Summary: A sermon on marriage, divorce and re-marriage.
Series: For Better or For Worse Pt. 3
"Something Old and Something New"
Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
INTRODUCTION: Someone has said that there are three stages in marriage. The first stage is called the "ideal" stage when romance is in bloom and all is right with the world! The second stage is the "ordeal" when reality sets in and one or both partners begin to find out about each other and become aware of the negative personality traits that may have been undiscovered during the dating and courtship phase. The last stage is the "new deal" which is what is happening to 50% of marriages today. For whatever reasons a majority of couples are "opting out" for what they think is a "better deal!" There are three questions I want to try and answer this morning and they are; Does the Bible permit divorce and is remarriage permitted and under what guidelines.
I. THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD FOR MARRIAGE
a. The request
Among the Pharisees there were two prominent schools in Jesus day, the Shammai (conservative) and Hillel (liberal) and they differed on what constituted the grounds for the bill of divorcement in Deuteronomy 24:1-2. "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house." 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife." Hillel allowed divorce for any cause, whereas Shammai limited it to sexual immorality. This discussion in the "schools" forms the background of the Pharisees' question to Jesus in Matthew 19:3: "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for ...every cause?"
b. The reaffirmation
The Lord Jesus begins His argument where every question should be settled, in the Scriptures. On this and every other issue we need to consult the Word of God and if we do we will find the answers we seek. He begins His statement with "...have ye not read..." thus pointing His listeners to the OT. Note that Jesus does not quote the above passage in Deuteronomy but he goes to Genesis chapter two and reaffirms God's original design for marriage, that it was to be between a man and a woman and that they were to live together until parted by death. Someone said, "Has it ever occurred to you that the reason no divorce is mentioned in Genesis two is that there was no other woman living for Adam to remarry!"
II. THE PERMISSIVE WILL OF GOD FOR MARRIAGE
What is God's permissive will? The Bible.org defines it as: "There is what we might call God's "permissive will." This is what God allows, even though it is sin. God allowed Joseph's brothers to betray him, and to deceive their father, so that He might bring the Israelites (few in number) to Egypt, where God would spare them, and they would greatly multiply (Genesis 50:20). God allows man to reject the gospel, to willfully disobey His laws, to persecute the righteous, and so on. But in all of this, God is still in control, and His purposes are being accomplished."
a. The explanation (verse 7)
The Lord tells the Pharisees that Moses allowed a bill of divorcement because of the "...hardness of your hearts..." A. T Robertson translates hardness as "...a heart dried up (sklēros), hard and tough." What possible reason could Moses have had for allowing this expansion/departure from the Genesis directive? It is simple! Moses knew the "hardness" of the human heart and to prevent the exposure of wives to the cruelty and excesses of their husbands he allowed a bill of divorcement to protect the "innocent party" in a marriage. Now just for a minute think about what we have heard in recent years about the cruelty in many Middle-Eastern countries of husbands for their wives, duathers and daughter-in-laws. The so called "honor killings," rape, beatings, public executions and other forms of cruelty serve to remind us that the human heart is capable of any kind of behavior. Moses was trying to protect the innocent, not shield the guilty!
ILL - I like what Dan Erickson calls the seven stages of a cold for a married couple. The first year of marriage, the husband says, 'Honey, I'm worried about my little girl. You have a bad sniffle. I want to put you in the hospital for a complete checkup. I know the food is terrible there, but I have arranged for meals for you to be sent in from Olive Garden or Hunts' The second year: 'Listen, sweetheart, I don't like the sound of that cough. I've called the doctor and he said I can bring you in this afternoon. Just rest in bed until it's time go.' The third year: 'Maybe you should lie down, dear. I'll make supper tonight. Do we have any cans of soup in the house?' The Fourth year: 'Look, dear be sensible. After you have fed the kids and washed the dishes, you should go to bed.' The Fifth year: 'Why don't you take a couple of Tylenol. The Sixth year: "Please gargle, or something, instead of sitting there barking like a seal. I think I'll sleep on the couch tonight." The Seventh year: 'Would you stop sneezing. What are you trying to do, give me pneumonia? You better sleep on the couch tonight.'"