Focus On Marriage Not Divorce
FOCUS ON MARRIAGE AND NOT DIVORCE
Today, Jesus is going to talk to us as disciples about marriage.
- And it is important that we understand what He says in this passage because as His disciples, Christ intends for us to be an example and an influence on society and the world around us of
those things that God desires in marriage.
- He wants us to set His standard.
Unfortunately, in many instances, the church has only become a mirror in which we reflect the values of the world…and that is why we need to talk about this subject.
- But we need to talk about it with care and compassion because if I asked you to raise your hand if you or a member of your family has been touched by divorce, practically every hand would be raised.
- Some of you may have gone through a divorce…and it wasn’t what you wanted…you did all you could to prevent it…but still it happened.
- And for some of you right now, your marriage may be in serious trouble.
- And then for others…it may be that you didn’t work hard at your marriage and it fell apart…and you regret that.
- So today we need to talk about marriage with compassion.
And yet, we need to talk about marriage with faithfulness…faithfulness in the sense that it is our responsibility as God’s people to instruct and show the world what God intends in marriage.
Marriage is not at all what it once was and in most cases it is not at all what God wants it to be.
- We live in a time when Jewelry stores sometimes put a sign in the window that says, “We rent weddings rings.”
- We live in a time when Pawn Shops receive daily, wedding rings for pawn.
- There is the story of the little girl who was telling her mother the story of Snow White and she told how the wicked queen poisoned Snow White…and how Snow White died…and she got to the end and she said, “Momma, and the handsome prince found Snow White…and he kissed her…and she woke up…and she fell in love…and then do you know what happened?”
- And her mom said, “And they lived happily ever after.”
- And the little girl frowned and said, “No, they got married.”
Sad isn’t it.
- Too many marriages fit with what this little girl said.
- As a result, too many marriages fail…and too many children grow up with a distorted idea of what marriage is…what makes it work, and how long it is too last.
- And instead of children thinking of it as Holy Matrimony, they see it as an unholy, temporary situation that two people live in…that can be ended at any tune.
But Christ doesn’t want us as disciples to see marriage the same way people do.
- And God doesn’t want our children to view marriage the same way other children view it.
- He wants us to be an example they can look at and learn from.
- So this morning we are going to talk about marriage.
- Let’s study the passage and see what Jesus has to say.
Now we have got to understand the context before we can understand what Jesus has to say. Look at how this event came to be. Look at vs. 3:
In verse 3 Jesus was healing the crowds and some “Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?
- These Pharisees didn’t come to be taught by Jesus like the people
- They weren’t sincere in trying to learn.
- They were there to “test”
- And this word “test” in the Greek means, “to scrutinize….to tempt.”
- Every time this word is used in the NT it is associated with evil intentions.
- These guys were there to try and “corner” Jesus.
In fact, where it says that they “came testing Him, and saying, the Greek tense indicates that they “kept asking…and kept asking” as though they were trying to provoke Him into saying something incriminating so they could accuse Him.
- These guys are conniving, scheming, hypocrites seeing if they can trap Jesus.
- There is nothing pure about these guys’ motives.
- All they want is for Christ to trap himself.
But notice what Jesus does.
- Jesus doesn’t get into a discussion with these guys over divorce and when it is “OK” to get a divorce and when it isn’t “OK.”
- Jesus doesn’t do what we often do with this passage.
- We try to turn this passage into a discussion of divorce and remarriage…and we wrangle over “did they have a right to get a divorce and if they didn’t, do they now have a right to remarry.”
- Jesus doesn’t do that.
- Jesus moves the discussion to higher ground.
They ask, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?”
Look what He says starting in vs. 4: And He answered and said, “Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said,’ For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 “Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
- They ask, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?”, and what Jesus does is He takes them back to God’s intended design.
- He turns this from a discussion of divorce into a discussion of marriage.
- And what Jesus is saying is, “God ordained marriage whereas divorce is man made.”
- And when Jesus does this, when He takes them back to the creation, He is saying to them, “This is where your hearts should be!”
- “Your hearts shouldn’t be set on having a “lawful”
- You hearts should be set on having a marriage like God intends.
- And instead of trying to justify getting a divorce, what you should be doing is trying to fulfill God’s plan for your marriage.
And look at God’s plan…look again at what Jesus says: And He answered and said, “Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said,’ For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 “Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
First notice that marriage is between a woman and a man!
- Anything other than that is a perversion! It is a sin and 1 Cor. 6:9 and Eph. 5:5 clearly tells us that people who pervert this design of one man and one woman joined together in marriage will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Jesus also says, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother…”
- He is putting the man’s relationship with his wife above that of his parents.
- Above that of son to father and son to mother.
- Or that of daughter to father and daughter to mother.
When a man or woman gets married the relationship with their parents is no longer primary.
- The relationship with their mate becomes primary.
- The marriage relationship is the ultimate human relationship,
- It takes precedence over all other human relationships, including close friends.
- There is no relationship outside of your relationship with God that has a higher priority than your marriage to your mate.
- It is your first priority after your relationship to God.
- And that means you make whatever sacrifice…you do whatever you have to do to keep yourself wholly devoted to your mate.
Unfortunately far too many don’t do this.
- Some still hang on to mom and dad.
- Some make self, or their jobs…or their desire and attachment to things their ultimate
- And when they do the relationship with their mate will suffer.
God intends for your relationship with your mate to be the ultimate human relationship and He wants you to do whatever it takes to make that relationship as strong…and harmonious…and pleasing to each other as it can be.
