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WHAT ABOUT DIVORCE?
Intro: When you preach through books of the Bible one of the great blessings is that, sooner or later, you will preach on every subject imaginable. But, one of the disadvantages is that, sooner or later, you will preach on every subject imaginable. We are forced to face topics such as the one before us today.
As these verses open, the Lord Jesus is steadily moving closer to His destiny. Every step He takes brings Him one step closer to the moment He will lay down His life for His people.
As Jesus draws nearer to the cross, His enemies increase their attacks. Those who hate Him grow bolder and nastier in their attempts to discredit Jesus in the eyes of the people and of the ruling authorities.
These people, especially the Pharisees and the Scribes have already tried to undermine the Lord’s ministry on several occasions. In these verses they make another attempt to ruin the ministry of the Lord Jesus.
They come to Him seeking His opinion on one of the most hotly debated issues of that day. They approach Him on the hot button issue of divorce. They really didn’t care about the Lord’s opinion, there were actually trying to catch Him in a trap.
It may seem strange to us, but divorce was even more rampant in that society than it is in ours. Some historians have noted that it was not uncommon for a Roman male to have as many as fifteen to twenty wives in his lifetime. Divorce rates among the Jewish people were not that drastic, but divorce was a real problem in that society.
It continues to be a problem in ours as well. There are over one million divorces in America each year. The human tragedy that arises out of these divorces is immeasurable. Think of it this way, when a million marriages end in divorce there are at least two million adults and several million children that are affected. Add to that the devastation that divorce brings into the extended families of those folks, and the number of those impacted by divorce becomes staggering. Not a single person involved in any area of a divorce escapes totally undamaged. Those of us who have lived through it can testify to the harsh reality of divorce and to the pain it brings into a home.
That being said, we are living in an age when nearly every family has been touched by the cold hand of divorce. When 51% of marriages in America fail, it stands to reason that divorce is a reality in most families. So, I approach a subject like this with fear and trembling.
I realize that I am preaching to people who have been through divorce. You know the pain, the shame and the turmoil it brings with it. My job today is not to hurt you any more than you have already been hurt. My job today is to try and preach what Jesus said about this issue in as loving a way as possible.
I realize that I am preaching to people who hold some pretty strong opinions about divorce and about the people who have been through divorce. My duty today is not to preach this topic in a way that agrees with your beliefs or with what you have been taught. My duty today is to preach what the Bible says about this issue in as clear a manner as is possible. That being said, I know that some will not agree with all of the things I have to say today. Most will find plenty to disagree with today.
When we approach a subject like this there are two tendencies.
First, some people try to lower the biblical standard so that people will feel better about themselves and what they have been through. They want to demonstrate love and they want to see that no one gets hurt.
Second, some people tend to go beyond what the Bible teaches. They want to stem the tide of divorce, and uphold the sanctity of marriage, so they take what they see as a spiritual stance on the issue.
However, when you take away from what the Bible says in any matter just so people will feel better about themselves, it is not loving. And, when you add to what the Bible says, it is not spiritual. Regardless of the issue at stake, any human standard may be more lenient than the Bible or it may be stricter than the Bible, but it will never be better than the Bible.
So today, I want to tackle the issue of divorce. I want to consider this issue from heaven’s perspective. I will not answer all your questions, I am sure. Neither will I please every person who hears me preach today. That is neither my goal nor my desire. I simply want to be faithful to what the Word of God says about this important issue.
Let’s look into this passage, and several others that deal with this vitally important issue. I want you to see The Pharisees And Their Attack; The Lord And His Answer; and The Disciple And Their Amazement. Let’s consider these thoughts as I try to preach on the subject: What About Divorce?
I. v. 1-2 THE PHARISEES AND
· As I mentioned, this is not the first time this group of men had attacked Jesus and it will not be the last. He has already had several heated encounters with these religious people. In every encounter, Jesus overcame their arguments and put them to shame before the people.
