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When is it OK to Divorce and Remarry?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
May 3, 2015 6:00 am

When is it OK to Divorce and Remarry?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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Good morning, Summit Church, and welcome at our campuses in the Raleigh-Durham area. If you have a Bible, I'd invite you to take it out and open it to the Gospel of Matthew, the first gospel, chapter 19, Matthew 19, verse 3. We are in week number four in our From the Beginning series. The basis of the series, the logic behind it is whenever Jesus was asked a question about marriage or sex or relationships, he almost always would base his answer on what God had established from the beginning. And so using that same logic and teaching, we are looking at our toughest questions about marriage and sex and relationships. The first week, we looked at how God had designed sex from the beginning. And the second week, we looked at what God's plan is for us when we are not married. When we're single, is God's design that everybody being married is the complete life?

And the answer to that is no, that from the beginning, God has had other things for certain people in different stages of our life. Last week, we looked at what the Bible says about same sex attraction. This week, we're going to look at how to get through pregnancy in marriage and what to do after a divorce or basically what the Bible says about divorce. I have to admit to you that when I sat down this past week to start working on this message, I never imagined that I would feel so relieved to be working on a sermon on divorce. But after the stress of delivering the message on same sex attraction last week, talking about divorce feels like a walk in the park.

With a bunch of puppies or something. So I can't do that, but I do have this image for you. So maybe that'll help. So divorce has affected a lot of people in our church and in our community. Some of you have gone through it yourselves. Some of you are going through it right now. For many of you, you watched your parents get divorced and it affected you deeply.

I want you to know that whatever situation that you are in, I do not come judgmentally on this. I know that for many of you, this was one of the most painful times in your life. And it's something that if you could have avoided it, you certainly feel like you would have done whatever you could have to avoid it.

And you just felt like for whatever reason you couldn't. And so I'm not coming judgmentally to you. Some Christians talk about divorce as if it is the unforgivable sin, as if it's the one thing you can never really come back from.

You walk around from that point with a scarlet D attached to your chest or whatever. I hope to show you that abundantly today. And while not everyone is divorced, of course, we all have brokenness in our relationships. In fact, that's probably the one thing that we all have in common. The one thing we have in common in relation to our families and our relationships is conflict, very hurtful conflict. And learning to press through that and to keep the family intact is something that's very difficult. And being in any kind of relationship, and certainly in family, it's the one thing that we try to prepare you for in premarital counseling, but it never works. Because going into marriage, conflict is not really on your radar screen that much. And when you do get in it, they say that there's generally five different conflict styles. And the spouse quite often usually is never the same style as you.

I've heard of these five. Some of you with conflict, you're what we call a people. A peacemaker, right? You just want to smooth things over. You don't really want to talk about it. You just want to move on.

And then you got the stuffer, which is similar, but you just cram everything down. It's like, are you okay? I'm fine.

Are you sure? I said, I'm fine. And that's just how you deal with conflict. Then you've got the sulker. I see some of you looking at one another right now. In fact, I was going to have you raise your hand and identify yourself if you were in this, but why don't we do it if I describe your spouse? Why don't you raise your hand and just be like right here?

This is what I'm talking about. You got the sulker. The sulker is somebody who doesn't fight back.

They just sulk around until they send out these subtle vibes about what's really bothering them. Some of you are the litigator. The litigator, you're a good arguer. And so you want your spouse to see that you're never wrong. It's not that we can't admit that we're wrong. It's that we just legitimately feel like we are never wrong. Did I just slip into the first person pronoun there?

What do you know? Then you've got the screamer. That's self-explanatory. And here's the thing.

It's one of the rules of the universe. You just never marry somebody that's the same conflict style as you. There are some of you that you were peacemakers or you were a stuffer and you married a screamer. And during your first argument in marriage, you wanted to be like demons come out.

What just happened to you? Veronica and I were in premarital counseling together. The one session that we ran out of time for was conflict resolution. I kid you not.

Veronica reminded me of that this week. And at the time we thought it's okay. We never really fight. It's a strategic oversight. In fact, this week, my wife said, she said, why do we do premarital counseling before people get married? And I said, well, because it's called premarital counseling. And she said, no, no, no. I mean, like, why? She said, because when you're leading up to marriage, none of this stuff sounds relevant.

