcomes them.
The presence of single adults in our midst reminds us that the family of God grows primarily not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ. Today the lifelong celibate probably mourns the loss of sex, since sex is the god of our culture. Yet within Biblical times and still today, the truly heartbreaking aspect of lifelong celibacy was that they would not bear children.
• Is. 56:3 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.” For thus says the LORD: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 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.
• Is. 53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
o Hebrews 2:13 “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” (Isaiah 8:18)
o Acts 8: the Ethiopian eunuch. Reading about this eunuch messiah who, though did not bear any children of the flesh, bore children of the spirit.
• Isaiah 54:1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the LORD.
• John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Single adults remind us that the family of God grows primarily not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ. Everyone has a zeal to reproduce. This is why I believe that a church with a lot of singles will aid the church in its zeal to save souls.
Single adults may be less encumbered and therefore more able to live lives of radical dis-attachment for the sake of the kingdom of God, but must not mistake this freedom for wanderlust. This seems to be the point of 1 Corinth 7:32-35: 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.
Paul resigned himself to a life of singleness for the sake of his call as a missionary. He urged others to consider the same calling. Does this mean that all missionaries must be single? No, for only a few chapters later Paul alludes to the fact that Peter, also a great missionary took a wife with him. So singles , understand that you have advantages n your single state.
Yet be careful – for many singles mistake their freedom from attachments for wanderlust. At the retreat I introduced you to the concept of individualist nomads.
17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
Paul’s Principle of Stability:
• Law of undulation
• Monastic orders rule of stability.