This time they come to Him with an argument they think is unanswerable. We are told in verse 2 that they came to Him “tempting Him. This word carries the idea of testing in a malicious sense.” These men are trying to trap Jesus in a theological debate. They are trying to undermine His credibility in the eyes of the people. Verse 1 tells us that a great crowd has gathered to hear Jesus teach. They may even be trying to get Jesus arrested and killed.
· To understand the nature of their attack, we need to first understand the state of marriage in Israel in that day. Marriages in ancient Israel were not usually based on love. In fact, the idea of romantic love being the basis for a marriage would have been laughable in that day. Men took wives for convenience. Marriage was the only lawful way for a man to satisfy his sexual appetite. When a man married a woman, he got a sexual partner, and as a bonus, he got someone to clean his house, cook his meals, wash his cloths and give birth to his children. Women were viewed as possessions that could be acquired and abandoned as the needs and desires of the husband changed.
· The question the Pharisees ask is very straight forward. They ask, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? The phrase put away means to divorce. They want to know if a man is permitted to divorce his wife based on the Law of Moses.
There were two basic schools of thought on this topic in Israel. Two rather famous rabbis had handed down their teaching on the matter and most people in Israel followed one of these two rabbis.
One of these rabbis was a man named Shammai. He taught that the only lawful reason a divorce could be granted was for adultery. The Law commended that adulterers were to be put to death by stoning, Lev. 20:10. By the New Testament time period, however, stoning for that reason had been outlawed, and divorce became the remedy for adultery in the marriage. Only the man was allowed to seek a divorce; women could not divorce their husbands regardless of their reasons. The teachings of Shammai were followed by a small minority of the population and the religious leaders.
The other rabbi was a man named Hillel. Hillel held a very liberal view of divorce. He taught that a man could divorce his wife for any reason at all. If she took down her hair in public; if she was seen talking to another man; if she ruined a meal by burning the food or by putting too much salt into it; if she spoke evil of her mother-in-law; if she was infertile; even if her husband saw a woman he thought was prettier, she could be divorced. As you might imagine, this was the most popular view of divorce among the male leaders of Israel. Most of the Pharisees followed the teachings of Hillel. This is clear in Matthew’s account of this same encounter in Matthew 19:3, they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
· It is ironic that the Pharisees, who were so strict in every other area, were so liberal in this area. Most of the Pharisees married and divorced as it pleased them. Of course, this is the way of a legalist. They always find loopholes to allow the flesh to be gratified.
· Why would they use this question to attack Jesus? When you think about, it was very ingenious.
Ψ If Jesus sided with the view taught by Shammai, He would alienate many of the people who came to hear Him speak. Most of the men in His audiences would have embraced the teachings of Hillel.
Ψ If Jesus sided with the Pharisees, the people would have been offended by that move alone.
Ψ Perhaps they were hoping that Jesus would contradict the Law of Moses and they could accuse Him based on that. He did attack their interpretation of the Law of Moses.
Ψ Of course, this confrontation took place in the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas. Remember him? He was the King who married his brother Phillip’s wife. She was his half-niece. This marriage had been condemned by John the Baptist, Matt. 14:4. Herod would eventually execute John for his words, Matt. 14:10. It may be that the Pharisees hoped to see Jesus arrested and executed for preaching against the marriage of Herod and his wife.
· Whatever their motives were for coming to Jesus, these men were not interested in the truth. They were only interested in justifying their own sinfulness in their own eyes.
That is still the way people are today. There are lots of people who could care less about the truth. They only want to justify their sins, or cling to their traditions and beliefs. In the end, it does not matter what you believe about any issue. It only matters what God says about it. Our opinions will die when we do, but the Word of God will endure forever, Psa. 119:89; 1 Pet. 1:25; Matt. 24:35.
II. v 3-9 THE LORD AND
· The first thing Jesus does is to turn the tables on them, v. 3. He asks them “What did Moses command you? In other words, Jesus asks, What does the Word of God say about this matter?
