Today we are going to take a closer look at the topic of divorce and remarriage. Divorce and remarriage. So, you can go back to Luke 16. We’re going to start with what Jesus said in Luke 16:18, then we’ll expand outward from there, to get kind of an overview of the subject.
Obviously, in a one-off message like this, I can’t cover everything there is to cover on the subject of divorce and remarriage. I trust you’ll know that, and you’ll realize that there is more to be said. And every question that may come into your mind can’t be answered here and now, but there are answers in God’s word for all questions. I’ve titled today’s message Why Christians don’t Divorce.
Why Christians don’t divorce. And I know, that if you hear a title like that, when you hear a title like that, one that paints with such a broad brush, one that makes such a strong generalizing statement, perhaps there are a few objections that come to mind. So, I’m going to join you for a moment. Making some objections. Entertaining some of those objections. And then I’m going to return to the strong generalizing statement I just made.
So first, are you saying that Christians never ever, ever, ever get divorced? No, I’m not saying that. Are you saying that, if someone gets a divorce, that’s evident that someone is not a Christian? No, I’m not saying that either. Are you making divorce the unforgivable, unpardonable sin? No, divorce is not the unforgivable, unpardonable sin.
Are you saying that divorced people are unwelcome at Grace Church? Grace Church, indeed, more like law church. No, I’m not saying that either. Those who’ve been divorced receive the same love and grace as any other person. And we welcome all, because as we read, and admitted and acknowledged, along with David in Psalm 51, we’re all unrighteous. “There’s no one righteous, not even one.”
Perhaps there are some other objections that I have not mentioned that have come to your mind. And within biblical parameters, I’d answer them all similarly. But all things considered, I intend to stick with my title, as overgeneralizing and broad as it is: Why Christians Don’t Divorce.
And I want to resist the urge or the call to gut the point by over qualifying it. Jesus himself made a very, very strong, unequivocal statement about divorce and remarriage in Luke 16:18. He said, if you look at your Bible, “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” Now, is Jesus being ungracious, when he said that?
Perhaps we should let his words factor into our view of what grace and what Love actually are. And we should adjust our definitions of what grace and graciousness actually entails. You know who Jesus was speaking to here, the Pharisees. The unregenerate Pharisees. And Pharisees were routinely divorcing their wives. Routinely marrying other women. And so, Jesus told them, you’re committing adultery before God. You’re doing so flagrantly and routinely. You’re doing this as a lifestyle.
Pharisees were permissive about divorce. At the same time, we know that the Pharisees are the very epitome of legalism. Aren’t they, in the New Testament? So maybe, along with adjusting our understanding of grace and making conform to what Jesus is like. We need to, also, adjust our view of what legalism entails, too.
It’s not legalistic to speak about law and about sin and about righteousness and about judgment. That is not legalistic. That’s gracious. That’s loving and kind to speak clearly and biblically about issues like divorce and remarriage. In fact, it’s legalistic not to.
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”Luke 16:18
Jesus says to divorce and to remarry is to commit adultery, which is serious because, we know from 1 Corinthians 6:9 and ten, that those who practice adultery; they don’t enter into the kingdom of God. It’s a serious issue. Paul says there, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Christians don’t practice those sins. That’s why I’ve titled this message: Why Christians Don’t Divorce. It’s what they used to do. Practice those sins. But no more. Verse 11, Paul says, “And such were some of you,” past tense. That’s what you were. But you were washed. You were sanctified. You were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God. Implication, Christians don’t practice adultery. Christians don’t practice divorce and remarriage.
Adultery is the result of practicing, divorcing and remarrying, is what Jesus says. We live in a sin saturated world. We live in a world that, that has lost perspective. A world in which shades of grey are presented as mostly white. In which darkness is preferred over light. In which evil is called good and good evil. And so, in this world that we live in, it stands to reason that living life here in Sodom, it’s prone to warp one’s perspective. It’s prone to shape one’s judgments. And ultimately, it’s prone to soften how seriously people take sin.
And beloved, I’m concerned about us. That we do the same thing. Oh, maybe not in our own lives, but we do, we do it with loved ones, family members. Are we reluctant to speak the truth in love, but speak the truth to them about their marriages, divorcing, remarrying? We hear some pretty discouraging statistics in our day about the percentages of marriages that end in divorce.
One of the elementary school teachers in our church told me that, out of 23 students or so in her classroom, only seven of them come from two parent homes. And only two or three of those, where both parents are actually together, in the home. Most of the classroom. I mean it’s tragic, isn’t it? It’s heartbreaking. About 20 of those kids’ parents aren’t together. That’s the future. Divorce has been devastating. Unraveling the social fabric of our entire society and we’re watching the results of it.
We also hear about polls and surveys and statistics that try to implicate Christian marriage. As if Christian marriages end in divorce at the exact same rate as non-Christian marriages. The message that they’re trying to portray, in those polls and stats and all that stuff, is that there’s no difference: non-religious and religious people. Christians and non-Christians alike. Everyone is out there getting married and divorced and remarried. Just face facts everyone, sometimes things just don’t workout.
I want to tell you don’t believe that, don’t believe it. When someone flashes poll numbers at you and says that Christians are getting divorced at the same rate as non-Christians. That, ‘everyone is doing it’, message is pure propaganda. It’s an attempt to discourage Christians. It’s an attempt to silence them from speaking the truth about marriage and holiness.
It’s an attempt to continue the campaign to normalize sin in the culture. To dull people’s consciences so, that they continue to commit sin. Don’t be caught up in that lie. As one example of this tendency for, toward propaganda, some of you may remember the name Helen Gurley Brown. Helen Gurley Brown, she became famous for her 1962 book, “Sex, and the Single Girl.”
Sounds like a title that could be written today. And with just, kind of, barely a shrug. When she wrote it, in 1962, it got attention. It kicked open the door to the sexual revolution in the 1960s, and she used the platform that she gained at Cosmopolitan magazine, where she was the editor in chief for more than 30 years, from 1965 to 1997.
And she served the cause of the sexual revolution with her whole life and her entire career. Gurley Brown’s favorite slogan, “Good girls, go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere”. She had that slogan embroidered on a pillow that she had, sitting on a floral loveseat, in her office. That not only summed up her philosophy, she really did want to turn all the female readers of Cosmopolitan into bad girls.
