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  • This is a production of World Video Bible School.

  • To God be the glory!

  • In the year 2000,

  • the United States Census Bureau predicted that

  • of all of the marriages taking place that year, 50% of them would

  • eventually end in divorce.

  • And this epidemic of divorce has caused such serious problems in our society

  • that everyone is touched,

  • even in the Lord's church.

  • You know, faithful elderships are constantly having to deal with this

  • heart-wrenching issue.

  • And Christians who are doing evangelism, sometimes feel like they've been hit by

  • a brick when the word "divorce" enters the conversation.

  • And maybe we don't teach on it, maybe we don't preach on the subject enough.

  • Seems like we preach on it a lot, but maybe it's not enough when you consider

  • how big this problem really is.

  • And so, today we want to present a very basic outline of what God has to say

  • on the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage.

  • And then we're going to deal with some errors that relate to this subject.

  • Now, the clearest, most straightforward passage that I know in the Bible

  • on the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage,

  • is in Matthew 19.

  • And so, that's where we're going to begin; and if you have a Bible in front of you,

  • you might want to follow along Matthew, chapter 19.

  • We're going to begin reading in verse number 1.

  • The Bible says: "Now it came to pass,

  • when Jesus had finished these sayings,

  • that He departed from Galilee

  • and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.

  • And great multitudes followed Him,

  • and He healed them there.

  • The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him,

  • 'Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife or any reason?'"

  • Now, I want you notice that the text says that the Pharisees came to Him,

  • tempting Him.

  • Now, immediately we learn that

  • the question these Pharisees were asking Jesus

  • was not from a pure motive.

  • They weren't asking because they sincerely wanted to know the answer to the question.

  • They were asking because they hoped to trap Jesus.

  • You see, amongst the Jews of that day,

  • the people were greatly divided on this question of marriage and divorce.

  • And you know, it's interesting that many people today are divided on this question.

  • But I think it's worth noting, as you will see, there was a right answer.

  • And still today, there is a right answer to this question.

  • Now, there were two schools of thought amongst the Jewish leaders.

  • One thought was from the school of Hillel, a Jewish rabbi.

  • And this school taught that a man could divorce his wife for any reason,

  • for the slightest offense, or even if he just disliked her person or manner.

  • And they based their opinion on Deuteronomy, chapter 24, in verse 1

  • which says:

  • "... that she finds no favor in his eyes..." then he may give her a bill of divorcement.

  • Now, the other school of reasoning was that of the school of Shammai.

  • Those who held to this line of thought,

  • believed that a man could only divorce his wife for adultery.

  • And they based their thinking, interestingly, on the same passage of scripture,

  • Deuteronomy 24, and verse 1,

  • but on the section which says:

  • "... because he has found some uncleanness in her..." he may put her away.

  • And they interpreted this "uncleanness" to refer to adultery.

  • And so, these Pharisees came to Jesus, not looking for the truth,

  • but hoping to trap Jesus.

  • They hoped to turn one of the groups against him. So they asked him,

  • "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?"

  • Now, the King James says, " for every cause."

  • Now listen to verse 4: "And He answered and said to them,

  • 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning "made them male and female,"

  • and He 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"?

  • So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together,

  • let not man separate.'"

  • Now, I want you to the notice from verse 4,

  • that Jesus asked them the question,

  • "Have you not read...?"

  • They came to Him asking a question about marriage and divorce,

  • and Jesus went back to the source of authority.

  • Jesus did not say, "Well, I feel," or "I think,"

  • or... "You know, it seems to Me."

  • Jesus said, "Have you not read..."

  • He went back to the source of authority on marriage.

  • And, of course, that is the written Word of God.

  • And, you know, that seems like the obvious thing to do.

  • But many people don't do that today. Many people today

  • seem to turn to everything except the Bible to make decisions about marriage.

  • I had a man call the church building one time where I was preaching.

  • He wanted to know if I would perform his marriage.

  • He had been married two or three times previously,

  • and now he was getting married a fourth time and he wanted me to perform the ceremony.

  • And incidently, he'd been put away all three previous times.

  • And I told him that I could not perform his marriage

  • because he had no scriptural right to be married.

  • You know what he said to me?

  • He said, "You don't understand. This woman is a good woman." He says, "She's a good woman."

  • You see, apparently in his reasoning, the fact that she was a good woman

  • would make it okay.

  • But you see, Jesus did not appeal to emotions or strange reasoning or even his feelings.

  • Jesus said, "... Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning

  • 'made them male and female...'"

  • "... At the beginning..."

  • I want you to go back with me in your minds to the beginning.

  • Adam is alone in the garden of Eden. Genesis 2:15 says,

  • "Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it."

  • Now verse 18:

  • "And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make

  • him a helper comparable to him.'" Verse 21

  • "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept;

  • and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.

  • Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man and He made into a woman,

  • and He brought her to the man.

  • And Adam said: 'This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh;

  • She shall be called Woman,

  • Because she was taken out of Man.'"

  • Now when Jesus said, "... Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning..."

  • Jesus was pointing back to this event. And he's going back to the beginning

  • when there was one man and one woman and they were joined together by God.

  • And so, when the Pharisees came to Him asking Him about divorce,

  • He referenced the very first marriage.

  • Alright, back to Matthew 19, and look at verse 6

  • He says, "... So then, they are no longer two but one flesh..."

  • You know, sometimes the question arises

  • when are two people actually married?

  • Are they actually married at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony,

  • or is it sexual union that constitutes marriage?

  • And absolutely, the answer to the question must be

  • when the ceremony is finished and the marriage license is signed, they are married.

