From Me To Us

Living A Godly And Fulfilling Life As A Christian Single.

Tim Lundy
May 9, 2021    1hr 6m
Have you ever wondered how to live a God-honoring life as a Christian Single? This encouraging message teaches us that being single does not affect your ability to live a godly and fulfilling life. It reminds us that we can find fellowship and accountability in a church small group for singles. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:14] Well, Venture, it is great to be able to finish out this series, The Story of US, and we've had a great opportunity over the last few weeks to be able to walk through different stages of relationships. And the topic this week, I think maybe it's the most important one for our church, because it's one we don't talk about enough. Now, I want to encourage you, there is a date night coming up. And so if you want to put a practical application to this series, I'd encourage you to sign up, it's May 14th, 7:30 at night, we're having it out in the tent. And we've got a great creative team, I think it's called An Evening in Paris. There's a chocolate tasting, there's grapes. But maybe the most important part for every couple that signs up, you'll be at your own table, by the way, you're not coming for a lecture hall, it truly is a date night for you. And in between the opportunity to have some fun, to enjoy some food together and dessert, you're also going to have the opportunity to talk and process, and maybe just have conversation that you hadn't had lately.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:19] And want to call all guys, the Covid pass is over. You've had about a year where we couldn't go out to restaurants, we couldn't do anything, so when date night rolled around, you could can kind of go, well, we can't, honey, because of Covid. Yeah, that excuse doesn't fly anymore, if anything, we need to get proactive again. And we're providing this as a church because we want to do whatever we can to strengthen couples.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:44] And so as you think about that, as you pray about it, make sure you go online. There's a limited number of spots, we can only do so many under the tent, you're going to want to sign up for that for sure.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:54] Now, as we finish out this series, over the few weeks we've looked at couples, young in marriage, those who've been married for a while maybe with kids, last week we looked at rebuilding us. This week, I want us to step back and think about it as a church, because when we talk about us, it's not just one nuclear family we're talking about, we're the family of God. And we want to talk about a part of our church and people in our church that are absolutely invaluable to the kingdom of God, and I'm talking specifically about single adults, those that maybe they're not in marriage, maybe they've come out of a marriage, maybe they're a single parent in the process. And frankly, sometimes when you do a series like this, and you've been talking about marriage and all the great parts about it, it can be hard to hear it some weeks, especially if you're longing for that.

[00:02:47] Do you realize there are a hundred and nine million single adults in the US, that number, that category, has grown, that's about forty-five percent of the adults in the US. And so, when you think about it as a church as a whole, we want to talk about what are some of the issues that they face distinctly, and we're doing a little bit different way this week. There's no mini vanning with Murf, I know a lot of you're so disappointed, and so instead we're having talking with Tim, and I've invited a studio audience here. You can see individuals in our church, single adults in our church, who graciously said, yeah, we'd love to come be a part. And they're here not just to passively hear me teach. I'm going to teach some, but we're also going to have some discussion and give them the opportunity to ask me some questions in the process, and so I appreciate all of you guys being here. Everybody's masked up, we've separated, I don't know if you can see it on camera as much as we can. Now, when they ask their question, they are going to take the mask off because we want the clarity for you to see it. But hear me, we want to practice safety as we do this as well.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:56] So what are some of the key issues? And some of these are ones that I've heard through counseling, some of it and talking to different groups of the year. And we could do a whole series, just like marriage could be just a huge series, when you start talking about single adults, that's a huge category, there's not like just one simple thing. Some are single by choice; they want to be single. Some are single by circumstance, maybe there are in a season of enlightenment, they'd love to be in a marriage or in a relationship, and God doesn't have that for them right now. Some face different challenges based on age, I mean it just changes through the years, some of the challenges they face in that. But through each of them, God's word speaks to it, and we can be confident with that.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:44] The first topic, I think it's important for us to address maybe they're not feeling it all the time, but a lot of times I hear from single adults just the issue of value and worth. It's interesting to me in the culture because the single adult population is growing so much, they feel worth out there, that they could feel it in society. The one place they often don't feel it, though, is in the church. And it's sad that that's true, I don't think anybody intends to do it, I honestly didn't say as a pastor I don't intend that. But I think it's easy as we teach on marriage, as we value families, as we value so much about that and we want to protect that, that sometimes we don't think about and value those that don't fit that perfect standard that we often call people to. And so it's good to step back and say what does scripture say about value and worth?