So, she instructed all of her writers to insert made up anecdotes into the stories that they published in Cosmopolitan magazine; in order, to advance the sexual revolution. She was unapologetic about that strategy, to deceive women into believing that sex, outside of marriage, was normal. That everyone is doing it. And things like divorce and taking the pill and abortion. All that is normal and liberating.
To do all that without children. And if a child comes on the scene or comes into the womb, abort it. All of that is normal and liberating to women and happening everywhere. One of Gurley Brown’s writers was a woman named Sue Ellen Browder. She wrote for Cosmopolitan from 1971 to 1994. All of her time, during Helen Gurley Brown’s editor in chief time.
Ten years after she left Cosmo, Browder converted to Catholicism and her conscience was awakened. In her 2015 book called, Subverted, How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement, she’s un-outworking her conscience, about writing and following the procedures and guidelines and policies of Cosmopolitan magazine.
Browder tells the story of how she became a soldier in the sexual revolution, and she used the moral voice of the first wave, feminism, that is, to gain voting rights for women and property rights for women. She used the moral voice of first wave feminism, to achieve the immoral goals of second wave feminism, which had everything to do with sex and abortion.
Gurley Brown gave her writers guidelines to apply to their stories. And she instructed them to make up certain parts of their stories, in order, to normalize sexual immorality. And she confesses, this is Browder speaking in her book, she says, “I told lie upon lie to sell the casual sex lifestyle to millions of single working women.” End Quote.
Most Cosmo readers, they didn’t live in places like New York or Los Angeles. Large urban centers with higher rates of sexual immorality. So Gurly Brown, Browder, and the other writers, they all wanted their readers to believe that dalliances and extramarital affairs were happening all the time. Just down the street in your very neighborhood.
So, a rule that the writers, one rule the writers applied to the, further the sexual revolution was this, here’s a quote, “Try to locate some of the buildings, restaurants, nightclubs, park streets, as well as, entire case histories in cities other than New York. Even if you deliberately have to plant them elsewhere. Most writers live in New York. 92% of our readers do not.
“So, by falsely locating scandalous stories about women having extramarital affairs in places like Des Moines and Omaha and Tulsa, according to Browder the magazine, she says spread it smores throughout the country and throughout the culture by pretending that they were much more widespread than they actually were.” End quote.
When she’s asked, why was Cosmos so successful? She said, because, Browder said, because it attracted advertisers. And why did it attract advertisers? Because it worked, she said. She goes on saying this, “When a young woman, an insecure young woman, reads these magazines and thinks that she has to have perfume, cosmetics, hair products, beautiful clothes and singles travel, and extramarital sex, abortions and contraception. When she thinks she has to have all these things? She’s going to spend a lot of money.” End quote.
Sadly, some of the industries that the sex revolution funded had to do with the consequences of the sex revolution. These sin laden men and women also spend a lot, a lot of money on STD treatments, abortions, marital counseling and, also by the way, divorces. Lots of lawyers making lots and lots of money in divorce litigation, divorce mediation, divorce court.
Cosmos strategy worked. And what we find is, that, when basic restraints to prevent immorality, that is social and cultural pressures, when those pressures are removed and when people think that they have social and cultural permission to commit sin, you know what they do? They commit sin!
Why is that? Because sin is in the heart, isn’t it? So, let’s just state the rule upfront and emphasize the rule rather than the odd exception to the rule. Christians stay married and they don’t divorce. So don’t believe the hype.
Starting with this text, Luke 16:18, and working our way outward from there. I want to give you, today, I want to give you four reasons why Christians don’t divorce. Four reasons why Christians don’t divorce. And I hope that these four reasons will not only encourage you to stay married, that is, don’t even think about divorce. Don’t even use the word divorce. Treat it like foul language in your home and in your vocabulary. Just call it the ‘D’ word, if you have to. Don’t use it.
I want to encourage you to stay married. Yeah, but more than that, I want to encourage you to rejoice in marriage. To rejoice in marriage. To see the great privilege and, and, and have gratitude for marriage. And look I get it. Marriage can be hard at times. Really hard. Sometimes very hard and very painful.
“I want to encourage you to stay married. Yeah, but more than that, I want to encourage you to rejoice in marriage.”Travis Allen
It stands to reason. The more we keep people at a distance, the less pain will experience. The more we pull people in close, the more they’re under the armor and the more the pain can hurt, right? But as Christians, we need to realize that God uses the pain for our good, like he uses all trials for our good. As Christians, our marriages are used by God to make us holy and to mature us.
Marriage is the most intimate sphere in which we work out and work through our sanctification. Marriage is the most penetrating, the most revealing context, in which we’re pushed ever forward, ever onward toward holiness in the Lord. Toward righteousness.
So, while marriage is a blessing from God and it is always a blessing from God, no matter what day it is. There are times when marriage doesn’t feel like a blessing. Maybe more like dental surgery. You know, prolonged and deeply penetrating and hitting nerves and all that. But listen, no matter what the pain in marriage, no matter what the sorrow, difficulty can come in a marriage.
And for the Christian, whatever the difficulty is, whatever the day is good or bad, difficult or not, marriage is always a blessing. It is always God’s good gift. It is always God’s wisdom for us. And it is always, always, worth the effort. So, I want to encourage you to stick with it. I just want to encourage you to stand firm. And stand strong and rejoice in your marriages and I’m gonna give you four reasons to do that.
Four reasons why Christians don’t divorce. Here’s the first reason. Number one, Christians love to practice God’s holiness. Christians love to practice God’s holiness. Whenever the subject of divorce comes up, we quote, often, as we really should, Malachi 2:16, where God says, “I hate divorce. I hate divorce,” God says. Those who fear the Lord take that seriously.
He proceeds that strong pronouncement with a very stern warning. Before he says, “I hate divorce”, he says this, ”Take heed, then to your spirit and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth.” Don’t deal treacherously with your wife. You treat her as precious. You cherish that wife. You don’t throw her away.
Then he says, “I hate divorce.” And then he says, again, “Take heed to your spirit, so that you don’t deal treacherously.” I hate divorce. I don’t want you dealing treacherously with your wives and, therefore, go to the heart of the issue, which is your own heart. Take heed to your spirit, because the treachery doesn’t come from the outside.
