Be Purely Married Or Be Purely Single—1 Corinthians 7:1-9

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Levi Durfey

 

1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 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. (1 Corinthians 7:1–9)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

What do we follow? Our culture or the Bible? It’s easy (and we know it’s right) to say, “I follow the Bible.” But that only lasts until something, or someone, comes along that we want more than following the Bible. Nowhere is this more true than in our relationships.

 

I remember a gal I knew in college. When I first met her she was wearing a set of dog-tags. They weren’t military dog-tags, they were dog-tags that stated her intention to remain pure for marriage. Looking back, I realize that the gal must have known that she needed reminded to avoid temptation. Not a bad thing at all. But despite her stated intention, she met a guy named Eric and her best intentions to follow the Bible went out the window to follow the culture and a guy named Eric.

 

The culture has a very strong pull on us. It’s easy to rationalize decisions when the culture shouts to us things like, “People have changed…everyone does it now” or “If you really love one another, how could it be wrong?”

 

The fact that the culture presses in on us constantly to conform is why we need to constantly be coming back to the Bible to be reminded and renewed in what God’s ways are:

 

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)

 

The Corinthians were struggling with their culture just as we struggle with ours. Immorality was prevalent everywhere. What is right when it comes to intimate relations between people? The Lord gives us two options: Continue reading

The Tenth Commandment—Exodus 20.17

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The Ten Commandments are commandments that any society needs to have in place in order to be a stable and successful nation. Even an unbeliever could agree with the last six—honor parents to promote respect for authority and strong families; don’t commit adultery to maintain stable marriages that raise healthy, well-adjusted children; don’t murder; don’t steal; don’t bear false witness. All of these promote good relationships between people that help a nation stay strong. 

 

We’ve noted with regret how our society is moving away from these things—abortion, divorce, broken families, euthanasia, and more, all rip away at the fabric of these foundational principles. 

 

In addition to those, materialism and the demand for individual rights, tear at the tenth commandment, which forbids coveting. Each year, more and more luxury items become essential needs to people. 

 

Consider the cell phone, for example. Only thirty years ago we would drive any distance in any weather without one and never thought anything of it. Now, we can’t imagine going anywhere without it. Many people don’t even put the thing away—it’s always in their hand, waiting for the next text. 

 

Fifteen years ago, no one dreamed that their children would need a cellphone until they were adults. Now? I watch out my office window as the children go home from school, and many have the cellphone out—texting, playing games, and somehow, walking. Parents say how great it is to always been in contact with their children, how it makes them safer.

 

How did these wants and luxuries turn into needs and necessities? Because the companies who make them know how to appeal to our base nature—humans naturally, sinfully, covet things. 

 

We start small—just watch toddlers at play—and continue on all our lives. Gradually, what was a luxury and a privilege to have becomes a necessity and a right to have—and a TV commercial or two helps speed things along. In other words, we as a society are constantly being bombarded with messages to give in to the desire to covet.

 

Fifteen years ago, pastor Mark Buchanan described this desire to covet and this materialistic society as a cult—

 

I belong to the Cult of the Next Thing. It’s dangerously easy to get enlisted. It happens by default—not by choosing the cult, but by failing to resist it. The Cult of the Next Thing is consumerism cast in religious terms. It has its own litany of sacred words: more, you deserve it, new, faster, cleaner, brighter. It has its own deep-rooted liturgy: charge it, instant credit, no down-payment, deferred payment, no interest for three months. It has its own preachers, evangelists…: ad men, pitchmen, celebrity sponsors. It has, of course, its own shrines, chapels, temples, meccas: malls, superstores, club warehouses. It has its own sacraments: credit and debit cards. It has its own [spiritual mountain-top] experiences: the spending spree. The Cult of the Next Thing’s central message proclaims, “Crave and spend, for the Kingdom of Stuff is here.” (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1999/september6/9ta062.html)

 

It’s no wonder that God devoted a whole commandment to the sin of coveting.

