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June 28, 2021 9:00 am
Ill being a pastor I get a chance to do weddings fairly often in one of the things I like to do what I do. A wedding is give the bridegroom a little sermon there is only charge of some kind.
Anyway, I always start that off is by saying to them now you two people are about to enter in to the most difficult relationship to make work on the face of your Zebulon's greatness really greatly people pay all this money for a wedding and you come in and depress everybody well no I'm not trying to depressed people and try to make people realistic.
I'm trying to think these two starry eyed people standing there in front of the and help them get realistic about what you're really getting themselves into. Not in that regard. You know we are dealing with really American epidemic today when it comes to divorce on Tuesdays when I meet with people in my office Tuesday afternoons, week after week without a doubt the number one issue that comes into my office. There isn't even a close second is people were dealing with the struggles of making relationships work, marriage, divorce and remarriage. Issue Uno becomes in the marketplace and friends. USA Today reports that in spite of all the books. All the studies all the seminars all the help without their still one out of every two new marriages today in America is going to end in the Nevin epidemic, what are we as the church of Jesus Christ was God have to say about all we want to talk about. I realize I'm going into a minefield.
I realize that there's a lot of people here this morning whose lives have been touched and in some cases. I suppose really damage by divorce as many of us here who grew up in homes that were traumatized because our parents got a divorce. Some of us here this morning whose marriages are teetering right on the brink of a divorce ourselves and all of this holding together means that just the very word divorce propels paying an heartache to the surface and to clean the church setting people got your guard up. The minute the words mentioned want to see if I can get you let your guard down and we can talk about this from God's perspective. But if we can do it in a loving healing, restorative, supportive manner so that you walk out of your feeling affirmed and minister to would not condemn Absalom to try to do this morning and I hope that you will find that one of the shares helpful as well as human. So with that little bit of background will try to navigate through the minefield here without stepping on one. Let's start Matthew 19 and see how we do verse one when Jesus had finished saying these things. He left Galilee and went to the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan and large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. And some rabbis came to him to testing MAST and they said now is it lawful Jesus for man to divorce his wife for any and every reason you see what kind of stupid questions that will rabbis had a whole book in their mission either code me about this that dealt with nothing but divorce reasons for divorce reasons you could or couldn't get divorced and there was wide divergence of opinion. Some rabbis said you can only get divorced for adultery and all the rabbis on the other extreme, said no. In fact it's actually written in their woman if she burned her husband's toast.
He could divorce her. That was the broad spread as we come to Jesus and they say Jesus Allison we rabbis are all over the map on this one. What would you say about but Jesus responds and says, verse four.
Haven't you read that at the beginning the create tour made them male and female that doesn't really apply to our topic just for the sake of pointing out, would you notice Jesus believed in the account.
The Bible gives of how man came into being. Right now he goes on and says, quoting from Genesis to, and God said, for this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife and the two become one flesh.
So there are no longer true in the sight of God. But there one and therefore he says, whom God has joined together, let man not separate what Jesus basically says is hey from the beginning God's intended plan was one man one woman till death do us part. Will rabbis respond verse seven and they say woman. If this is the case, why did Moses allow Amanda give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away. How can you be the Messiah. When you're taking something I write on the Old Testament and you're saying it's wrong. How can the Messiah say the Bible is wrong and what they are referring to is Deuteronomy 24. You don't have to turn their but you want to drop that over in your margin. It's Deuteronomy 24 there referring to. And here's what it says.
Moses says if a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he find something indecent about her that he can write her a certificate of divorce give it to her and send her from his how that's what they're talking about. And of course they were trying to define what it means to be displeasing is that mean burning the toast was in need.
And Jesus says okay let me respond to your question. Verse eight Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of your heart because they were hard and simple, but it was not this way from the beginning I tell you.
Jesus said that anyone who divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. In other words, Jesus says listen. God never intended divorce to happen. Our many were doing fine until sin entered the world, but when sin entered the world in messed up. God's plan. Sinners commit adultery. Sinners are unfaithful to their partner sometimes and when that happens, you can't always put Humpty Dumpty back together.
Sometimes the breach of trust is so great that you can't fix it and God being a realist recognizes that existence.
But in the case of unfaithfulness. The divorce is permissible because of the sinfulness of man that was. But when you read in Deuteronomy 24 that if a wife does something displeasing or if she's found something indecent.