The treachery isn’t because she’s such a battle-axe. The Treachery isn’t because he’s such a neanderthal. The treachery is within your heart. It’s within the heart. It’s what divorce, really. It’s treachery. Treachery is disloyalty. Treachery is a betrayal of a covenant. It’s breaking an oath to God. It’s breaking a vow to your spouse.
So, on a vertical level and horizontal level, it’s treachery. It’s betrayal. God hates divorce, because it’s an act of violence against his covenant. It transgresses both tables of the ten commandments. The first table, which is the first four verses, and the second table which are six verses. Both tables: The laws of sin against God and laws of sin against one’s neighbor.
Divorce does violence against all of it. We get a hint of those concerns when Jesus confronts the Pharisees, in our texts. Luke 16:15 and following, when he starts his confrontation, look back over those verses. And in verse 15, you can see Jesus said, “You justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts.”
I want to encourage you to stay married. Yeah, but more than that, I want to encourage you to rejoice in marriage. These Pharisees were dealing treacherously against their wives. Didn’t matter what, what excuse they gave, they were dealing treacherously against their wives. Verse 15, he, Jesus says, “What’s exalted among men.” What is exalted among men? What is it? Love of happiness. Love of ease and comfort. Elevating public reputation over private responsibility.
That’s what the Pharisees were doing, refusing to love one’s wife, things that men exalt are abominable in God’s eyes. He hates divorce. Verse 16, the Pharisees viewed themselves as faithful to the law, but really God saw them differently. He saw them as profoundly unfaithful to the law. Jesus said, in verse 16, ”The Law and the Prophets were until John; And since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is being urged or pressed into it.”
Listen, those who get the message of the law and the prophets. Those who get that message, they are those who see themselves as sinners. Especially so in marriage. Especially sin in relation to their spouse. To see their sins, they need to look no further than their marriages. To see how they fail to be the husbands and the wives that they ought to be.
To see how loveless they can be at times. To see how hard hearted and cold. To see how bitter and unforgiving they can be. Those who get the message, of the law and the prophets, they get the fact, that they’re sinners. And you know what that makes them? It makes them poor in spirit. They realize they have nothing.
That’s going back to Gary Odey’s message, from Matthew Chapter five, on the Beatitudes, and make some poor in spirit. They have nothing to commend themselves before God. They know that. They have nothing in their account to offer except sin and defilement and depravity and wickedness, and so they mourn over their sinful condition. They’re not indifferent to it, don’t shrug and move on. They’re not self-righteous either, like the Pharisees.
Instead, they’re hungering, hungering for righteousness. They thirst for it. Like a man in the middle of the Sahara Desert, who hasn’t been drinking water for two days. Longing and longing for water and so desperately need righteousness. It’s like food and drink to them. And not proud in their sin. Not justifying their sin. They’re not blaming other people. They look directly to themselves and they’re humble. They’re not self-righteous. They’re meek, meek people.
Those who get the message, of the law and the prophets, they are those who have been well prepared by the law and the prophets to receive the gospel of God’s kingdom, the good news. Whenever that message is preached to them, they’re ready to receive their king, the Messiah, the Savior, the atoning sacrifice for their many, many sins. Especially the sins they’ve committed in their marriages, against their spouses against, their families.
“I want to encourage you to stay married. Yeah, but more than that, I want to encourage you to rejoice in marriage.”Travis Allen
In fact, the permanence of the law, Jesus mentions in verse 17, “It’s easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the law to become void.” The permanence of law carries the weight of eternal condemnation. But so do the promises, of the law and the prophets, carry the weight of eternal affirmation.
The promises are fulfilled in the Gospel of the kingdom. And those promises reward those who believe the promises with salvation, with eternal assurance, with everlasting confidence, with an abiding hope that, yes, all my sins are forgiven in the cross.
So, when Christians, when those who get the law and the prophets, those who get the gospel of God’s kingdom, when Christians come across verses like Luke 16:18, they not only confess their guilt and their sins, they lay hold of the Gospels promises, in faith, for the full atonement of their sins. And they never ever, ever want to return to those sins.
So why Christians are resolved, no divorce. For me, no remarriage, no proliferating adultery. “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” I don’t want to do that. “He who marries a woman, divorced from her husband, commits adultery.” I don’t want to be anywhere near that. It doesn’t matter how pretty she is. It doesn’t matter how much she flatters you: You stay away. She is another mans’ wife.
Christians don’t want to do that. So, they don’t do that. Quite a stark categorical statement isn’t it from Christ. He didn’t seem to bother to qualify the statement here. He doesn’t seem interested in undermining the pronouncement that he’s just made. Lest he rob it of its power. Less he eviscerates its authority, its starkness. He just lets it stand, and he leaves us to reckon with its truth.
The one who divorces his wife. The word there is apolyo. One who dissolves his marital relationship. That’s what the word means, in that context. To dissolve the marital relationship legally and then marries another woman, he is guilty of committing adultery. Second, half of the verse, any single unmarried man, who marries a divorced woman. That guy is, also, guilty of the sin of adultery.
At an earlier point in Jesus’s ministry, Mark 10 verse 11, Jesus said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” So, the remarriage is a sin against God and it’s also a sin against one’s wife. It’s again, it’s an echo of Malachi. 2:15 and 16. This is treachery against one’s wife by remarrying after the divorce. Sin of breaking a covenant, remarriage is yet another sin. It’s the sin of adultery, and Jesus implicates not just the man in this condition, he implicates the woman too. In the next verse, Mark 10:12, “and if she divorces, her husband marries another, she commits adultery.” She commits a sin against God and against her husband. Just stop for a moment, and think about the implications of Luke 16:18, in our nation. Just think about that.
Without going on, to kind of explain some of the exceptions and all that of divorce. Let’s just think about the implications of this. Divorce and remarriage. Jesus says adultery. Ever since California’s Family Law Act of 1969, no fault divorce has spread from there all across the country. Proliferating divorce and remarriage in our country. It’s saturated Americans and the guilt of adultery. Saturated. Is it any wonder that we are where we are today?
When the, when guilt plagues the mind, it, when you live with guilt and don’t deal with the guilt, as Americans have not done. They haven’t dealt with their guilt righteously before God through the gospel. When guilt covers them, man, they are under a plague, a weight of guilt. And you know what that does to the conscience? It shrivels it up.
