Summary: 1. Seek help from the Healer (vs. 1-2). 2. Turn away from the hardness in our hearts (vs. 3-8). 3. Let God set the standards for our homes (vs. 4-9). 4. Don't be overwhelmed by the obstacles (vs. 10). 5. Be ready to receive God's plan for your life (vs. 11-12).
God's Answer to Our Family Problems
The Gospel of Matthew
Sermon by Rick Crandall
(Prepared January 13, 2021)
*We have been going through a verse-by-verse study of the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, and today's Scripture in Matthew 5 covers two of the most sensitive subjects in God's Word: adultery and divorce.
*Over in Matthew 19, Jesus spoke again about divorce. There, He was responding to a question from hostile Pharisees, and that passage helps us understand why God is so passionate about these things. That's why Matthew 19:1-12 will be our main Scripture for tonight.
*But please don't tune me out if you have gone through a divorce, or you are struggling in your marriage right now. Most every family here has been affected in some way by divorce. And we all have had problems in our families.
*My dad’s mother divorced my grandfather in 1928, after he had been unfaithful to her. My dad was 8 at the time, with two younger sisters. My grandmother was left to raise 3 children by herself, the youngest around two. My dear mother was divorced around 1935 after one year of marriage. The experience was so bitter that she never spoke to us about it even once.
*My sister has been married to a very godly man for 40 years. His first marriage ended after losing a baby to sudden infant death syndrome. That tragedy tore them apart, and they couldn't put the pieces back together. Of the 7 children in our generation, every one but Mary and I have either been divorced or have married someone who was divorced.
*And let me say that Mary and I are still together after 46 years, not because we are marriage experts, but because of God's amazing grace. By His grace, we have learned some things about real love. And I give all the glory to God for His grace, and the good wife that He has given to me.
*We are not here tonight to judge divorced people. Nobody knows the pain of divorce better than those who have been through it. And God may hate divorce, but He loves divorced people, so let's all listen to what He has to say.
*But before we turn to Matthew 19, we need to look at the Lord's teaching here in Matthew 5:27-32. And this Scripture is clear: Sex outside of marriage is a sin. God's plan is one man and one woman for a lifetime.
*And in vs. 27-30 Jesus said:
27. "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.'
28. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29. And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
30. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
*Notice that Jesus again raised the standard far above Old Testament Law. But He was certainly not telling us to literally gouge out our eye or cut off our hand. That wouldn’t do any good anyway, because the problem isn't with our eyes or our hands. The problem is with our hearts. All sin starts in the heart. As Jesus said in Matthew 15:19, "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, (and) blasphemies." All sin starts in the heart, and here the Lord is showing us the seriousness of sin.
*Then in vs. 31-32 Jesus said:
31. "Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.'
32. But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery."
*Again, we are not here to beat-up on divorced people. God loves divorced people. But God also hates divorce. Why? -- One reason why is because God designed earthly marriage to be a model of the everlasting relationship Christ will share with His Church in Heaven. Ephesians 5 makes this truth clear.
*Another reason why God hates divorce is because it hurts so many people. Divorce hurts husbands and wives. It hurts parents, grandparents, and it especially hurts children. Nobody knows this better than divorced people. Nobody ever went through a divorce and said, "Boy that was fun. Let’s do it again."