It just goes in one ear and right out the other. She said, if you would have said this stuff to me after or during our first year of marriage, I would have grabbed a hold of it like a drowning man to a life preserver or something like that. It's probably a great point. But the big idea, conflict is inevitable in a marriage and it destroys a lot of marriages. God intended it, however, to not destroy your marriage. It actually, he intended it to make you more like him. And he intended it to be something that would ultimately strengthen your marriage. And so learning how to think through this is a crucial dimension of any family and certainly any marriage. First, what we're going to do is we're going to start by looking at what Jesus teaches about divorce.

And then using that, we're going to address some of the questions that you and I have surrounding that. So let's go to Matthew chapter 19 verse three. Let me warn you.

It gets really heavy really quick. So here we go. Matthew 19 verse three.

There's our series title. Made them male and female. You see what he did?

He goes back to the beginning and says, let's look at how this was set up. Have you read this? Therefore, a man, based on this, shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife. And the two in marriage shall actually become one flesh.

That's a quote from Genesis two. So they are no longer two individuals. They are now one flesh. Therefore, God has joined together. Let not man separate. Not you, not your spouse.

Nobody separates it. Verse seven. So they said to him, well, why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?

It was true. Moses had said in Deuteronomy 24 one, when a man takes a wife and he marries her, if he finds some indecency in her, he could divorce her. And so they're like, well, Jesus, you know, you're saying that we shouldn't get divorced, but Moses said we could. For the record, you should never get into a battle of wits with Jesus.

Especially not about the Bible. I, you know, a friend of mine got me into this. I think it's called the Bible quiz app on your phone or whatever.

But you, you know, they, you just play somebody random around the United States. And so I go into that pretty confidently. I'm not gonna lie to you because I'm like, I got a PhD in theology.

I teach the Bible for a living. I strut into that pretty confident. I got matched up with some guy in Idaho. Who kicks my tail every, and I keep re-challenging every time I lose. And I'm like, what do they know about the Bible in Idaho?

How am I losing? In fact, I even thought, you know where the Bible says that we sometimes entertain angels unaware? I'm like, maybe this guy is an angel that God has put to humble me because every single time. So I don't know who this guy is. I don't know if you're listening to our podcast, but Thief in the Night 4212 hats off to you, my brother, because you have got it going on. You're like, well, what's your name? I want to, I'm not telling you my screen name because I don't want you quizzing me and then beating me.

No, I'm kidding. I'll tell you it's Guns and Moses is my screen name. So anyway, how I feel with this guy is how the Pharisees felt with Jesus. Cause they were, it was always just, I mean, they could never win with him, but they kept doing this. And so he says to them, because of your hardness of heart, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning, there it is again, it was not so. Rabbis at the time taught a difference between what they called a command in the law and a concession. A command expressed God's heart. A command showed what God had desired from the beginning. That was different than a concession, which was something that God allowed in the law because of man's fallen condition in order to keep peace in a society that was filled with people at various levels of spiritual maturity. This allowance for divorce, Jesus said, was not a command.

It was a command. A concession due to man's fallen nature. The Pharisees actually knew that many of the rabbis at the time taught the difference between a command and a concession, but this was their trap. There were generally two schools of thought about what those two words meant. Rabbi Shammai represented one school of thought.

He taught that indecent meant sexual indecency, meaning that Moses was saying that if a man discovered his wife had been sexually unfaithful, then he could divorce her. He represents the conservative position of the day. He was the religion correspondent for the Fox News of his day. Hillel was a little bit more of the progressive type. He lived in Chapel Hill. He drove a Prius. He, of course, you know, MSNBC News.

He was on the Rachel Maddow Show. Hillel said indecent means anything you don't like about her. Maybe she has indecent behavior at a party or indecent cooking skills or indecent morning breath.

And I'm actually not really even exaggerating about that. We have record of Hillel saying if she consistently burns the bread, you may divorce her. Hillel said if you fall out of love with her, marry somebody else.

If you fall in love with somebody else, erwat debar, divorce her. Here's the thing. The majority of the Jewish world was on the side of Rabbi Hillel, right? They were a little bit more on the progressive side. And so what they're trying to do is get Jesus to say something deeply unpopular. I've done a number of interviews.

