(#034) 1 Corinthians 7 - Religion Tells You to Change Yourself but God Doesn’t

FCOR-39-200607 - length: 92:29 - taught on Jun, 7 2020

Class Outline:

God always pays the bill so you can keep the change.












Welcome To 


a Christian Church


Rory Clark



Good Morning!


Welcome to Barah Ministries…an intimate, local Christian Church with worldwide impact.  My name is Pastor Rory Clark.  At Barah Ministries we know this truth…that Jesus Christ is God.  As the Lord He is 100% Deity… He is God the Son.  He is also 100% human just like you and me, and His name is Jesus Christ.  The Lord…God the Son…became flesh…Jesus Christ...and lived among us.  He is the uniquely born One…the God-Man… 100% God and 100% man in one Person forever…He is the Sovereign God of the Universe…He is the Savior of the whole world…and He is the Jewish Messiah.  


Those who make Barah Ministries their spiritual home are Christians.  We are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and we have a deep, intimate, and personal relationship with the Lord…because Christianity is a relationship, not a religion…and the Lord Jesus Christ is a Person.  The Lord is not a thing… and He is not a concept.  Just as we do with anyone whom we love, we spend time getting to know the Lord…and we do that through the study of His Word.  You can’t get to know the Lord without knowing His mind, and the Bible is His exact thinking.



Religion Tells You to Change Yourself but God Doesn’t


If God was a songwriter and He was singing a song for today’s lesson He would borrow a tune from Billy Joel.  He would sing, "Don’t go changing to try to please me…you never have to work that hard…I love you just the way you are!”  Or as He says in Psalm 46, Verse 10…


PSALM 46:10a

“Cease striving and know that I am God (the Sovereign God of the Universe)…”


Nothing happens in this life without His permission.  In today’s lesson, our God encourages us to be satisfied with our choices in life, and to come to Him as we are, because He loves us just that way.




Let’s hear some music!  The Lord wants us to use His Person, His divine power, and His resources…Ephesians, Chapter 6, Verses 10 and 11…



Finally, believers in Christ, be strong in union with the Lord and through the strength of His might.



Pick up and put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.


That’s what the group Unspoken recommends, too, in their song HUMAN CONDITION.



Be Occupied with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ

Enjoy the Singing of His Praises






Let us pray...


We’re grateful, Heavenly Father, for the privilege of studying Your absolute truth...the Word of God…


Father, thank you for the trials of this life…thank you for showing us the way to overcome the trials through our relationship with Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ…thank you for seeing us differently than we see ourselves…thank you for Your grace, and Your forgiveness, and Your mercy, and Your unconditional love…


Father, when we go through the trials of this life, it hurts…help us to avoid becoming bitter as we go through the workouts in Your spiritual gymnasium…give us the mindset to embrace the pain…show us how not to medicate the pain, but to endure it, knowing that Your plan for us always makes us victorious…help us to remember that the deeper sorrow carves into our being the deeper will be the space where Your fullness can fill the sorrow space with joy…give us the patience to wait for You…


…we ask this through the power of God the Holy Spirit…in Christ’s




Religion Tells You to Change Yourself but God Doesn’t


We’re studying First Corinthians, Chapter 7 where Paul begins addressing problems brought up to him in the form of questions by Chloe and other people concerning the believers in Christ in the church at first-century Corinth.  Corinth is the Las Vegas of its day (what happens in Corinth stays in Corinth)!  Paul is interested in correcting erroneous thinking that is being housed in the minds of these new believers.  Here is an overview of the remaining topics in Chapter 7…



Chapter 7, Verses 17 to 24


A Guiding Principle:

Remain as You Are



Chapter 7, Verses 25 to 40


The Advisability of Marriage 

For the Engaged

For Widows


Let’s look at the verses we have studied so far…First Corinthians, Chapter 7, Verses 1 to 16…and then we’ll move into today’s section.  



NOW CONCERNING the things about which you wrote (such as), “Isn’t it the highest, most virtuous good for a married man not to touch a married woman?”



