Text: Mark 12:18-27
Father, I pray that you would meet us now in this hour. I give You my mouth. I give You this time. This is Your house. It’s a house of prayer and we want to pray to You. We want to meet You. We want to encounter You. We ask for wisdom from above. Teach us about marriage. Teach us about singleness. Teach us about family. Teach us about Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Father, help me to organize all of these thoughts. Highlight that which is helpful to Your people. Build us up. Prepare us for the end. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
18 And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.” 24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”
You may think, I picked this text because there was a couple that was engaged a few days ago and there’s another one on the way. So 1.5 engagements in the room, possibly more that I don’t know about. But we were just covering Mark 12 in our family devotion and God impressed it on my heart that I need to sit on this one.
Regarding marriage, I think we take our cues from the wrong places. We get imagery of movies like the Titanic with Leonardo and Kate Winslet on the front of a ship and the wind is going through their hair. And that’s such a romantic scene. We think, that’s what marriage is about.
Or, Peter Cetera, he’s the lead singer of Chicago and he sang, “The Glory of Love.” “Like a knight in shining armor from a long time ago…” And he’s saving a damsel in distress and we think, that’s what marriage is.
Today, I want to talk about priorities, and specifically, I want to wrestle with, as Christians, we all know what the priority of life is. That the priority is to prepare ourselves to be the bride of Christ.
But how do we prepare ourselves to be the bride of Christ? We are sanctified through stewardship. You might not have thought of it that way, but we are sanctified through stewardship.
And if I were just to put priorities biblically, as far as I can tell, Jesus is number one. No one would argue that. Jesus is number one. Some people may argue about number two.
But as far as I can tell in Scripture, your spouse is number two. And if you have kids, your kids are number three. Church is number four. And five is everything else.
That means, if you’re single, Jesus is number one. Jesus is number two, number three. Church is somewhere on that list, then everything else.
Marriage is a metaphor that is used throughout Scripture. The Bible opens with a marriage in Genesis 1. So let’s turn there.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God could have started with any pair. He could have started with a mother and a daughter, a father and a son, two best friends, same-gender. But He chose a man and a woman. This pairing captures the fullness of My likeness. Adam and Eve, man and woman, displays the fullness of the image of God and God’s nature being communal — God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And we know that the Bible ends with marriage in Revelation 19.
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
The Bible begins with a marriage and the Bible ends with a marriage. And in the passage we read about today, Jesus tells us there is no marriage in heaven. Except one. There’s only one marriage in heaven. It’s between Jesus and His bride. That means, whether you’re single or you’re married, we all enter heaven as singles. And that might be so surprising.
Can you conceive, if you’re a married person, that in heaven you won’t be married? Can you conceive of that? If you have children, that your relationship with your child in heaven will not be father and son. We’ll all be little ones. And there’s one Bridegroom.
And the Sadducees, I think they’re like many pockets, segments and denominations in the body of Christ. All of us would have to believe in the resurrection, but did you know that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection or in anything supernatural? They didn’t believe in angels, they didn’t believe in demons. They didn’t believe in Satan as an actual person of evil personified. They did not believe in healings and deliverance and casting out of unclean spirits. They did not believe in the supernatural things of God. And there are many in the body of Christ and it’s sad that the only place they turn to is Scripture (with no expectation of signs and wonders).
And yet Scripture talks about angels. The Scripture talks about demons and healings and deliverance and here they are, they’re people of Scripture. But they don’t believe in those things. So that means when they’re reading it, they’re very selective. I say, this one is not for today. This one is not from my experience. I don’t believe in this.
And Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees is that they are missing two key elements. First, they’re missing a right understanding of Scripture. He says, you don’t know the Scriptures. And second. He says, you don’t know the power of God.
When we just think through what it would be like as a married person or as a father or a mother to enter into heaven with a different relationship with those very loved ones, it just boggles your mind. How is it possible that I will not be married to Jackie? And how is that my relationship with Timothy Jeremiah, Elijah, it will not be father and son?
And Jesus said, you do not know the power of God. That He can transform you so much that you can actually start conceiving of the possibility of what that will be like. We have a hard time conceiving of a future without a spouse, without children, without loved ones in the exact relationship that we have with our parents and our children and so forth. It’s so hard because
the God’s power has not yet been displayed. God’s power has not transformed us to the point that we actually can conceive and actually long for that day.