The conscience is like a warning system. It’s like a nerve ending, in physical body. You get your hand close to a flame and your nerves say, “Hey, that’s hot and it’s going to end up in destruction of your hand. Pull it away,” so you pull your hand away.
If you leave your hand there, this is what some diseases of leprosy are like, that they destroy the nerve endings. And so, the person with, with their hand near the fire, and there’s no nerve ending to warn them, and so, what happens they’re flesh catches on fire and they wonder what that smell is. They look down at, oh no, and they have to put their own hand out.
Think of, think of the conscience, that way. It’s a nerve ending for the soul. It’s a nerve ending for your spirit. And so, when you get close to that which is dangerous, that which is a violation of the law of God, it sounds a warning. Get away from that.
You know what I’m talking about. As you’ve gotten close to sin, your conscience starts to fire off on you, and your adrenaline starts to flow and says, huh uh, “Don’t do that. Don’t do that.” Listen to your conscience. Pull away. Because if you keep going, you’re going to set your soul on fire.
In a country that is weighed down with divorce, remarriage, divorce, remarriage, divorce, remarriage, it is adulterous. And with that not resolved, you know what happens to the nerve endings of the conscience? They’re worn down and they no longer fire as they should.
Don’t push through your warnings of your conscience. Never train yourself to ignore your conscience. Train yourself to respond to your conscience and then inform your conscience by the word of God. But with a country plagued by the guilt of adultery, you know what else we’re giving ourselves to, every other sin. Is it any wonder that boys are growing up saying, I’m no longer a boy, I’m a girl and girls are growing up saying, I’m no longer a girl, I’m a boy. Is it any wonder, there’s total moral confusion? Sexual perversion.
Marriages. You know people getting married these days. That number is going down, down. You know why? Because people, people are cohabitating. Pornography is rampant in our country. People clicking away, clicking away and defiling themselves over and over with porn and with sexual immorality and homosexuality and cohabitation.
And if they do decide to tie the knot, it’s, it’s an untie able knot, in their minds. And we’re drowning in this. Beloved, we’re drowning. It’s in light of this teaching from the Lord, that Paul tells Christians in 1 Corinthians 7:10, “To the married I give this charge” and then he adds, “not I but the Lord.”
What does he mean by that? What he means is, I’m not giving you new instruction at this point. In 1 Corinthians, in this letter I’m writing to you Corinthians. I’m not giving you new instruction. This isn’t new revelation coming from me, as an apostle of Jesus Christ. This is a matter on which the Lord has clearly taught already. It’s a matter of oral tradition.
In fact, it’s written in the gospels; Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Paul continues, “To the married I give this charge the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband) and the husband”, same thing, ”should not divorce his wife.”
Making a marriage covenant, taking this oath, this vow of marriage before God and man. To another human being should weigh heavy, heavy on the Christian conscience at all times, such that, even if a divorce should occur, remarriage is not an option.
Now there’s more to say, but I want to go back to something I said earlier. Divorce and remarriage, violates both tables of the ten commandments and I want to explain what I mean by that. Why it is that God hates divorce so much? As an act of violence and treachery, against the covenant and that’s what the ten commandments are; is a covenant. Setting aside the exception clauses, for now. Which we’ll come to in a moment. How is it the divorce itself violates both tables of the ten commandments? How is divorce a sin against God and a sin against one’s neighbor?
For the sake of time, I had this in, but I pulled it out, I’m going to leave it to you to reflect on the many ways that divorce breaks each one of the ten Commandments. So, I’ll just leave you to do that exercise on your own. Go through and walk through every, every, command, every, every commandment and see, how does divorce violate this. Do that exercise for yourself.
But I’ll just summarize here. In the first table, first four commandments. Divorce is a sin against God. All four of those commandments are about our relationship with God. And when we make marriage vows before God. When we take an oath to him and before him. When we take his name. Better not take his name in vain and divorce. When we get a divorce, we break our covenant to God.
Second table of six commandments. Divorce is a sin against our neighbors. When we make marriage vows to one another, since our spouses are our closest neighbor, we commit sin in divorce by failing to love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s why Christians don’t divorce? Because they don’t want to break God’s law. They want to practice holiness in the sight of God.
Don’t mistake what I’m saying here. It’s not that Christians are perfect in keeping the law. It’s not true. Christians know they’re not perfect in keeping the law. Christians know they violated God’s law. That they’re lawbreakers. That’s what makes the gospel so sweet to them. Such good news, because they’ve been forgiven of all those sins, including divorce and remarriage.
Full on adultery, sexual immorality, all the res, homosexuality, everything. They never ever want to return to that, though. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness, Titus 2:14. He redeemed us. Bought us back from all lawlessness. Why? So, that he could purify for himself a people for his own possession.
A people who are zealous for good works. We’re zealous for holiness. We’re zealous for holiness everywhere in our lives, and most importantly, most essentially, most immediately, in our homes with our spouses and our marriages. That’s the first reason why Christians don’t divorce. Christians love to walk in holiness. They love holiness. They love to walk in holiness.
Here’s a second reason why Christians don’t divorce. Number two, Christians love to practice God’s design. Christians love to practice God’s design. God’s design for what? For marriage. I mentioned earlier, Jesus had taught on divorce at an earlier point in his ministry. And So, what Luke records here is understandably brief.
It’s in a context of controversy with the Pharisees. He’s answering their ridicule. He’s confronting their sins. And so, we understand that this is a very brief summary indictment against the Pharisees, in Luke 16:18. But what Jesus had taught on divorce before in the sermon on the Mount. We can see it in Matthew 5:31 and 32 and we’ll return to that, as well.
He would also teach on divorce, again, later in his ministry, even after Luke 16. And that’s recorded in Matthew 19:1 and following, and Mark 10:1 and following. Matthew te, er Matthew 19 and Mark 10, those are parallel passages and they give much fuller instruction on divorce. When Jesus is teaching in the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan.
So go ahead and turn to Mark Chapter 10, Mark 10 verse 1. The Pharisees knew about Jesus’s teaching on divorce. They’d heard about his strong stance. They heard about his sermon on the Mount. Famous sermon that spread all through the land. All through Galilee. All through Judea. They’d heard his reputation. They knew he’s, he’s kind of hard on this issue.