Because of the temptations of sexual immoralities (like fornication and purchasing sex for hire with strangers) … each man is to have sex with his own wife…and each woman is to have sex with her own husband.



The husband must fulfill his sexual obligation to his wife (by making himself available to her for sexual intercourse) … and likewise also the wife must fulfill her sexual obligation to her husband (by making herself available to him for sexual intercourse).



The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband has authority over her body…and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body…but the wife has authority over his body.



So…STOP DEPRIVING ONE ANOTHER…except by mutual agreement for a time…so that you may withdraw to devote yourselves to prayer…and then have sexual intercourse again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (because you are aflame with passion).



Now I (Paul) say the following things…not as a command…but by agreement (a choice).



I wish that all of you were as I am…(single and celibate). However, each Christian has his very own grace gift from God…one has a gift in this manner…and another has a gift in that manner.



But I (Paul) say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them to remain single and celibate…even as I am single and celibate.



But if they are (absolutely) not (able at) exercising self-control (if they burn…aflame with a sexual passion) … (the imperative mood…a command) let them marry…for it is better to marry than to burn (to be aflame with a sexual passion).



But to the married (Christian) I give orders…and not I (Paul), but the Lord gives the orders, that the (Christian) wife should not initiate divorce from her husband…



…(but if the Christian wife does initiate divorce, she must remain unmarried, or she has the choice to be reconciled to her husband)…and the Christian husband should not divorce his wife (he shall not send her away).



But to the rest (Christians married to unbelievers), I (Paul) say…it’s not the Lord saying it…that if any (Christian) brother has a wife who is an unbeliever…and she consents to live with him (in a committed marriage)… he must not divorce her.



And a (Christian) woman who has an unbelieving husband…and he consents to live with her (in a committed marriage)…she must not send her husband away (in divorce). 



For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through (the spiritual power of) his (Christian) wife…and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through (the spiritual power of) her believing husband…for otherwise your children are unclean…but (through sanctification)…now they are holy. 



Yet if the unbelieving spouse initiates a divorce, let him leave (a

command)…the (Christian) brother or the sister is not enslaved (is not required to stay in the marriage) in such cases…but God has called us to peace (harmony…not discord and division).



For how can you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?


First Corinthians, Chapter 7, Verses 17 to 24…



Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. 



Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. 



Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. 



Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.



Were you called while a slave?  Do not worry about it…but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.



For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman… likewise, he who was called while free is Christ's slave.



You were bought with a price…do not become slaves of men.



Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.


When we return from our five-minute break, we’ll take your offering, and then we’ll study this section verse-by-verse to learn what this section of the passage has to teach us.




Casting Crowns



Religion Tells You to Change Yourself but God Doesn’t


In Philippians, Chapter 4, Verses 15 to 17, here’s what the apostle Paul has to say about giving…



You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel (in Paul’s first missionary journey), after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone…



…for even in Thessalonica (in Paul’s second missionary journey), you sent a gift more than once for my needs.



Not that I seek the gift itself (for myself…even though I appreciate it), but I seek for the profit which increases to your account (from God when you give).


I know what Paul means.  One of the great pleasures of my life is giving.  It’s a pleasure for me over the years to give my time, talent, and treasure so that anyone who wants to learn about the Lord Jesus Christ can do so free of charge.  One of the things I most appreciate is that you have joined me in this pursuit by giving yourself.  I don’t give of myself once in a while; I give of myself all the time.  That’s what the Lord wants from us…our ALL.  If you listen to Barah Ministries, I’m asking you to support Barah Ministries if you listen to Barah Ministries.  No amount is too small.  I want you to make giving to Barah Ministries a routine.  Another great pleasure of my life is to watch how God blesses your giving and makes it have an impact all over the world…in places all over the world… with people you know nothing about.  Let’s welcome up Deacon Denny Goodall with the offering message.



Deacon Denny Goodall





Much more then, having now been justified by the Lord Jesus Christ’s blood, we believers in Christ shall be saved from the wrath of God the Father through our union with Him.




ROMANS 5:10 

For if, for the sake of argument, while we were the enemies of God, we were reconciled to God the Father through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ’s life.




