Summary: There are a lot of people, even in the church, who have their own opinions about divorce. Who should get divorced and when? Isn’t it time to reclaim God’s original design for the home and divorce-proof our marriages?
Divorce-Proof Your Marriage
Feb. 3, 2002
Intro.: (Turn to Gen. 5:1-3) As most of you know, my wife’s parents separated last June and the divorce is now final. (Explain circumstances of sin that led to divorce). There are a lot of people, even in the church, who have their own opinions about divorce. Who should get divorced and when? There are well-meaning Christians who even suggests to struggling couples that divorce may be the answer to their problems. I’ve even been told of pastor’s who preached hard against the subject until it happened in their own family. But, I’m really not interested in all of those different opinions - what I am interested in is what God has to say about the subject. Upfront I want you to know that there is no marital problem so great that God can not solve it - it is the unwillingness of one or both partners that creates divorce. What’s so alarming is that in spite of tears, struggle, counseling, and prayer - divorce continues to rip apart Christian homes. The Bible says, there is nothing impossible with God and I have seen Him turn around what appeared to be hopeless marriages. It was never God’s original design that homes would be destroyed - that lives would be torn apart. In fact, God gets right to the point in Malachi 2:16 when he says, “I hate divorce!” Divorce was never in the original blueprint for the home. Marriage is a covenant, a sacred vow between one man and one woman and God, for a lifetime. Do you remember your wedding vows? “To have and to hold . . . this is my solemn vow.” Why are so many Christian people letting go instead of having and holding? Jesus apparently understood the reason when he said, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.” Husbands and wives are letting go and breaking their vows because biblical principles have either been unknown, ignored, or openly violated.
God’s original plan for marriage was simple and clear - one man, one woman, joined together in a permanent union for a lifetime. [Read Gen. 5:1-3] Did you notice what happened? The father, Adam had originally been created in God’s likeness, but when the son Seth came along, he was in Adam’s likeness. Why? Because sin had invaded the home. The disease of sin impacted everything and everyone. Now - husbands and wives are selfish, demanding, brutal, unfaithful, angry, hateful, and competitive because of sin in the home. Isn’t it time to reclaim God’s original design for the home and divorce-proof our marriages?
Two passages of scripture in the NT give us the only reasons that divorce should ever occur in a marriage. The first is in Mt. 19 and the second is found in I Cor. 7. (Turn to Mt. 19) Let’s consider the situation in Mt. 19 first. Jesus has been confronted by a group of religious people and they have asked the question, “Is it ok to get a divorce for any and every reason?” What would some of those reasons be today? “We just don’t love each other anymore.” “We just can’t seem to get along.” “We argue all the time.” “We don’t have anything in common anymore.” “He’s insensitive.” “She’s selfish.” “He’s a Moma’s boy.” “She’s fat.” “He’s lazy.” “She’s too demanding.” The list goes on and on until finally every state in the country now has a “no contest” divorce. But what does Jesus say, [Read Mt. 19:4-9]
Now I want you to look at verse 10, the disciples have been listening to this conversation and they’re now standing there with their mouths open in disbelief. I’m convinced this one verse shows us that the disciples were married. Look at what they said - They said, “If that’s the case then it’s better not to marry at all.” I think they’re saying, “Jesus you’ve got to be kidding - apparently you haven’t met my wife. You mean the only time I can walk away from my marriage is if she’s been unfaithful. But you don’t know what she’s like sometimes, and you’re telling me I’m stuck with her for the rest of my life?” The answer from Jesus back then was “Yes” and its still “Yes” today. Marriages are not tied with slip knots. You have an obligation to love your spouse - to be faithful to your spouse - to do all in your power to keep Satan and sin from
destroying your marriage. The “we just don’t get along anymore” excuse doesn’t cut it in God’s eyes.
I mentioned a second reason that God permits divorce and it’s found in I Cor. 7. (Turn to I Cor. 7:12-15) Before we read this passage of scripture I want you to notice that the reason is very limited. It only applies to a Christian man or woman who is married to an unbeliever. That could have happened in one of two ways - either the couple got married when they were both unsaved and then later, after the marriage, either the husband or the wife accepted Christ, but the spouse didn’t. Or a believer disobeyed God’s word and married someone who wasn’t a Christian. The Bible clearly states that a Christian is not to be united in marriage to an non-Christian. But again, because of our sin God has made some concessions. [Read I Cor. 7:12-15] I mentioned that the condition was very limited. Only the unbeliever has the choice of leaving. If you are a Christian and your spouse is not, then you have an obligation to continue to remain true to your vows and continue to be a witness to that husband or wife, but if they want out of the relationship, then you are under no obligation to remain in it.