Jesus knows what these men believe about this issue. He knows that most of them have been married and divorced multiple times. He knows they are guilty in the eyes of God. He knows they follow the teachings of the rabbi Hillel. He also knows that the opinions of men are irrelevant.
So, Jesus focuses the issue on the Word of God. That is always a good tactic to use when someone tries to draw you into a theological argument. Just look at them, hand them a Bible and say, “Show me!
· Their answer, v. 4, proves their ignorance of both the Word of God and of divorce. They answer, “Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. In Matthew 19:7 they answered, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? The word suffered in our text can mean either to permit, or to instruct. Give their response in Matthew 19:7, where the word “commanded is used, these men felt like divorce was not just a right, but an obligation to be followed.
The Pharisees base their argument on Deut. 24:1-4. Most Jews interpreted this passage to teach that divorce was an obligation. However, a careful reading of these verses clearly reveals that they do not command, recommend, or even suggest divorce. These verses were given to regulate a situation that had gotten out of hand.
Men were divorcing their wives and sending them out of their homes with a “bill of divorcement. It is said that the husband had found some uncleanness in his wife. This word does not refer to adultery or fornication. Both of these offenses were punishable by death, Deut. 22:20-22.
The word speaks of an immodest act that falls short of the legal definition of adultery. She might have been caught flirting with other men or uncovering herself in public. Some scholars believe that it might refer to any reason the husband could think of that made him want to get rid of her.
At any rate, the husband divorces the wife and sends her away. She goes out and marries another man. Because there was no legal ground for the divorce, she becomes defiled when she remarries. She is guilty of adultery. This law prohibits her first husband from remarrying her if she is divorced again, or if her second husband dies.
So, rather than commanding or condoning divorce, Deut. 24:1-4 was given to control divorce, which was rampant in that society. The Pharisees and others who advocated easy divorce were guilty of misinterpreting and misapplying the Word of God.
· Jesus responds to their question by reminding them that the only reason Moses gave such a command was for “hardness of heart, v. 5. In other words, divorce is always the result of sin and hardness of heart.
Every divorce occurs because there is sin in the hearts of one or both of the parties involved. Regardless of the reasons for a divorce, there is always sin at the heart of it. One or both of the parties involved is guilty of some “hardness of heart in the matter. One or both parties will not repent of their sins or forgive the other. That is why God says, He hateth putting away , Mal. 2:16.
In ancient Israel, divorce was out of control. Men were divorcing their wives for all kinds of frivolous reasons. All a man had to do was to say to his wife three times, “I divorce you!, and in the eyes of man, they were divorced. These women were being sent out of their homes by their husbands with no legal protection. A bill of divorcement told society that the woman was not a harlot, but that she was free to remarry.
A common “bill of divorcement read as follows: Let this be from me thy writ of divorce and letter of dismissal and deed of liberation, that thou mayest marry whatsoever man thou wilt. In later days, they became far more complex, but the intent was the same.
The law Moses gave them was given to control a sinful system that arose out of man’s refusal to honor God’s ideal for marriage. Such a situation should never have existed in the first place, but because of the sinfulness of the human heart it did and it needed to be controlled.
· In verses 6-8, Jesus reaches beyond the Law all the way to the beginning creation. The Lord reminds us that in the creation, God created a male and a female, Gen. 1:27. God’s command to this first couple was for them to “be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, Gen. 1:28.
You will notice that God made a man and a woman. He did not make a group of people that were free to configure themselves as they saw fit. It was not to one man and several women. It was not to be two men or two women. It was to be one man and one woman, only. Any other combination was against God’s original design.
Under God’s divine design a man was to leave the home of his parents and he was to “cleave to his wife. The word literally means to be glued together. This speaks of the strength of the bond. It was to be an indivisible bond that was to endure for a lifetime. Marriage is not something that is to be done on a whim. It is a covenant that is to be entered into only after serious thought about the consequences. In Gods view, marriage is a lifetime commitment between one man and one woman for one lifetime.