In fact, I did one couple weeks ago with PBS, and they are always trying to get you to say something that puts you in a soundbite that they can broadcast everywhere and make you look like an idiot. And that's what they're trying to do to Jesus. Furthermore, John the Baptist had just been imprisoned and executed for speaking out against casual divorce and remarriage. And so the Pharisees think, okay, if Herod killed John the Baptist because John the Baptist speaks out against casual divorce and remarriage, maybe we can get Jesus to say something similar, and maybe we can get him in prison and executed too. So what is Jesus' answer? Verse nine, and I say to you, whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and marries another, here's the big thing, commits adultery. Jesus actually goes farther than Rabbi Shammai.

He's more conservative than the conservative side because he gives something stronger than that. The basis of his answer, and this is the key part, is what God had established from the beginning. This is not just for sexual immorality. You're the one that's committing adultery if you divorce your spouse and marry somebody else. Marriage, he says, is a relationship in which God fuses two lives into one.

That's the idea. The two, according to Genesis 2, become one flesh. Your bodies and your emotions become one in sex. Your families and your futures become one. Marriage is more than a contract where you find a mutually beneficial relationship. It's more than companionship.

It's more than an ideal setting for procreation. It is the literal union of two distinct persons into one. A kind of unity can't just be walked away from. Jesus and Paul would both say it's not a contract where you negotiate terms and have a buyout option. It's a fusion of your life into their life that makes an entirely new entity. So verse six, what therefore God has joined together, let not man, not you, not your spouse, not anybody, let nobody separate it, period. End of sentence, no common, no dash, no asterisk, no fine print, no recommended reading, finish, the end, done.

See, there were two visions of marriage in Jesus' day just like there are two today. There's what we would call the consumer approach and there is the covenant approach. A consumer relationship is where you figure out what you need and who or what can best meet that need. Now listen, there's nothing wrong with consumer relationships in the right context. I have a consumer relationship with my grocery store.

I go to my grocery store. I know the people. I like them there. I know them by name. They know me by name. But I go there because they're close to my house. They have good prices and there's a red box right outside. So I go there.

If I find a grocery store that is more convenient, if I find one that has better prices, then I begin to go there and that's okay because it's a consumer relationship and there's nothing wrong with that. I do not have that kind of relationship with my children. I do not go to my kids and say, you know, Raya, this is just not working out. Honestly, it's not you.

It's me. But I've actually been hanging out with the neighbor's kids. I work with them to be honest with you.

And so I'm going to have to, you know, of course not. Nobody would do that because none of you would do that because you know that your relationship with your kids is not a consumer relationship. So the question is what kind of relationship is sex and marriage? Well, see, if you're sleeping with somebody and you're not married to them, then you look at it as a consumer relationship. Or if you are the kind of person that just gets divorced because it's not working out for you, then you are treating it like a consumer relationship. But according to Jesus, it's not that kind of relationship at all. Marriage is a, not a consumer, but a, say it, covenant.

So is it ever okay to divorce? Well, Jesus says that divorce, because of this, should not be an option except in the case of adultery. Now, why would that be an exception? The logic of this is very, very important. And the logic is more important than you just fixing on the one exception because the logic is actually going to help you explain some other places in the Bible and some other questions you and I might bring to this.

So listen to the logic. Adultery kills the covenant. When someone unifies themselves to another person sexually, they have destroyed the covenant with you. This is the reason, the same reason, by the way, you're free to remarry after your spouse dies. Your covenant with them is dead because they're dead. Well, adultery kills the covenant, which makes divorce a legitimate option. Now, is that the only exception? In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul seems to employ the same logic and actually apply it to a different situation. That's why I say the logic is important.

Listen to this. 1 Corinthians 7, 10. To the married, I give this charge, not I, but the Lord. In other words, I'm quoting Matthew 19.

He's referring back to what we just read. The wife should not separate korizo in Greek, which was the vernacular term for divorce. She should not separate from her husband, but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband and the husband should not divorce his wife. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.

