Summary: God wants to help us with our family problems, and here the Lord shows us 5 things to do.

God’s Answer to Our Family Problems

Matthew 19:1-12

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - Sept. 20, 2009

*Let me start by saying that this Scripture gives a strong message against divorce. But don’t tune me out if you have gone through a divorce or you are struggling in your marriage right now. There is probably not a family here that has not been hurt in some way by divorce. We’re all in the same boat.

*My dad’s mother divorced my grandfather in 1928, after he was 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 once spoke of it to us.

*Of the 7 children in our two families, 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, not because we are something special. We are still together by the grace of God. By His grace, we have learned some things about real love over the last 35 years. I have got to admit that I am a slow learner, but I have learned a little about love. And I give all the glory to God and the good wife He gave 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. We are here to look into the Word of God to find help for our family problems. And God wants to help us. In this strong passage against divorce, the Lord shows us 5 things to do.

1. First, seek help from the Healer.

*We see Him in vs. 1-2:

1. Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.

2. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.

*Those people needed healing, and they did the best thing they possibly could have done -- they followed Jesus. Sometimes we need healing too, -- not just physical healing, but spiritual and emotional healing too. We need healing in our families. And nobody can heal like Jesus! Trust in the Lord as your Healer. Trust in the help of God.

*King Duncan told about a little boy who sat through a Sunday School class and learned about the time Jesus went to a wedding. You may remember that this was the time when Jesus turned the water into wine. After class, his dad was curious and asked, “What did you learn from that story?”

*The little boy thought for a moment and gave this great answer: “If you’re having a wedding, make sure Jesus is there.” (1)

*You will never get better advice. Sometimes our problems seem overwhelming, but the Lord can help us like no one else can. How can we overcome our family problems? Seek help from the Healer.

2. And turn away from the hardness in your heart.

*The biggest problem we see in these verses is hard hearts. First we see hard hearts against our Master. In vs. 3, “The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?’” The Pharisees came to Jesus testing or tempting Him. They weren’t there to get guidance, wisdom or help. They were there trying to trip Jesus up and embroil Him in a controversy.

*The law they asked about is found in Deut 24:1, which says, “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house.”

*I have always been under the assumption that divorce was rare in Biblical times, but that is not true. It was generally easy for a man to divorce his wife. And divorces from the earliest times were common among the Hebrews. Wives usually couldn’t initiate a divorce. But a woman could pretty easily provoke her husband into taking the first step, if she wanted to. The divorce decree itself was about 10 lines long, and required 2 witnesses. Here’s the process:

(1) The husband had to write her a Bill of Divorce drawn up by some legal authority.

(2) The decree had to be placed in the hand of the divorced wife.

(3) She had to go.

*That was it. Controversy arose between two schools of the Pharisees. The Shammai school held that nothing less than unchastity or adultery could justify a man divorcing his wife. Hillel and his disciples went to the other extreme. They contended that divorce should be granted for the flimsiest of reasons, such as messing up supper by overcooking it or by using the wrong seasoning. Other valid reasons for divorcing your wife included her going out on the street with her hair loose, spinning in the street, flirting with a man or being a noisy woman. What was a noisy woman? It was one who speaks in her own house so loud that the neighbors may hear her. (2)

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