LEADER’S STUDY GUIDE 02.21.2021
1 Corinthians 7
Opening: Terry began his sermon by summarizing chapter 7. It’s important for us to understand that here in chapter 7 Paul is answering their questions/concerns about marriage and singleness. Chapter 7 is long and it can be complex, but we can summarize it like this:
- Marriage is important…be faithful
- Singleness is important…be faithful
- Honoring God in whatever circumstances He calls you to is important…be faithful.
Paul is addressing these issues as part of the larger letter that he has written. So, let’s go back and revisit the framework that Paul has built thus far. We don’t want to try and hang Paul’s teaching about marriage, singleness, and faithfulness in mid-air because he didn’t do that.
This is Paul’s framework:
- 1 Cor. 1:2 Paul is addressing those who are “called to be holy.”
(Paul is casting a vision for who they are in Christ.)
- 1 Cor. 1:18 The gospel is crazy, foolish to those outside the faith.
(This not the world’s wisdom.)
- 1 Cor. 4:2 This is the simple requirement of Christ followers.
(We are to be found faithful.)
Discuss: Let’s personalize Paul’s framework. Take a moment and think about your life in its totality: your job, family, ambitions, likes and dislikes, your everyday walking around life. How does this framework apply to you personally and what is your takeaway?
Transition: Paul didn’t expect those who are not growing believers to agree with or to like what he says (what God has revealed), but he did expect growing believers to embrace the truth in their lives and to be faithful with the stewardship of truth they had been given. So, let’s look at what this chapter has to say to us today about faithfulness and contentment.
Objective: Our objective today is to recognize and grasp the reality that as Christ-followers, faithfulness in and to our individual stewardships is a core belief that offers enormous freedom and makes for a resilient mental attitude throughout our lives. We live (do) faithfulness not by being passive and “taking” whatever life brings us. But rather, we “do what faithfulness does” by proactively being content with what God has put in front of us.
Discussion 1: Read Chapter 7 With a First-Person Perspective
Remember that Paul is addressing a specific series of questions. We don’t have the questions; we only have Paul’s answers. Paul is writing to real people in real situations. People have not changed all that much in the basic issues/struggles/desires that drive their lives.
- Read Ephesians 5:25-33. From what we know from Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians, how would you describe his view on marriage and singleness? Did he have a high view or a low view? Explain your answer.
- What about Paul’s view of faithfulness? How does it fit into the mix?
- Marriage and singleness both can be a stewardship God gives to believers. Whichever one you’ve been given—do you believe that God is willing and able to empower your commitment to faithfulness with your given stewardship?
- One of the greatest choices God has gifted us is the choice to move farther and farther into contentment. Contentment is a by-product of the pursuit of faithfulness. As we trust God with what we cannot control and determine to be faithful with what He has given us to do, then contentment will grow in us like fruit grows on a tree. Do you struggle with contentment? If so, what can you do differently to change your perspective? How can we live more fully in contentment?
Believe that faithfulness in your individual stewardship is a foundational belief for Christians. What God requires of us is to be found faithful, nothing more, nothing less. Faithfulness is a core belief that offers enormous freedom and makes for a resilient mental attitude throughout our lives.
Value wrapping your heart around faithfulness and learning day by day to become more content. Orient your heart toward growing in faithfulness. Faithfulness embraced as a biblical truth shows up in contentment as a growing heart orientation.
Do faithfulness. Remember Zechariah’s challenge, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (Zech. 4:10)
We “do” faithfulness not by being passive and “taking” whatever life brings us. We “do what faithfulness does” by proactively being content with what God has put in front of us.