And so, they knew about his teaching on divorce. And they came up to him and says, in Mark 10:1 they came up to him in order to test him. And so, in Mark 10:2, they pose the question to test him, to trip him up. They said there, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” Matthew 19 adds, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” Which kind of hints, the controversy that they’re trying to pin him on.
They, they hope to draw him into a debate on divorce. They wanted to polarize popular opinion against Jesus, forcing him to take sides in this ongoing theological debate. In his answer, Jesus sidesteps the question altogether. He sidesteps the debate and he refuses to entangle himself in the opinions of this, Rabbi versus that Rabbi versus that Rabbi.
Instead, he challenges them in his questioning. Goes back to Moses. He asks him a question of his own. He says, what did Moses command you? Like, let’s not get caught up in the opinions of Rabbis and scholars. Let’s go right back to the Bible.
You got a Bible? I got a Bible. Let’s go back to the Bible. What did Moses command you? They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce.” In Matthew, “It’s Moses commanded a man to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” Here the Pharisees are stuck in their thinking about divorce and remarriage. They’re stuck on Deuteronomy 24:1. Just that verse.
Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is the whole context. For the sake of time, you can turn there if you want to. If you can get there fast enough. I’m going to read it for you, but they’re really stuck on verse one. Here’s what it says, “When a man takes a wife and marries her, if she then finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house.”
That’s verse 1. Verse 2, “And if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, and the latter man hates her and writes,” a poor woman, right? She’s divorced and then she’s hated. Ah. “The latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then,” verse 4, “Her former husband, who sent her away,” that is originally, “He may not take her again to be his wife. After she’s been defiled, for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.”
Jesus asked them, what did Moses command you? Their answer goes back to Deuteronomy 24: 24:1. And it makes it sound like Moses is concerned about filing the right paperwork. Moses allowed a man to write her a certificate of divorce and to send her away. You heard 24:1-4 is that, is that what Moses is allowing to file proper paperwork and then send your wife away?
Sounds like the Pharisees had recast Moses as some kind of bureaucrat. He’s just in their own likeness and image. Just concerned about the right paperwork. Getting the external form right, so you can do what your heart wants to do. Get rid of that wife, get another one. Here’s what Moses actually commanded. The first husband after divorcing his wife. He may not take that woman back after she has been remarried. After she has been another man’s wife. God says that would be a defilement. That would be an abomination before the Lord. That would bring sin upon the land.
What kind of sin upon the land? The same sin that the Canaanites had practiced before the Israelites got there. That kind of sin. The sin that got them expelled. So, the command of Deuteronomy 24, the command is to prohibit remarriage. That’s the command.
It’s barring remarriage after a divorce. Yeah, Moses acknowledges the reality of divorce in that text. But in and of itself, he’s not giving, giving permission to divorce. He’s certainly not commanding divorce. Pharisees, though, following their favorite rabbis, they failed to discern the point of Deuteronomy 24:1 to 4. Instead, they found permission in that text to divorce their wives and send their wives away.
They turn the whole text on its head. They turn the intent of the text on its head. Moses wrote to prevent the proliferation of defilement in the land. He intended to help Israel, avoiding, avoid increasing sin in the land. Committing abominations before the Lord, like the Canaanites before them. Resulting in their destruction and their annihilation. Moses wants to prevent that.
The Pharisees turned Moses’ intention upon its head. They took their interpretations of Deuteronomy 24:1 from the rabbinical teaching of the Mishnah. The more liberal views that actually proliferated divorce and normalized the practice of adultery and increased their own defilement. Man, they didn’t get the law and the prophets. That’s Jesus’ point. That’s why he brings up, in Luke 16:18, the issue of divorce. They so didn’t get it.
Shamei was the most conservative of the rabbis. He said, a man shouldn’t divorce his wife unless he’s found her guilty of some unseemly, improper shameful act. Okay, so he’s keying off that noun erva, which is literally the nakedness of a thing. Likely it means some kind of immorality, probably in the betrothal period before they actually consummate the marriage. But it could also be in the marriage. It’s not specific.
Perhaps it could be even the suspicion of adultery. We don’t know for sure, but it would not be for a clear-cut case of adultery. Because why? Because adultery was a capital offence. It was punishable by death. According to Leviticus 20 verse 10, those who are guilty of adultery, both the, both the man and the woman in that situation, or the man and the man, or whatever, they’re to be put to death. Killed.
So, Shamei, he’s the strictest of rabbinical interpretations, opinions. The Rabbi Hillel, he was far more liberal. He said a man may divorce his wife simply for burning his dinner. He finds she’s unpleasing. Deuteronomy 24:1, he seemed to ignore the word erva and, and, focused on the broader word dabar.
Debar is the next word and it means things. So, he’s talking about, what is that thing? What is that thing? That thing could be burning my toast? His position tha, that’s what the Pharisees cited in Matthew 19:3, is it lawful for, to divorce one’s wife for any cause. They’re referring to Hillel.
A later Rabbi, born around AD 50, Rabbi Akiva. He was famous for systematizing the and arranging the Mishnah, and he had a school of thought that came after him. He taught a man could divorce his wife if she finds no favor in his eyes or if she becomes displeasing to him.
So, she’s the one becoming displeasing, which he took to mean, he finds another woman now prettier than his wife. She became displeasing to him, not as pretty, so he divorces that wife and marries the other prettier woman. Those are three opinions.
Notice how Jesus answered. He bypassed the debate in 24:1 in Deuteronomy 24:1. He goes all the way back to where? The beginning. Back to God’s original design, which, Christian’s love. Matt, Mark 10:4, Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce send her away. Jesus said to them, listen, it’s because of your hardness of heart, he wrote you this commandment.
Don’t center in Deuteronomy 24, that’s about you and your hardness of heart. “But from the beginning of creation,” verse 6, “God made them male and female, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
That’s why Christians don’t divorce. They recognize, that’s the plan. That’s the design. It’s God who’s joined them together. They’ve come to see that, no matter what challenges, no matter what difficulties they can encounter in a marriage. A marriage, by the way, that joins two fallen sinners, imperfect people, a fallen man and a fallen woman coming together. You think that’s gonna be flawless?