Jesus being number one, I understood it in my twenties conceptually, theoretically. I understood it in my 30s academically, doctrinally. Jesus is number one. In my 40s, I find my heart catching up and I actually long for that day. I long to have Jesus as my Bridegroom. So satisfied in Him. So content with just Him, and of course, loved ones are there. But we’re all just fixing our gaze upon the throne and the Lamb of God who was slain for us and the twenty-four elders. And the four creatures and all the angels.
And John received this revelation of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19 and the end and this revelation is coming from an angel. And John wants to bow down to the angel. And Mark 12 tells us, Jesus says in his own words, when you are given a resurrected body, you will be like that angel. That if we were to see that angel, we would want to worship it. How we will be so transformed! We will be like it, not the same but like it.
I want to talk to singles. If you’re single, this is a very precious season of your life. I hope that sermons about marriage don’t make you think that I’m incomplete until I’m married. There is a wonderful season ahead if you fully embracing your singleness. When I hear about Andre going up to the mountain after Sundays, I remember those days when I was single. As a single, you have time. You don’t have all the responsibilities and it is a time to cultivate a heart after God. A love romance with Jesus. I have no better way of putting it.
Like when I was working as a single, I would leave my work to go to the park during lunch and there was a specific bench and that was my date with Jesus. I would actually imagine He’s sitting there. And after work, I would be going to Berkeley Marina because I didn’t have to go home to a family. I didn’t have other obligations. I was free and so I would go up to the mountains. I would go to sleep on a beach overnight with my friend and have a guitar in my hand. I would do all kinds of crazy things because I had time and I had desire. I was falling in love with Jesus. When I was in class, because I was saved as a sophomore in college, every 10 minute break between classes, I’d open up my Bible because I was in love. I want to hear, what what kind of love story, what words of love does He have for me? Now we pull out our phones…
And so if you’re a single, I hope you can just slow down and enjoy your singleness.
1 Corinthians 7:1-9
1 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. 8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Paul says, I wish more in the body of Christ were like me. As a single man whose heart is not divided. He does not have a divided, split attention. He’s just focused on Christ. And doing the ministry that Christ assigns. So fulfilled, so busy serving the Lord and living for Him and just enjoying Him. This is a gift.
And you know whether or not you have this gift. It comes down to — are you burning with passion? If you’re burning with passion, you do not have the gift. That means, if you’re burning with passion as a single, your top prayer request has to be, Lord, give me a spouse so that I do not stumble. This has to be your number one prayer as a single if you’re burning with passion.
In my twenties, I did not have the gift. In my thirties, I did not have the gift. Now that I am in forties, yeah, maybe if I had been single until my forties, yeah, I think I could actually serve the Lord as a single. I didn’t have the gift. God gave me a different gift.
Then Paul goes on to say in verse 25.
1 Cor 7
25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. 32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. 36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better. 39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
If Paul were to put things in order in terms of what he thinks is better, he would say being single is better than being married. If you are gifted with self-control and your mind is consumed with — how do I please the Lord? — then perhaps your earthly journey will be alone as a celibate, a follower of Christ.
And as a second option, Paul says, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that if you must get married, you will be divided. You are not sinning, like he actually has to say that because for someone like Paul who is so focused, it almost feels like, how can you get married? It almost feels like a sin, but he says, no, it’s not a sin.
And in his generation, the first century, you have the Roman emperor, you have Christians being rounded up. You have people fleeing, hiding in caves, being sawn in two, and that was his generation. In these kinds of situations, it’s better to be single. You don’t have to worry about protecting your clan. It’s just you and the Lord. It’s actually better.
And I don’t know what the final generation on earth will be like right before Jesus comes back. It’s going to be the same situation in the final generation before Jesus returns. It’s going to be better that everybody stay single because the tribulation will be so severe. We will be fleeing and it’s harder to hide a family of five versus just one. It’s easier to feed just yourself than trying to provide for kids. This is just wisdom depending on the situation you’re in.
In times of prosperity, having a family is not a problem. But in times of suffering and tribulation, it’s a different situation. I think the clouds are looming, the days are approaching, days of difficulty are coming even upon this country. That in my forties, if I were single and then I read this and I saw the clouds, maybe I would say it’s better to be single.
For a married person, why is spouse number two? Christians will argue about this, but to me, there is no argument in Scripture. Why is spouse number two after Jesus? Because it is the only covenant that continues throughout your life until the day you die or until the day your spouse dies.
And did you know that there’s only one eternal covenant? That’s to Jesus, as a Bride to the Bridegroom. There’s only one eternal covenant. That’s why He’s number one because when we pass from this life, the covenant continues. It is eternal. So clearly, just logically, Jesus is number one.