Tim Lundy: [00:05:42] And I'd say the first principle that you can see in it, and you see in your notes there, the Bible values each of us, not based on whether you're married or not, the fundamental value for each person is because you're an image-bearer of God. You've been created in the image of God. Look how it puts it in Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him." So, he talks about general creation, and then goes down to the individual, and then to make sure it's explicitly clear he's not just talking about Adam, "Male and female he created them. Both Adam and Eve, male and female, are image-bearers of God. That's where we find our worth inherently.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:27] You know, I think this message, there is probably a whole series on this message based on all the division in our country, if we just recognize first any time you interact with any other person, man, you are interacting with someone who was created in the image of God. And any time that you say something negative about them, any time you attack them in any way, you're defacing the image of God. And it's so important, you don't have to earn that, you don't become more the image of God when you get married.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:00] You know, one of the things I hate to hear, it's like the cheesiest line. ot's the old Jerry Maguire line. You know which one I'm talking about? When it's the couple, they look at each other and they kind of do the heart, "You complete me." And I want to go, no they don't, they don't. No, they partner with you, they do model something that like Christ loves his church. it's awesome, all the parts of it. I'm not trying to denigrate relationships at all, but hear me, only God complete you. You're only completed as a person, whatever needs to be filled in your life, is only completed by Jesus Christ. And one of the things that I would call single adults too, is you've got the opportunity To both learn that and understand that in a way that, frankly, a lot of couples lose sight of. And they often go into marriage with so many expectations, and then it turns into frustrations because this person can't complete them.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:05] It starts with you're an image-bearer of God, and then the second part of that, the Bible actually affirms singleness as a way of life. So, it's not just general, it affirms singleness. Look how Paul puts it in First Corinthians 7, he's talking about his life. He says, "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. To the unmarried and the widows..." Look at this line in particular, I underlined it, "I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am." Now, Paul was all about singleness, he loved it. And so, in his mind, he just thought it was the best for everybody. And you'll see a little bit later, he's not commanding that you have to be, he's not saying it's more spiritual to be single. But likewise, it's so different than some of our concept today, kind of in the church, what we would say is, it's so good to be married and oh, you're single. Paul actually looked at it the other way, he'd go. Oh, so good to be single. OK, you're married. And look at he puts the concession on marriage, look a little bit later, verses 32-35, he says, "I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34and 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. I say this for your own benefit..." And I like this line, he says, ",,,not to put a restraint on you." So, hear him, he saying, I'm not saying one has to be the rule or the other, I'm not saying you can't get married, he's just applauding in that moment, and it's a scripture that we would probably do well to applaud more. He goes, hey, there's some advantages here, that he personally really took advantage of. And so, when he says it's good for you, when he says to be single is good, he's not saying it in a patronizing way. He's not saying, OK, that's good. He's not saying it because, man, if you really want to get married, you just need to embrace that it's good, he's not saying that either. But here's what he is saying, and I really would encourage you to embrace this. He is calling you to steward the advantages he has given you, steward the freedom that he has given in that, and to embrace where God has you in this season.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:32] Sometimes when I talk to single adults, there's a part of them, there's a fear that if I were really to embrace that, does that mean God will never let me get married? Because once I embrace that contentment, then it's not going to ever happen. Contentment will never rob you of God's best for you, but it can rob you of what God has for you right now if you don't have. It can rob you if you don't embrace it, it can rob the opportunity to really experience what does he have for you right now? Now, as I say that, I want to speak directly to parents of adult singles. Do you affirm this as much as scripture does? God may have something; you may have an adult child who's chosen not to get married and they don't want to get married, do you celebrate that, do you affirm them as Paul would? And I know as a parent with adult children, I carry that, and I know each of those seasons with it, and it's especially hard if you know your child wants to get married and you know the disappointment they're feeling. And so, you want it for him so bad, that you make your whole relationship about that and you're always asking about it. And the problem with it is, sometimes your disappointment for them, can feel like disappointment in them, to them. And the hard reality is, we're never going to parent our children into relationship, that's God's domain, not ours. So, if they choose to invite you in, man, I would say process that with them. But if that's a part of your life right now, they're not comfortable with you being in, don't force your way in, be their cheerleader, be their advocate.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:29] Same as a church, I would encourage us, we've got an opportunity with single adults in our church, how do we value them? How do we invite them to be a part of our families and be a part of our home, that we do us together? We'll talk about community at the end of this. But do you specifically, when you look at your peer group, when you look at the people you have over to dinner, when you look at the people you do life with. Is everybody like you around the table, if you're married, are they all married? Or do you mix that up in a way, guys, the church is the last organization, group on the planet, that actually crosses lines across every line, intergenerational, male and female, all that God brings together. Do you invite them in?

Tim Lundy: [00:12:29] Guy's, I want to stop for a moment and ask the group that we have here a couple of questions around this issue. And just first of all, just ask it, and we'll just kind of popcorn it in answering. But what do you enjoy about being single? I mean, as you look at it, we don't often talk about the benefits or some of the freedom that Paul talks about, but what are the things that you go, yeah, I think about my life as a single adult, man, I really enjoy this, or this is a benefit? I'll just open the floor. All right, Conner.

Connor: [00:13:51] So I can be pretty free with what I spend my time doing, and if I'm traveling or something, I can just go. If I want to drive to Utah to see some friends, I can just come out the next day, assuming I don't have work or something like that. But yeah.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:03] So spontaneity?

Connor: [00:14:04] Yeah, I'm not tied down to anyone or any particular plan, I can just go do stuff. So, like next week, I'm going to Texas and then Colorado with my brother because we can just go. It's pretty sweet, if I weren't single, that wouldn't work out so well.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:17] Yeah, trust me as a dad with a house full of kids, we don't do anything spontaneous, it feels like with that. So, I'll try not to be jealous on this part of it with it. Who else, something else that's a benefit?

Speaker3: [00:14:32] I love that I never have to go to bed with someone giving me the cold shoulder. And it is true that there's like a lot of benefits in being spontaneous, having financial freedom to make your own decisions. But one of the things that I've loved about my singleness, which is also kind of scary, is having to rely on the Lord to be my husband, to be my protector, to be my provider. But unless I was single, I wouldn't have found out how to do that and what that looks like. And once you get to there, there's no better place to be in, when you can learn to just rely on God.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:06] Man, that's powerful, that is really powerful. Anybody else, anything jump out at you?

Speaker4: [00:15:14] Um, I think that being single has allowed me the freedom to explore a lot of work that normally I think I would have been more hesitant to pursue. I definitely took a lot of minimum wage jobs for a very long time, and that was like okay with me because I didn't have to, I just had to take care of this body. I do eat a lot, but I'm okay staying in like, you know, I don't have to live a luxurious life in any kind of way. And so it's been helpful for me to have a lot of trial and error, but also the internal freedom, knowing that, oh, like, if I lose everything, there is not somebody that's right next to me losing everything along with me, which would be very like very scary, especially for people that we love. And so, I think that it's been like such an asset, like kind of the freedom to fail almost, which is weird, but I think it's also an asset.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:29] Well, I think it's what Paul was saying there, you don't carry the anxiety of this other person in that, that I've got freedom in it and so the ability to branch out in that. Yeah, I was talking to a woman in our church, and she's a single adult in that. And we were talking after one of the messages and she just said, you know, I just like living alone, I just really enjoy that and have embraced that. You know, you think about that, I mean, just some of it is the wiring around that.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:01] Let me flip it now, though, and because the reality, and I hear a bit from single adults in the church with it, that, man, we don't always feel valued around here. And I'm not just talking about Venture, but the church in general, but Venture, specifically in it. And what are some of the ways, and without attacking anybody, because I don't think anybody's trying to do it? But what are some of the ways that you do feel devalued, or ways that church can make you feel devalued?