Gods the one who put them together though. He’s the one who united them in marriage. He’s the one who made them one flesh. It’s his will, then, that when that happens, when that covenant is made, that’s a revelation of his will. You stay together. The longer Christians go in marriage, the more they lean into it.
The good and the bad. The difficult and the very, very pleasant. The more they mature in marriage. The more they see God’s goodness and God’s wisdom and God’s blessing, and uniting them in marriage, as the first formative institution, and uniting them together. This man, that is, this particular man with this particular woman and this particular woman with this particular man, they see God’s wisdom in that. God’s will is always good. His plan is always wise. His kind, intention is always to bless and bless and bless. Christians know that. They believe that. They are eager to explore and discover the goodness of God’s design for their marriages. So, they stick with it. That’s the second reason, Christians don’t divorce.
Here’s a third reason, why Christians don’t divorce. Number three. Christians love to practice God’s grace. Christians love to practice God’s grace. I alluded to it earlier, but you can turn to it now, if you’d like to. Matthew Chapter 5. There are two exceptions that we know of in the New Testament. Two exceptions to a lifelong union between one man and one woman in marriage.
The first exception comes about because of cases of unrepentant adultery and the second exception comes about in cases of the abandonment of the marriage by an unbeliever. In either case, whether unrepentant adultery or whether the abandonment by an unbeliever, the official dissolution of a marriage, by means of legal divorce. That would simply be an acknowledgment of the reality of the situation, right?
In light of the resolve of an unrepentant, unbelieving will. Someone who is bent on adultery. Someone who is an, an unbeliever. Who’s bent on leaving the marriage. You can’t hold that will there. Christians who divorce under those two circumstances, they are not guilty of sin. They are not bound by the marriage. They are free to remarry.
Let me be quick to add though. Since Christians love the grace of the gospel. When they have been sinned against, in the case of a spouse’s adultery. When they live in the challenging circumstances of a mixed marriage. What do I mean by a mixed marriage? I mean, a mix. A Christian married to a non-Christian. Mixed marriage.
When Christians have been sinned against, in the case of a spouse’s adultery against them or in the case of a difficult, challenging marriage to a non-Christian, the Christian impulse is always to stick with it. And it’s for the sake of the salvation of that sinning or that unbelieving spouse. Christians love the grace of the gospel. They want to see the grace triumphant and God magnified and glorified. So they go through the pain, stick with it.
Matthew 5, sermon on the Mount, verse 31, Jesus is sighting popular, yet holy, unfaithful teaching of the scribes and the Pharisees. And he sets their teaching in contrast to his own very clear, very authoritative commentary on the law. Matthew 5:31, “It was also said.” What’s he referring to? He’s referring to popular teaching at the time among the scribes and the Pharisees. It was said by your religious authorities by the people in charge. It was said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.”
That was their, that was their summary counsel on the matter. “But I say to you,” verse 32, “Everyone who divorces his wife except on the ground of sexual immorality.” The practice of porneia. It’s a broad term, won’t get all the details of that right now, except on the ground of Porneia, makes her commit adultery. Why? Because she’s in a context like that.
When a wife needs a husband provision. She’s gotta get remarried. You’re forcing her into a situation of adultery. Jesus says, he makes her commit adultery and then whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Very similar to Luke 16:18. Obviously lot of little details in these cases of marital unfaithfulness.
Now is not the time that I can address all those adequately. Let me simply say this. A Christian does not say, when he or she is sinned against, in this case of adultery, look any sin of porneia against me, any sin of sexual immorality against me, any hint of sexual sin, any adultery, any hurt, perpetrated against me by my spouse, I am gone. You crossed that line in this marriage, buddy. I’m out of here.
That is not a Christian impulse. The Christian impulse is to love. It’s to practice the grace of God. Means confronting the sin. Yeah. Speaking truthfully about all that. Yes, in love. Hopes for a confession of sin and the seeking and granting of forgiveness. That sets a foundation for reconciliation. That is the basis on which trust can be built. Credibility restored.
It takes time. It’s difficult. But it can happen. After the initial shock of adultery and hurt and pain is passed. When Christians come to themselves, sure, they may not react well, the first instance. When they come to themselves, Christians don’t want divorce, not even in cases of adultery against themselves. They want to see grace triumph over sin. They get it.
God’s been gracious to me in my sin. I want to practice this toward my spouse, my erring spouse. One of the deepest joys I’ve had as a pastor is in this. After knowing the depth of sin that I’ve seen in marriages. After I’ve seen the length and the breadth of the betrayal. The perverseness of the immorality. The degree of pain and sorrow that it’s caused. The consequences, which can be manifold.
To see offending spouses, recognize their sin. To see them express profound remorse over the hurt and the offense, that they’ve caused, by their sin. And then confess that sin and commit to repentance. And then to see the offended spouses, on the other side of it struggle. But learn to forgive. And embrace that spouse back, even through the hurt and the pain and the sadness.
Folks to see those couples now. And I can picture them in my mind’s eye, right now. To see what God has done in their marriages and their lives. It’s nothing short of miraculous, to see that. To see the joyful partnership that they share, right now, in gospel ministry together. That all the goodness of God has put into their marriage now, has totally eclipsed all that sin. See the triumph of grace over the depth of sin.
The defilement of adultery, and all these other sins. Listen every Christian loves that. Every Christian loves the grace of the gospel. Not all situations turn out like that. In some cases, what seems like remorse at first, what seems like godly sorrow, what seems like true repentance, at first blush, overtime, time can prove that sincerity was false. When the adultery continues. When the offended Christian works through the situation with the elders of the church and it’s not changing.
The elders, then embrace that situation. Get involved in that situation. They work through the normal process of church discipline and they adjudicate that situation biblically. The goal is to resolve the situation righteously and protect the conscience of the offended party. To help the offended party, be pleasing to the Lord. And provide freedom for the innocent. To love the Christian through the trial of this injustice being done.
Elders get into that work. Christians get into that work. Not promising that if you love the grace of the gospel and you wanna stay, even when your spouse is committed some sin like this against you, I’m not promising the outcome. I am promising that if you walk biblically, you can be God’s kind of man or God’s kind of woman in the middle of that trial, and you can please him. That’s what I can promise you. Leave the results to him. I’ve seen it go both ways.
