Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, and Adultery (6,318 YouTube views). Jesus said many shocking statements. The reason we continue to listen to him is we’ve learned within his shocking statements there are shocking truths with the ability to shock our hearts and restore our life. They radically change our lives, our families, and our society. This is one of those statements. This is the most controversial message I preached.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 16
Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, and Adultery (Luke 16:18)
By Pastor Delbert Young
Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, and Adultery – Luke 16:18
Scriptures: Luke 16:18, Matthew 19:10, Matthew 5:27-34, Matthew 19:3, Matthew 19:4, Matthew 19:5, Matthew 19:6, Matthew 19:7, Matthew 19:9, Matthew 19:10-12
Divorce is permitted by God, not for people to change and exchange spouses, but because there’s something wrong with hearts.
Luke 16:18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Jesus said many shocking statements, but at the very top of the list is the one we look into today. It would be great if Jesus would come and teach this lesson and I could sit and listen. Then I’d say next week, “Wow! Jesus is so hard. I don’t know if we should have him back to speak.” You’d say, “I agree. Let’s don’t have Jesus back. In fact, if I hear Jesus is speaking, I’m not coming.” Jesus said many shocking statements, but the reason we continue to listen to him is we’ve learned within his shocking statements there are shocking truths with the ability to shock our hearts and restore our life. They radically change our lives, our families, and our society. This is one of those statements.
Before we get into the study, I need to show you how bad it’s going to be. When Jesus finished explaining this, those closest to him had this to say.
Matthew 19:10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”
This is the correct conclusion. Jesus didn’t say, “Oh, no, no. You misunderstood.” What he did say was not everyone can accept the truth. So, if this is your conclusion then you got it and I did a good job. If this isn’t your conclusion, or you hear and read anything “dumbing it down” saying this isn’t what Jesus meant then you didn’t get it.
It’s going to be uncomfortable for all of us, especially me, but if we can get through the uncomfortable parts and not shut down or leave, we will all learn something about marriage we probably didn’t know.
Are you ready? It begins with the Sermon on the Mount – the most extreme sermon ever preached. It’s the cut off your hand, pluck out your eye, anger receives the same judgment as murder, if someone wants your coat give them your shirt also, turn the cheek sermon. We will read some of the context so we will better hear what those standing there heard.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ Matthew 5:27
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:29
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:30
“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ Matthew 5:31
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:32
“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ Matthew 5:33
But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne…” Matthew 5:34
“What? I can’t do this. If this is what I’m supposed to do then I’m going to hell. In fact, everyone’s going to hell. Who can do this?” The entire sermon is this extreme. Let’s focus on the divorce part.
Matthew 5:31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who DIVORCES HIS WIFE must give her a CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE.’
In their society a woman could not divorce her husband. He could divorce her, but was required to hand write a certificate of divorce. This is what Moses said in the Law (Deu 24:1). Divorce was just this simple. You can only imagine their divorce rate. Everyone was lawfully exchanging wives. So, if a husband became angry it was, “Here’s your certificate. Get out of here” and the wife was out without anything except a piece of parchment.
Matthew 5:32 BUT I TELL YOU that ANYONE who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, CA– USES HER TO BECOME AN ADULTERESS, and…
Maybe Jesus said it wrong. See Jesus, adultery is when someone is married and they have sexual relations with someone other than their spouse. The wife hadn’t done this. The husband didn’t cause her to become an adulteress. Jesus, you were going so fast you just said this wrong.
Matthew 5:32 …and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
What? Jesus you’re confused. How can he be committing adultery? He’s married to the woman? He’s not having sex outside of marriage. They’re married. Jesus, you’re obviously confused. This can’t be what you mean. See, Jesus, let me explain adultery to you again. Adultery is sex with someone outside of marriage, not with someone you’re married to. A divorced woman can’t be an adulteress because she’s not married. A man cannot commit adultery with his own wife!
