God and Divorce
Matthew 19:1-11

February 18, 2024
Ender Palencia, Pastor of Multi-Site & Missions

INTRODUCTION

Divorce is a prominent issue in our society that the church can’t ignore.

A. Many people inside and outside the church have been impacted by divorce.

B. Christians need to understand what God teaches about divorce.

C. The Bible teaches that Jesus is full of truth and grace.

Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” Matthew 19:1-3 ESV

1. JESUS TAUGHT GOD’S PLAN FOR MARRIAGE BEFORE HE TAUGHT ABOUT DIVORCE.

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’ Matthew 19:4-6

  • Jesus taught that God intended for marriage to be a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman.

They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” Matthew 19:7

When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then 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 of his house, and she departs out of his house Deuteronomy 24:1 ESV

2. JESUS TAUGHT DIVORCE WAS A CONCESSION, NOT A COMMAND.

He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” Matthew 19:8-9 ESV

There was a difference between a command expressed by God and a concession allowed by God.

  • A command is something that God intended to be a part of a human’s character from creation.
  • A concession is something that God allowed to be a part of human society because sin entered the world.

3. JESUS TAUGHT THAT THE CONCESSION OF DIVORCE WAS ALLOWED BECAUSE OF HUMAN’S SINFUL HEARTS.

During Jesus’ time, there were two main views on divorce according to the law.

  • Rabbi Shammai taught that the word “indecency” could only be applied to sexual conduct.
  • Rabbi Hillel taught that the word “indecent” could be used for anything a man didn’t like about his wife.

Jesus taught that divorce should not be an option except in the case of adultery.

4. JESUS OFFERS GRACE TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN DIVORCED AND REMARRIED.

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” John 4:39

  • Divorce and remarriage do NOT disqualify a person from receiving God’s love and grace.

To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife 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. To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 1 Corinthians 7:10-15

  • Special concessions are given for divorce and remarriage because of sin, but they should be the exception, not the norm.

The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” Matthew 19:10

5. JESUS KNEW THAT EVEN THOUGH THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF MARRIAGE SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, THE GOSPEL MAKES IT POSSIBLE.

But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given.” Matthew 19:11

A. Marriage is strongest when God is first in your life.

B. The only way God is first in our lives is when we fully surrender to Jesus.

C. The Gospel is a covenant that cannot be broken.

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