That is why Jesus says what He does in verse 8. When a man and a woman come together as husband and wife, they become one flesh. This speaks of far more than just the joining of their bodies together in the act of having sex. It suggests that they become one person in God’s eyes.
The married couple becomes one in their goals, their direction, their will, their emotions, their mind and their spirit. They move together through life as though they were not a couple, but as though they were a single entity. When a marriage produces a child, that baby is the perfect emblem of their oneness. Their child is the fusing of two persons into one. Babies are a living, breathing illustration of the biblical principle of “one flesh.
· Then, in verse 9, Jesus reveals God’s view of marriage. Jesus tells us that every marriage is “made in heaven. Whether it is two saved people or two lost people, the union of two people in the covenant of marriage is an honorable thing in the eyes of God, Heb. 13:4. The only exception to this rule would be the marriage of a believer and an unbeliever. This kind of union is explicitly forbidden in the Word of God, 2 Cor. 6:14. It is a sin for a believer to marry a lost person, but the marriage is still valid and binding in the eyes of the Lord.
Jesus is telling us that God marriage is always the work of the Lord while divorce is always the work of man. No one has the right to destroy a marriage. What God has glued together is not to be ripped apart by man!
Divorce and remarriage are never commanded or commended in the Word of God. Both were merely permitted as a gracious concession to the sinfulness of man. We will talk more about the biblical grounds for divorce later in the message. Yes, there are biblical grounds for divorce.
For now, it cannot be emphasized too strongly that God’s ideal for marriage is one man and one woman for one life time. When a marriage is destroyed through divorce, a creation of God is destroyed by man. It is the same principle that is at work in abortion. When a baby is aborted, man has destroyed a creation of God. The only way life can begin in the womb is for God to make it so. When that life is snuffed out, God’s creative work is destroyed by man.
No matter what your reasons were for getting married, your marriage was the creation of God. It is not your place to tear that bond apart. It is your place to make your marriage work and to make it last a life time. In our day, marriage has become a disposable commodity. People get married on a whim and divorced at their convenience. That is not God’s will for marriage. God’s desire is that every marriage last a lifetime.
· Unfortunately, sin has ruined everything God created, even the institution of marriage. The sad truth is, people get married and people get divorced too. The rest of this passage, and this message, deal with divorce and its aftermath in the lives of men, women and families.
Conclusion Part 1: This is a good place to stop our study today. Lord willing, we will come back this evening and finish this message. What can we take away with us as we depart? There are a few final thoughts I will leave with you.
· If you are married and your marriage is strong, you should come with your spouse and bow before the Lord in thanksgiving. You should praise Him for blessing you home and you should ask Him to help you divorce proof your marriage. There are plenty of families that have been shattered by the blight of divorce, and many thought it could never happen to them. No home, no family, and no person is above it happening to them.
· If you are divorced, or if you are divorced and remarried, then you need to know that you are not a second-class believer. I know there are some people who treat the victims of divorce as though they had the plague. I know that men have placed a lot of restrictions on what you can and cannot do in the church. I also know that most of those restrictions are just legalism and have no basis in scripture. If you have been divorced, you should also bow before the Lord. You need to ask Him to help you be effective in whatever marital state you find yourself today.
· If you have been guilty of judging the victims of divorce, you need to bow before the Lord and seek His forgiveness. It is easier for a person to be forgiven of murder in a Baptist church than it is for a person to be accepted after they have been divorced. Something is wrong with that picture.
· If you have never been saved, you need to know that Jesus Christ will save your soul and forgive your sins if you will come to Him and ask Him. If you have never received Christ into your heart, I invite you to do that today.
III. v. 10-12 THE DISCIPLES AND
· In these verses, the scene shifts. The Pharisees did not get what they came after. In fact, if you read Matthew’s account of this encounter, Jesus basically called them adulterers, because they were divorcing their wives at will and marrying other women, Matt. 19:9. They have once again been embarrassed by Jesus and they leave.