Was Jesus confused? So, who must be? Obviously, there’s something about marriage, divorce, remarrying, and adultery we don’t understand. Until we better understand it, we will continue doing what we’re doing and never teach our children truth about marriage, divorce, and adultery.
Around Jesus you usually find Pharisees – very religious people. They loved it when Jesus contradicted Moses and the Prophets. It gave them ammunition to discredit Jesus. Neither did they like this teaching. They themselves could lawfully and scripturally exchange wives under Moses law. So, one day they approached Jesus.
Matthew 19:3 Some Pharisees came to him to TEST HIM. They asked, “Is it LAWFUL for a man to divorce his wife FOR ANY AND EVERY REASON?”
They weren’t looking for truth.They were acquiring damaging information to use against Jesus. What better than this? Is it lawful means did Moses say I can divorce my wife for any and every reason. This was there interpretation and what they did. There was no going to court, no lawyers, no judges, just a piece of paper the husband wrote. Can you imagine home life? Can you imagine how a wife would feel? Here’s the reply of Jesus.
Matthew 19:4 “HAVEN’T YOU READ,” he replied, “that AT THE BEGINNING THE CREATOR‘made them MALE AND FEMALE…
Of course they’d read it. Jesus challenged them with something they already knew. Jesus said God has already covered this. The answer to your question is already given. “You’ve read it. You just want a loophole.”
It happens in every society. We allow the way society does things to be our guide instead of God. Society’s ways become acceptable and eventually right, but not necessarily what God said. Jesus took them back to the way marriage was created. First, it’s male and female… and we will leave this alone… today.
Matthew 19:5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be UNITED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO WILL BECOME ONE FLESH‘?
In marriage the two become one flesh, or one person. This happens no matter if we knew it happened or wanted it to happen. Marriage makes two people one person. Jesus said maybe you read it, but didn’t get it. When a man and woman unite in marriage, they become one. Marriage – united – makes them one. BECOMING ONE IS NOT THE GOAL OF A MARRIAGE. BECOMING ONE IS THE RESULTS OF MARRIAGE.
Matthew 19:6 SO THEY ARE NO LONGER TWO, BUT ONE. Therefore what God has joined together, LET MAN NOT SEPARATE.”
So – the results of being united – is no longer two, but one. “Pharisees, you’re asking me if any and every reason un-ones and separates what God joined together making one. Are you kidding? No. The question you are actually asking is ‘What reasons allow us to “un-one” and separate?”
But Jesus, this sounds so permanent. “He was such a bum!” “She was such a…” “My parents said leave the…” “The lawyer said…” We can go on and on with any and every reason imaginable. We want to reason it out with details and emotions, and broken dreams, and broken promises… Jesus says I know. It was bad, but attempting to separate and un-one what God united and made one is like unscrambling eggs.
“Pharisees you’re asking me when is it okay to un-one. I’m telling you, you can’t. No man can, not even Moses. You’re asking when is it PERMISSIBLE? The answer is it’s not POSSIBLE.This is not a command. This is how it is. There is no command saying, “Thou shalt not unscramble eggs.” It simply can’t be done. This is why I tell you, because you obviously don’t understand, if a man divorces his wife and remarried, he and she commit adultery. They are still one.”
If you’re baffled, imagine how the Pharisees felt. Instead of the Pharisees testing Jesus, Jesus is testing the Pharisees. So, the Pharisees, in “defense mode,” replied,
Matthew 19:7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses COMMAND that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and SEND HER AWAY?”
Matthew 19:8 Jesus replied, “Moses PERMITTED YOU to divorce your wives because YOUR HEARTS WERE HARD. But it was not this way from the beginning.
