YOUTH GROUP: Divorce: A Godly Perspective

May 1, 2024   /   JamestownFirstAssembly

The Word Search

Divorce: A Godly Perspective

Matthew 5:31-32

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Intro:

Welcome to youth group everybody! We are continuing in our series The Word Search, where we are looking through the book of Matthew and reading every word Jesus shares with us. We need these words, because Jesus is our firm foundation. The more we know and let change us, the more Christ-like we will hopefully become.

Our message last week was a tough one on the topic of adultery. This week, the topic goes hand in hand with the other and it is going to be about divorce. Our message is titled: Divorce: A Godly Perspective. Now, I know it’s another heavy topic, but these are real world issues and the bible is our book of answers.

We kind of joke around about divorce today like its just some nonchalant thing. I know growing up, I always joked about how cool it was to have two Christmases or two birthdays. To be honest it was always kind of hard. You also have two different sets of rules to live by, and two different styles of parenting to get used to. When all you want to do is sit at home and hang with some friends, you can’t because you are going to the other parents house for a week.

Growing up it can be hard living in a divorced family. Yet it is also so hard for the parents. As an adult, I look back on all the things my mom sacrificed for me and my brothers. How she tried so hard to make it good for us even though we were literally scraping by at times. I think about how anxious my dad was to introduce my stepmom, and how every big decision he made, he ran it by me and my older brother first.

Divorce on all accounts is hard and that was never supposed to be the way marriages ended. Marriage is a binding covenant between one man and one woman which is supposed to last for life. God places such a high value on marriage, yet today we have seen that value cheapened more and more, for ease and convenience. We are going to take a biblical look at divorce tonight. So if you have your bibles or if you are following along on the notes, we will be in Matthew 5:31-32.

Message:

Matthew 5:31-32 31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

 

1. What is a ?

I like to start things off by defining our terms. That way we are all on the same page as we progress through the text tonight. So please allow me to give you a definition of divorce: A legal dissolution of the bonds of matrimony, or the separation of husband and wife.

In society, we can use so many excuses to get a divorce. Which, is not a new thing. Looking back to the time of Jesus, let’s shine some light on the context of divorce back then.

Last week we looked at Adultery and how it was the 7th of the 10 Commandments. The Pharisees and teachers of the law believed that they were living this out to the T. They felt like they were perfect! It is implied that to avoid lusting after another woman, they would issue their wife a certificate of divorce so that they could go be with that other woman.

Divorce was a rampant issue within God’s people! They felt like, much like today, they could divorce their spouse for any reason. Well, I don’t love you like I used to and someone else is catching my eye. See ya! I don’t like the way you cooked the food, or you don’t like my food and that makes me hate you, so it’s best to just get rid of you.

Marriage is a commitment and we live in a world that does not honor commitments. People are constantly trying to get the upper hand. Constantly trying to get the next best thing. What if you were just committed where you are? Instead of constantly switching jobs, what if you stayed where you were and worked your way up faithfully? Instead of cutting out someone because you don’t agree with them, why don’t you have a conversation and express your concern? What if, now hear me out, you put in the work to make it the best it can be. Stop living life expecting other to do what God has placed there to accomplish.

 

  • Divorce

Matthew 19:1-9

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. 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?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 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’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

I want to point out the turning point in this passage. The Pharisees, like they often did, approached Jesus with a rather hard question and tried to catch him off guard. Jesus gave a quick response well rooted in Scripture, but then the Pharisees tried to trip Him up. If we aren’t supposed to divorce, why then did Moses allow us to? And this is the turning point. Dont miss it!

Because your hearts were A vast majority of marriages today happen because people’s hearts are hard. In 2021, 689,000 divorces were filed. Every time someone files for a divorce they must list the reasons for it. Look at the reasons people gave.

(Show Graph)

We believe Domestic Violence (physical and emotional) and Adultery are the only real reasons we can end a marriage. Look at all the other reasons people gave. A lack of intimacy. Family doesn’t like the person. We aren’t compatible. We argue too much. Financial Stress. Different parenting styles. Their hearts were hard.