Here was a situation in Corinth. There was a bunch of new Christians, first generation church, and a lot of people's spouse had not become believers. And many of those unbelieving spouses were not only not going to church with them, they were mocking them and making things really difficult for them. People thought, well, it would just be so much easier if I was married to somebody whose faith was like mine. Surely God does not want me to be in a home where I get no spiritual support, where I'm mocked all the time. God wants me to be with somebody who would encourage me spiritually. So for spiritual reasons, I feel like it's best for me and the family that I get divorced and remarried. And Paul says, no, not even for spiritual reasons. Even if you think it's better for you spiritually to separate, you stay married because marriage is not a contract where you figure out what the best way that you can be benefited is. It's a covenant where you've actually become one with somebody else and you're now one body. That's a fundamentally different type of relationship. Plus, Paul says, God has you in the unbeliever's life for a reason.

It's not about you anymore anyway. If everybody in your family is automatically saved. The word holy there, it implies that you're separated. And it means that when you've got a believer living in a house, his or her faith ends up being the front row theater for everybody else to get a really good glimpse of what the gospel looks like.

That is a unique privilege. He says, do not abandon that. There's a guy in our church who told me that in his family, the only person who was a Christian was the grandmother, not the grandfather, not any of the aunts, not any of the uncles, not his parents.

He said, today, every single grandchild is a follower of Jesus Christ. There are some of you that are in that exact situation. And Paul's like, you're there for a reason. And you want to look back and you want to say, but God, it's not, it's just not fulfilling to me. And it's just miserable.

It's miserable for me. And Paul says, Hey, I'm not trying to be mean with this, but it's not about you. Jesus didn't die on the cross as an act of self fulfillment.

He did it to save us. And so that's how you ought to approach everything in your life, including your marriage now. And he keeps going, but if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases, the brother or sister is not enslaved. Probably a better translation there is bound. And what that means is you're no longer bound in that marriage covenant and you're free to remarry.

Why is that? Because God has called you to peace. That means when the unbeliever says, I can't take this and they leave, then you're no longer bound to the marriage because they have, listen to this, killed the covenant. You see, it's the same logic that Jesus used. The covenant stands until it has been killed.

And when it has been killed, then you are free. So people say, well, what if there's technically not adultery? And what if it's not technically an unbelieving spouse that has left, but what if one spouse is abusive or they're involved in illegal activity and they keep putting your family in danger? Well, first of all, you should definitely get yourself out of the situation of danger immediately. As far as divorce goes, many Bible scholars say that the logic of Paul and Jesus' statements here, they may allow for divorce when a spouse has killed the covenant by getting to a place where they are unable to be lived with.

You and your kids, for example, are in danger because of it. That does not mean that they've gotten annoying to you or that they're a different person or they're just not doing it for you anymore. That's the kind of thing that you ought to do under close advisement of the elders and pastors of your church and Christian counselors. That's why God gave you a church. I know many times the space of separation may be in order, perhaps even a long one, to give one spouse a space to repent. If they refuse to, after a long period of time, they may have, in effect, have left the marriage. And so 1 Corinthians 7.15, you would no longer be bound. Again, this is why God gave you the church so that you do this in close consultation with your pastors and spiritual leaders.

But the bigger point that I'm trying to make, I'm not trying to get into all the specifics, the bigger point is this. From the beginning, God established marriage as a covenant, not in any way as a consumer relationship. The two become one. Divorce should therefore be as radical as amputating an arm or a leg. There are times when amputation is necessary. But any doctor that just prescribes amputation, on a whim, is going to be run out of practice. You come in with a hangnail and he's like, nah, let's amputate it. You got a sprained ankle, amputate it. Ugly freckles, varicose veins, let's cut it off.

Amputation is the last thing that you would do because you want to keep the body intact. It's the same way that Jesus says that's how we think about marriage, the two. It's not a contract, it is a covenant where the two have become one.