Continue reading

Be Prepared For Battle–2 Corinthians 10:3-5

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Every Montanan knows, or should know, the story of Custer’s Last Stand. The Battle of the Little Bighorn took place 200 miles West of Baker. Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer was ordered to help get Sioux and Cheyenne Indians onto their new reservations. He led a battalion of 700 men attached to the 7th Cavalry. At the end of the day, Custer, his two brothers, a brother-in-law, a nephew, and 260 other men were dead. Historians have debated for years the causes of the massive defeat, but it really boils down to one thing: Custer and his men were not prepared.

 

1) He had been offered the use of Gatling guns, but declined, saying that they would slow his command.

 

2) He believed that 800 Indian warriors were in the area. The actual number is unknown, but conservative estimates start at 1,500 to 2,500 and range up to 5,000.

 

3) He was warned about the size of the Indian village they were approaching. A Crow scout said it was the largest village he had ever seen. But Custer was worried about the Indians scattering in small bands and having to chase them all down.

 

4) Custer had broken his battalion up into three companies—as a result, his men were widely scattered and unable to help one another. His company, the largest of the three, was completely wiped out. 

 

Hindsight is always 20/20 of course, but it is evident that Custer was not as prepared for battle as he thought that he was. He thought that he could handle anything.

 

Christians today are, by and large, far worse prepared than Custer was for the battles that we face. We live in a time of a gathering storm, with our culture rapidly abandoning the Christian roots that are at the foundation. Are we ready to fight? Do we know how to fight this war? Do we even know that we are in a war? The first step in our preparation for battle is to realize that… Continue reading

Answers To Questions About Baptism

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Baptism is an ordinance that Christians are to undergo after they become believers in Christ. It’s an important ceremony for Christians, and so people have a quite a few questions about it. Let’s begin with…

 

WHY SHOULD WE BE BAPTIZED?

 

Baptism is commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19–20)

 

These verses are known as the Great Commission, a command given by Christ to evangelize the nations. It has three parts to the command or mandate.

 

1. Go…we are to go and teach the truth about Jesus (in the sense of making disciples), much emphasis in the church is rightly placed on supporting missions and witnessing.

 

3. Teaching, so that believers will know how to follow Jesus. We believe that public teaching and private study of the Bible is very important.

 

Between these two important commands is the command to baptize. Think about that: Christ included baptism in the Great Commission! He was serious about it! We are to be baptized, it is the command of Christ, and his commands ought to be obeyed. Continue reading

Tests Of Salvation

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Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

How important is it to have a real assurance of salvation? Consider what Jesus said near the end of the Sermon on the Mount:

 

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21–23)

 

Do you see how scary that passage is? Those people thought they were saved. They said, “Lord, Lord,” which was a Hebrew figure of speech that expresses personal closeness. They prophesied in his name. They cast out demons! They did wonderful works. But to them the Lord said, “I never knew you!”

 

If that passage doesn’t leave you wondering who can really be saved, then I don’t know what will! How do we know for sure that we won’t be one of these people that the Lord denies knowing? How can we know that our professions of faith are true professions?

 

Assurance in anything does not come without examination. A pilot examines his plane before takeoff. A surgeon examines a patient and their history before proceeding. Why? So that they can have a measure of assurance.

 

The Christian’s assurance of salvation also will rise out of an examination of their lives. Paul encouraged Christians to do so when he said, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). 

 

Throughout the New Testament there are various tests that one can use to examine oneself to check your faith and give yourself assurance that you are really saved. We won’t get to all of them, but hopefully we’ll see the most important ones. Continue reading

The Ninth Commandment–Exodus 20:16

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Levi Durfey

 

1 And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

 

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

 

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

 

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

 

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

I read a story about a man who didn’t want the kids in his neighborhood stealing from his watermelon patch. So he posted a sign in the patch that read, “One of these watermelons is poisoned.” Of course, this was a complete lie, none were poisoned. He hoped that, because the kids couldn’t know which one was supposedly poisoned, that they would leave them all alone. 

 

The next day, when the watermelon scrooge went out to his patch, he found someone had changed the sign to read, “Two of these watermelons is poisoned.” Not able to know if they were lying, like he was, or, if they weren’t, which watermelon they poisoned, the man had to destroy his entire watermelon patch. The moral of the story is that lies have a way of coming back to you.

 

In the ninth commandment, we come to the issue of false testimony or lying.  Continue reading