Jesus said what God meant was unfaithfulness, adultery, anything else.
Burning your toast novel God had only stop info in a couple of corollaries to make sure we got this whole thing right. I was a two things. First thing I want to say is there some other reasons in the Bible for divorce. Other than this, that God's is a legitimate, by the way, I'll give you three number one the word to choose to the translated marital unfaithfulness is really a word that means sexual uncleanness of any kind.
And so it's not just adultery. That is a grounds for divorce from homosexuality and bisexuality.
Pedophilia any of these sexual sins and breaks the trust bond of marriage is a legitimate ground for divorce. The second reason the Bible gives for divorces in first Corinthians chapter 7 where the Bible says that if you have one unbeliever married to one unbeliever and the unbeliever says I'm sick of this Christianity stuff. I'm sick of this religion stuff. I'm sick of you and I'm outta here. The Bible says let them go. Let him go. That's a legitimate divorce and the believer is not under obligation to keep that marriage going to the unbeliever walks or in 1/3 and final reason for legitimate biblical divorce is abuse. I don't believe that I will be. The Bible teaches that God ever intended a woman to be Nicole Simpson that God and put women on the earth to be some guys punching bag, and that in the case of repeated abuse of divorce is a now you can see, those are fairly limited reasons for divorce. But those are the ones the Bible gives the second thing I want to say in this regard before we go on is that the first response we as Christians should have in any situation like this is not divorce, but forgiveness and always just because God says if your partner commits adultery. You can divorce them does not mean God is saying you should divorce. I think the first rule we should always work to is a rule that says let's see if we can first forgive and keep that marriage together. Divorce is a last option. Just because you can the okay now it's finished the passage well verse 10 the disciples said to Jesus, hey, if this is the way the situation is between a husband and his wife if she can burn my toasted iron cook.
My shirt and all these other things and I can't get rid of her.
Today it's better not to marry at all than to get yourself locked down in a situation you can't get out. I see some humor and starvation. What I think Peter's going hey man, you may not output over heard about what she does in the Carling I'm interested in this and response. If you read it were not going to go through the Jesus basically says Peter. Hey, they in single all your life is an option if you want to know some people who do that, it's up to you but this is the deal about this is the way I want to do now is stop and say, let's talk about some of the real-life implications of Matthew 19, or to put it another way, when it comes to how we here at McLean Bible Church try to take these broad principles and put them in the action, how we do that and I got six basic principles I want to give you that we follow.
You might want to write them down.
This is how we try to implement what the Bible says whenever anybody comes to see us with the divorce and remarriage, marriage problem here is the way we go at it number one I got six of these. Our first goal is always reconciliation, meaning that regardless of the details.
The first life we take it any married situation is to try to promote healing, forgiveness and reconciliation and to preserve that marriage. That is the very first goal we have out of the gate. That's a very first thing we try because we believe that is God's ideal solution number two. We believe that every situation has to be considered individually separately. No two marriages know to divorces, no two separations are ever alike brands the transmutation's are staggering. The permeation you can have on this thing so here McLean Bible church, we don't have 55 rules that we go by to cover every single possible situation.
Not at all what we try to do is sit down with a husband and a wife and listen and hear and then do the best we can to take the truth of the Bible broad trues of the Bible and bring them to bear on the specific situation because you can't predict everything that's going to come. I was reading about this couple in Tennessee on he saw this in the news, but the guy was chewing his wife for divorce on the grounds of unfaithfulness, adultery, and she contested the divorce and went into court and testify that she had been faithful to her husband, but one of her multiple personalities had not this is true is happening court is a one I want the all have a role for multiple personality adultery.
No, no, we don't have a rule for that when I'm running for any of this. We just sit down with each couple and we talk number three, regardless of how bad somebody's messed up a marriage. Forgiveness of God walks.
This is the principle we offer forgiveness of God wants you, we have a vibrant single parents ministry here. We get ready to start a divorce recovery group and we have these meetings. These are not melancholy meetings with black crêpe paper all over the walls or anything like that.
Frenzies are healing affirming meetings because we believe that God is a merciful and gracious, forgiving God and we believe that when people even if they made big mistakes if they're willing to come to God and confess it and receive his forgiveness. God always forgives.
