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Summary: Whether single or not...it’s all about prevention. A tactful, Biblical handling of this delicate subject of the ’putting away’ of a spouse. Presented w/ compassion, mercy, and yet truth. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint.

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A Put Away Message

Matthew 19:3-9 / Malachi 2:11-16

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/PutAway.html

This is a topic often ‘put away’ by churches these days because half of their people are divorced. But I believe we should talk about it, and see what Jesus has to say about it...for the same reason. One thing is certain—we need more compassion in our preaching and more mercy...so long as it’s not at the expense of the truth.

As we go verse by verse thru Matthew, this is where we’re at. Now I know there’s good people who differ on this topic and interpretation. If I err, it’s on the safe side of being too literal...let’s just let the Word speak for itself, and you’ll know where I stand and what GBC officially believes. If you differ and can base it on Scripture, then I won’t fall out with you if you won’t with me. But we can all agree w/ God in Mal. 2:16 that ideally there would be no ‘putting away.’

Clarifications:

I want to be a church that forever lifts up God’s institution called marriage. I want to be a church that forever lifts and loves people who have been divorced. I want to be a church that takes Biblical steps to help prevent divorce.

The purpose of this sermon is preventative…we’re not throwing stones at people who have been divorced. You can’t unscramble eggs!

To the divorced person we offer acceptance, love, help and healing…and a fresh start. Some of the sweetest, most fruitful Christians you’ll ever meet, are people that God loves, that have been divorced.

And I believe that the divorced of this church are my strongest supporters for giving this message of prevention.

With that said, I will say that one of the biggest problem that faces families today is easy, quick, cheap divorce. We live in the age of the throw-away, disposable marriage.

1920 1 in 7 marriages resulted in divorce

1940 1 in 6

1960 1 in 4

1972 1 in 3

1977 1 in 2

Today, divorces outnumber marriages! It is an epidemic! The mindset is “if it doesn’t work out, just bail out!”

Divorce is so common today, and so widely accepted as just a normal part of life, that churches like ours are considered old-fashioned for preaching against it.

Today’s popular culture says, just live together…and Hollywood portrays a couple deciding to move in together as “taking a big step…making a major commitment.” Again, it’s become so commonplace, that today it’s just accepted as normal. And the sad reality is, in America, until just recently, you’d be penalized financially if you got married.

As commonplace as cohabitation is today, why do people get married anyway? Perhaps because if it goes wrong, it’s so easy to dispose of.

In Malachi 2:16, the Bible says that God hates divorce. Where many people are offended is what they think they hear in that statement. A divorced person is usually more defensive about their situation, naturally, and all too often they think they hear, “God hates people who divorce.” And nothing could be further from the truth. While God hates divorce, certainly He loves the divorcee. Just like God hates alcohol, yet loves alcoholics / hates homosexuality, loves the homosexual… in each and every case, the God who hates the sin, loves the sinner! Our God is not a cosmic killjoy, looking for ways to make life miserable, and if the Lord God Almighty says that He hates something, it is only because He knows that it will bring heartache and turmoil into our lives.


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Terry Jennings

commented on Nov 9, 2006

I'am in the process of maybe getting a divorce from someone who has been unfaithful during the marriage. I'am willing to forgive them for the act and am willing to go to counseling to save my mariage. My wife has left and we have been separated for a year now. i do not want a divorce because i have been faithful during this whole ordeal. I live my wife, but if she decides to divorce me I will accept it and move on with my life. I am a christian and Minister of the gospel and am secure with who I am. If their is someone out there who has an opinion or input please feel free to respond to my comments.

Terry Jennings

commented on Nov 9, 2006

I'am in the process of maybe getting a divorce from someone who has been unfaithful during the marriage. I'am willing to forgive them for the act and am willing to go to counseling to save my mariage. My wife has left and we have been separated for a year now. i do not want a divorce because i have been faithful during this whole ordeal. I live my wife, but if she decides to divorce me I will accept it and move on with my life. I am a christian and Minister of the gospel and am secure with who I am. If their is someone out there who has an opinion or input please feel free to respond to my comments.

Rommel Samaniego

commented on Jul 28, 2008

Do you admdit to your part in this circumstance? Of course your wife has theother. Will you be repentant as to simply stay a member of the church?

Praban Agussaputro

commented on Feb 25, 2011

Wow a great sermon.

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