When Jesus is alone with His disciples, His men are concerned about the things they have heard Jesus say. They want to know more. In truth, they are astonished! Divorce was so common in that day that nobody thought anything about people divorcing and remarrying. What they have heard Jesus say about marriage has alerted them that God has a higher view of marriage than what they have been taught and shown by society.
You see, marriages in our day usually occur because there is a romantic connection between a man and a woman. Two people meet and they fall in love and they get married, expecting that union to last a lifetime. Things were not that way in the First Century.
In that day, most men viewed marriage as the only legitimate forum where their sexual needs could be met. They often viewed women as sexual objects and as little more than possible mothers for their children. Marriages were seen as temporary arrangements that met these needs and they could be discarded when a better opportunity arose.
Jesus wants everyone to know that marriage is to be a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman. In the context of that marriage, sexual needs will be, and should be, met, 1 Cor. 7:2-5. If the Lord wills, children will be born. Above all, that marriage relationship is a living, breathing example of Christ’s relationship with His Bride, the church, Eph. 5:21-33. Marriages should be based on mutual love and submission, and like Christ’s relationship with His church, they should last until death.
That is God’s ideal for marriage, but sadly, many marriages simply do not last. Divorces take place. Lives and dreams are shattered. Families are driven apart. Hatred, bitterness and vindictiveness replace love, affection and mutual concern. What happens in the aftermath of divorce? That is what I want to focus on for the rest of this message.
· In verses 11-12, Jesus makes a straightforward statement about divorce. He says when either a man or a woman divorces their mate and marries another person; they are guilty of adultery in the eyes of the Lord.
That is as far as some people go with this matter of divorce and remarriage. Some people have the opinion that there are no biblical grounds for divorce, and that there is no room for remarriage. The people who hold this view look on all remarried people as adulterers.
Is that what the Bible teaches? If Mark was all we had, then we would have to conclude that, yes, it is. However, Mark’s Gospel is not all we have. So, with that in mind I want to make call your attention to several passages of Scripture that present a full treatment of this matter of divorce and remarriage.
· Malachi 2:16 We have already considered this passage, and it clearly teaches us that God hates divorce. Divorce violates Gods original ideal of marriage and it destroys the image of Christs eternal union with His church.
While God hates divorce, He Himself is divorced. In Isa. 50:1, God is lamenting the spiritual adulteries of Israel. Yet, God is so patient and loving that He refuses to divorce Israel and put her away. However, In Jer. 3:8, God’s patience with Israel’s idolatry has reached its limit. God divorces Israel and sends her away into exile.
There is coming a day when God will restore His relationship with His people Israel. He has not taken another wife, and the Jews, for their part, have never had a serious problem with idolatry since that day. They are divorced today, but they will be reunited in the future.
If God is divorced, then surely He cannot condemn all divorces and all divorcees. We are about to see that Jesus handed down a new law regarding marriage and divorce.
· Matthew 19:9 Jesus reaffirms what He said in Mark, but adds what is called the exception clause. It is also mentioned in Matt. 5:32. Jesus says, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
The word “fornication translates the word porneia. It gives us our words pornography and pornographic. In that day, that word referred to any and every type of sexual perversion. Its meaning encompasses every kind of illicit sexual sin including, but not limited to, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, pedophilia, and bestiality.
It seems clear that Jesus allows for divorce in cases of gross, unrepentant sexual sin. This does not mean that a person should divorce their spouse for committing adultery. It does open the door for divorce in cases where one of the marriage partners lives a lifestyle of open, unrepentant sexual sin.
Divorce, even in this kind of extreme situation, should always be the last resort. Reconciliation, repentance and restoration should all come first.
It seems clear to me that in cases like the one I have just mentioned, the innocent party is free to remarry. They are not guilty of adultery. They are free in the eyes of the Lord!