Now turn 1 Corinthians chapter seven, and here’s the other exception. You could say exception clause in 1 Corinthians seven. Consider the case of a mixed marriage. The case of abandonment of the marriage by an unbelieving spouse. Got a Christian married to a non-Christian. Non-Christian says, you know what I’m done fed up. I don’t like you. Don’t like your religion. Don’t like your church. Don’t like your God. Don’t like those people. They’re kooky. I’m out of here and they leave.
After telling Christians to stay married in 1 Corinthians 7:10 to 11. Paul writes this in verse 12, “to the rest I say,” to the rest, that is, those who are not married. And he says, “I say this and (I not the Lord).” What’s he mean by that? Here he’s saying this is not something that the Lord has taught in his own earthly ministry, but it’s something that I, as an apostle am now teaching by the authority of the Lord.
By the authority, apostolic authority, apostolic revelation. This is a revelation of God, the spirit, given to me. This doctrine is by Apostolic revelation, by the authority of the Lord. Here’s the doctrine, verse 12, “If any brother has a wife who’s an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who’s an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.”
Here’s the reasoning. “For the unbelieving husband has made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been made holy because of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”
What does that mean? Via doesn’t mean a non-Christian marrying a Christian all of a sudden, boom, they’re saved. No, that’s not what holiness means, here, obviously. Because then he wouldn’t have to even have this command of instruction of a mixed marriage. They’d both be united in marriage in the Lord, right?
What he means by holy, he’s saying, because of the believer, in that mixed marriage, the unbelieving spouse and any unbelieving children, they are under the influence of the gospel, in that marriage, in that home. Those unbelievers are recipients of God’s blessing upon the believer. Those unbelievers have the benefit of godly wisdom, of biblical insight, of practical spiritual knowledge that comes through that believer in the home. They are under the holiness, the sanctifying influence of that believer. That believer in that unbelieving home is powerful.
Once again, Christians realize, in a mixed marriage situation, it’s an opportunity for the grace of the gospel to work its power in the lives of unbelievers. Whether spouses or children, Christians love seeing that. Paul goes on to say, “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved.” He’s not bound.
It means that Christians no longer bound that marriage covenant, is now free to remarry. Verse 39, “Only in the Lord,” principle. End of verse 15, is because “God has called you to peace. Or how do you know, oh wife, whether you will save your husband? How do you know a husband, whether you will save your wife?” Don’t keep chasing him with a Bible in your hand. If they’re running away, you let him run.
Again, due to the thorny issues that are involved in these situations. And due to the complex, complicating, mitigating factors, in all these situations, due to the personal subjective nature of the hurt involved, it is prudent to get the elders of the church involved in cases. In either case, whether it’s adultery or sexual sin or whether it’s the proposed abandonment of an unbeliever. In fact, I would, I would go as far to say, this very strong statement, that it’s sinfully foolish not to involve the elders in that situation. Foolish. Sinfully so. If a Christian, going through a situation like that, bottles it up, hides it, and kind of continues on, and goes through their whole deal on their own.
I wanna add here, though, at the same time, that I recognize and I recognize this with sadness in my heart, with righteous indignation in my heart, over this, that, what so many of you have faced. But there are pastors and elders who will refuse to help Christians who come to them with these kinds of problems. And they refer them out to professional counseling centers. Or they refer them out to, worse, to family attorneys, to divorce lawyers. They’ve absolutely abrogated and shirked their duty as shepherds to shepherd the sheep.
What does shepherding the sheep look like, if it’s not to help him out of a mud pit? Why would a shepherd send their sheep outside the fold, into the viper’s nest of a lawyer’s office, to be devoured by ravenous wolves? Godless psychology trained counselors and divorce lawyers. Why would a Shephard do that? It’s unconscionable. Sadly, tragically, not all churches are pastored by shepherds.
I even have to say that not all conservative reformed churches are pastored by shepherds. Don’t just look at the website. Look at their doctrinal statement. Here’s a, here’s the confession they subscribe to and go be discerning. Listen, the Lord knows what you’ve been through. He sees the plight of his sheep that they are often scattered and wandering, like sheep without a shepherd.
You gotta know that even in sins you’ve committed. Listen, the Lord’s heart is full of compassion and all those situations. Still, it is wisdom to pursue the council of pastors and elders and sinful folly not to. So, more we could say. I got to stop there. Two exceptions to the permanency of the marital union of one man, one woman, for life. In cases of unrepentant adultery. And in cases when an unbeliever abandons the marriage. And in those cases, as long as they are biblically adjudicated, the believer is no longer bound to that covenant of marriage. The covenant was broken by the will of another, and you cannot control the will of another. Christians free to remarry without concern about committing an act of adultery and remarriage.
That’s what it means to be an exception clause; free to divorce, free to remarry. I realize that’s not what all the Christian speakers say and everything, but you need to. That’s what we believe as a church. That’s what we believe as elders.
So, Christians love the law of holiness. They love God’s design for marriage. They love the grace of the gospel. That brings us to a fourth, and I’m afraid all too brief, final point. But a fourth reason why Christians don’t divorce is because Christians love to portray God’s gospel. Christians love to portray God’s gospel. Turnover to Ephesians chapter 5, Ephesians chapter 5. You should, if you’re married, especially, you should be very familiar with Ephesians 5 and if you’re not, man, may God have mercy on your sin sick soul.
Wife, if your husband doesn’t know Ephesians 5, you come tell me. Husband same for you. Come tell me if your wife doesn’t know Ephesians 5. But Ephesians 5:22 to 33. That’s the section Paul, the end of Paul’s doctrine on Christian marriage. He goes back full instruction here. He goes back to God’s original design for marriage. Just as we’ve done, to Genesis chapter one and two and Gods, Gods’ design there. Christians love that design for marriage. And Paul does too. He rejoices in it. And we find, in this text, an even higher purpose for marriage, that was not known until the gospel of Christ was revealed.
Here’s what he says, verse 28, “Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He loves his wife, loves himself.” He’s taking an implication from the one flesh union described in Genesis chapter 2. And then this, “For no one ever hated his own flesh but he nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
And note this, verse 32, “This mystery is profound, and I’m saying that it,” what? The mystery, “refers to Christ and the church.” Paul identifies this purpose for marriage as a mystery. What’s a mystery? Biblically speaking, a mystery is a truth that had always been there, but it had once been veiled, obscured. In the Old Testament, veiled, obscured or hidden. It was not known. Revealed, made unobscured, shining, brightly in progressive revelation until it was, sort of like, the revelation of Christ in his historical reality. Kind of revelation caught up to that. Worked out the implications of that in the New Testament.