But in terms of all relationships on this side of eternity, who is number two? It’s your spouse because it is until death do you part. When you die or when your spouse dies, you are freed from that covenant. That is why there is no marriage in heaven. It is only for this life. And it is for your sanctification.
How do we get sanctified through our spouse? It is when we steward that life whom God has entrusted. Because I think in the church, we talk about marriage so much that it almost feels like the end goal is having a good marriage. I’m guilty of it when I preached about marriage some years ago. I did not end with the final conclusion every time, that this is just a pointer. Yes, it’s good to have a good marriage, but this is just a pointer because there is no marriage in heaven. I should have ended with that conclusion. How do we learn something through our earthly marriage to prepare us for our heavenly marriage? It’s supposed to prepare us and we can only get this lesson if we steward our spouses.
You don’t own your spouse. You don’t own your children because things get out of whack when a Christian thinks, I am responsible. I’m owning this thing. I got to be the provider. I am the shepherd. I am the protector. I am the parent. We put so much burden on our shoulders when, in reality, we’re just stewards because even our spouse, when you die or she dies, you’re released. Jackie — I might have thought that she belongs to me. I got to take care of her. It’s my responsibility — there’s some truth in there. But ultimately, I am just stewarding this life.
Why are kids number three?
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
If your spouse is until death do you part, what kind of responsibility do you have toward your children? Until the day they get married, right? Because when they get married, they are leaving father and mother. They’re starting a new unit. So Timothy’s 15. Two, three more years and he’s in college. If he’s burning with passion, hopefully, God will bring a spouse to him in his early 20s. So my time in this type of relationship with him as a father to a son, I’m running out of time. I’m running out of years — 3, 4, 5, maximum 10 years, Lord willing, as soon as he marries, he is spiritually on his own. When he leaves the home, already, he’s kind of on his own.
He’s going to have to take whatever we showed him and told him because it is a father’s job — Ephesians 6 — to not exasperate your children, but to raise them up in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord. It is a father’s job. So God will hold the father responsible. And this is only until the day Timothy and the boys get married.
Priorities, in terms of the number of years, — Jesus is eternal, spouse is until you or your spouse dies, children is until they get married. So obviously, it’s one, two, three. No Christian would debate that Jesus is #1.
What happens when you change the order? God’s laws are unbreakable. You cannot break them. They break you. So what happens when a pastor puts ministry #2, spouse #3, kids #4. Since you can’t break God’s laws, that means the pastor who puts church or ministry second and you can tell right away — you see their schedule, you see the fact that they’re never home, you see how they’re stressed, you see how the kids are neglected, you see how his wife is complaining under her breath — you see it. This pastor is breaking God’s law and God’s law is breaking him and destroying his spouse and family.
That’s why the qualifications for leadership in the church involves the family. How is your family?
Is your family strong? You should not even think about leading God’s family if your own family is weak. Scripture is clear. That’s how we determine maturity. That person, does he honor Christ? Does he love Christ? Does he care for his spouse? Are the children disciplined and instructed in the way of the Lord?
In churches, we got it all wrong. We think it’s the youth pastor job. We say, as long as I bring my kids to church, it’s a youth leader’s job to instruct them and discipline them in the Lord. And fathers are absent.
Satan’s strategy is to weaken the home. He has deceived us into thinking that both parents need to work so that at the end of the day you’re tired. What are we communicating to the children? We’re communicating, Jesus is #1 and job is #2. I’ll give my kids the leftovers. Satan is weakening the home. God’s design is for a strong home. He wants a strong home with present fathers, not passive fathers.
If you look at certain communities, we see problems in the black community. And there’s clearly just one spiritual reason for the problems. It’s because the fathers are not present. Society thinks, you can throw money at the problem. You can put social programs in place. Or education — that’s the ticket out. No, the fathers need to be present. We need to fix what Satan broke because he’s breaking the laws of God and now families and entire communities are broken.
What happens when kids become number one or come number two? My kids have to go to Ivy League and that dominates the thoughts of of some tiger parents. You’re breaking God’s laws.
And that will break the family. Jesus is first, spouse number two, children third. And we are stewarding every one of them. We’re not owning them. We’re not possessing them.
See, it’s the curse in Genesis 3 that the desire of Eve is for Adam. That’s where marriages go wrong. A spouse elevates another spouse and says, you are the fulfillment of my every need. You complete me — I mean, there’s some truth to that, but the goal is not having a good marriage. You see how that that misses the point — that means, Jesus is not number one. Instead, your spouse is number one.