We believe that for Christians, there is life after divorce as a matter fact, we believe that if Christians will really give their whole heart to God. Even after divorce can have a bond of one believe that God makes up the years the locusts of that's what we teach people forgiveness of locked number four.
We believe that the blood of Jesus Christ covers the things that we did before. And Christians. The things we did in spiritual ignorance. We have many, many people who come here and come to know Christ for the very first time right here play Bible church, but they already have divorced and their parents when we do with those folks were the first thing we do is try to go back and fix that old marriage and see if we can make it work is a longer, successfully you have not good, not good, but we try and if we can't make that work than what we say to these people we say look, you are not a Christian you may have known what you were doing, but not from God's perspective, you were plugged in. We believe that the blood of Jesus Christ covers what you did before you were Christian and is a new creature in Christ. You get a chance to start over, make the next marriage work. They could something that on number five. In considering remarriage questions when people come in and go can I get remarried. Here's my situation. We believe principle number five.
It always put in the monkey on the person's back roads that well. I people committing a lot. Here's my deal Bubba Bubba block long can I get remarried. Tell me and I always say to them. I can't tell you the answer I can take the Bible and I can talk to you about the principles in here and I can even give you my opinion but you know what when you stand in front of Jesus Christ, to give an account of everything you've done here on the earth is a Christian I'm not will be standing there with you. Frankly, I don't want to stand there with you. I got my own problems. I'm worried about when I get to that moment in time and I'm not going to stand here and justify when you did. You need to get on your knees, you need to pray about this. You need to seek the face of God, you need to stay on your knees to God tells you what he wants you to do and in whatever you do, just make sure that you are prepared to answer. Christ will blame it on me.
Don't blame it on some of the preacher because go down the road and get the exact opposite answer from some pastor down the road if you want to, but that isn't the point of what is what you think God want you to. The monkeys got a go on their back on my back here that they're the ones who have to make the decision and that leads me to my sixth and final point, and that is no matter what people decide even if they decide to go against whatever advice I might give them listen carefully.
We as a church family are committed to never rejecting anybody over this issue.
I sat in my office. I did about two years ago I had a couple in there in the salon.
Here's our deal.
We got a couple divorces want you to do the marriage were you married's and after listening to them. I had to say you know what I'm sorry but my convictions will not let me do this or I can't perform and I hope that that hurt your feelings but I just can't. However, I said if you guys go out decide to get married anyway if you go to the justice of the peace. If you go to another pastor to go to Las Vegas auto care where you go and you get married anyway and decide to come to McLean Bible Church. The result we want you here and I and this church will do everything in our power to make your marriage successful where I thought I could do it or not to make you come here will do everything we can to make this marriage when I can reject you this, even though you every post I'm not the Pope. I'm not God. You say we were thankful for that while I am to have the final word on all this you know the couples can go down the street and across the city and call up people and get exactly opposite answers of what I might tell when I rejecting anybody on Sunday. Hey were not here to change the past. We can't change the past were here to help people make the future something that on that's awful you want to come here about what's in your past to make your future honor God as world left, way we operated we try to take those six principles as best we can and figure out what to do with every individual situation, but it's still not easy. In fact many times will take the situation and staff will even agree what to do with two or three of us will be over here saying what we think we are. Do this in a couple of us will be over your sin. Now, we don't really think so. This is not easy stop. This is a complicated these are the principles we try to go in the matter what your marital status is here what your background is, I want to say without apology you are welcome here and will do the best we can to make the future what it ought to be in change past when I go to reject anybody over what happened. They want to make your life count Jesus Christ. Now, one more thing I want to do. I want to ask the question what because this is all been crisis management I wanted to do crisis management. We want to do some preventive maintenance here, so let me see if I can take the last few minutes… And talking about some principles of making marriage work better so that if you're married, you don't end up in my office I want to see in my office over that issue and if you're single. Hey you're looking for somebody you can make a marriage work with. So who you looking for will counter person houses the work. Let me see if I get up five quick things to give you and these things come after being a veteran of the trenches for 20 years I've been down in there with the mustard gas and everything and I'm here to tell you that I love my wife got a great marriage but does mustard gas in the trench and you don't think there is you never been married and how do you make your way through that and hang together and survive.
