Summary: To show why an unequal yoke in marriage is ill advised.
The Unequal Yoke
“A Marriage Never Made In Heaven”
Aim: To show the problems related to the unequal yoke in marriage, and to give guidelines in choosing a mate.
Text: 2Corinthians 6:14 cf. Nehemiah 13:23-29
Introduction: The Word of God plainly declares that a child of God is not to be united in marriage with an unbeliever. To God’s ancient people Israel the following command was given, concerning the nations around them: "Neither shalt thou make marriage with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son, for will turn away thy son from following Me" (Deut. 7:3, 4). To the N.T saint Word is equally clear: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2Cor. 6:14); and according to 1Cor 7 we are to be "Married...only in the Lord" (1Cor. 7:39). These are clearly the commandments of the Lord to us.
This aspect of the "Unequal Yoke" is a snare into which many mighty men have fallen. As we shall see, Solomon, the wisest of men fell into this snare, and the "outlandish women" of the Ammonites and Moabites turned away his heart from God, and caused him to sin. Samson, the strongest of men, was also caught in it, and shorn of his strength.
If the wisest of men, and the strongest of men can fall into such a snare, and that to their ruin, what makes you think that you can entertain the unequal yoke in marriage and somehow be unaffected by this unscriptural partnership?
Joshua said of such a relationship that it prove to be “snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes.”
This morning I want to warn you against allowing your affections to go after an unbeliever. You see, it happens all the time, the Christian allows himself or herself the luxury of engaging their affections toward a lost man/woman, an unsaved boy/girl and though the link is slender at first, and may be readily broken, inevitably it grows stronger; and once Satan gets the "Yoke" securely fastened upon your neck, it will cost you something to get rid of it. How many tears and broken hearts might have been saved had the wrong been checked at the beginning.
Of course some will say, "there are many nice, loving young men and women who, although they do not say they are born again,’ are religiously inclined, and willing to listen to the truth. Maybe I would prove to be the means of the conversion of such an one after we were married?" This is a very subtle device, of Satan’s. The answer to it is simply this: "God says you are not to be ’unequally yoked’ with an unbeliever, and as His child He demands from you unhesitating, unquestioning obedience." It is vain for the heart that has departed from the Lord to carry out its own desire to marry an unbeliever, and then expect that God will convert him. God is a Sovereign, and He can work in spite of His people’s sin, but He has not given the smallest ray of hope to the believer who enters into the "Unequal Yoke" with his eyes open, and in direct disobedience to God, to expect any such thing. Let me tell you now, that such a Christian may count on many tears and sorrows, and years of domestic unhappiness.
And let me say this also it is an easy thing for a believer to convince himself that one upon whom his heart is set is a Christian. Many a fellow feigns conversion to get his girl. But who can rightly estimate the feelings of the child of God who finds out, when it is too late, that he has chosen for a partner in life an child of wrath. This is not marriage as God intended it, there can be no sweet blending of hearts, no bowing of the knees together before the throne of grace; no holy conversation on things touching the King. The unbeliever cannot rise to enjoy the things above, and so experience reveals it is almost always the child of God who must descend to enjoy the things of the world.
Come with me now to the book of Nehemiah 13:23-29
The situation in Nehemiah occurred whilst the people were left under the charge of others. Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem after attending to some business in Babylon, and he found that in his absence God’s people had disobeyed the clear commands of God, they had gone back even on their own word, as recorded in Nehemiah 10, and married heathen peoples from other nations. Now let say right up that this is not a racial issue. The Bible knows only one race, the human race, and skin colour is never an issue with God. Never. Rather this is a religious issue, by demanding the people not marry those from other lands God was preserving the religious faith of the Jews, He was safeguarding their spiritual welfare and ensuring that the Messianic line did not become muddied or extinguished by means of interfaith marriage.