Sermons

Summary: The permanency of marriage

"I Do, For Now"

Matthew 19:1-12

11/9/97

Intro: Those of you who are married, think back to the songs you used on your wedding day. As you look back now, years later, what song would best typify your feelings: We Are One in the Spirit, Satisfied, More Love to Thee, or would it be Make us One, Hiding in Thee, I am Praying For You, or The Fight is On.

Jesus has finished teaching in chapter 18 about conflict and forgiveness. He now goes on to even deeper teaching. If you want a real fight, just get married! There is something special in the oneness of husband and wife that makes them uniquely powerful in fighting each other. Anyone who knows you intimately, who knows all your weaknesses, is one who knows how to hurt you.

Read Text: 19:1-12

The Pharisees come to Jesus with a specific purpose: to test him. They are not coming for knowledge or guidance: they want to stir up problems, to cause contention. Many of the questions people ask about the scriptures are not for the sake of knowledge. They want to cause problems. For example did you ever witness to someone and they ask you, "Where did Cain get his wife?"

The Pharisees are looking to try to defeat the teachings of Jesus. So they try to get him to take sides in an ongoing Jewish debate. They want him to take sides in marital issues. It would be sort of like asking Jesus, "Who makes the better drivers: men or women?" There is no good answer. No matter which you say, you are going to be attacked.

The Pharisees knew marriage and divorce was a "hot" issue. John the Baptist had been beheaded for his strict teaching about marriage. The Essenes, the strict, isolationist Jews taught no divorce or remarriage for any reason, the Rabbi Shammai and his followers taught that divorce could come for only "gross offenses," while Rabbi Hillel and his followers taught one could divorce his wife for any dissatisfaction, even if she burnt the toast. Really, an improperly prepared meal could be a cause of divorce. We laugh at that, but look at our society today where people divorce because "I don’t love them anymore" or "irreconcilable differences."

The question: who can divorce? The answer:

I. Marriage is permanent -

A. 4 -We were created to complete one another

Jesus appeals first to the earliest design of marriage. In creation, God created man and woman so they could complete each other. We could spend weeks talking about God’s design. Man and woman were not made different just to reproduce. God could have made us like amoebas, simply dividing in half to reproduce. The male/female creation is the result of a masterful creator.

Men and women are different: society is placing much attention in recent years to those differences. Emotions, intellect, ways of thinking: global vs. specific, need for communication, need for competition: many differences.

God made us so we could complete each other.

"Rocky--gaps, she’s got gaps, I’ve got gaps, together, we fill each others gaps.

B. 5 -We were united to oneness - "For this reason" - becuase we were created this way

leave & cleave - two become one. That oneness is a lifelong effort to bring to completion and perfection. But God has made us to become one.

The largest problem in most marriages is the lack of oneness. Either one has never left home, they still look back to mom or dad, or there is not a unity, they think of themself and their selfish desires. But God desires oneness.

C. 6 - Don’t Undo the Divine -

God has joined husband and wife in marriage. It is a serious matter to undo the joining that God has ordained. If God saw fit to make two one--who are we to undo his handiwork.

Jesus affirms that marriage is intended not to be temporary, but permanent.

The Pharisees then question Moses’ command of divorce. We see Jesus’ response.

II. Divorce is Terrible

Moses never commanded people to divorce. Rather, because of their sinfulness, he commanded if someone made the decision to get rid of their spouse, it could not be done hastily, but a writing of divorcement must be made.

A. Divorce results from sin - Why is divorce an issue? It comes about because of unfaithfulness, uncleanness, cheating on one’s spouse. That was the reason originally for divorce: sexual unfaithfulness. Today, it comes for any reason at all. But the original issues were those of faithfulness.

The second sin bringing divorce is the hardness of hearts. Sexual unfaithfulness was to be punished by stoning. The hardness of people’s hearts led them to not stone the unfaithful partner. They wanted to be kind and loving. But that was sin. Because the people would not deal with sin, they created more sin. Divorce exists because of sin.

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