I got five suggestions number one, you want a marriage that works. It all starts number one with unconditional commitment.
See were unconditional commitment. This is a cornerstone of every marriage that makes it Brennan I got married we adopted a motto.
Our motto was divorce is not one of the above selection and you could paste on the wall in our house.
If you want to because that is our commitment divorce is not one of the above selection and friends that has stood us so well over the last 20 years we have said because divorce is not one of those selections that were going to work this out.
The matter how hurt.
We are doesn't matter how badly we treated each other doesn't matter what our flesh feels like doing divorce is not one of the above selection. We will come back to the table. We will sit back down with a cup of coffee and we will work this out because there is no other option. I believe the couples and enter into a marriage relationship without that kind of unconditional commitment, then the pressures are too great. The temptations are too easy. You gotta start there and that's a commitment we made to Jesus Christ first and issue down in the commitment to one Brenda has often said and I don't mind admitting above which is often salon if I won the Christian I divorced you in the first year for sure buddy. Nobody ever asked me what I thought, so I never really shared my opinion about that subject, but brands every compatibility test.
Brenda and I have ever taken where a dismal failure.
I mean we are a disaster zone. People look at our test and they go there and just turn their head and would listen I know what they're talking about the sparks fly in my house sometime in terms of compatibility. I mean you put us on paper will look real good together.
But I'll tell you what, 20 years later were still in love with each other and hanging in there because we made a commitment. Divorce will not will be above selection number two of marriage. It makes it is a marriage where people learn to appreciate the differences in one another and value those differences they don't despise the they treasure the differences in men and women are just different. You know that you have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out, which is wired differently.
Men, for example, start about our men. They insist on driving.
I will review these down and on the resurrection they can't afford to take out, but the spent $200 on a new fishing rod delete hair all over the bathroom sink when they shave their idea of a perfect gift is a tacky négligée.
I need to then sex is a recreational sport they never call when they're going to be late. They thought the movie dumb and dumber was a riot that will that movie they never put the toilet seat back down. They never replace the toilet paper roll their experts at listening, but not hearing and interviewing here are both sick with the same cold he's always sicker than your true okay don't Get ladies women. They complain you ever talk to me and then they interrupt when you try that closet for close enough in the where they hang pantyhose all over the bathroom. They name you pull your weight at home and then when you try to criticize everything you do. They point out every guy on the beach with a great body but God help you if you sneeze in a woman's direction. They never put the toilet seat back they hated dumb and dumber, and they wear socks and granting nightgowns to bed at nine.
When you think of a list right now. On top of just the normal differences between guys and gals you got personality differences that come into it as well. I like the Gary Smalley store personality type and healing. Some the animals and in your I get to so analyze and check it out as lions line. The people say where the hill all taken the matter what he calls by the time the smoke clears. I'll be on top of the hill right about the run over 65 friends to get there will because the taken ill. Then there's honors honors alike was the party. There is no party only answer is on here and there's no authority regarding then there's the beavers you know the beavers. The beavers all about chopping down trees and building dams and building were in the matter what else is out in man were chopping down and building that's what life's about, and is only 1 Right Way to chopping down and build and guess who's way that is my way. That's right. And then there's the golden retriever golden retriever discount goes and licks everybody know nothing ever wrong is like everybody we love everybody you know if you couple actually feel better now. You think that women given personality types not seen it would've been a very and then you got all kinds of interesting stuff going Brennan is a beaver I mean my wife is a beaver and she does love to cut down trees and build stuff you know and its work work work work work and we got stuff to get done I'm in honor I'm like where is party time, Barney the cheeselike. I think I'm like well wait let's have a party you can party your whole life. You said that to be all time and I go by, we can party your life. So, man, you little mixing and I don't know what you guys are in your home with you at all that mixing and you got some interesting stuff going on the listen cup that make it or not. Couples that have different values menu have different basic values your trouble. They're not couples that have different priorities, different priorities spell trouble, but there couples that have the same values the same priorities that they are different and they like being different they recognize God wanted them to be different and that the reason they're different is because each one needs the other. I need a beaver in my life right never get anything done and Brenda neither honoring her line and God put us together on purpose and when you got the emotional maturity to see that and initiate that and like that and see it as a strength in our weakness can go to and if you see these things is bad thing you got trouble.