I'm going to give you five quick things that I want you to remember. First of all, you need to reject once and for all the right person myth. Remember the right person myth we went over the second week? The right person myth says that there is a right person out there for you and a happy life is determined by you finding that person. If you don't find that person, you're going to be unhappy. If you're unhappy now in your marriage, it's because you didn't find the right person. You may have thought when you were young and stupid that they were the right person, but then you got married and now your tastes have matured. You recognize what you don't want in a spouse and this person no longer fits that. It's probably better to just acknowledge that you got married to the wrong person than to cut bait and to fish somewhere else. That's kind of the idea behind it. This is the myth that is pervasive in our culture and it destroys singleness and it destroys marriages. You need to just get rid of it out of your mind altogether.

Remember I told you the second week? You always marry the wrong person because you're a sinner and they're a sinner and they're not God. Therefore, they're going to be the wrong person for you. Furthermore, you change in marriage. Sociologists were saying if you get married in your mid-20s and you have to stay married until you're 70, you're at least five different people through that time. The JD that Veronica married in her 20s is not the JD of today.

I'm a totally new guy. I'll be two new guys by the time we get married. Even if you marry the right person, they're going to become the wrong person. The best you can hope for in marriage is less of a bad match.

That's the best you can hope for since everybody ends up being a bad match. Then you realize that God's purpose in marriage is not to restore the missing part of your soul. His main purpose in marriage is to make you more like him by teaching you to love an annoying sinner like your spouse the way that he loves you.

That's really what's happening. I'm not trying to say that you don't really genuinely love your spouse. I so love my wife.

I just feel like every year there are new deaths to her and just her beauty. I want to just make it dismal. I'm just saying that God's main purpose is not to make me happy in giving me the lost missing part of my soul. His main purpose, Gary Thomas says, is to make me holy, not happy but holy by making me be more like him. You need to reject this right person myth altogether because it's what's ultimately, I'd say, the vast majority of divorces are driven by belief in that myth. Here is the second thing, letter B.

If you're in a difficult marriage, how do you stay in it? B, you do it for Jesus. The covenant we made was first and foremost to him. It was first and foremost to him. Veronica said to me recently, very recently, in the midst of a little tussle that we were in, she said, you know, there are times when we are in the midst of one of these conflagrations where our marriage is going up in flames and I will look at you and I will think he does not deserve my kindness.

He deserves a punch in the throat. But she says, but then I look, sometimes I look actually, it's like I look through you and I see Jesus Christ standing behind you and I recognize that while you may not be worthy of my forgiveness or my kindness, he always is. And so I respond first and foremost to him and only secondly to you because he is worthy and you're kind of being a jerk. Forgiving one another because the person that you're forgiving really just needs a second chance and they deserve it. Is that what Ephesians 4 32 says? Wrong.

Okay. Forgive one another because that's what God and Christ did for you. And so it is appropriate that you respond to him by forgiving your spouse.

So you do it for Jesus. Ultimately, the one that you first serve in any marriage is always him. And your responses are always first to him and only second to the person that is in front of you. We don't get divorced because we fall out of love with our spouse. We get divorced because we don't take seriously our obedience to Jesus.

Which leads me to letter C. It goes hand in hand with this one. Soak yourselves in God's grace. Soak yourselves in God's grace. You know what precedes this teaching on divorce? Matthew 19. If you go back to Matthew 18, just look, if you've got your Bible, look at it. Matthew 18 verse 22 is where Peter comes up to Jesus and says, I give my brother seven times. I would love to know what was behind that statement. There's got to be a great story there. Peter picks the number seven because seven sounds like a spiritual number.

Right? So that sounds like it's holy. So Jesus runs by saying, nope, 70 times seven. Now, what he is not saying is you're keeping a tally and just move the gauge from seven to 490. And when they go 491, then you go Old Testament on them. That is not what he is saying. Anytime you multiplied sevens in Hebrew culture, you were basically saying infinity.

It was the number of completions. So Jesus was saying forever. And then Jesus tells a story that is his most famous story on forgiveness. It is the most important parable that Jesus told, I think, for any relationship, certainly marriage. It is probably my favorite parable that he told.

I know I've shared it with you a lot, but it's the kind of thing that I probably feel like I need to hear in my marriage at least once a month. He explains what he means to Peter by saying, it's like this, Peter. Say you've got a guy who owes another guy 10,000 talents. Now, a talent in that day was a large sum of money that amounted to about 20 years of wages for the average laborer. 10,000 was the highest number you counted to in Greek. So when you said 10,000, it was like saying infinity. So you've got one guy who owes another guy an infinity of money.