Speaker5: [00:17:31] I think for me, I mean, Tim, you touched on this earlier about the church celebrating marriage so much, and then sometimes feeling like singleness is ignored. And I think especially being in my young 20s, there's such a focus on, I mean, I think especially in young women as well, like wherever you go, it's like so, you know, are you dating anybody? And I think some of those conversations are exciting and good and fine, and then sometimes it's like, is that all that I am? You know that conversation is just had over and over again, are you going to college ministry, you know, because it's practically just speed dating for young people? You know, and so it's like, I think feeling devalued in that. That conversation comes up all the time, you know, where it's like it's not all that I am and my sufficiency is found in Christ and that he is enough for me, he is my groom, like you were saying. Like and that is what makes me who I am rather than being young and the whole ring by spring idea, of you're young, you'll find somebody, it's kind of exhausting. You know.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:40] Yeah. So, you don't mind it being a part of the conversation, but when it's the sole focus.

Speaker5: [00:18:46] Exactly, exactly, and it's consistent across, you know, all the time. It's like, that's not who I am, you know, Christ is everything that I am.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:55] Yeah. Anybody else? Joe?

Joe: [00:18:57] I'm looking around, I'm a little bit older than all the people here, so my struggle in the church complex after I became single with a divorce has been people trying to fix my problem. Because I carry a lot of, you know, shame and struggle and the best gift a lot of them can give me is just hear me out. So, a lot of times, like, for example, often I feel angry with God, I go through the cycles, you know, it happens a few times. Typically, because I feel like I'm single, but I cannot, like you say, if you can't control your passion, you have to get married. I struggle with my controlling my passion, but I'm not free to marry. So, a lot of times people will say, oh, God is going to change all your, you know, ideas about the Scriptures I'm quoting, and he's going to bring a beautiful woman you into life. Like, those things that aren't helpful because, you know, I feel completely invalidated. Because I'm really struggling with the boundaries I draw from the scripture. So, saying something like that or, you know, giving me some sort of a superficial treatment when I'm carrying deep hurts and pain, it's actually unhelpful.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:15] Oh, man, I appreciate you saying it, because I think what you're saying a lot of people feel, whether it's on this issue, or something they carry. We so want to fix pain quickly, that we often do more damage in the process. So, thanks, I appreciate you sharing that. Anybody else?

Connor: [00:20:41] I've got some questions. Yeah, I was talking about this earlier, so I've always thought of marriage and relationships as like an achievement thing you get. Like it's an accomplishment you're striving toward, like graduation is an accomplishment you're striving for, so marriage is also like you get there and now you have a more elevated life. Do you all think of marriage like that? Like, should we view it like that, like do you think you live a more content life after you get married as opposed to before?