The drive to get your kids into Ivy League, that means you need to earn a lot of money so that you can live in a certain neighborhood with a good school district and you’re never at home because you’re trying to pay for the mortgage. What if kids are number one? We’re showing them a paradigm that is no different from the world. They chase after Harvard. Why don’t you do the same? And in the name of God, God will bless you to do that. What are we communicating to the kids?
When we put kids number, first of all, the marriage suffers because you’re so consumed with getting your kids into Harvard. How many empty-nesters, they were so focused on the kids for 20 plus years that after they’re out of the house, there is zero a relationship between husband and wife. Because they have not spent time together. They’ve been at work. They’ve been trying to provide food and money and tuition. And the marriage is broken.
If you do not keep this order, which is so clearly laid out in Scripture, you will be broken. And Jesus will not be number one. Jesus is number one because you have an eternal covenant with Him. Spouse is #2 because marriage is a earthly covenant until death. Children #3 because you are responsible until they are married — 25, 30 years, or however long.
Some people put church, the local church, number one or number two. I don’t even know what to call that. What you notice about these churches is that a relationship with your spouse is really, really low on their priorities because what they want is your loyalty for life. They say, this is a covenant. They actually throw around the term “covenant.” We do have a covenant with the universal Church. If you’re my brother in Christ, we are brothers for eternity in the universal Church. Yes, there’s a covenant, but as soon as I say, and that eternal covenant means you have to be physically next to me for life. That is such a distortion of God’s word.
Paul — was he physically next to Peter for life? Apostle John and Mark — were they by each other’s sides for their whole journey? No, God is taking individuals to different places and we’re following our Shepherd. We have eternal bonds so that when Joel is in Michigan and he comes back, it’s almost like he never left. Our hearts are in it together and we have a prayer and a concern for Joel. Not just when we see him, but even when he’s away, we’re praying for Jesus to meet him. The same for Sophia. She’s in New York. She’s having a hard time (understandably) due to her schedule, but our prayers are with her. We want Jesus to hold on to her and for her to hold onto Jesus.
So God can lead brothers and sisters in the body of Christ to different places. We have an eternal covenant within the universal Church. But in terms of local church, we are constantly moving as God leads. When you put the local church as number one or number two, the spouse suffers and the kids are neglected. That is my experience when I put church number one or number two. I put ministry, mission number one or number two. My family was just disposable.
I think the danger for many Christians in America is we put our job somewhere up there, possibly number one. Maybe marriage in the beginning is number one or two, but over time, you get bored. Your spouse puts on a little weight. You’re not as attracted as you were in the beginning and your heart kind of drifts toward other more interesting things. It is so predictable. It’s the reason why Christian divorce and non-Christian divorce rates — there’s no difference. Because we are breaking God’s laws.
When we put our vocation number two, we risk breaking our lives. We throw around the word “calling” to refer to our work. There’s no “calling” in the Bible. The only calling is being called unto salvation. To be called to be saved. You are predestined, chosen, called to be saved. Using the language of “calling” to refer to our job, that language already shows that we’re elevating this job to a place where it never should be.
The only place that I see in Scripture, only a couple places that I see where a vocation kind of could mean more than simply providing food on the table is Romans 13. If you’re a governing authority, it says you are a minister or servant of God. If you’re a President like Trump, I doubt if his job can be #5 on his list because it is all-consuming. Maybe we can call it a “calling” because Scripture mentions it.
The other place is Ephesians — some are called to be an apostle, possibly a prophet, an evangelist, shepherd, teacher. The offices within the church — maybe you could refer to them as a “calling.” I don’t like that because, then, let’s say I put being a pastor as number 2 because it’s my “calling.” Then, easily church is also number two. Like church is more important than taking care of the family. Of course, missions and saving the lost is more important than saving my already saved spouse. So things get broken.
And the danger is, if you put your vocation number two, your spouse will suffer, your kids will suffer and you will rationalize it away — I’m providing. But we just have to take an honest look and ask, in the end, will it matter that I was a scientist, or a professor, or a pastor? No, we’re all little ones, we are all the Bride of Christ.
These are just opportunities to be sanctified, to be saved. We steward them properly. They can sanctify us. Like when I see Jackie, 1 Peter 3, there are different roles — husbands are to be a certain way, wives to be a certain way. And when I see Jackie fulfilling her role as a wife, it’s sanctifies me. It reminds me that I should be like Christ — sacrificial, not harsh but gentle.
It says in 1 Peter 3 that if a husband is harsh toward a weaker vessel known as his wife, your prayers will be hindered. You see, it’s not about me and Jackie. It’s actually about me and my relationship with Jesus. That He sees how I speak to Jackie. He sees how Jackie speaks toward me. He sees how we treat one another, and depending on whether we obey God’s word, or we do it our own way — we’re just irritated or just in a bad mood or just throwing a tantrum — especially for the husband, it hinders your prayers.