We're talking, you know, Floyd Mayweather kind of money right here. And the day comes for his debt to be due. Now, in those days, if you couldn't pay your debts when it was due, then you entered into what they call a debtor's prison, which was where you would go into hard labor and little by little, you would pay off your debt.

Your kids would have to join you there. If when you died and they died, you weren't all paid off. And, you know, their kids would then go into debt to this family.

It's how one family would become slaves of another family. Well, the day comes for this guy to pay an eternity of debt back. And he goes into the courtroom and he falls on his face and he says, I don't have the money. And he begins to weep. And he says, please, sir, just give me more time. Now, everybody in the courtroom is kind of shaking their head.

And they're honestly embarrassed because this is a pathetic display. Right. I mean, because the guy that owns loans, other people money, he didn't get to be in the place where he is by being a pushover. Right. We don't call them loan puppies or loan bunnies.

You call them loan sharks because if you don't pay your money, they send some guy named Bruno to your doorstep with a bat and he breaks your kneecap. So this guy's not a pushover. And so everybody's kind of, you know, everybody's looking down.

Everybody looks awkward as this guy grovels. And all of a sudden the most unexpected thing happens. Jesus says this loan shark fills an emotion that Jesus calls splagma, which is my favorite Greek word because it's onomatopoeia.

All right. Splagma, you know, onomatopoeia where the word sounds like what it is? Splagma meant a gut level compassion, something that came from right down here. You hear that in the words? Splagma.

Right. It's fun to say. You want to say it? Splagma. Down here.

It's got to come from right here. Say it again. Everybody together.

Ready? Splagma. That's exactly it. Okay. So Jesus says this guy feels this splagma, this compassion that just consumes it. We don't know why.

It doesn't tell us. But it gets a tear in his eye and his lip starts quivering. And he says, stand up. I want you back because you don't owe me any more money. As of right now, I forgive all your debt. Nobody in the courtroom can believe it.

Least of all this guy. He stands up and has this surreal feeling. And for the first time in his life, he feels like he's as light as air because this mountain eternity of debt has been gone.

And so he walks out of the courtroom kind of in a daze. And as he walks across the street, here comes a buddy of his who owes him $1.50 for a Mountain Dew that he borrowed, you know, the week before. And so this guy just got forgiven because of this other guy and says, hey, where's mine? Where's my $1.50? And the guy said, man, I'm sorry, I don't have your $1.50.

I just, you know, it's been a hard week. And well, this guy responds by grabbing this guy, Jesus said, by the throat and hauling him off and saying, if you don't have my $1.50, you're going to debtors prison. Now, when Jesus is telling the story, you can imagine that everybody listening is like, that's so ridiculous.

Nobody that just got forgiven an eternity of debt is going to hold somebody else accountable for $1.50. And Jesus says, exactly. Thus, if you're not the kind of person who naturally and repeatedly forgives those people who hurt and sin against you, then it must be because you have no concept of the extravagant grace that God has shown to you, because you're the one that got forgiven 10,000 talents. And when you can't forgive other people of the $1.50 infractions that they've done, it just shows how out of touch you are with the grace of God.

And then he goes into the teaching on marriage. Because if there was one thing that you and I probably would admit destroys more of our marriages, it is that we have a hard time forgiving our spouse when they have hurt us. I am not trying to take lightly some of the hurt that some of you have gone into. It is significant. I know that.

There are some things that have happened to you that I'm not trying to say, oh, they're just $1.50 infractions. They are huge. But I'm saying as huge as they are, they are nothing compared to what you and I did to Jesus on the cross and the extravagant grace that God gave to us. And what will end up transforming a marriage is when you come to understand the extravagant grace that you've been giving and then you begin to respond. And the same spirit with which God has treated you. Did you notice in Matthew 19 where Jesus said Moses gave it because of the hardness of your heart? What leads us to divorce is hardness of heart.

Guess what softens the heart? The grace of God toward us softens our heart and it changes us and makes us into different people. I have told you what saved my marriage was this understanding.