Moses didn’t command you give her a certificate of divorce so you could kick her out and get a newer model. He permitted you because of your hard hearts. You hard-hearted men kick your wives out with nothing. Moses made you write a certificate so the woman could have some sort of life and not be seen as running around on their husbands. He didn’t do this to make divorce easy. Moses knew you hard-hearted men would not take care of your women. We all know this is true. If you’re a divorced woman, were it not for laws, your hard-hearted Ex would not give you a dime. Even with the laws, some women don’t receive what they should. I realize there are wicked women who use the laws and punish the man, but we know what Jesus said is correct. Next verse,
Matthew 19:9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
The divorce aspect of marital unfaithfulness doesn’t separate the fact the two are one. It does seem to remove the adultery aspects.
Matthew 19:10-12 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus replied, “NOT EVERYONE CAN ACCEPT THIS WORD, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are EUNUCHS because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. THE ONE WHO CAN ACCEPT THIS SHOULD ACCEPT IT.”
Our accepting it or not doesn’t change the truth. Jesus told them they got it. If you’d known this before you married you’d probably done better when selecting your spouse. You’d probably not married the bum. Jesus says if our attitude about marriage is “If I’m not happy, I’ll divorce,” you have a heart problem and it would be better if you were a eunuch. The damage you do to yourself, to your children, to the spouse(s) you divorced, and to the people your “x” spouse marries is astronomic (Deu 24:4).
It would appear Jesus is condemning divorced and remarried people. No he is not. He’s giving us truth and helping us understand. In John chapter 8:7-11, a woman was brought to Jesus taken in adultery, in the very act. Her accusers said, “Moses said stone her. What do you say?” What did he say initially? Nothing! He scribbled in the ground. Jesus isn’t going to beat people with this. After dealing with the woman’s accusers – “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” – he addressed the woman. What did he say to the woman taken in the very act of adultery? I don’t condemn you, but don’t do this any more. I’m not condemning you. I want to help you. I want to help your family and your children.
What is the first thing Jesus would say if he were preaching this? “I don’t condemn you and nobody else can either.” What is the next thing he’d say? Don’t do it anymore. For most of us, that’s a given. Change the “If this doesn’t work attitude, I’ll exchange spouses.”
Remember David and Bathsheba? This was the scandal of scandals concerning adultery. It was David with the hard heart. Was it God’s will David and Bathsheba hook up? No! But did God take their mess and redeem it. Yes. Consequences, yes, but Solomon was born and next to Jesus was the wisest man to ever live. God will redeem even if you caused the mess. David repented, accepted what God said as truth, and God blessed David and Bathsheba. God is not going to condemn you if you’ve divorced. He desires to help you.
I want to speak to three groups in closing. (1) Divorced and remarried: when you can, discuss this. I believe it would be good to pray together. Tell Father you repent for anything you’ve done wrong. Allow God to work in your hearts to soften them. God does not condemn you.
(2) Divorced and wanting to remarry: Can you? Should you? Yes. No place does it say you can’t, but both need to understand you are joined. You don’t understand what this all means; you just know it’s true. Sit down and talk through this. Make certain you realize you will be joined together along with the previous spouse for the rest of your or their life.
(3) Those not yet married: You now have information and understanding most people will never receive. Use it. Talk through this with your future spouse. Settle it. Tell each other before the marriage, if we do this, we are joined for the rest of our lives. Be extremely selective as to whom you join yourself to.
Finally, we need to get a new view of our personal situations. We need to think about the generations coming. We need to think about our children and grandchildren not yet married. We are responsible not only for them, but to them. Can you imagine how different their lives might be if our future generations understood this? If we could get beyond what is socially correct, past what everybody else says and does, and reach way back to what Jesus said about how marriage really works, their lives could be amazing. Can you imagine how different their lives could be if they grew up thinking differently about marriage realizing marriage is oneness for the remainder of their lives?
I think marriage should be the safest, most secure place in the world for a woman. I think marriage should be the safest, most secure place in the world for a man. I think marriage and family should be the safest place in the world for children. So did Jesus. This is living in the kingdom of God.
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