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84: Divorce Revisited

May 14, 2009

Major Text: Matthew 19:1-12

Harmony Texts:

Matt. 19:1-12      Mark 10:1-12

Outline:

  1. The Principle of Marriage Matt 19:1-6
  2. Associated Issues Matt. 19:7-12

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Jesus has left the west bank of the Jordan and is back on the east bank in Perea. Perhaps He has chosen to return and finish ministering to those people. You will recall that Jesus left Perea to go to Bethany and raise His friend Lazarus from the grave.

Jesus is tested by the Pharisees on His views of divorce. Jesus quotes the Old Testament

[Gen. 1:27; 2:24; 5:2] saying marriage is when a man and a woman leave their parents and become one. He goes on to say that the unity God has blessed in marriage is not to be broken. So what is this union? It is between a man and a woman. It is a unity of purpose. It is a unity of the flesh. It is a unity of the Spirit. It is unity with God. It is a lifelong commitment. It is based on love, sacrifice, and service for the sake of one another and with one another. The marriage union is God’s way of representing the triune God-head on earth. The independence of each partner must be buried in favor of living as a unit, functioning as a unit, ministering as a unit, and growing as a unit. That is the way the God-head functions. We would not even consider that Jesus Christ the Son would operate independently from God the Father. Biblical evidence supports complete unity. This is why Jesus is unbending in the purpose of marriage. Likewise, as believers we are the bride of Christ. We are unified with Jesus Christ in purpose, in Spirit, and in ministry.

Jesus gives only one valid reason for divorce and that is unfaithfulness. Moses granted writs of divorce because the Israelite’s hearts were hard [rebellious like Pharaoh]. They had married outside their faith, becoming dysfunctional because they lacked unity of purpose and unity of Spirit. Likewise, we must be careful not to commit adultery with God, with our faith in Jesus, and become disobedient and dysfunctional as did the Israelites.

Jesus also explains that marriage is not for everyone. Some are unable to consummate a unity of the flesh. Others have higher priorities that prevent them from entering into a relationship of unity. Jesus says that’s acceptable and it is acceptable for them. Practice tolerance and do not discriminate against those who chose not to marry. Value all of God’s creation.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Marriage is important and significant. Unity in marriage is critical and endorsed by God. God must be involved for it to be successful. The unbroken marriage bond is a testimony of the God-head.
  2. The primary purpose of marriage is to model unity of purpose, unity of the flesh, unity of the Spirit, and unity with God.
  3. Divorce should be difficult. A broken marriage results in sin but our Lord and Savior forgives sin and desires to restore relationships. Our God is merciful and offers grace.
  4. Marriage is not for everyone but marriage between man and God is for everyone. You can pass up an earthly marriage but you can’t have eternal life without a commitment to a heavenly marriage.
  5. Do not commit adultery with God.

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