I wonder how many years my prayers were hindered because I did not know that this is about my relationship with God. It’s not actually about having a good marriage. It’s about having a open channel to my Heavenly Father and to have my prayers unhindered. This relationship is supposed to sanctify me as long as I steward it well and I put it in the right priority.
I better watch my tone toward Jackie. I better not get on Jackie’s case about her driving, which I do on occasion. That harshness, God looks at it and it hinders my prayers to my Heavenly Father. It is an area of sanctification so that when I see the Bridegroom, I’m ready. I’m not harsh. I’m not critical. I’m not judgemental. I’m kind and gentle. I’ve been sanctified through this earthly covenant called marriage.
Likewise, with children, I could exasperate them and be on their case, nitpick them, lord over them and be so protective, or I could say, ultimately I have a short season. I’m just trying to instruct. I’m trying to discipline. I’m not dishing it off to some program or some youth pastor. It is my responsibility. I’m trying to point them to Jesus. I’m trying to model for them what a life with Jesus looks like. And in the end, I release them back to the Lord because even with Jackie, when I see the Lord, I enter heaven as a single.
I’m releasing whatever I’ve done, good or bad. I’ve released it to the Lord whatever good or bad I’ve done in the 20, 30 years with my sons after they’re married, after we all go to heaven, I’m releasing them because we’ve been so radically transformed and Jesus truly is our fulfillment. We need to experience the power of God to believe it.
I want to say, yes, He really is my satisfaction. Jesus is not number one intellectually, but it becomes your experience. Yes, He’s number one. Clearly, nothing comes in place of Him. Everything is a pointer and a shadow of Him. Even the most sacred of relationships on this side of eternity, your spouse, even marriage is a pointer. I’m just stewarding my spouse. I’m being sanctified. I’m just in training to be the actual Bride of Christ someday.
So we are sanctified and prepared to be the Bride of Christ through stewardship. So whether you’re single or married, with kids or no kids, your job, your money — everything is stewardship. Like the Parable of the Talents, with one talent, two talents, five talents, what will you do?
Remember, you do not own them.
Like the Parable of Working in the Vineyard, the master entrusted you to work on the vineyard. It’s not your vineyard. It’s not your your spouse. It’s not your kids. It’s not your money. Everything is stewardship. If you understand this, I think your sanctification process will go much smoother. I will not be possessive. These are blessings. Don’t let them become number one at different points in our life. We keep them in the right priority.
Let’s pray. Is Jesus number one in your life? This applies to all Christians — single, married — is Jesus number one? In the end, it’s the only question that will matter. When you see Christ face-to-face, you will enter heaven as a single. The only question that will matter is, how have you prepared yourself to be a spotless Bride?
It’s hard to imagine as a newlywed that this bride, this bridegroom of mine is not mine. I’m going to have to let my spouse go after I die. These children are not mine. For the pastor, the church is not his. Everything is stewardship. It is part of our sanctification.
We’re called to steward. Are you trustworthy? Do you know who the Master is? Do you know to whom these loved ones belong? Do you know who owns them? It is not you. If we understand that we’re just stewards, our sanctification process will go much smoother. It relieves us of all the pressure to be a perfect spouse, a perfect parent, a perfect church member, the perfect leader. It relieves us of all the pressure.
For the singles, enjoy your singlehood. If you have self control, it is actually a better course of life, especially as we approach the end. It is actually better to be single.
Father, we thank you for teaching us from a passage that is not often taught. We teach about marriage, but we fail to give the final conclusion that there is no marriage in heaven. Marriage is a pointer to true reality, the spiritual marriage of the Bride of Christ to the Bridegroom.
We ask that you would help change our perspective, to believe that we’ve been entrusted with everything. We’re just servants of Your possessions, we’re just stewards of the blessings You’ve given to us.
Help us to not break Your laws and we keep Jesus first. And beyond that, if we’re married, we put our spouses second, children third, church fourth and everything else on the 5th tier.
Help us to keep these priorities in mind so that our lives flourish. We don’t put our job as number one ever because that will break us, Lord. We don’t put our kids as number one because that will break our marriage and break our relationship with Christ. Please help us to put Jesus first and to keep Jesus first.
Please sanctify us through marriage, through parenting, through friendships, through our jobs, through difficult bosses, through suffering in this life. All of this is preparation for us to be a spotless Bride. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen