Saturday, July 08, 2006


Matthew 5:31,32 A Foundation for the Family

31 “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce. 32 But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality,causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

It has been amazing to see some areas change over the years. You’ve probably noticed it as well.
As a child, somebody decided to locate the regional rubbish site at a fairly isolated location. I remember going with my dad with a trailer on the back of the car, and wanting to pick around in other people’s rubbish. There were literally hills of rubbish. Then 20 years later, someone decided that it would be ok to build houses on that rubbish site. Now the council for that region has problems. They’ve discovered that all that rubbish they put there has rotted, and sent muck into the George’s River system. You dare not eat a fish from there. And the houses… well they don’t have a sufficient foundation! And they are cracking up! Today people are rejecting the morality of the bible and they try to build a society on what some social scientists who believe they've come up with a better plan. We are now starting to see the destruction caused by trying to build families on top of such garbage. The families have no foundations, and they are crumbling.
So often, as a pastor performing weddings, I have seen that The Perfect Wedding
That Was To Produce The perfect Marriage Has Resulted in The Perfect Storm
Our Societies values about marriage have cracked up! It ahs affected the church!
There are four reasons why divorce has become a predominant issue in the church:
1. Public opinion
2. Accommodating theology
3. Casualness towards marriage vows
4. An “anything goes” philosophy
The ages change, but the problem is still the same. We may think this is a new problem, but its not.
When the Lord Jesus spoke the words of the Sermon on the Mount, there sets of Jewish scholars.
There were those who followed rabbi Shammai, who were conservative in their views.
There were those who followed Rabbi Hillel, who were lax in their views.
In fact, later on in Jesus’ ministry, the Pharisees tried to trap the Lord Jesus between these two popular views Matthew 19:1 When Jesus had finished this instruction, He departed from Galilee and went to the region of Judea across the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there. 3 Some Pharisees approached Him to test Him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?”
In Matthew 5:31-32, Jesus said, "It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writ­ing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery." Later in that same speech, Christ added, "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock" (Matthew 7:24). We are living in a time of national tragedy, with throw-away marriages and tossed-away kids. People get married looking for an ideal, but the ideal turns into an ordeal, so they look around for a new deal. They get a divorce and try to start all over, making the same mis­takes the second time around. The hurts and heartaches of divorce have shaken the foundation of the family. Marriage is supposed to be a permanent relation­ship, not a temporary assignment that "we can quit if we don't like it. It's made in heaven and worked out on earth. Newsweek magazine recently referred to the landscape being littered with the victims of the divorce epi­demic. Ex-wives raise their children alone, ex-husbands try to be good dads on specified days, and children are torn apart between two warring parents. A major study has found that only ten percent of divorced couples claim an improved life after divorce. Broken homes produce bro­ken lives, and those broken lives go on to produce more broken homes. We need to return to God's Word to dis­cover how we can break that cycle and create a new foun­dation for the family.
God Designed a Plan for Marriage
The Pharisees once asked Jesus if it was lawful for a man to put away his wife for any cause. There had been rabbis teaching all sorts of things—even one claiming that a man could divorce his wife if he didn't like her cooking! So when Jesus was approached with this question, He replied, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the begin­ning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:4-6). Those verses contain God's plan for marriage. It describes how to build a home on a solid foundation.
There are three key words in that passage, all action words, that spell out God's plan. First is the word leave. When the Bible says that a man leaves his father and mother, that means he has a new priority: marriage. Marriage is the highest of human relationships. The hus­band and wife relationship ought to be closer than broth­ers, closer than sisters, and even closer than parent and child. As parents, we are to prepare our children to leave home. The Bible says that the eagle stirs her nest; that is, she teaches her eaglets to fly. If you are wise, you will give your children wings so that, when the time is right, they can fly away from the nest. Boys and girls don't need to become so comfortable at home, having mother and dad take care of them, that they are never prepared to leave. Sometimes a parent, in wanting to give his children what he didn't have, does his kids no favor.
My primary memories of my childhood are all the good times we had, rejoicing even though we had so little. Things don't make people happy. Don't be so interested in making your children comfortable that you don't build into them some character. Your job as a parent is to work yourself out of a job. Parents are most successful when the child no longer needs them. Maintain the rela­tionship, but prepare them to live life without your help. Children need love, and adults need to offer that love to them. But after a while, the child outgrows the need for that sort of love; the parent's job is to prepare the child for that day.
