Jesus’ Perspective on Divorce

Matthew 5:31-32

Divorce had become an easy and casual action

The Mosaic Law concerning divorce is found in Deuteronomy 24:1

It says if a husband finds some “indecency” in his wife, he can write a certificate of divorce

The concept of “indecency” had been absurdly broadened to include anything from a barren womb to bad cooking or a big nose

Jesus dismantles this attitude, by narrowing the biblical door

He identifies sexual immorality as an acceptable reason, because the spouse has broken the covenant

Jesus feels so strongly, he calls remarriage of improperly divorced the moral equivalent of adultery (because it’s a defilement of marriage)

Marriage is precious to God, and he hates to see it broken

Divorce at times is allowable, but it is never desirable

The divorce rate in the Church now imitates the world, because the rationale for divorce by Christians now imitates the world

Professing Christians will say, “Isn’t it better to find peace than to stay in an unhappy marriage?”

And Christian “leaders” treat their unbiblical divorces as if they were trials God helps us through rather than sins of disobedience!

What is missing in our thinking about marriage and divorce?

We view family issues as about us, more than about God

We recognize that God speaks about these issues, but we see them as personal

1. Everything about marriage and family life was established by God (Genesis 2:18-24)

God purposefully and uniquely created us as male and female

God established marriage as a man and a woman becoming “one flesh”

2. God views the marriage commitment as a spiritual issue (Malachi 2:14-16)

v14 God is “witnesses” to our marriage

v14 God calls marriage a “covenant”

Three times divorce is referred to as unfaithfulness before God

v15 God describes marriage as a spiritual union

3. Marriage is a picture of Christ and his Church (Ephesians 5:24-32)

vs 24-25 marriage is meant to flow out of our love for Christ

vs 31-32 marriage was established to teach us about the union between Christ and his Church

“Gay marriage” has become an enormous issue today

The church is not against people “loving” someone; but this is obviously not how God created sexuality to work

The Bible is crystal clear that homosexuality is a sinful perversion of sexuality

Gay marriage can never produce the “godly offspring” mentioned in Malachi 2:15 (a gay society would become extinct in one generation)

Only God has the right to define marriage and how it works, the Church cannot change His rules

God established marriage to reflect his values not the world’s values

Every marriage will experience conflict and struggle

This is because two sinners who are naturally selfish have entered a relationship requiring them to live as ‘one flesh’

Marriage is the front line of where we learn Great Commandment living

Whatever your marital problems, apply Great Commandment values

God is the main character in our lives – including in our marriage

So when problems appear, we pursue God’s agenda

If the gospel and the Great Commandment are not our agenda, then our selfishness will become that agenda

What if our spouse rejects the biblical approach to marriage?

Our agenda doesn’t change, because God’s agenda doesn’t

We pray for grace and growth in us and in our spouse – and we keep living for Christ

“But it’s so hard!”  So is disease and financial loss, but we recognize that we keep serving Christ in those circumstances. Difficulty in marriage is no different

Divorce should be rare but it can be biblically acceptable

There are two general biblical grounds given for divorce

1. Sexual immorality in our spouse (Matt 5)

Jesus doesn’t use the word ‘adultery’ he uses the broader term “sexual immorality”

This indicates that different forms of sexual sin and unfaithfulness can be considered

However, it is clear Jesus wants divorce to be a narrow doorway

2. When an unbelieving spouse leaves (1 Corinthians 7:12-16)

How broadly can we interpret this ‘abandonment’?

If a spouse leaves and is excommunicated by the church would be one way, because the Bible says we are to “treat them as an unbeliever”

It is best to take this as a case by case situation, as we look at forms of abuse and abandonment

We always want to be guided by keeping the doorway narrow, yet also be gracious in recognizing there are principles behind the biblical statements given

The Church has different opinion on remarriage, but we feel that whenever divorce is biblically acceptable, so is remarriage

1 Corinthians 7:16 tells us the innocent spouse is not “enslaved”. The same idea is found latter in verse 39, when it says a widowed spouse is no longer bound, but “free” to remarry

What if you divorced and remarried unbiblically?

We should respond as we do with any sin: confess our sin and live holy from now on where we are (the idea that you should now divorce that spouse certainly doesn’t fit the heart of Scripture)

However, we must never think I will divorce now and repent later. That makes a mockery of God and repentance

Yet, neither should the Church create a ‘jail’ of guilt that the divorced person remains in for the rest of their life

For those who have been broken-hearted and wounded by divorce

Know that God truly understands, because He describes himself as a divorced person (Jeremiah 3:6-8), when he sent away the nation of Israel for their spiritual adultery

One Response to SERMON LEFTOVERS 6.01.15

  • Renee Burrough says:

    Excellent points Pastor Kyle. God’s word must always be the center of our decision to marry in the first place. One reason we have so many divorces is we marry out of romantic ideas of our spouse filling the empty places only God was meant to fill. I am thankful to have remained by Dan’s side as he took his last earthly breath. Being his wife was the sweetest blessing of my life.

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