Number three. Open communication is the secret to a good merit more important sex that you don't have is you won't have a lot of sex trust and is more important than money being able to speak the truth in love is Ephesians 4 is the really the foundation of a good marriage and friends. What I have learned is you gotta work it. You gotta learn how to talk one another's language. It takes time it takes input it takes energy it takes co-probation. Gotta work at this, Brennan. I first got married, she would say to me things like how you feel about your work better job and I go on I will think I feel anything about my jingle yes you do you feel something about your job and I go now think so and she say why you just don't want to talk to me and I go both know I'll be happy to talk to you just are things that I'm feeling about my job well it's taken me 20 years to learn how to talk. That kind of language to meet a friend asked me now want how do you feel about this. Another thing I can talk on that level. Now that I had to learn how to do that and that was hard work. On the other hand, my wife is more when she comes to me you don't just cut to the bottom line.
Give me the bottom line if I wanted more facts I'll ask for, but we know we staff conversations, where I would say this is have a point, or sisters, recreational talking is there a point to this and now it should give you the bottom line is that you want the rest of the facts and usually are no I said that's fine, okay, but you know and what we had to learn how to talk to each other.
It's taken a lot of hard work, but when you learn how to talk each other's language. Then you can build a relationship that takes investment but if you're committed to the marriage or willing to do. Number four make a marriage work.
You gotta be a giver not a take that if you giver not a taker were the reasons marriages are so hard is because marriage is not a 50-50 deal in marriage.
Both people have to be giving one hundred percent of everything they have.
To make a marriage work. Marriages only work with us to givers. Dr. Joyce Brothers wrote an article recently entitled Lewis Taylor get married again using a bumper sticker that says honk if you been married Liz Taylor but anyway Dr. Joyce Brothers wrote this article in the article. She said yes this Taylor some people get married.
And the reason is. She said that Liz Taylor knows how to take love when it's given to her. She knows how to deal with it when people fall all over her but when the table shift and she gets married and she has to give love and she picks up her Gucci bag goes home she is a low consumer. She's not a love giver.
She's a love consumer and that's why her marriages don't work and that's why she's been in a get married again and again and again, because marriages don't work with you got love consumer work got love you when you want your marriage to work your two people and they're given 100% if and finally, probably most important of all, want to make a marriage work.
It takes lots and lots lots. Forgive Ephesians chapter 4 says that would be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another way Christ forgave us and I'll tell you something. Husbands and wives hurting children comes with her is no way around, but it's a husbands and wives who can review from and go warm those of the one not the one to dredge up the old stuff every argument want to go from the heart is on my wife's great.
If not, she's had a lot of practice.
I gotta tell him I'm on these, you gotta live with and she gets to practice a lot. She's great at this and we both worked hard and forgiveness and holding each other accountable in an argument, say wait a minute didn't you forgive me for that. Yes I did. Will that you can't bring I want a regular I'm sorry you can't we do that with each other because otherwise you just stand there and slog each other till everybody wore the room that you forgive it's overdone. We got to give. That's what we probably one of the single greatest reasons Brennan are still together with Bartleby was a five principles and you know what is a song by Garth Brooks called unanswered prayer of your preferred that's all.
But if you remember the song goes.
He goes to know football game you know and he sees his old girlfriend there and if this is a girl that he laid in high school. He loved her love.
You may want to parents of any pray pray pray Delgado gotta work. Whatever the season. Years later, Joe look like she used to look and so the song the line in the song is thank God for unanswered prayer that I was on, but the truth is, were all out there. Are we looking for that magic person that we can vary and we find that magic person in marriage work. Would you notice that the five things I gave you the make marriage work.
None of them dealt at all. Because see, I don't think the other person to seek I think that to be honest with you friends that finding the right person is not nearly as important.
Being so and if we're the right person are self will improve the quality of our marriage enormously. If our partner never changes in five things about being the right person being a person of unconditional commitment being a person who appreciates and values. The other part even if their different number three being a person who is a communicator and a listener number four being a giver number five being the forgive go. Those five values into your life. Get your partner all taken work on your problem. You're single and you're looking for somebody to marry me give you a piece of advice. Don't look for the right person asked God to make you the right foods is gotta make you the wipers and then look for somebody else was working on those same things that you will do these five things with listing. That's