When Jesus tells us "FORNICATION" is a sin that defiles us, He lists it with equally serious sins like "THEFT, MURDER, ADULTERY" etc. However today there are lots of unmarried couples living together, many of whom are openly proud of saying they are Christian and even bragging they are studying the bible together, ignoring that God considers fornication a sin. Yes, some will cause others to think their life style is okay with God, which may "CAUSE PEOPLE TO SIN". Jesus says in the end times there will be an "INCREASE OF WICKEDNESS". Many live a sinful life style and Jesus says, "BROAD IS THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION, AND MANY ENTER THROUGH IT", which Jesus calls "ETERNAL PUNISHMENT" and describes as a place where "THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED", which is also called hell. 1
What is the other choice? Jesus mentions people who "STAY SINGLE FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN". Although that statement is usually considered for people who spend their lives single, it can apply to single people before marriage or between marriages. Are we afraid to recommend that people including those who are older, avoid fornication until they are married? Many will tell young people they should stay virgins and avoid sex until they are married but what about their divorced parents or widowed grandparents? Notice Jesus does not say "FORNICATION" is a sin just for young people. Staying single means not having sex or being celibate. Sex includes fornication, adultery or even activities involving private thoughts of "LUST". Many Christians considering divorce would work harder on their marriage, if they realized God would want them to refrain from sex if they were single. How do we help those currently unmarried who sin by living like they are married? Encouraging them to get married is a start, although many non-Christians and nominal Christians do not realize they are doing wrong in God's eyes. Many naively think they are preparing for a better marriage by living like they are married, even though statistics show that couples who live together before they are married will have a greater chance of failure in their marriage. God does not want anyone to "BE LOST". Before you try to warn someone who is engaging in spiritually risky sexual conduct remember Jesus encourages us with a story to "TAKE THE LOG OUT OF YOUR OWN EYE" before you tell someone about the sawdust in their eye. The purpose of the story is to encourage you to correct your faults before you try telling others their faults. If God clearly tells you to warn someone of the risk they are taking by living together without being married, you need to be obedient. If you fail to warn them, remember what God told Ezekiel that if he failed to warn someone and they do wrong "I WILL HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE" for their punishment. 2
How do we treat people who are unmarried but living like they are married? We have an example of a foreign woman who was married and divorced five times and was not married to the man she was living with. Jesus offered her eternal life and God used her in ministry to go tell the men in her village about Jesus. 3
1. Mk 7:21-22 (NRS); Mt 18:7, 24:12, 7:13, 25:46; Mk 9:48 (NI)
2. Mt 7:13 (CE); Mt 5:28 (NKJ); Mt 18:14, 7:3; Eze 3:20 (GN)
3. Jn 4:6-30
note: click here for bible verse and translation abbreviations
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A Psalm for reflection "He knows that I am faultless, that I have kept myself from doing wrong." Ps 18:23 (GN)
Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).
MARRIAGE WORKSHOP MOMENT
One time I stated that I consider it was a bad witness for me if I go to places that promote alcohol, like when they have "Bar" in their name. A man at church complained to me saying, "You will miss out on lot of good food". That's my problem not his. If a wife is late to work, that is the wife's problem not her husband. If a husband doesn't like to play golf and his wife think he should. That is the husband's concern not the wife. We need to be careful how we talk to our spouse. When we marry someone we marry them as is, we don't marry them to change them. It is good to consider who really owns a problem before complaining. It is important how we talk to our spouse. Avoid character assassination that implies things can't change. For example instead of saying to your spouse, "You are a slob" it is nicer to say, "It bothers me when you leave your dirty underwear hanging on the door knob". Avoid saying harsh words to your spouse. Remember Jesus said in Mt 5:22 (NI) " anyone who says, `You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." When you have trouble with name-calling or character assassination, it may be a good time to call time out and discuss the subject using the Speaker Listener Technique.
The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage. Jesus said, "all things are possible with God", Mk 10:27 NI). As the spouse that is trying to make your marriage better, you can be careful not to tell your spouse what you think they ought to do. You can say how you feel with out name-calling or character assassination. Remember Jesus encourages us to "Treat others as you want them to treat you" (Lk 6:31 TL).
When a spouse calls "time out", it is an opportunity for a couple to calm down before continuing the conversation at a later time (anywhere from an hour to no later than the next day) using the Speaker Listener Technique. Initially after calling time out it is an opportunity to take authority over the enemy and pray for the marriage. Example:
"In the name of Jesus I command you demons to shut up and leave our marriage and not return"
"Thank you God for helping our marriage be in Your will and guiding us in our relationship, in Jesus name, amen."
When a spouse will not cooperate, you can still take authority over the enemy and pray for your marriage.
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