  • Otherwise, you have a man and a woman going to spend their first night together

  • on their honeymoon, and they're not even husband and wife.

  • And it would also mean that everything leading up to the sexual act itself

  • would be sinful.

  • Well, Jesus said, "...they are no longer two but one flesh.

  • Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

  • You know, it's very interesting to me that the Pharisees came to Jesus asking,

  • "For what reason can a man divorce his wife?"

  • And Jesus answered, "Don't divorce."

  • He said, "... What God has joined together let not man separate"

  • Well, the Pharisees might have thought, "Alright, we've caught him.

  • He said, 'Don't divorce,' but Moses said it was okay."

  • Alright, here's the controversy, verse 7:

  • "They said to Him, 'Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce,

  • and to put her away?" Verse 8:

  • "He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts,

  • permitted you to divorce your wives,

  • but from the beginning it was not so."

  • Jesus said that when God design the home and the institution of marriage,

  • He never intended for it to be corrupted the way that men have made it.

  • He never intended for men to get tired of their wives and to put them away.

  • He never intended for adultery to take place and for fornication to occur.

  • But men and have brought about this corruption.

  • And "... Moses, because of your hardness of hearts" suffered divorce.

  • But this was not the way it was from the beginning.

  • Alright, now the exception to the rule, verse 9:

  • "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife,

  • except for sexual immorality..." the word here's "fornication,"

  • "... and marries another, commits adultery;

  • and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."

  • Now, let me restate what Jesus is saying here.

  • He is saying, "He who divorces his wife and remarries commits adultery."

  • Now this is the rule: "He who divorces his wife for any reason and marries another

  • commits adultery." That's the rule.

  • And then He gives one exception to the rule.

  • That exception is, "If he puts her away for fornication."

  • Now the New King James says "sexual immorality,"

  • but that's not the best translation of the original Greek word.

  • Sexual immorality could refer to the viewing of pornography or lust of the heart.

  • But that's not the meaning of this word. The Greek word here is "pornea."

  • It refers to "elicit sexual intercourse."

  • The King James more accurately translates this word as "fornication."

  • This word includes a wide range of things.

  • Certainly it includes adultery and homosexuality and bestiality.

  • But this exception, fornication is the only one that Jesus made

  • that would allow a man to divorce his wife and remarry without sinning.

  • Let's apply this rule. Let's say that there's a man in the first century

  • and he marries a woman.

  • And a few years down the road, the man decides that he's going to divorce his wife.

  • And then later, after some time passes, he decides he wants to remarry.

  • How would this man know whether or not he has the right to get remarried?

  • He simply needs to ask himself,

  • "Do I fit into the exception of Matthew 19:9

  • Am I an individual who has put away my spouse for fornication?"

  • And if the answer is "no"

  • then that man cannot remarry or else he is an adulterer.

  • Now, what if the reason the man divorced his wife was "incompatibility."

  • What if he just said, "We just can't get along.

  • She's difficult and I don't enjoy being with her, and so I'm going to divorce her."

  • Could he remarry?

  • The answer is "no."

  • He did not meet the exception of Matthew 19:9.

  • Well, what if the man divorced his wife because he said,

  • "I just don't love her anymore."

  • You know, that's one of the popular reasons in our day,

  • "I just don't love her anymore."

  • Well, under these circumstances he could not remarry,

  • because he doesn't meet the exception of Matthew 19:9.

  • Now, somebody might say,

  • "Well, that sounds awfully strict. You know, that seems very, very difficult

  • for the Lord to be laying out something like that."

  • Well apparently, the Lord's disciples thought the same thing.

  • I want you to listen to verse 10, listen to their response:

  • "His disciples said to Him, 'If such is the case of the man with his wife,

  • it is better not to marry.'"

  • Now, the disciples were essentially saying,

  • "This is really strict. If this is the way it is,

  • maybe a man would be better off not to get married."

  • Now, for those people today who will say,

  • "I can't believe God's law would be that strict," or, as some people have said,

  • "I just can't believe the Lord would expect me to live the rest of my life unmarried,"

  • they need to go back and look at the comments of the Lord's disciples.

  • Because they recognized that God's law on marriage is very strict.

  • Now, listen to Jesus' response in verse 11:

  • "But He said to them, 'All cannot accept this saying...'"

  • Now what saying is He talking about?

  • Some people think He's talking about the law that He has just stated

  • pertaining to marriage.

  • I don't think that's it.

  • I think he's responding to the disciple's statement.

  • They said, "Hey, this is really strict. Maybe it's better not to get married."

  • And he says that doesn't work for everyone. Not everyone can accept that.

  • Keep reading.

  • He says, "'... but only those to whom it has been given...'"

  • That is, some people can take that route,

  • or maybe I should say, not take that route.

  • Okay, verse 12:

  • "For there are eunuchs

  • (people who remain sexually inactive, who can't engage in the intimacies of marriage)

  • who were born thus from their mother's womb,

  • and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men..."

  • That is, this has physically been done to them.

  • You know, sometimes this has happened in history,

  • individuals like Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego,

  • were physically maimed

  • so as to take away their ability for the intimacies of marriage.

  • He says, "... and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs

  • for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it,

  • let him accept it."

  • Now, what does this last part refer to: "those who have made themselves eunuchs

  • for the kingdom of heaven's sake...?"

  • Well, this could refer to several different things,

  • but I believe at least one example of this would include people who have

  • lost the scriptural right to get married

  • and so, for the kingdom of heaven's sake,

  • that is so they can go to heaven,