One of the hardest thing for many parents is the day the child gets to be fifteen or sixteen, starts to stand alone and make his own decisions, and no longer needs the parent. For you see, the parent still has the need to be needed. Rebellion will start if the apron strings are too tight. Young people need to test their independence, so the parent has to teach the child to make good decisions. Parents, teach your children how to earn money, how to save money, how to face the world, how to make wise choices. Don't hold them too tight or they'll slip from your grasp. If you teach them to stand alone, they'll return to you as the best friends you ever had. You'll work your way out of a job, but not out of a relationship. In a marriage, the husband leaves the father and mother, prepared to start life anew. His priority is now his marriage, not his parents.
The second verb the Bible uses to describe marriage is cleave. He leaves his father and mother, and he cleaves to his wife. The word means to glue or weld together.
Marriage is not only a priority—it is preeminent. The Christian shouldn't consider divorce. In Malachi 2:16 we read that God hates divorce; it is not an option for the per­son who wants to please God. You are bound together and cannot be cut apart. Two people considering divorce are contemplating the disintegration of their home. You see, it's not just people who have problems that get divorced. All couples have problems. Most have the same problems. But the difference between couples is one of commitment. There are no problems too big to solve, only people too small to solve them. A person getting married is making a commitment to cleave to a mate.
The third verb that describes God's plan for marriage is the word be. First the man and woman are to leave, then they are to cleave, and third they are to be one flesh. That means more than sex. The whole person—physical, psycho­logical, spiritual—becomes one with the mate. They become one physically for procreation and multiplication. Children are a heritage from the Lord, and the person who refuses to have kids because there are other things he wants to spend money on is unremittingly poor. He thinks he can save money by not having children and use it on a big house or a new car or a grand vacation. But in the end, he'll be poor. A rich man can't take his money to heaven, but I plan to take all my children to heaven! The Bible tells us that a man is blessed when he has a quiver full of chil­dren. He's rich, for children make us rich.
But becoming one is more than being physically one. The couple is also psychologically one. They are not only one for procreation but for communication. They enjoy one another. Their deepest emotional needs are met. The Lord is the one who decided it was not good for man to be alone, so He created a woman. Christian man, your wife is your friend, not just your lover. You are to be one psycho­logically, meeting each other's deepest needs.
A couple also becomes one spiritually, enjoying the sweet communion of loving God together. Last night my wife held hands and prayed for our children. We prayed for fellow ministers around the world. We prayed for each other. We prayed for those in our church. I thank God for that time of sweet communion, where the two of us are one spiritually, enjoying the things of God together. That is part of God's design for marriage. He wants us to leave, He wants us to cleave, and He wants us to be one.
God Desired Permanence for Marriage
God permitted divorce for only one reason: adultery. He didn't command divorce, but He permitted it. Divorce is never God's intent, but He allowed it in the case of sex­ual immorality. In talking about the subject in Matthew chapter nineteen, Jesus doesn't even commend divorce. Instead, He teaches that restoration and forgiveness are better alternatives. The classic example of that is Hosea, a prophet of God who was married to an immoral woman. Hosea's wife, Gomer, was not only immoral, she ended up as a prostitute. Yet Hosea went back to her, reclaimed her, forgave her, and restored his home. That is God's ideal. Of course, one cannot always make the partner agree to that. Hosea could have been refused by Gomer and been help­less to do anything about it. But thank God for the Hoseas of this world, who are willing to forgive even immorality in order to restore a marriage.
There are too many foolish excuses today for divorce. "I don't love you anymore," people say. And since the feel­ing of love is gone, they get a divorce. But that should never be a reason for splitting up a marriage. Love doesn't sustain your marriage, marriage sustains your love. Most people think of love as an emotion, but God isn't speaking of the emotion of love. He speaks of the commitment of love. We are commanded to love. Ephesians 5:25 com­mands husbands to love their wives. That's not a suggestion, nor is it an emotion. It's a commandment calling for a commitment. Titus 2:4 commands older women to teach younger women how to love their husbands. Love isn't something vague and ethereal; it's a commitment and an action that you put into practice. People think we fall in and out of love as helpless victims, but the Bible doesn't teach that. Of course, there is nothing wrong with romance and emotion. I certainly hope you keep a little "honey" in your honeymoon. But that's not the basis of a marriage. You fall in love with a beautiful girl, but you marry a complicated woman. Marriage doesn't get easier as you get older. It gets more complex. My wife and I have gone through hard times, we've raised three children, and we seem to find new things to adjust to each day. We love each other deeply, but it isn't romance that keeps our marriage together—it's commitment.