Look at this passage in Ephesians with me.

Ephesians 5:22-33 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Marriages don’t have to end in divorce. They don’t. If you live in a cycle of divorce, you can break it. On my dad’s side, his dad was married and divorced three times. My dad divorced and remarried. Cami and I are going to break that cycle. You know how? By doing what Ephesians says. Submitting to one another. Loving each other like Christ has loved us. Sacrificing for the benefit of the other person. When we stop living for ourselves in our relationships, our hearts start to soften.

Have clear communication with one another. Only have sex once you’re married, not while you are dating or engaged. Celebrate one another. Pray for each other. Keep God first and your spouse second, and yourself a distant third. We aren’t perfect and nor will any marriage be, but you can love God and He will help you make it through, and make it good for one another.

  • Divorce

God is perfect. We are not. Last week when we discussed adultery, we saw that there isn’t just adultery between people, but it can occur between us and God. The nation of Israel is our prime example. They are God’s chosen people and time and time again, they left Him and pursued false Gods. They put up idols and temples and bowed down to the false gods there, offering incense and sacrifices. They committed spiritual adultery by putting another god above our God. They were not honoring the Covenant God made with them, or their commitments to the Lord!

They gave God every reason to leave them. To abandon them. To write a certificate of divorce saying to have nothing to do with Him, but He didn’t. He continued to love His people. I want you to hear me say this and listen closely. There is no reason we could ever possibly have against God to stop our with God.

People always want to blame God for their problems. They want to blame God as their reason for leaving the church and going to worship something else. That is illogical and so full of arrogance that it should be shameful. Other people may hurt you. Other people may say something you don’t like. Church hurt is a real thing and people can manipulate you.

People also use the sin in the world as a reason to justify leaving God. You may have heard things like, “Well if God is so good, why do babies die?” “How can a good God exist if we see wars and the loss of innocent lives?” They may even say things like, “Because we see disease, wars, and hatred of people, this proves that there is no God.” All of that is not true. Yet people will use it as a reason to distance themselves from God. To spiritually divorce themselves.

God is not behind those things that we see. God doesn’t manipulate. God doesn’t drive you away from Himself. God doesn’t cause people to go and murder one another. God doesn’t look down and laugh at the struggles of children with diseases, or people in suffering.

When our own pride gets hurt, and instead of addressing the issue in person and in prayer, we let it fester and get infected. We let it sit and allow the enemy to tell us lies about how everything is horrible and that God hates you so you might as well leave because this is wrong. We refuse to look in the mirror and as James 1:22-25 tells us, we forget what we look like and in turn we believe that we are in the right. We look at ourselves and forget that we are the ones who sin, not God.

Sin has brought death, pain, hurt, destruction, disease and more. God has already made a way for us to get to heaven and to stop the pain we see today. It is only through His son Jesus Christ. We want everything to happen right now, because we don’t like it, and it is hard for us to deal with. God already made a way. God already has a plan. Trust in God.

Do not untie yourself from God. He alone is the anchor for your ship. He alone is the firm foundation. He alone is your fortress where you can go and find rest. Do not fall into the trap of justifying your own spiritual divorce from God, because He has never, and will never give you a reason to leave. He is good. He alone is good.

 

2. Is Divorce ?

The Bible gives two clear grounds for divorce: sexual immorality (Matthew 5:32; 19:9) and abandonment by an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:15 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.). This is where we make the case for Domestic Violence.

Abandonment is a willful act that can be seen as abuse, and a person who abandons their spouse has clearly abandoned God. The person who abuses their spouse clear does not love their spouse the way God told them to, and therefore cannot love God. They are either refusing to live by God’s Word or they never truly knew God in the first place.

However, Divorce is never seen as the good ending. We always strive for forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation. Why? Because that’s what God has done for us. If that cannot be mended, then and only then, do we move forward with the decision. Divorce is not to be seen as the good ending, but it in some situations should be seen as the necessary action.