Because Veronica and I just had a hard time forgiving each other and we were holding all these things over one another's head. What saved my marriage is when it finally dawned on me, somebody explain this to me, that you are first and foremost not somebody who needs to forgive. You're first and foremost somebody who has been forgiven. You are first the sinner and only second are you asked to forgive.

You're only secondly sinned against. So you've got to soak yourselves in the grace of God because it will soften your heart and it will change everything. Here's the letter D. Do it for others. Do it for others.

I don't have a lot of time with this so I'm just going to have to give you the big idea. The big idea here is in 1 Corinthians 7 it's not about you it's about your other people and your family. We all know the stats on what divorced us to kids. Even beyond that y'all listen we got a watching world who's learning about the love of God from our marriages. Our kids learn about the unconditional love of God from our marriage and when we teach our kids that when you annoy me I leave and go to somewhere else you have taught your kid a lie about the unconditional love of God. Now I know that for some of you that almost feels devastating because you're in a divorce situation. I'm telling you listen the grace of God is amazing and we have people that are in this situation and God because they have looked to him God has filled their lives with gifts here in the church that replace what happened in marriage. So I'm not trying to discourage you but we don't do any favors to the grace of God by minimizing the potential damage of sin. I want you to do what they do here not just for the counseling they provide but for the resources that they put out. It would be a tragedy for you to be here and not take advantage of that. My wife and I our third year of marriage went and got some counseling. I always avoided it because I thought it meant like you were just really messed up. You go to the doctor for a check up you ought to be the one to say hey let's think through this so get some counseling. Here's question number 2. Should I get remarried? Should I get remarried?

Quickly here. When a divorce is legitimate remarried marriage is an option. That's what Paul says. But realize that just because you can get remarried doesn't mean that you should. Paul in 1 Corinthians says that singleness can be a gift. Now you reject the right person myth.

You don't have to be married to be complete and there's many of you that your singleness after divorce it might be better for you and your kids for you to stay single and God might have purposes in your time of singleness. Jesus explains that in Matthew 19 through a very unusual metaphor that you probably read over and not had any idea what he's talking about so I'll explain to you. Verse 12. And there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by the men and there are eunuchs who have been made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.

Let the one who is able to receive this receive it. And you're like what? A eunuch is. Ask your campus pastor what a eunuch is.

But let's just say that a eunuch functionally speaking is a man with no sexual desire. And Jesus says there's actually three different ways he could have gotten in that condition. One it may have been done to him by somebody else. He's a victim of injustice. Number 2. He might have been born that way.

Number 3. He might have voluntarily entered into that for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. When you're single it could be one of those three things sometimes. So there are some people who aren't married because God hasn't given them a desire for the opposite sex.

That's what we go back to from last week. There are some people who are not married because for the kingdom of heaven they've got specific assignments. There are others who are single because they're victims of injustice. And what Jesus says is eunuchs can have a full and thriving life in the kingdom of God because life is not about your marriage situation.

Life is about the God that you walk with. So should you get remarried? I would just tell you at first you need to take the right person myth off the table. If you determine that yes, remarriage is something that God has for you. Here's a few questions I would give to you. Have you given God time to restore your previous marriage?

It amazes me the speed at which people move through these things. It's like they don't realize that it's like amputation. Even if you're separated or divorced now you ought to ask God to heal your previous marriage and give him time to do it. There's nothing that says that if your spouse committed adultery you have to get divorced. Some of the strongest marriages that I know, in fact I'm thinking of two in particular in our church, that these marriages are some of the strongest marriages I've ever encountered and both of them have adultery on the part of one of the spouses in the past. Because God's amazing grace is he takes things that are broken and he can just mend them back together.

So no, don't just rush into it. Ask God to heal what has been broken. They say that you should never, not only after the year that North Carolina makes you between separation and divorce, our counseling team says the minimum would be another year after that. Just to let God heal you and involve that with counseling and divorce care and the stuff we offer here.

Last question, number three. If I am divorced and remarried how does God see me? If I'm divorced and remarried how does God see me? I told you at the beginning that for many Christians you almost become a second class Christian.

You become this person with a scarlet D on your chest. I want you to listen to what God says about himself. In Jeremiah 3.8 God says for all of her adulteries I gave faithless Israel a certificate of divorce. God has the audacity to call himself a divorced person. If I were to say to every, would every divorced person in this church stand up and God were here, God would stand up in that number. Now obviously God, there was no sin involved on his part in the divorce.