ROMANS 5:11 

And not only this (much more), but we believers in Christ also exult in God the Father through our union with the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.




David Bauer, Instrumental



Religion Tells You to Change Yourself but God Doesn’t


Welcome back!   The religions of the world encourage us to work to please God…in Romans, Chapter 4, Verse 4 Paul discourages the practice…



Now to the one who works for salvation, his payment is not paid as if it were a gracious favor…but his payment is paid because it is what he is due...it is paid to him as what he has earned because of his work.


I don’t know about you, but I’ll take God’s grace over my works any day!


Some married couples in the church at Corinth believed that sexual abstinence, celibacy for married couples, is a good idea.  They were ascetics who wanted to gain a higher moral state through self-denial.  They intended to impose their “religious” views on others.  Religion is coercion…it is the desire to superimpose man’s view of what is good over God’s view of what is perfect.  Here is the Lord’s view of the religious…Mark, Chapter 7, Verse 7… 


MARK 7:7

‘But in vain do they worship Me…teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’


Anything men add to God’s plan does not reap spiritual benefits!  Let’s take a look at the passage under study verse-by-verse.  First Corinthians, Chapter 7, Verses 17 to 24…



So, as the Lord has assigned to each one a circumstance, and as God has called each one for a “so great” salvation, in this manner let him walk (create a lifestyle). And I (Paul) give the same direction in all the Christian churches. 


God wants you to be who you are…God accepts you as you are.  That’s not to suggest that we can’t change…that’s not to suggest that we don’t change…but change is not necessary for God to accept us.  You do not need to change WHO you are.  God gives us circumstances and He wants us to craft amazing lifestyles despite our circumstances.  The religious suggest that you will be more successful to the degree that you change to please God.  Religion, Satan’s strategy against the human race, encourages us to be discontented with our ourselves and our circumstances. 


The recent events in the world have people very conscious of skin color. 

Why can’t people just accept that God gave us skin color, and it wasn’t His intention for us to use it against each other.  Instead, the Lord knew that we would use it against each other and He allowed it so that we would come to thrive in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, whether racially, or socially, or by gender.  In God’s plan, there is no excuse for using your circumstances as an excuse.



Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised (imperative mood). Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised (imperative mood). 


Jews and Gentiles worshipping together was happening in the church at Corinth, and it was unheard of at the time.  Paul suggests that if you are Jewish at the time you become a Christian, you remain Jewish.  You CAN be Christian and Jewish.  If you are Gentile at the time you become a Christian, you remain a Gentile.  Therefore, there is no need for circumcision…which was uniquely Jewish. Nor was there a need to undo circumcision.  How does THAT even work?!



Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the mandates of God (because that is everything). 


For a Jew to say, “Circumcision is nothing,” is a jaw-dropper because it was considered obligatory in the Jewish culture!  Here’s how Paul, a Pharisee, described himself in Philippians, Chapter 3, Verses 4 and 5…



… I (Paul) myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I should have far more confidence…



…for I was circumcised on the eighth day…I am of the nation of Israel…I am of the tribe of Benjamin…I am a Hebrew of Hebrews…


Paul followed the letter of the Mosaic Law.  The Jews thought that those who were uncircumcised were destined for destruction.  Circumcision was so important that you could even circumcise a boy on the Sabbath!  The Romans thought circumcision was a barbaric practice.  Paul is acknowledging that Christ and His Cross changed everything.  Christ fulfilled the Mosaic Law.  Ephesians, Chapter 2, Verses 14 to 16…



For the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our peace…who made both groups (Jews and Gentiles) into one group and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall…



…by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in union with Himself the Lord might make the two groups into a new man (the new creation)…thus establishing peace…



…and that He might reconcile them both (Jews and Gentiles) in one body (the Church…the body of Christ)…reconciling them to God the Father through the Cross…by means of the Cross having put to death the enmity.



Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.