To be fair, many wise Bible scholars teach that “fornication refers to a man who finds the bride he has married is not a virgin. The law in ancient Israel imposed the death penalty in such cases, Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:20-21. They take this position because Matthew was written to a largely Jewish audience. Still, the word used covers much more territory than just sex before marriage.
In the Old Testament period the Law did not make provision for divorce and remarriage in cases of adultery. Adultery was punished by stoning the adulterers to death, Deut. 22:22. Adultery brought about the end of a marriage by death, and the innocent party was free to remarry. It seems clear that Jesus is teaching us that marital unfaithfulness is like a death. It breaks the one-flesh covenant and can spell the end of a marriage.
· 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 This is a complex passage that requires far more time than I am able to give it today. I am going to move through these verses very quickly.
Ψ v. 10 People who are married should stay in that condition. Divorce is not an option.
Ψ v. 11 If you are saved and you get a divorce, you are not to remarry. The only exception is the one I mentioned from Matt. 19:9 and one I will share in a moment.
Ψ v. 12-14 These verses deal with a couple consisting of one saved partner and one unsaved partner. Apparently, one of them was saved after marriage. As I said earlier, it is always a sin for a believer to marry a non-believer. In this case, if the non-believer wants to remain in the marriage, the believer should not divorce their mate.
Staying together allows the unbelievers in the home to enjoy the blessings of God through the life of the believer. Because they are exposed to a Christian, the unbelievers in the home are “sanctified. This does not mean that they are saved, but it does mean that they are brought into contact with the things of God, which would not be the case if they were removed from the home.
Ψ v. 15 If the unbeliever does not want to live with a Christian and departs, the believer is not under bondage. In other words, the innocent party who was deserted by an unbelieving spouse is free to remarry. It is assumed that the partner who left the marriage will eventually take up with another partner, thus bringing them under the exception clause of Matt. 19:9.
· That is a lot to take in today. Let me just make a couple of clear statement that need to be heard.
Ψ God has never intended and never intends for anyone to get a divorce. God always has and always will hate divorce.
Ψ A Christian couple should never divorce, but by the help of the Lord, they should reconcile their differences. No sin is too great to be conquered if both partners are walking in love one toward the other!
Ψ Divorce should be eliminated from the Christian vocabulary. There are only two cases where it is even an option! In both of those cases, unrepentant adultery and desertion by an unbeliever, it is always the last resort.
Ψ Divorce is never commanded in any situation. Even in cases of adultery, no one is ordered to get a divorce. Reconciliation should always be the first option. If one partner falls into sin and then repents and seeks forgiveness and reconciliation, then there is to be no divorce. Both partners are under the obligation of doing everything in their power to ensure the success of their marriage. I realize that this is a lot to ask of the innocent partner, but marriage is an illustration of the Lord's love for us and He doesn't throw us away when we fall! Remember the Lord’s parable in Matt. 18:23-25. We are to forgive and by the Lord's help and through His grace, the marriage can be saved!
Ψ Divorce and remarriage disqualifies you from certain positions within the local church. If you are a man, you cannot Pastor and you cannot be a Deacon. Anything beyond that is legalism and is merely the traditions and teaching of men.
Ψ Divorce is a sin, and it is always the result of sin, but it is a sin no greater than any other sin and can be fully forgiven by the Lord.
Ψ Those who have been through a divorce are not second class citizens in the church and should never be treated as such. If God forgives, then His people must forgive as well!
Ψ If you are divorced for some reason other than the two reasons allowed in the Word of God, and you have remarried, you have committed adultery. You do not live in adultery. That is impossible! But, you have sinned, and if you haven’t already, you simply need to ask God to forgive you.
· Let me make a few important observations right here.
Ψ What are divorced people supposed to do? I suppose the answer to that question depends. It depends on why you were divorced.
If you are divorced from a spouse because they were living a lifestyle of adultery, or if you were abandoned by an unbelieving mate for another person, you are free to remarry as the Lord leads.