Maybe your divorce was a sin. Jesus puts away the sin done by you and he overturns the sin done to you. Because the cross teaches that the sins that we committed were actually put into Jesus' body. And then Isaiah 53 says the most beautiful thing. It says that we wounded him for our sin but by those very stripes we are healed.

What irony. Jesus that I had killed and he actually raised him from the dead and he used that resurrection to fill me with power. What that means is that the cross can forgive the sins done by you and it can heal the sins that are done to you. You might have made terrible mistakes in the process of your divorce. You may have committed terrible sins.

But see you can't change that now. And those mistakes don't mean that God is done with you because you are a new creation in Christ. You know the gist of the story in the Bible except for the cross. Honestly when I told this the first time last night in our church I felt scandalous.

I felt like I needed to qualify but I'm not. I'm just going to tell it to you. David and Bathsheba, you know the gist of the story. You know how David and Bathsheba get together.

How their marriage starts. David looks at essentially what is his generation's version of porn. He's actually worse than porn.

He's a peeping tom. That leads to a hook up. That leads to a pregnancy. So does David come clean and own up to the pregnancy. Oh by the way this is one of his best friend's wives.

Nope. He doesn't own up to it. He figures out a way to get the guy killed.

He murders the guy and then takes his wife and pretends like oh that happened on our honeymoon. That's messed up. Right. I mean some of you have some bad marriage stories.

I wouldn't guess many of them. Any of them come close to that. Right. David and Bathsheba have a kid. The kid's name is Solomon. Solomon has a kid who has a kid who has a kid who has a kid who has a kid who has a kid whose name is Jesus. God chose to bring the son of God out of a relationship that began with pornography, adultery and murder. What is that supposed to mean? At the very least what it means is God is saying to you and to me, you think your case is impossible? I love redeeming the worst situations.

I love redeeming the hardest cases. Go ahead. Try me.

Try me. I'll admit to you part of me finds that scandalous. It's just the mystery and the majesty of God's grace. What if you're Uriah?

Soon you got deeply hurt in your marriage and you weren't really the one at fault. I understand you look at it and you're like where's the justice? Uriah by the throne of God watching all this go down. Uriah's like what?

Who's going to pay for that? It's not fair that they don't pay for their sin. I don't know what God said to Uriah but I imagine it was something like this.

We ought to thank God that fairness ended in the Garden of Eden. Every sin committed against you, Uriah will be paid in full by one of two ways. One, the person who committed it will pay for it in hell or Jesus is going to pay for it on the cross. Jesus was torn apart for the hurt that that person did to you just like he was torn apart for your sin. And in the cross we find forgiveness for the sins that are done by us and in the cross we find healing for the sins that are done to us. And what we end up saying at the end of the day, at the end of eternity is amazing grace. How sweet the sound that saved a wretch, a marriage wretch like me.

I once was lost but now I'm found was blind but now I'm seen. The Lord has promised good to me not because I'm a great spouse but his word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures. And when we've been there 10,000 years bright shining as the sun we've no less days to sing God's praise. Than when we first begun. What happens is the mistakes of your past and the damage of your present get swallowed up in the amazing grace of God.

That's what happens. It means that the answer for a soul that has been damaged by divorce is to go deeper into the grace of God. It means that the answer if you've committed a number of terrible mistakes in your marriage is to go deep into the grace of God and access his healing not just for you but for the people that you've hurt. When you're trying to figure out how to endure in a difficult marriage you go deeper into the grace of God because from start to finish in the Christian life it's all about the grace of God. It's why we often say here the gospel, the grace of God is not just a diving board off of which you jump into the pool of Christianity.

It's the whole pool. It's everything that you need to know to deal with any situation in life is found by going to the depths of the love that God has given you and the amount of healing that he has put towards you if you trust in Christ. Why don't you bow your heads if you would. I don't know where this leaves you but I don't know what your situation is but could I just direct you to take a few minutes to soak in the extravagant grace of God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-04 09:20:47 / 2023-09-04 09:37:46 / 17

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