Summary: America doesn't have a homosexual problem; we have a human sexual problem. If you consider yourself a Christian, God expects all of us to practice sexual purity.
Today I’m going to talk about “God’s Definition of Marriage.” This is the most popular trending topic today since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. However, I’m not just speaking today in reaction to this ruling. Most of you know I teach God’s Word verse-by-verse. For over a year, we’ve been studying the Gospel According to Mark. After the series, “Heal our Land,” I’m back in Mark and it just so happens that this passage addresses the topic of God’s Definition of Marriage. God’s timing is always impeccable.
America is divided over the idea of gay marriage. Jimmy Carter served one term as President in the 1970s. I confess I voted for him when I was a seminary student, because he claimed to be a born-again Christian. But he has some strange beliefs. In an interview with the Huffington Post last week he said: “I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that’s just my own personal belief. I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else.” (Interview with Huffington Post, July 7, 2015) Well, it’s my personal belief that Jimmy Carter should have stuck to peanut farming! Jesus addressed the topic of marriage in Mark 10.
Mark 10:1-12. “Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ ‘What did Moses command you?’ he replied. They said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.’ ‘It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,’ Jesus replied. ‘But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.’ When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.’”
From this point onward in Mark, Jesus’ enemies are trying to confront Him and get Him to incriminate Himself by saying something that will cause the multitudes to leave Him. In this passage, they ask Jesus about marriage and divorce. They asked Him if a man could divorce his wife. Jesus refused to be drawn into their trap, so He answered their question with a question. “What did Moses write?” These Pharisees knew their Bibles, so they reported that in Deuteronomy 24 Moses had said a man must give a certificate of divorce to his wife before he sent her away. But Jesus didn’t want to go back just to Moses. He chose to go back to the very beginning, to the very first marriage of Adam and Eve. Using this passage as our background, I want to make two observations about marriage.
I. GOD’S ORIGINAL DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE: One man and one woman united until death
God holds the patent on marriage because He invented it. His original design was and always will be one man and one woman for life. Let’s notice what Jesus said again: “At the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mark 10:6-9) There are at least two reasons why God originally designed marriage.
A. God designed marriage for companionship and intimacy
When God looked into the Garden of Eden and saw that Adam was all alone, He said, “It is not good for man to be alone. His life is incomplete. So I will create for him someone who will complete him.” So God put Adam asleep and took a spare rib from him and turned it into a prime rib: A woman.” I love the language in Genesis; it says God brought the woman to Adam, like the first Father giving away a bride. And Adam said, “Hot diggity dog!” Well, not exactly; he uttered a Hebrew interjection we’re not sure how to translate. Maybe he said, “Whoa, man!” So she was called woman. God performed the first wedding to give Adam someone with whom he could share companionship and intimacy.
B. God designed marriage to populate the planet