 

3. How can we Divorce?

  • Don’t have outside of marriage

Hebrews 13:4 ESV Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

1 Corinthians 7:2 ESV But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

A pew research center study of 2000 married couples of various ages and numbers of marriages were interviewed and it showed us that people who waited until marriage to have sex, only show a 5% chance of getting divorced whereas people who engage in sexual activity outside of marriage have an increase in their odds by up to 6x that number.

As Christians we need to save ourselves for our spouse. We have to hold sex for marriage. There is a direct correlation between divorce rates and sex outside of marriage.

I want you to hear me on this though. There is no shame in Christ Jesus. If you have engaged in sexual activities or if you have had sex, that doesn’t mean you are destined to have divorces. What you need to do is repent, turn to Jesus, and save yourself from this point on for your spouse. When we repent and follow God, we are made clean. We are no longer defiled. You have been made pure so walk in that purity, not as a victim, but as an overcomer.

I had to learn that as a man. I had to get over all the shame I had from what I had done. No one ever told me that I had hope for my future relationships, so let me tell you, that there is hope. Save yourself for your spouse, don’t have sex outside of marriage.

  • Don’t together until you are married

Society approving of couples living together outside of marriage (Cohabitating) is really only a recent thing in history. Examples of it can be found dating back hundreds of years but it was always viewed negatively. Cohabitation was almost impossible in the United States prior to the 1960s. Laws prevented unmarried couples from registering in hotels and it was very difficult for an unmarried couple to obtain a home mortgage.

Yet today it seems like it is all the time. A study done at Stanford shows that people who Cohabitate with each other have a 55% chance of getting divorced within six years. The study also shows that people who have multiple cohabitation partners before they marry greatly increase their odds of getting divorced.

By Cohabitating we are putting ourselves at risk of falling to temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Don’t put yourself in the path of temptation. It only seeks to throw you off the path that God has set before you. The temptations you face are not unique to you. They are common! Yet when you are tempted God always provides a way out for you. Sometimes it is as easy as getting up and going somewhere else. If you are in your room, go outside. If you are with people, go be alone for a bit.

Do everything you can to resist temptation. To resist the enemy. James 4:7 ESV

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. When you feel tempted, submit yourself to God, don’t cave into it, and the desire will leave you. Do this every single time.

  • Keep God at the

Exodus 20:3-6 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

These are the first two of the 10 commandments. God has got to be at the center of everything we say and do. If He is not we have already broken the first commandment. We have placed something else above Him. From there it is a quick slope to worshiping whatever we placed above God.

In marriage, keep God above your spouse. Trust me, it may seem weird, but it is so important. It keeps you grounded. Someday your husband or wife will let you down. You guys will get into fights. You will hurt each others feelings. You will want to storm out and get some space. If God is not in the center during these moments, you will spiral. Things will get blown out of proportion. You will say things you didn’t mean to say. You may do things you know you shouldn’t have done.

Yet when God is at the center, we realize that we are flawed. Our reactions become more tame. The big arguments are not as big. Our attitudes towards our spouse become softer and more kind, gracious and more pleasant.

I have seen what marriages look like with and without God. I watched the godless fallout of my mom and my dad’s marriage, and my mom and my stepdad’s marriage. But I also got to see the godly marriage between my dad and stepmom. The difference is staggering.

In the godly marriage, the fights were few and not loud. The accidents were handled sternly but with grace. I felt happier. My school work improved. We sat around the table and enjoyed our time together. Even the small things seemed fun. I remember my stepmom singing songs about chores with me and my brother, all of which were parodies of Disney songs. The hard times were not as frantic.

In the marriages without God, the fights were often, maybe they weren’t always big, but the snide comments were frequent. The accidents seemed like the end of the world. My grades struggled and my clinical depression went through the roof. The chores seemed brutal and the small tasks lost their luster. The hard times were exceptionally hard and we had no security.

Oh the difference God can make.

Altar Call

 

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