Cross Shaped Lives. Being Shaped by the Gospel. Not the World. Studies on 1 Corinthians 7. 1 of 6! Village Church - 1 Corinthians - Cross Shaped Lives

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1 Cross Shaped Lives Being Shaped by the Gospel. Not the World. Studies on 1 Corinthians 7 1 of 6! Village Church - 1 Corinthians - Cross Shaped Lives

2 Cross-Shaped Relationships, 1 Corinthians 7 (Part 1) Our self-definition doesn t come from how other people see us, or what kind of relationship we re in with others, but in the God who made us His own. We work through 1 Corinthians 7 in two parts because it contains a lot of information. In this first study we consider some foundational principles (found in verses 17 24), and in the next study we look at how Paul applies them to singleness and marriage. What we see as we look through this passage is that Paul s underlying message to those who are single and those who are married is the same. 1 - What shapes how we view relationships these days? Read 1 Corinthians 7: What issue does Paul say he s trying to address in 1 Corinthians 7:1 2? (See the blurb before question 3 in the following study.) We now focus on verses 17 24; you ll see why as we go through it. 3 - What idea does Paul begin and end this section with? 4 - How does Paul use circumcision in verses to illustrate what s important in the Christian life? 5 - How does verse 20 speak to our culture s idea of contentment? 6 - Does Paul mean in verse 20 (as well as 17 and 24) that Christians shouldn t change their current life situation? 7 - In verses 21 22, Paul uses slaves to illustrate what God does to people s status / situation in life. What does this illustration tell us? 8 - In verse 23 we see a phrase that Paul has used already in 1 Corinthians 6:20. What was he saying there, and what is he saying here? 2 of 6! Village Church - 1 Corinthians - Cross Shaped Lives

3 Our default is to see ourselves and interpret our status/situation in life as society would have us understand it. But Paul says in verse 23a that we re not owned by the world but by God. Paul gives parallel commands after each illustration (circumcision and slavery):! Verse 19:...keeping God s commands is what counts...! Verse 23:...do not become slaves of men What are these commands saying, and how does each reflect being bought by God? 10 - In verse 24, Paul says a similar thing as he does in verses 17 and 20, but with a slight difference. What is it, and what are its implications? Brothers, each person should remain with God in whatever situation he was called, Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). Now that we ve understood what Paul is saying in these verses, we need to start (and continue next week) thinking about why he puts this into a discussion on marriage and singleness. Here s the start of the discussion What are some of the struggles we see in our community in regard to relationship status? 12 - How and what do we need to be reminding each other of in order to help with these struggles? Next week we ll look in more detail how Paul applies these foundational ideas to relationship scenarios. 3 of 6! Village Church - 1 Corinthians - Cross Shaped Lives

4 Cross-Shaped Relationships, 1 Corinthians 7 (Part 2) Godliness and contentment. That s what we re looking for in the situation God has placed us in. 1 - What are some of the struggles and questions that our wider community and our church community have with singleness and with marriage? 2 - Recap the foundational principles Paul was building on for this discussion, which we looked at last week. Because the Corinthians were confused about relationships and sex, Paul attempted to correct them. At one end of the spectrum were people going at it with anybody and everybody (1 Corinthians 6:12 20), and on the other end were people abstaining from, or denying their partner, sex because they thought that would bring them closer to God. Re-read 1 Corinthians 7. Verse 1 in the NIV is a little confusing. Paul is actually quoting the Corinthians, so a better translation is: Now in response to the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to have [sexual] relations with a woman. (1 Cor 7:1 HCSB) So Paul is dealing with the bizarre view that sex should be abstained from in marriage because it somehow makes you more spiritual. 3 - In verses 6 9, how does Paul say sex is supposed to be expressed? Why? 4 - What does Paul put forward as the alternative? 5 Christians often cite the idea of singleness as a gift. But in verse 7 Paul doesn t highlight it as such; rather, he says that each person s situation is a gift from God. What s comforting and what s hard about that idea? In verses Paul discusses issues surrounding marriages where one person is a Christian and the other isn t. It s a challenging section. 6 - What are the guidelines Paul sets up for this scenario? (As an important tangent, talk about how we as a Christian community can care for and support couples in this situation.) 4 of 6! Village Church - 1 Corinthians - Cross Shaped Lives

5 There are two tricky verses in this section: 14 and 16. It appears as if some of the concern in Corinth was that being in such an intimate relationship (see 1 Cor 6:15 16) could cause the believing party to become unclean. You ll see this type of argument recur in 1 Corinthians 8 onwards, but here Paul addresses the concern in two ways. Don t worry for your children, and don t divorce from your partner. It s all good. The logic is sort of like this:! A) Holy marriages should be maintained (7:10 11).! B) Mixed marriages are holy marriages.! C) Mixed marriages should therefore be maintained (7:12 13) 7 - Discuss the above. Does it help explain what Paul is saying? What questions do you still have? How do we apply the issues Paul addresses here to our church community? In verses 25 onwards, Paul applies the principle Remain as you are that he s established in verses to the situation of the equivalent of engaged couples ( virgins equate to fiancés). 8 - How do you see Paul applying this principle in verses 25 38? 9 - What reasoning does he give in these verses? 10 - And how does he apply it in verses 39 40? In our community, we have a mix of those who are married and those who are single. In this passage, Paul seems to be driving people towards contentment and godliness in the situation (gift) God has put them in. This doesn t mean it has to stay the same, and there s nothing wrong with changing the situation it s about not idolising one situation over another, nor letting your life and dreams revolve around something other than where God is taking the world. Spend some time thinking through how this passage applies to us What are the struggles those who are single face in our community? What does godliness and contentment look like being single? 12 - What are the struggles those who are married face in our community? What does godliness and contentment look like being married? 13 - We re not meant to face these challenges alone. How can we as a Christian community support and encourage each other towards godliness and contentment? 5 of 6! Village Church - 1 Corinthians - Cross Shaped Lives

6 The plan for 1 Corinthians (The date is the week starting.) 9 July - Don Carson here this week! Tuesday night (10 July) at mpc for Food for Thought, 12 July at qtc for a public event. Growth Groups will either be going to the Don, having a social, or doing the first study of 1 Corinthians - Cross shaped Wisdom - 1 Corinthians 1:1-2:5. 16 July - Looking at Cross shaped Revelation - 1 Corinthians 2: July - Looking at Cross shaped Foundations - 1 Corinthians July - Looking at Cross shaped Integrity - 1 Corinthians 4. 6 August - Looking at Cross shaped Communities - 1 Corinthians 5: August - Bill Colyer from QUT Christians will be speaking this week. So groups are just encouraged to have dinner and pray together this week. 20 August - Looking at Cross shaped Disputes - 1 Corinthians 6: August - Looking at Cross shaped Sexuality - 1 Corinthians 6: September - Looking at Cross shaped Relationships (Part 1) - 1 Corinthians 7 10 September - Looking at Cross shaped Relationships (Part 2) - 1 Corinthians 7 6 of 6! Village Church - 1 Corinthians - Cross Shaped Lives

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