Summary: Message on Jesus’ words on the permanence of marriage.

“What God Has Joined Together…”

Matthew 19:1-12

January 6, 2008


Me: Next month my wife and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.

Some of you think of that and go, “Man, you ARE old!” Others might think, “No wonder you LOOK so old.” And others are thinking, “Rookies…”

I hold the record in my family for being married the longest, other than my father and step-mother, who have been married ten years longer than Debra and I.

I’m thrilled to call Debra my wife and in spite of what she says to her mother, she’s thrilled to be married to me. At least I think…

And once in a while, one of my kiddos will say, “Dad, I’m glad you and Mom married each other.” And that makes me smile.

But I’ve also seen the break-up of marriages among my family. It’s sad to see your family members hurting, and seeing a marriage dissolve in spite of the vows that were made in the midst of emotional highs.

We: I would guess that everyone in here knows someone who has been divorced, and some of you here have been divorced yourself.

You’ve either seen the pain, or you’ve experienced it for yourself.

And you think back to your wedding and wonder how it could have gone wrong, and what you or your spouse could have done differently.

If you’re remarried, you’re determined to make this one work.

All of us who are married or looking to be married want it to last, don’t we?

I think that if we can grasp what Jesus is trying to tell us in Matthew 19, we will go a long way to ensuring a marriage that will last a lifetime.

I want to let you know right now that the purpose of today’s message isn’t to lay a guilt trip on anybody if they’re divorced.

I’m simply not interested in doing that, but more importantly, that’s not the point of the passage of Scripture that we’re looking at today.

So please don’t think that I’m here to beat anyone up about that, okay?

God: This passage is one of the most discussed and argued about passages of Scripture.

And believe me, I was tempted to just skip over it, because Jesus is repeating a bit of what He said in the Sermon on the Mount, and because I wasn’t sure I could do this passage justice.

But I was convicted that I needed to wrestle with this, because one of the jobs of pastors is to marry people, some of whom are divorced prior to the wedding I’m officiating at.

And one of the responsibilities of pastors is to make sure that we are not officiating at weddings that are not allowed in Scripture.

One of those restrictions is that a believer cannot marry an unbeliever. That one is very clear, and while it’s never fun, it is one that I can enforce with no problem, because Scripture is completely clear about that.

Another no-brainer for pastors is not marrying people to animals. Believe it or not, it happens in other countries, as people will marry animals to ward off punishment for their harsh treatment of animals before then.

Aren’t you glad that Christianity isn’t like THAT? I am, that’s for sure!

“Hey, PB! I got this here guinea pig I’d like to marry. I used to torture them when I was a kid, and I’d like to get rid of a bunch of bad karma…”

Another one that should be a no-brainer, but unfortunately is becoming less so in our society is marrying people of the same sex. It goes against Scripture, but God’s Word isn’t good enough for some people…

But when it comes to marrying people who have been divorced, the issue becomes very sticky, and one of the reasons is because of this passage we’re looking at today.

What I want to share with you today doesn’t lend itself to a nice and tidy sermon outline that you can fill out.

So I’d just like you to sit and let some things sink in, and if God puts something on your heart that you’d like to put down on the note-taking guide, then that’s cool.

I do have some application-type stuff near the end that you can fill out.

Matthew 19:1-9 (p. 696) –

1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

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