Once you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are spiritual.  There is no degree in the matter of spiritual.  You don’t need to get “more spiritual.”  The Lord accepts you as you are!  Changing your circumstances does not change or improve a believer in Christ’s relationship with God.  Ephesians, Chapter 2, Verses 8 and 9…



For by God’s grace you have been saved through faith (in Christ for salvation) … and that grace and that faith and that salvation are not from the source of yourselves…it is the gift of God….



…so being saved is not as a result of your works (deeds you have done in self-righteousness) … so that no one may boast (about saving himself).


Our “image” to the world is irrelevant to God.  At the moment of salvation, God changes us, but we don’t have to change ourselves.  It’s a truth that Christians take forever to accept because they would rather “redeem themselves.”  Making changes to yourself does not change God’s attitude toward you in any way.



Were you called while a slave?  Do not worry about it (imperative mood)!  But if you are able also to become free, rather do that (imperative mood).


One-third of the people in Corinth were slaves.  Slaves had no rights, including the right to marry…they were things…they were possessions… they were not considered to be people.  Slaves had no worth.  It was better for slaves if they were free.  Paul encourages them to seek freedom, but it is not imperative.  Why?



For he who was called to be in union with the Lord while he is a slave is the Lord’s freedman… likewise, he who was called while he is free is Christ’s slave (doulos).


A bit of irony.  Those of us who are believers in Christ are now possessions of Christ, and we are slaves in twenty-four hours a day seven day a week service to the Lord.  To all those who think race is an issue in your success…don’t underestimate God.  He promotes those the world thinks are “unpromotable.”



You were bought with a price by the Lord…do not become slaves of men (the religious…imperative mood). 


There will be a lot of slaves in heaven, whose only hope on earth was their relationship with the Lord.



Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that circumstance in which he was called (imperative mood).


Environment is not the key to your success.  Circumstance is not the key to your success.  Accept your circumstances.  Choices are the key to your success.  Changing your choices to impress God does not work.  Being married and celibate does not make anyone more spiritual.  Being divorced does not make you a disappointment to God.  He loves you unconditionally.

Our charge as Christians is quite simple…choose God’s choices for you.  Your choices are best when they align exactly with God’s choices for you!  That takes a while to learn.  God expects you to follow His direction to make the best of your circumstances.  Ephesians, Chapter 2, Verse 10…



For we believers in Christ are God the Father’s workmanship, created to be in union with Christ Jesus for good works, which God the Father prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.


Enjoy the journey!



Make the Most Important Decision of Your Life


The closing moments of our study are for the benefit of anyone who does not have a personal relationship with the Sovereign God of the Universe, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We want you to know that GOD WANTS YOU. 


How often do you think about eternal things?  


It's easy for human beings to be concerned only with the here and now…a concern with the things that busy us in our time on earth…a concern with the things that are temporary.  Yet we know that nobody gets out of this life alive, so there are questions about what people call "the afterlife" … the things that happen when we die…the things eternal.


How often do you think about eternal things?  


The bible tells us that God's enemy, Satan, is the one who deceives us into being short-sighted. Satan wants to keep our focus on temporary things so we don’t prepare ourselves for eternal things.  First Peter, Chapter 5, Verse 8 warns us to…



Be of sober spirit…be on the alert. The adversary…the devil (Satan) … prowls around like a roaring lion…seeking someone to devour.


Satan busies us with things that distract us from eternal matters.  He diverts our attention to meaningless things.  For example, the Bible tells us how easy it is to be deceived by material wealth, a problem that pervaded the church at Laodicea.  Revelation, Chapter 3, Verses 15 to 18…



“I (the Lord Jesus Christ) know your deeds…that you (like the water in your homes) are neither cold nor hot…I (the Lord Jesus Christ) wish that you were cold or hot.”



“So, because you are lukewarm (like the water in your homes) … and neither hot nor cold…I will vomit you out of My mouth.”


The Lord is not fond of indecisiveness.  He doesn’t want us to be oblivious.



