Bold As Love Pt. 2         Outline  & Small Group                              May 3, 2020
Staying Steady in a Skip-A-Beat World                           
Colton Conrad
Gen. 2:24, Eph. 5:25-33, 1 Cor. 7

Only when we look to Jesus and are filled with His steadfast love, can we love steadfastly in singleness and marriage.

I. Christ and the Church
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansingher by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. … 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

 “Marriage reproduces in miniature the beauty shared between the Bridegroom and the Bride. And through it all the mystery of the gospel is unveiled.”   – Peter O’Brien

II. Marriage as a Gift:
Adam about Eve, “This at last!” Adam is saying- This woman, first, last, and always. God’s search for a helper suitable for Adam needs go no further.”    – Clyde Francisco

A. Marriage is a Gift from God for God
Marriage is “a vehicle for spouses helping each other become their glorious future selves through sacrificial service and spiritual friendship.”
                                                                                                     – Tim Keller1. It exposes our sin and selfishness, and incites change and character growth through:
– Covenant Love

– Transparency

– Accountability

– Sacrificial Love

2. It helps us see the goodness of sacrificial love.
It functions best with humility, and through bridge building rather than ditch digging.

“Don’t dig ditches, build bridges.” – Zach Hapeman

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Phil. 2:3-4

B. Marriage is a Gift from God for the Church

“Marriage is a triple threat. It’s You, Your Spouse, and You two together, living out your calling to God’s glory. Satan wants to tear you apart.”
                                                                                           – Dr. Lyle Dorsett

Marriage is a covenant that provides stability and love that serves the body of Christ, grows spouses in Christlikeness, and promotes the worship and glorifying of God.

III. Singleness as a Gift from God

 I wish that all of you were as I am (which is unmarried/single). But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”
                                                                                                            -1 Corinthians 7:7

Singleness as a gift does not mean:
1. It lasts a lifetime

2. It eliminates any desire for marriage

35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.                                                                         – 1 Cor. 7:35 (NASB)

A. Singleness is a Gift from God for God

“To secure undistracted (or undivided) devotion to the Lord.”

Devotion is a steady thing. What in your world is distracting from steady devotion to God?

The main storyline of our lives is not to be our singleness or marriage, but of our relationship with God and His love for us.

B. Singleness is a Gift from God for the Church

The Church is members of Christ and one another that move and live life together with a purpose – married and single alike.

For the single, God has given you this time to “promote what is appropriate (or good order).”
What is promoting good order?
1. “Settle down” into community, and serve and love God’s people!

2. Be a thankful recipient of who God has brought into your community.

“Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize, it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate.”
                                                                               – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

IV. Weaving the Dress for the Bride of Christ

“Do you see the same truth…or at least, do you care about the same truth?”                                                                               – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Everyone has a thread being weaved in the church – single and married alike. Together, we are being weaved together – we are the bride of Christ. We are like a finely weaved dress, we must be taught. The single has a thread that God can move about lighter than an already intertwined thread of the married person, but it could meet up at some point and be intertwined. But both the single and the married are to be tightly knit in this “dress” the church. And the married person must stay close together -tightly wound so that there are no holes in this beautiful dress that God is weaving. (Thanks be to our Lord and Saviour Jesus, for we are surely a stained, hole-y dress, but the thread of God’s grace is weaved into this dress and covers our holes!)

V. The Blood of the Covenant working in and through your Life

“Steadfastness produces character”                                    -Rom. 5:4

As you prepare to take communion, do you have sin to confess?
Do you have something against you brother or sister, or your spouse which must first be confessed so that you can steadfastly love them?

I encourage you to confess those things and ask forgiveness for them. And if you rightly know Christ, prayerfully you also know how much you have been forgiven. Take some time today to do that. Recognize that as we are united at the table, forgiven sinners, so we will be in eternity. Take some time to thank God for his love, and for His body and blood having created the reality of fellowship with one another.

Small Group Discussion:

Start off:
When did you first come to Christ? What were some of the “threads” in your life that changedwhen you came to Christ? What were some of the things your heart “beat” for before you came to know Christ.
If you came to know Christ at an early age, what have been some of the things competing for your love? What have been your pace-setting desires?

1. Read Ephesians 5:21-33.

  1. What does it mean to submit to one another in reverence for Christ?
  2. Why does Christ’s love for us serve as the primary motivator for our relationships?

2. A. For the single person: What does or could “securing undistracted devotion to the Lord” look like to you? What gets in the way of it? How has the church body helped you grow in Christlikeness?
B. For the married person: Tim Keller calls marriage “a vehicle for spouses helping each other become their glorious future selves through sacrificial service and spiritual friendship.” Do spouses help each other? If so explain how? If not, why not?

3.  A. For the single person: What kinds of opportunities are there for you to promote what is appropriate (think of your gifting, your time, etc.)? What would that look like for you to “settle down” into the church family and be involved? In what ways do you wish you could be more involved in the lives of married people?
B. For the married person: In what ways have you seen other married people impact the church? In what ways can you be more available to single people in the Church?
4a.C.S. Lewis in the Four Loves says, “Do you see the same truth…or at least, do you care about the same truth?” is an important question when becoming friends, and Keller proposes this is crucial for marriage. Why is that important?  What are the important threads you have shared with your friends? Spouse?

4b. Ben Stuart, author of Single. Dating. Engaged. Married adds that when selecting a spouse you want someone going in the same direction, and also at the same pace. Why is that important when picking out a “common thread?”” (or mythos thread, as Lewis puts it)

5. As it is/was communion Sunday, the topic of confession came up. Bonhoeffer, in his book Life Together says, “In confession the break-through to community takes place. Sin demands to have a man by himself…the more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him…In confession the light of Gospel breaks into the darkness and seclusion of the heart…” (p.112)

Why is confession so important? Who can you confess to? What are your experiences with confession in the Church? In your marriage?

If you’ve found that sin has “withdrawn” you from community – maybe through its time, your guilt and shame, consider the love of Christ and his forgiveness for you. Call up a trusted brother or sister in Christ, and have them pray with you as you confess your sin to God.