Niko was invited to a men’s advance in 2019 which he attended
That weekend led Niko to give his life to the Lord
As a new believer, his family had not yet been saved
But Niko was diligent to go to church and bring his wife
He remained in the same position that the Lord had called him
He was following a biblical principle that he hadn’t even heard yet
Two weeks later his wife Jessica gave her life to the Lord
Now his son knows the Lord and so will his new child
Not only did his family give their lives to Christ
He brought his sister and she also gave her life to Christ
This is all a direct result of Niko living in the situation the Lord called him in
1 Corinthians 7:17-24 ESV
17 Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him.[a] This is what I command in all the churches. 18 Was anyone already circumcised when he was called? He should not undo his circumcision. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised. 19 Circumcision does not matter and uncircumcision does not matter. Keeping God’s commands is what matters. 20 Let each of you remain in the situation[b] in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Don’t let it concern you. But if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity.[c] 22 For he who is called by the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of people. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person is to remain with God in the situation in which he was called.
Now, alone these verses my seem a bit abrupt.
How did we get to circumcision?
This is why context is so important
We can see in the first verse of chapter 7 Paul is addressing a specific question the Corinthians are asking.
VS.1 “Now in response to the matters you wrote[a] about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”
From there Paul addresses a number of things
including some specific, yet not exhaustive, counsel to Christians in a wide variety of circumstances
- Christians who are married
- Christians whose spouses have died,
- to Christians who have divorced,
- and to Christians who are married to Non-Christians.
Overall, it seems as though there had been some level of discontent among the believers
Some a desire to change their state from single to married
or from married to single.
Some believers were married to an unbelieving spouse
This caused some to be envious of those that were in a Christian union and they were seeking divorce
Or on the other hand maybe those who were married wished that they were single so that they could serve the Lord more devotedly as Paul.
In any case, Paul in verse 17:24 takes a pause.
Letting them know that all believers should remain in the situation they were called in (unless it’s a case of continuing in sin)
Paul stepped outside of the issue of marital status for a moment to address the wider problem
That is, not being content with where you’re at in life.
Each and every one of us must understand that God is working in our circumstances.
Paul makes it clear in verse 17
“17 Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches.”
From there Paul uses two bold illustrations to prove His point.
First, he uses the matter of literal circumcision.
“18 Was anyone already circumcised when he was called? He should not undo his circumcision. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised. 19 Circumcision does not matter and uncircumcision does not matter. Keeping God’s commands is what matters. 20 Let each of you remain in the situation[b] in which he was called.”
Remember, way back in the beginning of his letter to the Corinthians
We learned that this church struggled with pride and division
This church was made up of Jewish (circumcised) and gentile (uncircumcised) believers.
Part of the church found value in their past marking of circumcision
They believed it elevated them above gentiles
While gentiles were becoming envious of those who were Jews first.
However, physical circumcision is not what is important
keeping God’s commandments is what matters
Instead of trying to change their circumstance
They are told to remain in the situation they were in when they came to Christ, and honor God
21 Were you called while a slave? Don’t let it concern you. But if you can become free, by all means take the opportunity.[c] 22 For he who is called by the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of people. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person is to remain with God in the situation in which he was called.
The second illustration Paul uses is the illustration between a slave and a free man
This isn’t a random illustration to just fill a point in scripture
It means something
Slavery was a common thing in the culture at this time because people had slaves
Both jews and gentiles would understand this reference Paul is making
If you are a slave, be content because in Christ you are free
He is saying as you came to Christ remain here, be content, and live as you would in Christ
If you were a free man you are now a slave to Christ
He is now your master
You are to work unto him in all areas
But no matter what area they fall under, They are to remain in their situation or in other words
be content in Christ
Lets look at another writing of Paul to see what he said about remaining content in Christ
I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. 12 I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through him[a] who strengthens me.
If Paul can be content in all circumstances then how much more should we be able
Paul was even writing Philippians from prison
I want to bring to your attention that Philippians was written between 60-62 ad
This means he had already written second Corinthians which was around 55 ad
Let me show you what Paul had already gone through by the time he wrote to the Corinthians
2 Corinthians 11:22-30 ESV
Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I’m talking like a madman—I’m a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, many times near death.
24 Five times I received the forty lashes minus one from the Jews. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea. 26 On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, and dangers among false brothers; 27 toil and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and without clothing. 28 Not to mention[a] other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
30 If boasting is necessary, I will boast about my weaknesses.
Now I can pretty much guarantee we haven’t faced anything remotely like this
But Paul has found the perfect peace and contentment
Which he finds in Christ
Before I get into what contentment is, I’m going to address what its not
Story-man who attended our church
He refused to grow in Christ
Wouldn’t listen to messages
He would complain to anyone that gave him even a minute of their time
But it gets worse
He was never content in his marriage, at work, with relationships in the church
And remained in secret sin
He couldn’t find contentment in Christ, which eventually led to leaving the church and divorcing his spouse
The sad part is this kind of behavior is actually more common than it should be in the church
This is why we must remain content in Christ in all circumstances
Contentment is not an excuse to not grow or mature
Once we have accepted Christ, God expects us to grow
2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.
If you are Christs you must grow
This isn’t a new concept, yet people still struggle with it
And wouldn’t you know, it is actually addressed in scripture
The writer of Hebrews admonished the people because they should’ve been teachers
Yet they remained in a state of immaturity
of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the [a]oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
They were unwilling to grow and Paul shamed them for it
Dull of hearing
Basically he’s saying they are lazy and deaf
Staying spiritually immature is not contentment
Contentment is not an excuse to remain in sin
After accepting Christ we become a new creation
We are no longer our own
We are bought at price, which was a brutal, bloody death on a cross so that we may have reconciliation with God
But we see some that remain in their sin
This isn’t what God has intended for us
This was addressed by Paul once again
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
We will always have temptations in life
But we are not supposed to give in to these temptations
We, as Christians do not let sin run rampant in our lives
There are some people that try to find loopholes
“But there’s grace, so I’m good”
I heard Thad alexander say this so I want to give him credit
Any loophole you try to find with God is sin
Remaining in our sin is not contentment
On the other side of not living in sin
We should, as Christians not tolerate sin in others
Tolerating sin is not contentment
We must deal with sin
As Christians the bible commands us to address sin
Paul dealt with this issue also back in
1 Corinthians 5:1-2
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even [a]named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are [b]puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
I preached a sermon about this a few months ago,
They didn’t want to deal with the sin of sexual immorality
And Paul corrected them
We must be willing to address sin when confronted by it
We don’t just let it pass
You are not only doing the person a disservice, but the church and God as well
Its not being content to allow people to live in sin unaddressed
Now that I have addressed what contentment is not
I will tell you what it is
Contentment is humbly submitting to God in all aspect of your life
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Once again this is a scripture Paul wrote
If we are truly content in our walk with Christ we will realize that it is no longer us that lives
If you are a Christian it is Christ inside of you
Which you are then to live by faith in Him
We should be throwing everything we have in us at the foot of the cross
Seeking Christ daily to become a changed person that is submitted to God
We are no longer to hold on to this life that we once lived before Christ
For myself, with all my being, I only want to glorify Christ
That’s with my mind, thoughts, actions, in my work, in my family, with my friends, and at church
I want to bring everything I have under submission to Christ
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may [a]obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize [b]is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
This should be an important scripture for all believers
We must discipline our own body to be subject to Christ
These are strong words
But once again Paul nails it, we could probably learn something from him
The only way to be fully content is to submit to God fully
Listen to what the bible says, I will end with this scripture
Brothers and sisters, each person is to remain with God in the situation in which he was called.