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Summary: God’s intention for marriage explains His view of divorce.

Relationships in the Kingdom – Part 3

May 6, 2001

INTRODUCTION

When I was a junior in high school my Mom informed me that my sister and her husband of 10 years were getting a divorce. This was new to me. Really no one in my family - none of my aunts and uncles – none of my cousins had gone through a divorce. Everybody had just sort of been family. That was about to change.

I watched as holidays changed – my nieces celebrated Christmas with us and then with their dad.

What amazed me was how much the rest of us hurt when we weren’t even the ones going through the divorce. I couldn’t imagine what Melody was feeling.

I doubt there is anything we could talk about today that has caused more hurt to the collective group assembled here than this topic of divorce. It has touched every family in some way.

In December of 1999 George Barna released the findings of a study showing, 25% of all American adults have undergone a divorce. Christians don’t fare any better – in fact they fare worse. The same study showed that 27 percent of born-again Christians have been divorced - actually beats the national average by 2 points.

When you look at those associated with non-denominational Protestant churches: 34% of those adults have undergone a divorce.

Even though divorce is fairly common, It’s also incredibly painful…

You’re probably familiar with stress charts that show the levels of stress caused by various occurrences in our lives. Studies reveal divorce is more stressful than any other single event except the death of a spouse. It causes more stress than being fired, more stress than a jail term, and more stress than the death of a close friend and a mortgage foreclosure combined.

At least death brings some closure – it’s over. With divorce it’s never over. Your former spouse is still out there somewhere, walking around, and in most cases dealing with you. The pain just keeps coming.

God never wanted people to experience the pain of divorce.

God’s intention for marriage explains His view of divorce.

Read Matthew 5:31-32

31“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

JESUS’ THREE IMPORTANT DISTINCTIONS

TRANSITION: In Jesus teaching on divorce he makes three important distinctions from how people commonly view divorce. Let’s learn from these for a moment. The first distinction is one of …

1. Perspective

People have a preoccupation with the grounds for divorce

Jesus has a passion for marriage in all its fullness.

In talking about divorce, Jesus was taking on a very hotly debated issue. At that very time a controversy concerning acceptable grounds for divorce existed between two rival Rabbi-training schools.

Rabbi Shammai took the conservative line – the right winger. He founded his teaching on Deuteronomy 24:1, where Moses allowed for divorce, but Shammai believed the only acceptable reason for getting one was what the Scripture said - some grave marital offense – or an act of absolute indecency – such as adultery.

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