If you are divorced for any other reason and have remarried, you need to ask for forgiveness, if you haven’t done so already, then you should live the rest of your days to the glory of God.
Now, having said that, I do not believe the Lord would have a woman continue to live in a situation where her live is threatened. Neither do I believe that she should keep her children in such and environment. There are situations where the physical and emotional abuse is so strong that the couple cannot continue to live under the same roof and according to these verses, separation is a possibility, but divorce is not an option in such cases!
Please note that most divorces today stem from what are termed “irreconcilable differences between Christians, there is no such thing! The Bible strictly forbids remarriage in these cases. In those cases where a divorce is obtained and granted then verse 11 tells us the Lord's mind in the matter.
Those who are divorced, and have not remarried, for non-biblical reasons have two possible options: 1.) Be reconciled to their first mate if they have not remarried, or 2.) Remain unmarried. That may sound narrow-minded and strict, but that is the Word of God and not the opinion of this preacher!
What if they remarry anyway? According to the word of God in Mark 10:2-12 and in Luke 16:18 they are guilty of adultery. I do not believe that the Bible teaches that it is possible to live in a constant state of adultery. It is the act of the new marriage and the consummation of it that constitutes the adultery.
Now, some preachers actually teach people that they should leave a second or third marriage and return to their first spouse. That is foolish and a clear contradiction of Deut. 24:1-4. Doing that would multiply the tragedy and reach of divorce. If you are in a second, third, or whatever number of marriage, your duty is to do the best you can to live the rest of your life for the Lord.
Ψ Many good Christian people believe that divorce is never allowed and that remarriage is also out of the question. I respect that point of view. I just want you folks to know that I have agonized over this thing and have reached my position not because of what some friend preaches, or because of what I was taught in school, or to try and fit in with any group of men. I reached this position because I think it is what the Bible clearly and plainly says. However, if you feel differently than I do, then that is fine! You have to take your stand on the issue and then face God with the decisions you make in regard to it.
Ψ Let me make something clear today. I do not perform weddings for those who have been previously married. I take this position, not in an effort to condemn anyone, but because only the people involved in the previous marriage and God in Heaven know the real reasons why it failed. If I were to start doing those types of weddings, I would have to play judge and try and make a godly decision based upon circumstances of which I have no personal knowledge.
Therefore, since I am not commanded to perform weddings, I choose to marry only those who have never been married before. By the same token, I won't marry a couple where one is saved and one is lost. That is a clear violation of the Word of God and if someone is going to deliberately sin, I want no part of it! While it would be perfectly acceptable for me to participate in the remarriage of a believer who is divorced on Scriptural grounds, it would never be right for me to unequally yoke any couple together.
Conclusion Part 2: I want you folks to know that I approach this subject with fear and trembling. Oh, I am not afraid of the subject and I am not afraid to teach what I believe about divorce and remarriage.
I do, however, fear hurting those who have already suffered the scars of divorce in their lives. I lived through one when I was ten years old and I still carry some of the scars with me. I know firsthand the hurt and the pain those who have been through divorce feel and I want them all to know that there is help for them in Jesus. Please bring your pain to the Lord today, 1 Pet. 5:7; Matt. 11:28.
Here is the invitation today.
· If you were divorced for a non-biblical reason and are remarried today, and you have never dealt with that sin, come do that today.
· If you have dealt with the sin, but you still carry guilt because of the things others have said and done, come to the Lord today and commit yourself to live for Him to the best of your ability for the rest of your life.
· If you are guilty of looking down on others because of their marital status, you need to make that right with the Lord today.
· If you are in a good marriage, you need to thank the Lord for that and pray His protection upon your home.
· If you potential trouble on the horizon of your marriage, today would be a great day to take the necessary steps to save your home.
· If you are married to a lost spouse, you need to bring them to Jesus today and pray for their salvation.
· If you are lost, you need to come be saved today.