- Sermon Notes
1.I love kids how kids process life.
ILLUS – Funny things kids say about love and marriage
2.Where do people get their concept of marriage?
3.Mainly from our culture which, frankly, isn’t much help!
4.We need God’s perspective because He is the One who created marriage and knows what it means to honor it.
5.God gave us the Bible so that we may have insight into His heart about marriage and about divorce as well.
6.Tonight, we will discover what it means to be One in marriage as we study the words of Jesus from Matthew 19:1-12.
1.In Matthew 19 were told that Jesus left the Sea of Galilee and headed south to Judea, east of the Jordan River.
2.Huge crowds followed Him, and Jesus healed all who came to Him.
3.While there, some Pharisees sought to test Him. They challenged Jesus to enter a raging debate that divided the religious leaders as well as the nation of Israel. Their question involved the topic of divorce.
4.Basically, there were two leading rabbis, Shammai and Hillel, who held opposing views on divorce.
5.The debate centered on the proper interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 where Moses gave instruction about divorce.
Deuteronomy 24:1-4, When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she 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 from his house, and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.
6.The battle lines were drawn around the interpretation and application of the word indecency, also translated uncleanness.
7.Rabbi Shammai taught that divorce was permissible only in the event of adultery.
8.Rabbi Hillel held a very liberal view and taught that a man was permitted to divorce his wife for any reason at all. In other words, if a man’s wife made his coffee too strong, or burnt his toast, or didn’t please him the way he wanted to be pleased, it was grounds for divorce.
9.So, the Pharisees presented the debate to Jesus, hoping He would alienate Himself by taking one side.
a.If Jesus chose the extremely liberal interpretation, He would be accused of not taking God’s Word seriously.
b.If Jesus chose the conservative view, He risked losing His popularity with the people.
10.But Jesus did not take the bait. Instead of talking about divorce, He talked about God’s original purpose for marriage.
I.The Two Shall Become One
- Notice how Jesus literally brought the Pharisees back to the beginning when He quoted from Genesis, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (4-5)
- The idea of one flesh clearly suggests the beauty of sexual intimacy between a man and a woman in the context of holy matrimony.
- But the Bible makes it clear that there is more to oneness, such as the oneness of soul and spirit.
- That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. (2 Corinthians 6:14)
- According to the Bible, there are four purposes for marriage:
- Continuation of the human race – “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).
- Companionship and enjoyment – “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
- Protection against sexual immorality – “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
A. Marriage is a picture of Christ and His Bride
1. Marriage is very important to God, not only because He created it to bless us, but also because of what it represents.
2. This is what Paul spoke of in Ephesians 5.
Ephesians 5:28-32, So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
3. The word mystery in the Bible means “something that was formerly hidden which has now been revealed”.
4. What mystery has God revealed? The union of a man and woman in marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church, His bride.
5. It all has to do with the concept of the two becoming one. The Bible makes it clear that at the moment of salvation, a born-again believer is one with Christ.
Colossians 1:27, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
B. Husband, love your wife
1. Jesus spoke about God’s design for marriage, that the two should become one.
2. Paul gave us additional insight so that a man and woman may achieve and maintain oneness in Christ as a married couple.
3. In Ephesians 5, Paul broke it down into the husband’s responsibilities and the wife’s responsibilities.
a. When a couple follows God’s design for marriage, then God’s blessings follow.b. When a husband or wife is hard-hearted, then many troubles come.
Ephesians 5:25-29, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church
APPL – The husband is supposed to represent Christ in the marriage.
- That is an awesome responsibility and impossible to do unless the husband, himself, is submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
- How did Christ love the Church?
- He gave Himself up for her.
- He took her burdens upon Himself.
- He edified her with His Word.
ILLUS – A friend once told me the words a pastor said to him during his wedding.
ILLUS – There are different Greek words for the word husband. One of them is georgos which means “farmer, one who produces fruit”. In that word picture, the wife is the soil. Just as a farmer cares for the soil to ensure the growth of good fruit, likewise, husbands must love their wives to encourage their growth in Christ. We, as husbands, will enjoy the fruit that comes forth when we love our wives!
C.Wife, respect your husband
Ephesians 5:22-24, Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself
being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
1.Here, Paul wrote that wives should respect their husbands and that as the Church is under Christ’s covering so also should wives be to their husbands.
2.Now, this is not a politically correct view, but it is a biblical one.
a.By definition, a two-headed anything is a monster!
b.It is also helpful to see the perspective, “as to the Lord”.
3.These principles are the keys to marriage God’s way:
a.The wife needs to be loved.
b.The husband needs to be respected.
ILLUS – Once a couple from another church met with Pastor Rich about their marriage…
c.If God created marriage, then He knows the principles to make it work best.
ILLUS – Well, a wife might say, “I’ll start respecting when he starts loving me.” Or a husband might say, “I’ll start loving when she starts respecting me.” That won’t work!
APPL – As we learned last week from Matthew 18, this kind of love will require forgiveness. We have been forgiven much. We need to extend grace, patience, kindness, and gentleness to each other just as the Lord has to us.
- A good marriage isn’t only about finding the right person; it’s about being the right person.
- Who we are before the Lord has everything to do with who we will be in marriage.
- Take the initiative to forgive and restore.
- Don’t wait for the other person to take the first step.
II. Don’t Divide the One that God has United
- After Jesus finished teaching them about marriage, they challenged Him again saying, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (7)
- Jesus immediately corrected them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been
this way.” (8)
- Notice Jesus said, “Moses permitted”.
- He did not say, “Moses commanded”.
Malachi 2:16, “I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel
- I believe one of the reasons why God hates divorce is because it hurts everybody and most importantly the children; and we know how God feels about children.
A.There is an allowance for adultery
1.When you understand the importance of the two becoming one flesh, you see why Jesus gave an allowance for divorce due to infidelity.
2.Paul also added an allowance in 1 Corinthians 7:15 for abandonment.
1 Corinthians 7:15, Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.
APPL – The number one reason given for divorce today is “irreconcilable differences”.
- But there will always be differences in a marriage.
Quote: Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, once said, “The best marriages are made up of two great forgivers.”
- The problem is a hardness of heart. Jesus was right!
- Divorce is not commanded in such cases, for God is a God of new beginnings and great things can happen when we forgive.
- Yet, Jesus also recognized that there may be such hardness of heart that there is no true repentance. The unfaithful spouse says, “It will be different this time” and yet there is no fruit in keeping with repentance.
Transition – What would God have us do?
B. Honor the Lord by softening your heart
1.Isn’t that the point? God does not want our hearts to be hard; married or single.
2.God wants us to soften our hearts towards the Lord which will cause us to have softened hearts towards others, especially our spouse.
3.The problem with “easy” divorce is that it’s enticing to think about how you’re going to get out and not about how you’re going to make it work.
ILLUS – My question to the bride and groom during their wedding ceremony. “Is it God’s will for you to be married?”
ILLUS – God can do amazing things through softened hearts.
- Marriage takes work but it’s worth the effort!
- Soften your heart
- Stay strong in Christ
- Keep talking and praying
- Keep forgiving and extending grace
- God can make all things new
Matthew 19:1-12 NASB