Tim Lundy: [00:21:16] I would say there's obviously things that, if you long for marriage, are designed for marriage, that when you experience that, yeah, there's parts of your life that it fulfills, I don't want to try to present it. The flip side of it is, though, I think so many of the things that we're longing for in an internal level, we think marriage is going to fix. And if you're not really finding that, a little bit like Erica said earlier, of finding who Christ is in you, marriage will actually become harder and more frustrating. And especially as you're dealing with another person who, man, if they're not pursuing the Lord in it, or they go through their struggles in it. And so, I think it's a little bit of an illusion to go, man, you're going to get to marriage and, man, you've hit that next level. You'll get in a marriage, and there are some great things. As I look at 30 years of marriage, oh, man, I'm so thankful for my wife and all that she helped me do and become in that. But I've got to also go, man, I got to believe if God hadn't brought her, he still wants me to grow in those things and do that. And I've had to learn through the years, there were so many things I was expecting of her that she was supposed to fulfill that she can't, that no person can. And so that's the part of it that I'd encourage you not to kill the dreams, because if God's put the dream of marriage in there, don't kill that dream. But this is a great season for you to go, okay, God, what is it that you want me to grow as a man right now? Because the more you make those steps, the better you'll be if marriage comes, and then if marriage doesn't come, you're still becoming the man that God calls you to be. That's a great question.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:56] We're going to keep moving with it and hit the second subject because this one's a little bit of a hot potato in it, but I think we're not being honest if we don't talk about it with it. And so, how do we talk about sexuality and purity? How do we talk about sexuality and purity? I'd say the first point you see here; the Bible recognizes single adults are sexual beings, it doesn't pretend like we are just not going to talk about it at all, and that's often how we approached the church. It's kind of like single adults, and it makes us a little uncomfortable to talk about, and so we're just not going to talk about that. Or we just reduce it, those are youth group talks. And so, you know, when the young people, they need to deal with that in that, but we won't talk about it.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:38] And the Bible doesn't approach that way, especially not Paul. look how he says it again, and Joe referred to this passage, it's a hard passage. He says, "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am." Again, remember, I told you he is all about championing singleness, but he says, "But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than burn with passion." Now, part of what I appreciate with Paul is, he's real matter of fact here. He says, hey, let's look how you're wired, look how the sex drive that God's given you, it's better to marry than burn with passion. Notice, he doesn't condemn people for having that sex drive. He doesn't look at and go, you burn, that's bad. He goes,okay, let's recognize this. He personally would go, this is something I'm not struggling with, I have self-control over it so I'm able, but maybe you're not wired like me, is what Paul's pointing out in it and so that's why he calls people to that.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:37] But we've got to recognize in scripture, any time you talk about this subject, especially right now, it's interesting to me the whole subject of sex is getting redefined, and people are using scripture to redefine it. So, I just, I could do, again, a whole series on that part. But I'll point out, God designed sex within the confines of marriage. And I think that's part of the hard reality as a single adult, especially you find yourself, man, I burn in that way. But there's still definition to why God gave it, and how he gave it.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:10] Genesis 2 is the fundamental passage, Jesus quotes this one of the most, it's what he goes back to, you'll see this the most in scripture. Look at it in Genesis 2, and this is right after God introduces Eve to Adam. So, it's his first time seeing her. And by design, God had Adam in the garden for a while and he sees all the animals, and he's like, okay, wait a second, everybody has a partner, everybody has a partner, I don't have a partner. And then when he presents Eve to him, then the man said, "This at last." And that term, at last in Hebrew, it's like a woo hoo. I mean, he is really excited, he's like, okay, God, good work here. "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." And then this definition, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." Now, as you look at that, one of the key things to point out in it, attraction is part of the equation. Adams attracted to Eve, he sees her, he's like, yes, in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:26] But notice, as God's building this, you see with this, he walks through it, notice the first part of the relationship is really founded on commitment. The man has to risk, he leaves father and mother. And then the commitment, that that word there, hold fast, literally is cleave, he's making a life commitment to her. And I think what stands out to me, so here's attraction but as it builds in relationship, when they're making this step together, there's commitment that then leads to sexual intimacy.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:06] We flipped it in the world today, guys. I mean, you guys hear it all the time, the bombardment of it. I mean, if you wait till the third date, you really waited because sex moved in. I mean, you can start with Tinder. I mean, you're swiping right or left, the whole thing's built on sex. And here's the misnomer is, we'll start with sex, and we'll see how that goes and if it's going okay, then it might lead to more relationship, and then hopefully out of that relationship, a commitment will come one day. It's the opposite of how God designed it, and we're not the better for it. I'd just say that we're not the better for it as a society, we're not the better for it as a people today, when you look at the long-term impact of that.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:54] And it's fascinating to me, if you do studies on it, the studies of the most sexually fulfilled people, I could list all the scientific studies that go with it, even those who are in a cohabiting relationship. You go, man, they're living together, at least there's that commitment. I read a study they did, Stephanie Pappas writes about it in Live Science, it was a scientific study. They used MRIs to study the brains of couples, and specifically, they looked at women who were single, alone, cohabitating, and married. And they would give them a shock, a little shock to the ankle, I know, it's like who signs up for these kinds of studies? And they gave each of the woman women three choices, they could hold the hand of their partner, they could hold the hand of the stranger, or they could face the shock alone. And then they studied the brain, what's going on when that would happen? And it was interesting, and again, this was a scientific study, they didn't go into it with a predisposition, they were surprised by it. But the women that held the hand of their spouse exhibited calm in the hypothalamus, there was a calm even as the shock came. The part that surprised them, even cohabitate in women, they exhibited the same distress as women that were holding the hand of a stranger. Listen to how Pappas said it, what surprised researchers is that while both sets of women stated they felt commitment from their partners, the cohabitating women recorded the same level of calm as those who held a stranger's hand. Researchers speculate that while cohabiting women say they feel commitment from their partner, doubt resides in the deepest part of the brain. There is part of you that just knows, has this person really made a lifetime commitment? And for our protection, God said, hey, this is so intimate to who you are, this is so important to who you are, that without that commitment, you're the one hurt in the process.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:00] Now, I know maybe you're watching this out there and you go, whoa, whoa, whoa, you're way down the track, cohabitation even, marriage, I just want to have sex to enjoy sex, and so it's just sex, is what you would say, I'd say the next point you can see, sex is never just sex. Sex is never just sex, at least the way God designed it, and biblically, as you look at that. You may disagree with me, you may look at it in that way. But as I say that I know we live in a culture today and maybe you're sitting there going, yeah, of course the Bible said that it was so quaint back then, it was so... And there's part of me that kind of laughs in it, especially the Apostle Paul, and, you know, we're reading a lot out of Corinthians, First Corinthians 6 and First Corinthians 7, key passages with that. Paul would hear us today and say, oh, you think your culture is sexually pushing the boundaries, come with me back to Corinth. Because if you went with Paul to Corinth, he'd walk with you and you go, hey, look upon the hill there, do you see that big temple up there? That's a temple to Aphrodite, and there are about two to three thousand prostitutes who are working there all the time, and they're all throughout the city, and they're men, and they're women, and they're young people, and they're teenagers. And everybody just kind of assumed prostitution, especially temple prostitution, it's not even considered sex. I mean it's not like real sex, it's just, you know, you're physically going through the motion because you enjoy the pleasure of that. That was the mentality of the culture, especially of Corinth. It's not too dissimilar from where we are, except they probably pushed it even further.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:50] It impacted even people in the church. Look how Paul puts it in First Corinthians 6, he writes and he says, "Do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” Notice what he's referring back to, Genesis. He's going, it's not just sex, even with a prostitute, even though you say, well, I don't care about it, it's just the sex act itself. He goes God doesn't view it that way, the two have become one and it's impacting you. That's why in Corinthians, in the next verse you see it, he says, "Flee from sexual immorality." Now, a lot of times when we preach on this topic, especially with singles, literally, that's the only verse we use, we use those four words, "Flee from sexual immorality." Okay, we're done, nothing else to say. And the problem with that is, we never tell why, we just say what? Flee from it, it's bad. And so, you got young people growing up, and here's what they've heard from the church, sex is bad. S