I heard a woman say that she was going to divorce her husband because the love had gone out other marriage. She felt it would be "better for the children" if they sepa­rated. But any study of broken homes would negate that. Divorce is never a positive factor for children. If you're thinking it might be better for the children, you'd do well to ask your children. The reasoning that the children shouldn't grow up around constant arguing presupposes that there are only two solutions: more arguing or divorce. There happens to be a third alternative, and that is to get right with God. Cut out the junk and make your marriage work.
Another person planning to divorce once said to me, "I owe it to myself to be happy." I asked him, "Where'd you ever get a silly notion like that?" God has plans for you to be holy, but there is no promise that you'll be completely happy. As a matter of fact, having happiness as the primary goal of your life is the ultimate selfishness. A person with that attitude can only end up unhappy, since we don't live in isolation. If our happiness is the supreme goal, then we better live on an island in isolation from other people whose supreme goal is their own personal happiness!
When you got married, you made a holy vow before God. You vowed to make the other person happy, not to make yourself happy! Your vow to God is more impor­tant than your happiness. You even took a vow upon your­self and your character. Your character is more important than your selfish desires. God's plan is for you to obey His Word and be holy.
I once had a man tell me that he had prayed about divorce "and God told me it was all right." I told him he must have been listening to somebody else. God can never act contrary to His Word. He would not contradict Himself, nor make an exception for this man. This man was guilty of self-deception, and he needed to spend more time reading his Bible. There is no bailing out of marriage. It's time we throw away that parachute. Marriages can be in bad shape, and they won't be healed overnight. If you make a decision to heal a bad marriage, it won't be won­derful right away. It might even be tortuous. But the direc­tion of your marriage can be changed right now. You can simply decide to turn from divorce and embrace your com­mitment. You can surrender your selfish will and place yourself under the leadership of the Lord. Remember, you got married in the first place because you loved this per­son. If you were to sit down and think through all the posi­tive things in your marriage, you'd find the positives outweigh the negatives. Why throw away the ninety per­cent positive because of the ten percent negative? Instead, choose to improve that ten percent.
God Declared a Pardon for Failed Marriage
Some Christians have already failed at marriage. They've been through a divorce. But we have a God of for­giveness. We have a God of grace. If you've failed and your marriage is broken, you can't go backward. You can't unscramble the eggs. But divorce is not the unpardonable sin. The church is not to treat the divorced like second-class citizens in the kingdom of heaven.
The permission to divorce
Adultery Matthew 19:7-9 Why then,” they asked Him, “did Moses command [us]to give divorce papers and to send her away?” 8 He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts. But it was not like that from the beginning. 9 And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
Abandonment 1Corinthians 7 I command the married—not I, but the Lord—a wife is not to leave her husband. 11 But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband—and a husband is not to leave his wife. 12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is willing to live with him, he must not leave her. 13 Also, if any woman has an unbelieving husband, and he is willing to live with her, she must not leave her husband. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the Christian husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave. A brother or a sister is not bound in such cases. God has called you to peace.
The possibility of remarriage
If a person had biblical permission for divorce, they have permission for remarriage
If you are divorced and have repented of your sin. God forgives you. You are not a second-class citizen. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus," Paul tells us in Romans 8:1. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow," the prophet Isaiah says in Isaiah 1:18. You are not the only person to have made a mistake—I've made quite a few in my day. Keep in mind that the woman taken in the act of adultery was forgiven by the Lord Jesus. He encouraged the first stone to be tossed by an innocent man, but there weren't any innocent men in the crowd. Jesus didn't take a weak view of sin. He didn't condone the woman's sin. He simply forgave her and commanded her to sin no more. The Samaritan woman at the well had been married five times, but Jesus spoke to her because He recognized her need for love and acceptance. He gave her the water of life, which satisfied her thirsty soul. He didn't condemn a divorced woman; He saved her. I believe He would do the same thing today. Sure, divorce is wrong. But neglect­ing those in pain is also wrong.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Free Hit Counter