Look at what else Jesus says. He says, “And shall cleave to his wife…”
- The word “cleave” comes from a word that means “to glue…to stick.”
- It means you will not let go…it speaks of unity…and permanency.
This also means that a man will “cleave to his wife…and not someone else.”
- Adam was to cleave to Eve…alone and not to Mary also.
- And it is the same for Eve…she was to cleave to Adam alone and not to Steve too.
- And there was to be no Adam and Steve or Eve and Mary.
And then Jesus says, “And the two shall become one flesh.”
- In marriage one plus one equals one…not two.
- And one flesh is not to be ripped apart by anyone.
The idea today that has even affected the church is that divorce is just a “dissolution of the marriage.”
- Jesus does not see divorce as a simple dissolving of an inconvenient partnership.
- When you take two people who have been conjoined by God into “one flesh”…when you separate that flesh what do you call that?
- Isn’t that an amputation? When your rip the flesh apart doesn’t that hurt…doesn’t it do damage?
- Jesus doesn’t see divorce as simply dissolving a marriage…He sees it as anamputation…something that is extremely painful and damaging.
The point is, your marriage is meant to be permanent.
- And in this context Jesus is saying, instead of trying to justify divorce, what you should be doing is doing all you can do to stay together forever like God intends and
So, Jesus speaks of severance…and permanence…and then He speaks of reverence: Jesus says, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
- “What God has joined together…”
- You know, at weddings we see what the minister does….and we say, “Brother Webb married us.”
- Did you know that is not really true?
- All Brother Webb did was the ceremony…God did the joining.
- Marriage is His institution…He ordained it.
- The marriage should be fulfilled according to His will.
- And to treat a marriage frivolously…irreverently…
- To cast it aside indifferently…is to do the same thing to God.
We need to see marriage as involving 3.
- There is the man, there is the woman, and there is God.
- And they are working together becoming one.
- And that process of becoming one doesn’t happen on the honey moon night.
- It takes a lifetime of working together.
- You listening, and bending, and sacrificing and melding yourselves into one new creation.
- The problem is, too many leave God out and a marriage without God is one flesh on the way to becoming two.
- If your marriage is struggling, it will not get better unless you put God back in your home.
Now, look at verse 7: They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.
- Jesus gets right to the point.
- The reason Moses permitted these Jews to divorce their wives was because of the “hardness of their hearts.”
- Somewhere, at some time, they had refused to accept what God had to say and what God wanted concerning their marriages.
- And because they did Moses gave them this law.
- If they would not have hardened their hearts there would never have been a law about
And isn’t this true today?
- The underlying reason for divorce is someone, somewhere has hardened their heart.
- They have hardened their heart against what God says…and against what God wants…or against the one they are married to.
- Whether it pertains to doing what it takes to make a marriage work…the nourishing…the nurturing, the maintaining…
- Or lusting after another woman . . .Or failing to fulfill your responsibilities . . .
- Or satisfying each other’s needs…Or accepting your mate’s imperfections. . .
- Or forgiving their faults . . . or making changes in yourself.
- It may be that they ignored what God had to say about immorality. . .or drunkenness. . .or the dangers of being involved with someone of a different faith. . .way back when they first started dating. . .
- Whatever the case, somewhere, someone has hardened their hearts, and they are denying, rejecting, or ignoring what God wants when a marriage ends in divorce.
And let me tell you, we need to be careful about hardening our hearts because it tends to grow.
- You may harden your heart against some little insignificant thing today. . .
- And then it is easy to be hard hearted about something else tomorrow. . .
- And then soon it is easy to be hard hearted and reject more and more things…until someday you have a heart of stone.
How many marriages are ending today because someone began by hardening themselves to some seemingly little insignificant thing years ago?
- Don’t let this get started.
- If you are having troubles in your marriage look at your heart.
Now look at vs. 9: “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
Our culture is always looking for something shinier and newer to replace what has gotten old
whether it is a refrigerator or a car or even a spouse.
- “Till death do us part” has been replaced by “till something better comes along.”
- That is unbiblical.
If you throw your mate away just because you are ready for something newer and shinier, Jesus says you are guilty of committing adultery.
- And as disciples of Christ, that is a sin that we have no business being involved in.
In vs. 10-12, Jesus simply says that there is nothing wrong with staying single.
- Sometimes people look at someone that has never married and they think, “There must be something wrong with them.”
- That is not true at all! In fact, it may be to an individual’s benefit not to marry…especially if he or she can’t find one that they are willing to spend a lifetime with.
These Pharisees come to trap Jesus in a debate over divorce.
- But Jesus says, “Here is where your heart needs to be.”
- “Instead of talking about divorce, let’s talk about marriage.”
- “Quit focusing on divorce…and quit trying to see how far you can go and get away with something…and focus on marriage.”
That is the way to make a marriage work…focus on it and take care of it…and leave divorce completely out of the picture.
- For the sake of our children…and because we are His disciples…and because the world around us needs and example to follow…let’s do marriage His way.
Divorce is a horrible thing…it destroys lives.
- Sin is also a horrible thing…it not only destroys lives but it condemns people to be eternally lost.
- Thanks be to God that He gave us a Savior…One who died on the cross to pay the price for our
- Through Him and because of Him and in Him your sins can be washed away and salvation can be yours.
- Today we ask the same question and give the same charge that Paul gave in Acts 22:16.
‘And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023