Tim Lundy: [00:32:53] ex is not bad, God's the one who came up with it, he literally designed it. And if you read through the Bible, there's a lot more in the Bible that's very pro-sex than the prohibitions against it, God's all for it. So, we leave out the why? Look how Paul tells it, why would you want to flee from sexual immorality? Why would you not have sex outside of marriage? Well, because "Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body." It actually impacts you. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?" So, maybe you hear that, and you go, hey, I'm not hurting anybody and it's my body. If you're a Christian, Paul goes, that's actually not true, it's not yours anymore. See, "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." Here's the point that Paul's pointing out here, he says sexual purity protects you and it gives you an opportunity to glorify God.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:04] Guys, hear me on this one, any time you have a prohibition from God and especially a hard one like this, this is a hard one, God never tells us no unless he wants to protect us. And it may not feel like protection, especially, because I mean and I hear it, Tim, if you say I'm one, going to only date Christians, do you realize how narrow my dating pool just got? Now, you want to add on top of that Christians, and we're not going to sleep together, do you realize how narrow that has gotten? Do you realize the sacrifice you're asking me to live out? And frankly, I probably don't, I've been married for 30 years. I'm not living where you are, I'm not struggling with that, and in a way, you need to hear that from me. And if it was just my thoughts, I might be oh, well, I could let this slide. But here's what I know, God never gives a command if it's not for our good. And so I don't call you to that because, oh, man, that's what the church is supposed to do, and we want to keep you from being bad people. I call you to it because I know when God designed something it's always for our best.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:15] And one of the things that's surprising to me, the first time I ever taught on this, is we always just equate this to young people, oh, the young people need to hear this. The group that needs to hear this the most are older, single adults, especially, if you've been divorced or married before. Because as I start talking to them, especially, I was surprised first I was teaching on this, I had all these women that were writing me. And they go, man, I started dating again, and the expectation from the guys was, well, we were married before, those rules really don't count for us, sex is just part of the equation. And I would just encourage you, if there was ever a season in your life where you need to guard your heart...Because see, when you have sex, you're bonded with that person, it's a binding agent, it's like a glue. Do you really want to be glued? You don't even know if you want to be glued to that person yet, and that's what it does. And the more you keep abusing that, at some point, it changes your heart, it changes you. That's what Paul said, it sins against you, it has an impact on you in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:20] I had a woman years ago and she was dating a guy, and I knew him, we had a conversation later. And he was a guy, and he was known as a godly guy in the church, and they were dating, they were older singles. And finally, she wrote me, and she said, I'm really struggling. I said, why? She said, he is really pressuring me sexually. And I was like, oh. And he was kind of putting out there, maybe we could get married and really kind of leading her in that way, but he said he said, you know, we really can't go deeper in this relationship till we find out if we're sexually compatible. This such an important part of life, we need to find out if we're sexually compatible and then if we really are, then we can. And I could feel her struggle with it because she really saw herself, man, I'd like to have a marriage to this man, but I feel like God's called me at this stage in life, I want to be true to what he called me to. And so, I told her, I said, hey, why don't you call him and tell him, you know, it really is important to find out for compatible in different ways. And so, before we get married, we probably need to find out if we're financially compatible. And so, this week, let's set up appointments with your bankers, your brokers, with everybody, your financial planner, and I want you to go ahead and add me to all of those accounts and let me have full access to all of your finances. Because, you know, before we get married, we got to find out if we're financially compatible. And so, she stopped, and she said he's not going to do that. And I said, really, why not? And she said because he's worth a lot. That's what I told her, I said, you know what, you're worth so much more, you're worth so much more. And if he's not willing to sacrifice, why should you? She held the line with him, and he broke up, and it was painful, it really was, it was painful in a lot of ways. But later, she would come back and go, you know, that was a gift, that was a gift that I didn't feel at the time. He and I had a conversation following that as well, so we won't go into that part of it. But as a pastor, I feel like we have a responsibility to do what we can to protect in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:45] The final part on this part of it, just when it comes to the sex and these issues with it, a lot of people go, where does Grace come in? And it kind of is interesting on both parts because some people go, Tim, I've already messed up in these areas, what does it matter? I mean, if I already messed up, shouldn't I just continue on in it? And you've kind of convinced yourself you are damaged goods, and it really won't matter. And that's not how God sees it. The other side of it, some people can convince themselves it's okay because there is grace. Well, God will forgive me, it's okay.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:18] Here's what I encourage you on this, God's grace removes all condemnation, but it doesn't remove all consequences. There's no condemnation, but the consequences of giving yourself away in this, you can't just magically pull out the grace button and go, God, make all that disappear. Your forgiveness with him is always there, the consequences of how you've hurt yourself and others doesn't just magically... Because you wouldn't want to be. If you were the person hurt and somebody is able to pray, maybe they're great with God, but you'd still want them to make it right and to deal with it. I like how Romans puts it, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." There's no condemnation and so when the devil wants to tell you that you're damaged goods, he's saying God's a liar here. You're not, and you need to embrace that, and know that.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:14] I love how Jesus handled this, the balance between the two. Look in John 8, at the woman that was caught in adultery, "Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you." There's no condemnation. A woman who is just caught in sexual sin and he doesn't condemn her. There's no condemnation, it's the grace of God. But notice what he says as well, "Now go and sin no more." There's no condemnation, but you can't keep living in this because it's going to keep having the same consequences, it's going to keep impacting your life. And I always encourage in that, that you need to trust that.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:55] Now, Satan approaches this the opposite way, this is the final thing I'll just say on this, and you can see it in the notes there. In temptation, Satan overstates the power of cheap grace; in guilt, he understates the power of real grace. Here's what I mean in that, when you're struggling with sexual temptation, Satan will be the first to whisper in your ear, God will forgive you, it's okay, isn't there grace after all? What he's putting in front of you is this cheap grace, and what I mean by that is, it's a grace of forgiveness but it's not a grace to be able to stand and do what God called you to do. Here's the interesting thing, as soon as you give in to that sin, he then comes on the backside in your guilt, and he understates the power of real grace. And he wants to tell you, you're dirty, this is who you are, you're never going to change, nothing's going to be different. Hear me, both of those are a lie, real grace gives a strength that you'll struggle in it, and God recognizes that, he knows there is struggle. You're not defined by this one area struggle in your life any more than any other sin defines everything about us, you'll struggle, but there's grace to be able to stand in truth and there's grace to experience the forgiveness that you need in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:42:20] All right, let's stop there. And instead of asking you questions, I'm going to give you the opportunity, maybe if you've got a question around this issue.

