Rudy Ross and I finish our discussion of 1 Corinthians 7 on today’s YouTube video. We have not covered every verse in the chapter, but I think we have taught the basic message.
An old preacher jokingly described a friend’s preaching, “He takes a verse and quickly departs from it.” That’s what I’m going to do today.
Paul spoke to pressing interests in Corinth that are not of great concern to today’s reader. However, the intent of his message is extremely important.
First, I will include some of Paul’s words, then I will address his main theme.
— 1 Corinthians 7.25-31 – Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are.
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.
But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that.
I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none,
And those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions,
And those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
Paul believed that his generation would experience the return of Christ. His radical view of how to live was based on that premise.
Even though Paul missed Christ’s return by 2000 years, he was perfectly correct about giving Jesus our undivided attention.
Undivided Attention and Devotion
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5.8).
The pure in heart have undivided attention and devotion to the Lord. The pure in heart desire to do God’s will above all things.
They are blessed because their undivided attention and devotion allow them to “see” God.
The history of the church is filled with heroic men and women who were pure in heart. Their behavior enabled them to experience God’s personal nature in a unique way.
St. Francis and Teresa of Avila are ancient heroes of the faith, whose devotion allowed them a glimpse of God’s majesty.
I believe Henry Blackaby, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Avery Willis, and many more current individuals have had the same experience.
Jesus’ word is true for everyone who is willing to grasp it. If we have an undivided heart of devotion to the Lord, we will see him.
James, the brother of Jesus, described a situation that is all too prevalent among Christians today. He wrote of the “double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1.7-8).
The pure in heart are focused on knowing and doing God’s will.
The double-minded profess allegiance to God but also have a competing self-will agenda. They hope God will endorse their will. If he doesn’t, they pursue their will regardless of his direction.
Instead of deepening their personal relationship with God, they can expect to receive nothing from him.
In chapter 4, James puts a fine point on his counsel. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4.8).
To “draw near to God” can be equated with Paul’s admonition to be devoted to the Lord. This act allows God to draw near to us.
He echoes Jesus’ message and counsels us to pursue a pure heart that shuns a double-minded attitude.
Mark and Linda Whitworth tell of having Henry Blackaby visit their home in Japan. Mark asked Dr. Blackaby what he had been doing with his free time in Japan.
Blackaby’s response was that he had been reading his Bible and praying.
How can we give God our undivided attention and devotion? We can use our free time to know and do God’s will.
According to Blackaby, when God reveals his plan to us, we must hurry to align our lives with what he is doing.
There is a common theme that highlights people who are fully devoted to the Lord.
— They frequently turn to him in prayer.
— They listen to him by reading the Bible and meditating on his word.
— They follow his guidance with faithful obedience.
Prayer for Ukraine
I am encouraged by reports I read about the church in Ukraine and in Poland. Much of the relief work is being done by Christian organizations.
I heard one Ukrainian lady who runs an orphanage say last night, “This is not a war between Russia and Ukraine. It is between light and darkness, and good and evil.”
A year ago, Franklin Graham conducted a crusade in Ukraine. I have read that Ukraine sends more missionaries to Europe than any other nation.
Let’s pray for the church in Ukraine to be everything Jesus wants them to be.
The Orthodox Church in Russia is the predominant Christian institution. Let’s pray for Orthodox leaders to be used by the Lord.
God’s will is always life and light. Let’s join millions in prayer and ask for God’s light and life to be on display in this situation.
Rudy Ross and I have recorded a YouTube video on this passage. Rudy and I sit around a table at his restaurant and talk about the Bible. I hope you will listen to the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.