“Because you Laodicean believers say, ‘I am rich…and have become wealthy…and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are (spiritually) wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…”



“…I (the Lord Jesus Christ) advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become (spiritually) rich…and white garments so that you may clothe yourself (not the black wool that gave you material wealth)…so that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed…and I advise you to buy from Me eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”


Material wealth often blinds us to our spiritual poverty.  We think only about now and not about eternity.  What is it that the Lord wants us to see?  Matthew, Chapter 6, Verse 24…



“No one can serve two masters…for either he will hate the one master and

he will love the other master…or he will be devoted to one master and he will despise the other master. You cannot serve God and wealth.”


The Lord wants us to see the two ways to get to heaven.  The first way to get to heaven is to be perfect like God is perfect because God demands perfection from us.  Material wealth can't buy perfection, nor does it buy a relationship with God.  Are you perfect enough to get into heaven?


Once we sin, we are no longer perfect according to James, Chapter 2, Verse 10…


JAMES 2:10

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point (when he breaks one law) … he has become guilty of breaking the whole law.


Once you realize you’re not perfect enough to get into heaven, the only other way to get to heaven is by means of God’s grace, which is free of charge.  In John, Chapter 14, Verse 6, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said… 


JOHN 14:6

…to the doubting apostle, Thomas, “I am the way (to salvation), and I am the truth (through the Word of God…the gospel message), and I am the resurrection life (eternal life)…and no one comes to God the Father (in heaven) but through believing in Me.”


Once you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, God makes you perfect.  At the moment of your salvation, the Lord imputes His absolute righteousness…His perfection…to you.  Accepting the Lord Jesus Christ’s grace gift of eternal life saves you.  As a result of the Lord’s work at the Cross…the work that paid for the sins of all mankind, including yours…sin was eliminated as a barrier between you and God.  Second Corinthians, Chapter 5, Verse 21 says…



God the Father made Jesus Christ who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in union with Him.


So, if you are imperfect, and you are if you don’t have a relationship with Christ, you can be made perfect by God by asking God the Father to credit your account with real wealth… spiritual wealth…His own righteousness… His own perfection...your admission ticket to heaven.  Having God’s righteousness makes you spiritually wealthy.  God will honor your request when you ask for His righteousness, and you will be saved.  Acts, Chapter 16, Verse 31…


ACTS 16:31 

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and everyone in your household who also believes.”


John, Chapter 3, Verse 36 warns…


JOHN 3:36

“He who believes in the Son has the resurrection life right at that moment… but he who does not obey the command to believe in the Son will not see the resurrection life…instead the wrath of God (the Lake of Fire) abides on him.”


John, Chapter 3, Verse 17…


JOHN 3:17

For God the Father did not send God the Son into the world to judge the world…but God the Father sent God the Son into the world that the world might be saved through Him.


Who is this God who saves you?  The apostle Paul describes the Lord Jesus Christ…in First Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verses 3 and 4… 



For I (Paul) delivered to you as of first importance the gospel message I also received … that it was Jesus Christ who died for our sins according to the Scriptures…



…and that He was buried…and that He was raised from the dead on the third day…according to the Scriptures…


Take the free gift of eternal life right now!  There’s no time to waste!  Just tell God the Father that you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is the moment of perfection…that is the moment of eternal life…for you.  NOW is the time to think about eternal things.  God wants you.  Real wealth happens when you decide to have a relationship with Him. 




Let’s close with music!  The Lord pays attention to every detail of your life.  In Matthew, Chapter 6, Verses 25 and 26 the Lord says…



“For this reason, I (the Lord Jesus Christ) say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink…nor worry for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”



"Look at the birds of the air, the sparrows, that they do not sow, nor do they reap nor do they gather into barns (harvest)…and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"


You are.  With the Lord, HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW!  Here is June Murphy to sing about it.




June Murphy



Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. //In all your ways acknowledge Jesus, and He will make your paths straight.



“For the Lord is the one who goes ahead of you…He will be with you…He will not fail you or forsake you…so not fear or be dismayed.”


ISAIAH 30:18

The Lord longs to be gracious to you…He waits on high to have compassion on you…for the Lord is a God of justice…blessed are all those who wait for Him.



Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time…//…slamming all your cares on His back, because He cares for you (God considers your problems to be His responsibility).



Let us pray...


Thanks for coming!

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Thanks for listening!




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