Speaker3: [00:42:28] I love how you explain that we're not supposed to, in our singleness, have sex and you explain the why. But I feel like something that I really struggled with in my singleness, and especially not being raised in a Christian home, is the how in a culture that's so Tinder central? How can we actually, and God gave us these desires, what advice would you give to singles on how we can live that out?

Tim Lundy: [00:42:55] Yeah, that's the million-dollar question right there, and I appreciate you asking it. Because I think so often, we call to these ideals, and then in the how, people are left out there scurrying with it. I'd say, you know, there are a few things that you're going to have to do. One, and just hearing you, but immersing yourself in truth. You know that Romans 12, "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." The battlefield happens here more than we think, and it's not just I'm talking about where you explicitly are involved in sexual material or stuff. Before you ever get there, that bombardment all the time of every TV show, every movie, I mean, it's just a given now of just well, of course, they're sleeping together. They're in love, they're sleeping together. And you can let that kind of script play in your mind so much that you start kind of convincing yourself, you know, that is reality, that is life, that's the world conforming. And so, what does it say about the renewing of your mind, if you're not bombarding your mind with truth and continue to do so, man, it'll start gaining ground more than you realize? That's the first point, I'd say.

Tim Lundy: [00:44:11] Second, you're going to have to have some accountability out of that. And I'd encourage it, it's got to come in a community of trust, though, because I've seen too many people, they've kind of put themselves in accountability and it almost becomes this miserable thing that's held over them, and then they define their failure by that. As opposed to who are the people who know me, they love me, they're for me, and I trust them enough that failure is a part of the equation and they're still for me. And they recognize that, so they're extensions of grace. Confession can be a really powerful thing, we don't practice it enough, James tells Confess your sins one to another. Where you have somebody you trust like that, we're a priesthood of believers. In other words, we're all priests before God. And having somebody you can go, can I just out loud really confess this? There's real power when you have that kind of community around that, it doesn't magically make it all go away, but it helps you take that next step in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:45:11] And then finally, I'd just say if you're a couple, you know, in it, you're struggling. My two things for couples, and my kids, and others as well, it's priority and proximity. So, you've made, here's my line, and here's our priority, and you've both talked about it. It's just, I'm committed, here's my priority when it comes to sex. And then proximity, we're not going to hang out alone too often where we can cross that priority. And that probably impacts it as much as anything else, I mean, I talk to couples that go, man, I didn't want to cross that. Well, what were you doing? Well, we were in each other's apartment every night on the sofa making out. And I'm like, yeah, it's probably going to cross that line, isn't it? Even despite the best intentions, so kind of that priority and proximity, I think are important things in it. Good question. Anybody else on this one?

Joe: [00:46:05] Like one of my biggest struggle or challenge after I got divorced is how am I going to manage that sexual purity? Yeah, and part of this, somehow, I felt like, you know, I didn't want this to be the reason why God is not going to heal my marriage. So how do I do that? I think I go out and do you know groups like Warrior Men, I think actually one of the earliest members of that group. Through that, I think what I realized, I think like you mentioned, you know, when I'm struggling with sexual temptation, if I unpack it's really not about sex. I'm struggling with, you know, I'm adequate to carry through the, you know, whatever I need to do for work or life and whatnot. And if I can share that, a lot of times the real need is need for information and need for encouragement. And so, I think, like, you know, that, you know, I've been in church all along, and most of the groups I used to attend before my divorce used to be the [inaudible] group. I go there and I say I'm the [inaudible] Christian, I quote Bible verses, but there's no, you know, confession. I learned that Bible verse as a child, you know, I quote it in Sunday schools and all. {Inaudible] group that I experience, you know, and then through that I actually learn to say, God, I'm actually struggling with temptation. You say, you know, you'll meet all my needs. Previously, I couldn't say that because I thought even prayers need to be our performance because all your groups are all about performance. Like learning to say that to God, like I'm struggling with sexual temptation, you know, and that was a huge breakthrough for me. So, one thing I could say, I have a lot of complaints about God, about, you know, what he didn't do or anything. But last seven years, I think I feel like I'm more, you know, my sexual temptation than all of the things are a lot healthier and in control than any time I felt in my in my marriage. Because in the last seven years actually learned to experience real intimacy, we didn't know how to experience that in in my marriage. And initially, I used think that intimacy is an act of sex. Like right now it's, you know, like learning to be vulnerable and find the acceptance that I only started experiencing the last few years, and that actually fulfills. So powerful.

Tim Lundy: [00:48:15] That is so powerful, and what you're talking about, too, is why God designed it the way it is. That if you move sex up in the equation, so all that you robbed yourself as a couple of really getting to the intimacy that the whole relationship was designed for because you put it too quickly as opposed to growing coming out of that commitment in it. The other thing I love that you said, you know, Warrior Men and the ministry they have, it's powerful because there's that authenticity and that honesty of that. And I would encourage all people, whether it's sexual issues, anything, we all have things we're ashamed of. And the power of having a community of people that you can truly confess in front of and know they're safe, it's hard. It really is, because it takes time to build that kind of community, but it's so powerful when you do that. Any other questions and we'll finish out with the last section on it, but I want to make sure speed past if you had anything you wanted to ask. There are probably a thousand questions we'll get to ask on this, but we may have to save it for...Do you got one more? Yes.

Connor: [00:49:20] Yes, on your fourth point where you're talking about sexual purity, giving you an opportunity to glorify God. Why does living a pure life glorify God?

