Sermon on May 19 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Mark 10:1-10
Is all divorce sinful? All remarriage? In a fallen world, Jesus helps us to think carefully and graciously.
1. ALWAYS BEGIN WITH GOD!
God’s intention is and has always been the permanent union of one man with one woman
‘…and the two will become one flesh … Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.’ (v8-9)
Myth no 1 – Divorce is the only way out!
So don’t go into marriage with an exit plan. Don’t look for exceptions. It is not impossible by grace to be faithful.
2. ALWAYS HATE THE SIN, NOT EVERY DIVORCE!
Everyone in Jesus day knew that Moses has allowed a law to protect a wife with a lousy husband. (v4.5)
‘If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certifi-cate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance’ (Deut 24:1-4)
Myth no. 2 – The only thing that the Bible has to say about divorce is don’t!
Don’t label all divorces in the same way. If you are divorced, your life is not over and your failure does not define you.
3. ALWAYS BE COMPASSIONATE, NOT CALLOUS!
i. Rabbi Shimmai: ‘something indecent‘ refers to sexual immorality that breaks the marriage bond
ii. Rabbi Hillel: it refers to anything the husband thinks is indecent e.g. too much salt in the food!
iii. Rabbi Akiba: it’s all about you so if you fancy someone else, you can end the marriage
If the Bible makes provision for ending a marriage and legal status for remarriage, remarriage is possible. (John 4:18)
Myth no. 3 – Divorce is almost the unforgivable sin, but to divorce and remarry is definitely not allowed.
If God grants grace to an innocent party to divorce, then by His grace remarriage may be possible.
4. ALWAYS ENGAGE IN THE PRESENT, NEVER THE PAST!
‘You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending’ (C.S. Lewis)
Start where you are. Are you single? Don’t let failed marriages of relatives or friends put you off.
Are you married? Guard your marriage. A perfect marriage is two imperfect people who refuse to give up one another
Are you divorced? God’s grace is greater than your worst sins and even a failed marriage.
Remember! If you are going or have gone through the pain of divorce, what happened on the Cross can heal a thousand hurts. If death, ‘usually clean pain’, cannot separate us from God’s love, neither will the ‘usually dirty pain’ of divorce
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1. What is the definition of marriage? What is its purpose and how does this differ from the culture’s view on marriage?
2. What is the difference in the Bible between regulating divorce on the one hand and endorsing or affirming it on the other?
3. A friend has a husband who is abusing her and persists in it. If the husband refuses to repent and stop, has a divorce already taken place before anyone filing? What would the wife be free to do? Use other passages e.g. 1 Cor 7 to give a response.
4. How would you respond to a believing couple who say ‘This isn’t God’s will for us. We will just get divorced and God will forgive us?
Photo credit FreeImages.com/sergey klimkin