TEXT: 1 Corinthians 7:1-6:
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.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 241 messages in this series.
This is message #243 titled, Prayer and Sex, Part 3.
This is a very serious matter that is being portrayed even now called “Tell Me That You Love Me.” In this show, there are four couples going to the same marriage counselor. The marriage counselor and her husband are in their 70s, but they are still getting it on, and have a healthy relationship in every way. But the young couples that she is counseling are dealing with the problems presented in this passage in different ways. One wife has a loving, sweet husband who doesn’t want to have sex with her and they haven’t had sex in over a year. With another couple, the fiance is having sex with her but will not commit to having sex with other women, which causes another problem. Another couple had an abortion years earlier, and now the wife cannot get pregnant from her husband, and now she is putting a lot of undue pressure on him to have as much sex as possible to get pregnant. And on and on it goes.
Now let me say here, I will admit to you, something that is not popular to say today. I got married mostly because I was being tempted to commit fornication, and I got married so as to have sex with my wife and avoid fornication. Now that is just the truth.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “Some in Corinth were trying to practice celibacy within marriage. Apparently this refraining from sex within marriage was a unilateral decision of one partner, not a mutually agreed-on decision. Such a practice sometimes led to immorality on the part of the other mate. Paul commanded that they stop this sort of thing unless three conditions were met: One, the abstention from sexual intercourse was to be a matter of mutual consent on the part of both husband and wife. Two, they were to agree beforehand on a time period at the end of which normal intercourse would be resumed. Three, this refraining was to enable them to devote themselves to prayer in a concentrated way.”
Kenneth Wuest and Warren Wiersbe state, “Apparently one of the questions the church asked was, “Is celibacy [remaining unmarried] more spiritual than marriage?” Paul replied that it is good for a man or a woman to have the gift of celibacy, but the celibate state is not better than marriage, nor is it the best state for everybody. Dr. Kenneth Wuest translates Paul’s reply, “It is perfectly proper, honorable, morally befitting for a man to live in strict celibacy.” First Corinthians 7:6 makes it clear that celibacy is permitted, but it is not commanded; and 1 Corinthians 7:7 informs us that not everybody has the gift of remaining celibate. This ties in with our Lord’s teaching in Matthew 19:10–12, where “eunuchs” refers to those who abstain from marriage. “It is not good that the man should be alone” is generally true for most people; but some have been called to a life of singleness for one reason or another. Their singleness is not “subspiritual” or “superspiritual.” It all depends on the will of God.”
While some think that sex is a topic too sensitive for a sermon, especially in a mixed audience, this passage tells us differently. The early church did not think so either, as this letter by Paul would have been read aloud when the church gathered for their weekly (and often more frequent) meetings where men, women, and children were all in attendance. From this passage, we have learned the following:
(1) Celibacy is good because it enables people to give more of their time and energy to the Lord’s work.
(2) Marriage and sex within marriage are good because it enables the husband and wife to avoid fornication, and then be able to concentrate on the things of the Lord
(3) Sex within marriage is good, recommended, and even required by God so that the spouses will not be tempted to seek sexual satisfaction outside of the marriage.
(4) It is not good or recommended for spouses to abstain from sex for any other reason except for prayer and fasting.
(5) If the husband and wife decide to abstain from sex in order to give themselves more rigorously to the Lord’s work, they must do so only in agreement with each other for a short agreed-upon period of time.
Now, as we look at this passage, we can consider that one of the reasons why God allows husbands and wives to abstain from sex in order to commit to prayer and fasting is because, even though sex inside of marriage is a beautiful thing, the sexual relations can be considered “unclean”. Even though some would say there is a spiritual aspect to it, it is an action that takes place between two sinful human beings. In the book of Leviticus, God gave the children of Israel extensive instructions regarding the need for cleanliness following sexual relations. For example, Leviticus 15:17-19 states: “If any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the evening. And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the evening. The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening.”
Dr. R.C. Sproul said, “This passage deals with the uncleanness caused by discharges from the sexual organs. That perfectly natural processes like sexual intercourse or menstruation should make someone unclean (that is, unfit to worship) is surprising. But all these cases involve the loss of bodily fluids (blood or semen), and any loss of a ‘life fluid’ suggested death and was incompatible with the presence of God, who is perfect life. These old covenant arrangements that seem so strange to us were also early object lessons — a ‘guardian’ pointing forward to the full redemption accomplished in Jesus Christ.”
The Leviticus passage goes on to detail that anything that the man or woman touches, sits on, or lies on is unclean and must be washed. Also, any other person who touches the man or woman who has had sex is unclean and must bathe and wash their clothes. Until these requirements were met, the couple could not enter the presence of the Lord in the Tabernacle. Verse 31 says, “Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them.” (John Walvoord notes that “While the normal sexual process between husband and wife made them ceremonially unclean, it did not make them sinful — no guilt was involved and no sacrifice was required.)
While some have noted that some of the Old Testament “purity laws” were rescinded in the New Testament era, Louis William Countryman writes in his book on Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and Their Implications for Today: “The New Testament writers still considered sex to be an area subject to ethical demands. The early Christians did not cease to be conscious of a distinction between clean and unclean. The power of clean and unclean remained as a powerful social reality, and New Testament writers applied that power freely.”
So, when Paul allows for husbands and wives to abstain from sex in order to fast, pray, and give themselves to God’s service, it can be thought of as a temporary attainment of that higher state of cleanliness and holiness that all believers will reach in Heaven. Jesus said in Matthew 22:30, “In the resurrection people neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” On Earth, sex is necessary for reproduction and for a husband and wife to enjoy in order to avoid fornication or adultery. But, apparently, sex will not be needed in Heaven, as, in Christ, there is “neither male nor female.” A husband and wife can freely engage in sex, without guilt or shame, and then go and serve the Lord. But, they can think of temporarily abstaining from sex in order to give themselves to ministry as a form of “practice” for that soon-coming day when we will spend all of eternity serving the Lord in the New Heavens and the New Earth.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.