Tim Lundy: [00:49:31] Yeah, I would say any time you sacrifice, your modeling Jesus Christ. Paul even talks about it, he goes, when I was able to participate in the suffering of Chris, and he talks about even his persecution in a different place, things that we would naturally look at and go, I don't want any part of that, and he wasn't like this person that he likes that. But he recognized, man, in this brokenness, in this hardness, I'm more like Jesus. And that's the part that I really would want so many married couples to embrace. I see so many people in our church, you know, I think of some, some have same-sex attraction, and they've chosen, man, I'm sacrificing that because I really want to pursue what Christ has called me to have embraced a celibate life over it. And now divorced people that their hearts are broken, but they go, man, I place that on the altar. Young people, they're feeling that, they feel the same sexual drive and all that. Every time that they do that, I always stand back and go, these are heroes in our church because they are on the front line of actually living out these sacrifices that Christ call us to. And we a lot of times talk about it in general language, this is when it gets really specific. And I think in those moments, God looks at it goes, man, you bring me glory. Man, I'm so proud of you. And I think we need to affirm that more and say that more.

Speaker5: [00:51:04] I have a question about self-sacrifice and like self-control, I think we've talked about in our small group, like, why do we have to do it as an area of sacrifice for God? Right. Because I think, like, just in case you're desiring for a marriage or a family, like later on, you're going to have to sacrifice an area of your life, and God is just preparing you for that. And like, oh, you can sacrifice that desire or that fleshly desire right now, and so he's preparing for that life of just more sacrifice in the future. Like, for example, lose sleep, or other ways of sacrifice in general. So, I think that's what we've talked about, and I've never thought of that like that. Like sacrificing my purity could lead to God molding me into a person of sacrificial love for other people.

Tim Lundy: [00:52:04] That's awesome. One last just kind of category, and we'll summarize it pretty quickly, and you guys have been patient and I appreciate it, and those online are probably patient with it, but we don't get to talk like this enough. So, I appreciate the opportunity, but it's around community, everybody longs for community. What do I mean in that, we all long for a relationship and there's not just one definition of relationship. You know, we've talked about the Story of Us, and we immediately, I mean, we put the couple there on it. But frankly, us, for a lot of people, looks different than that. So, you see the first part of it, as an image-bearer of God, every one of us was made to love and be loved. See, it goes back to how you were created, and so think about it, you were created in the image of a triune God, this is a part about Christianity that's different than other religions. We believe in a God who's three and one, he's three Eternal Person's Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That has been an eternal love relationship, where they are love, and they give love to each other. Now, God loved us so much, he created the world and the plan of salvation in it. But if you're created in his image, then you're wired the same way. You were made in his image, so in the same way that he is loving and gives love and experiences it, you were made with that desire and need. That's what community, and the desire for a relationship, runs so deep in us. Whether you want to get married or not, everybody needs community.

Tim Lundy: [00:53:36] John puts it this way, look how he puts it in First John, "Beloved, let us love one another." Why? "For love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God." Why? "Because God is love." So, I think recognizing in a core part of it, it's not just a desire for romance, it's not always just a desire for marriage, a lot of times our longing is, I'm just, I'm desiring to love and be loved. And in scripture, it's interesting, if you look in Greek, in particular, there's, C.S. Lewis wrote a book on the four loves, there are four Greek words for love. Mainly in the New Testament, you'll see three of them that kind of show up is three of them in the Bible. One is the Greek word phileo, phileo is the Greek word of friendship love, mainly when you really love a friend. Then agape, agape is sacrificial love. God so loved us that he lay down his life for us, that's agape. And then a third word is eros, we get the word erotic from it, and so sexual love is a part of that.

Tim Lundy: [00:54:37] And the world wants to tell you to really have that deep, deep love, you have to have the eros too, that that's part of the equation. And what I want you to see and hear is, everyone needs an us. In fact, you see the point in the notes, everybody needs their US in order to be who God made you to be. But it may not be a marriage, and you can experience love, I'll remind you, Jesus Christ didn't get married, he lived on this planet as a single man. Now you may hear that and go, well, Jesus couldn't get married. Why not? It's not a sin to be married. But he wasn't married, it didn't match the mission that God had called him to, but Jesus loved and he experienced love, Jesus had his us, I know he had his disciples, but he also had his friends.

Tim Lundy: [00:55:29] In fact, it's interesting to me when he talks about Mary and Martha and Lazarus, this family, from what we can tell, none of those three ever got married or they weren't married in the stories at this point. So, you get these three single adults, and it's kind of like Jesus's core group, he'd hang out, he'd be with them. In the story when Lazarus dies, look how it describes Jesus' love for them. "So the sisters sent to Jesus saying, "Lord, he whom you love..." And notice they use the Greek word phileo, He, whom you have this deep friendship love with, is ill. A little bit later in verse 5, it says, "Now, Jesus loved..." What do we see here? There's agape love in this relationship as well, he loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. I just point this out, because you see Jesus with his us, and there's deep phileo, there's deep agape. What's the one you don't see? There's eros, you don't have to have that to have deep relationships.

Tim Lundy: [00:56:33] Now, it doesn't change the fact maybe God's wired you that you want to have that, there is nothing wrong with Eros, and if God gives you that in a marriage relationship, great. But you don't have to wait for that one relationship before you can start determining your life, for us, in life, everybody needs community now. And as we say, I will just finish out asking you guys, if you were going to give advice maybe to another single adult of how to establish that us, how to establish that community. I mean, we've heard different parts of it, a study that you're in, the warrior men and, you know, I feel that from you Joe. How else would you say, man, don't wait for it, this is how either I've experienced it, or you would tell somebody else in our church to go experience that.

Speaker7: [00:57:30] I would say, get into a small group if you're not in a group yet. I think for singles, especially for singles in the Bay Area, the Silicon Valley, we're constantly bombarded by different values from society. And it's really important that we find a community of believers to strengthen each other's faith and to encourage each other. Like personally, I would say, be in a small group. I went from a stage of wanting my voice to be heard, wanting to share my struggles, and later on to a stage where I was thinking, oh, can I put more emphasis on other people's struggles? Can I spend time listening to other people's ideas, their feelings more? I think a community small group is a place where you need to spend time with each other, and time is a valuable resource we have, you know, when it's gone it's gone, we can't get it back. So as Tim, a couple of weeks ago, you emphasized the point where couples ought to, are also called by God to, put each the other more important than ourselves. I think a small group is a starting point where we can learn to put others more important than ourselves.

