RIVERSIDE BLOG

Post Author: Tim Chilvers

Tim Chilvers is the Senior Pastor at Riverside Church.
May 22, 2022
The Story of US | S4: Marriage In An Age Of Obsession

Teaching Series Introduction:

According to a study from University College London, nearly a quarter of us have experienced a complete breakdown in a significant relationship during the pandemic. Friendships have been stretched; families have been fractured; romances have struggled. Yes, over the last 2 years many of us know that our relationships have taken a serious hit.

This important teaching series is all about those relationships. Rooted in the biblical book of Proverbs, this is a chance to reflect, rebuild and refresh all our relationships in this post-pandemic world.

You may find it helpful to download and take our Relationships Healthcheck alongside this teaching series.

‘The crisis of Covid has distanced us from each other. We see anew how far apart we are. The result must be a new way to bring us together.’
(Jon Yates)

SESSION 4:
Marriage In An Age Of Obsession

BY: Tim Chilvers
DATE: Sunday 22 May 2022
BIBLE PASSAGES: Read online
Proverbs (Chapter 18, verses 22)
1 Corinthians (Chapter 7, verses 8-24)

The ancient scholar, Gregory of Nyssa, once wrote that marriage is the “Sweet rivalry of each wishing to surpass the other in loving”. In a world that is fixated by romance, the biblical perspective on marriage is very surprising. It’s only as we discover how unimportant marriage really is, that we discover the tools for life-changing marriages!

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Children’s & Youth Resources:

These resources will be used within the various groups in-person on a Sunday morning. This means that if you are unable to attend one of our Sunday Gatherings, you can still study and follow along with the same material at a time that is best for you. However you study, we encourage you to engage with your group as much as possible. If you would like to know about how you can get connected with our children’s or youth groups please contact us, we would love to hear from you.

Youth Resources

This Weeks Youth Video:

Children’s Resources

This weeks Children’s Video:

Bible Study Questions:

There are three different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring the Bible within your Life Group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own.

A. DISCUSSION STARTERS

These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others in your group):

1) Was there anything that particularly helped you during the talk?

2) Was there anything that you didn’t necessarily agree with, or found difficult to understand in the talk?

3) RESPONSE QUESTION. As a result of the talk, what:

a. Changes do you want to see?

b. Truths do you need to remember?

c. Actions do you need to take?

B. QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE

These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:

 

1) How do you think marriage is viewed in our society? Why do you think that is?

2) Read 1 Corinthians 7:1-7. This entire chapter is the apostle Paul’s response to a question that he has been asked (v1). Because of their newfound faith in Jesus, it seems that some people in the church in Corinth were questioning sex and marriage. How would you summarise Paul’s answer to their question?

3) Sadly, these verses have often been abused and misapplied – what is an appropriate, and an inappropriate, understanding of these verses?

4) Read 1 Corinthians 7:8-24. In one sentence, are you able to summarise what Paul’s key message is? How do you think this might apply to us today?

5) What do you think it means to ‘…live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned’ (v17)? What difference does believing in Jesus make to how you view marriage?

6) In his talk on Sunday, Tim said that ‘Marriage is a wonderful gift but a terrible god.’ What do you make of that?

7) Take some time to pray, asking that God would help you to see marriage in a healthy way. Pray into any ‘pressure points’ around marriage that you and others might be experiencing at the moment.

N.B. If you haven’t already done so, you may like to take our Relationships Healthcheck as part of this teaching series, to help you reflect on your relationships.

 

C. GOING DEEPER

These are questions to help you go a little deeper, by exploring the wider biblical context.

 1) In his talk on Sunday Tim quoted from Jorge Luis Borges, when he said, ‘To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god.’ Do you agree with the comment that our society might have replaced belief in God, with idolisation of sex, marriage and romantic relationships?

2) Read 1 Corinthians 7:1-7. This chapter is the apostle Paul’s response to a question that he has been asked (v1). Because of their newfound faith in Jesus, it seems that some people in the church in Corinth were calling into question whether they should still get married, or whether they should still be having sex within marriage. Paul insists that people should be free to choose whether to get married or not, and that sex is a crucial component of a healthy marriage. In a sense he ‘de-spiritualises’ their question. In light of this and Genesis 2:24, how would you summarise what Paul is saying?

3) As you might imagine, these verses have sometimes tragically been abused to justify demanding sex. Alongside these verses, read Ephesians 5:24-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5. In what ways should Paul’s words lead to healthier, more loving and more mutual sex within marriage?

4) Read 1 Corinthians 7:8-24 and Genesis 2:23-24. Are you able to summarise what Paul is saying in one sentence? What are some appropriate, and inappropriate, outworkings of this passage?

5) Read v17 and 1 Corinthians 6:20. What impact does being a believer in Jesus have on how you view marriage?

6) In his talk on Sunday Tim quoted, ‘Marriage is a promise of future love, rather than declaration of present love.’ What do you make of that, in light of these verses?

7) Take some time to pray, asking that God would help you to see marriage in a healthy way. Pray into any ‘pressure points’ around marriage that you and others might be experiencing at the moment.

N.B. If you haven’t already done so, you may like to take our Relationships Healthcheck as part of this teaching series, to help you reflect on your relationships.

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