So, there’s the, if I could call it this, the Christ event. Christ happened. Christ came. He’s a historical reality. Born, lived, died, buried, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven. That historical reality. And then the implications of that New Testament revelation. All of a sudden, we see new things showing up. Great light has shined and we’re working the way out of it. So what Paul is saying, is marriage we see in a different light, because of Christ. Paul says the one flesh union between the man, one man, one woman. That union now refers to symbolically Christ and the church.
The man in the marital union is now to act, in some ways, as Christ has toward his church. He shows sacrificial, sanctifying love, verses 25 to 27, “Men love their wives as themselves as their own bodies.” Verses 28 to 30, So Christ is done.
Go back to verse 22, the wife, in the marital union, she’s to act in some ways as the church does toward Christ, submitting to his headship, in verses 22 to 24. Showing him respect as her head, as her authority, in verse 33. Yes wives, that means how you speak to your husband, not just what you say. That’s just basic marital instruction. That’s marriage 101 stuff.
And the connection, to our point, is to say, this is a major reason, this is a huge reason, why Christians don’t divorce. We love the fact that our marriages can paint a picture of Christ and his love for the church in society. We love to have the opportunity to demonstrate that and live that out.
Portray that in our own particular marriages. You say, how do I do that in an imperfect marriage, to this imperfect spouse? Well, point that finger back the other way. Christ is the only perfect partner in the union between Christ and the church, but that doesn’t diminish the reality of that union, does it? Doesn’t destroy the picture that the church is imperfect.
It’s the perfection of Christ that preserves the picture and makes it effectual. Same goes for those of you in mixed marriages, where you’re married to a non-Christian. Listen, you can still do your part. This is what the joy is. You can still be obedient in your role. And portray the relationship and the union of Christ and his bride, the church, that he died to purchase with his own blood.
As long as one partner in the marriage is a Christian, that’s you Christian. You have the privilege of doing your part to portray that beautiful living picture of redemption and relationship. It is significant. It’s meaningful. It’s something that can’t be denied in the way you act as a married person. Christians love to practice God’s Holiness. God’s design. God’s grace. God’s gospel.
Four reasons why Christians don’t divorce. Having said that, I realized that there are Christians, true Christians who have divorced. Maybe you’re even wondering, in your own mind, if your past attitudes about divorce. Maybe your divorce and your past and your remarriage or whatever. Maybe you’re wondering if that reveals something to you about your spiritual condition. Now you’re asking yourself some hard questions. It’s actually a good thing. The truth never hides just the truth of the word. Embrace that. Lean into it and let’s, let’s get down to the bottom of it. I just want to encourage you, if you’re asking questions.
I don’t take pleasure in troubling you. Troubling your conscience. I do take pleasure in lifting the burdens on your conscience. So don’t wonder in silence. Don’t, you don’t need to navigate the issues of conscience and these issues of righteousness and the thorny issues of marriage, divorce and remarriage alone. Don’t do it alone.
The elders of this church would love to help you think through those issues. I asked them this morning. They said they would be willing to do that. So that’s really nice. I had no doubt though. I, along with some of the elder elders, whether they did that in, you know, helped in this church or in other churches, we have helped Christians through some very thorny issues related to marriage, divorce and remarriage, in our experience.
And we know that it’s not a one size fits all. There’s mitigating factors and all that. And we just, I just want you to know, we rejoice to help people apply the healing balm of the gospel, to salve a troubled conscience. We love to help you work through confession and repentance, where necessary, and define God’s grace of forgiveness and healing and restoration. So that you, to promote your confidence in the gospel and strength in the Lord.
We don’t want you troubled any longer by questions. So, we invite you to ask your questions, if you’d like to. You’d like to send an email to the Office: email@example.com. Just go to our website, gracegreeley.org, put office@, in front of that and send us an email. And put your, just put divorce and remarriage in the, the subject line. We’ll know what you’re getting now. We’ll go down, read your question and we’ll try to help you through that biblically.
Or call, an email or email to schedule a meeting with us. We would love to spend some time with you to help you. Divorce and remarriage, adultery, other related sins. Yeah, they’re serious sins, but they’re not unforgivable sins. Gospel of Jesus Christ. His atoning death on the cross to pay the eternal debt that we owe for all of our sins. It’s about his righteous life.
It’s about his righteousness. It covers all of us who believe. His gospel is absolutely perfect. It’s wholly sufficient. It is good news to save you to the uttermost. Forgive us. Cleanse us. Purify for God, a people who are zealous for good works.
So, let’s resolve, as Christians together, shall we. To stop believing the lies and the propaganda. To stop proliferating the lies about divorce and remarriage. Let’s tell the truth with one another and with others. Let’s stop proliferating the sin of divorce; divorce, remarriage, adultery, all the rest. That was Moses’s concern, to arrest, to stop the defilement, and the spread of sin. That’s Jesus concerned to. To see that we walk in holiness according to Gods wise design. In his grace. In keeping with his gospel. Let’s do that together, all right? Let’s do that together.
Bow with me in a word of prayer. Our father, we know that your heart is always tender and kind to those who are repentant to those who fear you and love you and want to come near to you to walk in holiness and truth.
And so, we just ask for your grace, especially in a message like this. That your Grace would not only provoke the conscience and stir the conscience to think profoundly about these issues. But that the grace of your gospel would come to apply the balm and the salve of forgiveness and healing and repentance, restoration.
We a, we rejoice to do that together, Father, as elders ministering to the church here. And if there are other mature saints ministering to the church, we just ask that no one would suffer in silence. But everybody would come to the, come to the light and let’s deal with these issues in the light.
We thank you for your love for us. We thank you for the gift of marriage. We thank you for your grace even in divorce, even in divorce and remarriage. Your grace, even in cases of adultery, as we read earlier from Psalm 51. The grace that came over David’s life. We ask you for your help to work through the consequences of our sins. It should be merciful to us. Shield us where you can and give us strength where we need to go through consequences. We love you so much, father. We thank you for the salvation that we share in Christ. It’s in his name we pray. Amen.