Tim Lundy: [00:59:11] I love that shift that you describe in your own thinking because it is easy, we often go into it looking for what I need, and then when God starts working in your heart, then you go, okay, how do I help meet their needs? And maybe you have experienced this, when I do that it's funny, then I'm actually starting to experience what I was longing for. But until I make that shift, I can find myself always looking for it and it never gets full, but when we make that shift like Christ, it really changes. It's true in a marriage, and it's true in a group or with others as well. You know, anybody else? Any advice that you'd give?

Speaker5: [00:59:54] I think some advice that I would give would be that I think it's easy to become apathetic to finding community. I know for me, like originally when I graduated high school and a lot of my friends left for college and I stayed home at community college, there's nothing wrong with that. But I found it very easy to be like, God, I don't have a community. I know, and there's nothing wrong with desiring that, but there needs to be action steps behind that because, you know, to expect God to just be like poof, you know, here it all is. You know, I thin checking and asking yourself, when's the last time I saw a small group, or I said hi to somebody at church, and complimented their outfit, and talked to them and was nice? You know, when's the last time I actually put that into action? And I know like Connor and I, on Friday nights, we meet with a group of young adults. And for me, that was an answer to prayer, and it came very unexpectedly of a group of just young people hanging out on Friday nights to worship and sermon. And I think that came from actually making steps to find community, and not just, okay, where is it? What's going on? Losing that the apathy, and taking steps of okay, Lord, I'm going to seek this out, is really important.

Tim Lundy: [01:01:17] I love that. Be proactive, don't wait for somebody to rescue you in it. Anybody else?

Speaker3: [01:01:25] So, I love being in a small group, I'm in two right now. And I think that for those who are watching, there's always this perception that small group is we're all just in a room, sitting in a circle, reading the Bible. But in reality, we're also having so much fun. At Venture, they have the 20s and 30s singles, they have the 40s and up singles. And through Venture's small groups, singles small groups, I've been to pool parties, I've been to speed dating events that happen here at Venture. And we have fun, and we do life together. We do read the Bible together, and pray for each other, and hold each other accountable, but we're friends, we're friends and we have fun too.

Tim Lundy: [01:02:02] Love that.

Speaker5: [01:02:04] Just to piggyback on that, I think some others would come in and think, oh, I don't know the Bible that much, or I'm not, I don't know, or I'm an introvert or something. I mean, you can come as you are, so that's the beautiful thing about Venture. I came here last year, I didn't know anyone in San Jose, but then I got plugged into Venture and I met [inaudible] right here.

Tim Lundy: [01:02:29] I see you two together every Sunday.

Speaker5: [01:02:31] Yes, I am just so blessed by her, she's very beautiful inside and out. She loves the Lord, she encourages me, she just tells me what I need to hear and not just what I want to hear. And she's just my accountability and just, yeah, I'm very blessed by this friendship. So. Yeah.

Tim Lundy: [01:02:49] Well, I'd encourage you as we wrap up, no matter where you are on your journey, maybe you're very new to even understanding Christianity, there's a place for you here. And you can ask around the room, all of us have been on different parts of that journey. And so don't be intimidated that you like, if you're going to jump in here, you got to know the Bible and know all the answers. Just come and be you and be honest with maybe what God's doing in your life or the real questions that you have and allow others to gather around you. Everyone's got a next step, and what I hope you're hearing, and feeling is, especially if you're a single adult, man, we'd love for you to find community here and take that next step with us.

Tim Lundy: [01:03:37] The flipside of it, I just call all of us who are married, all of us who maybe have families, it's so easy, just like we heard, to focus on what we need, and what we have to do, and focus on doing life with others who are just like us. I'm telling you, if you would carve out a place in your home, a place at your table, that you are regularly engaging single adults, single parents, that you have them around the table, that you walk with them, that you have those conversations and just do life together. One, it'll be a huge blessing for them, they long for community, not only with each other, but they also long for community with families. But let me tell you, it'll be a blessing for you, they'll bring perspective that maybe you've lost sight of, and they'll help you understand Jesus, maybe in a way that you haven't before because you're getting to see him through different eyes and what he's doing in a life.

Tim Lundy: [01:04:36] I thank you, guys, I really do appreciate you guys being a part of it, I appreciate everybody that's online with this. A little bit different message, but I think maybe we should be a little more interactive in this because we talk about the real issues and what's going on.

Tim Lundy: [01:04:51] I'm going to close with the word of prayer. Father, we do come before you. I thank you; I thank you for everybody who came today, I thank you for this group, their openness and honesty, and their willingness to serve our church body by being a part and sharing. Lord, pray for anybody who hears this, especially a single adult who may be there out there, and they feel so disconnected from you, or maybe they feel so condemned by mistakes they've made. Maybe they're a little angry right now, this is not how life was supposed to be at this stage. Lord, I pray, would you give them the courage to bring anything to you, and to believe that you love them, and that you have community for them, and that you can redeem every area of our lives.

Tim Lundy: [01:05:44] Lord, I pray that Venture, as a church, would be known as a community that welcomes singles, that they are valued here, help us grow in that, help us see blind spots, help us to step forward. Lord, I pray as well that you would really stir up the single adults to lead us well, to speak into our lives and the things that we need to hear because they are experiencing Christ at a level of sacrifice that, frankly, a lot of us aren't.

Tim Lundy: [01:06:14] Lord, we thank you for Jesus most of all, we thank you that he is not a God who led from afar, he came and he walked this planet and he knows what single adults face in a way that I don't. And so, I thank you that he is their Savior and that he is near, and we pray these things in His name. Amen

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032