What God Has Joined Together (Part 2)
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: Jesus’ words on marriage and divorce represent some of his most controversial sayings. One woman and one man united together for life? It seems so antiquated, people retort. Because Jesus’ teaching is so counter-cultural and addresses a subject, particularly divorce, that brings up painful memories and raw feelings, many Christians avoid this topic altogether. But these difficult words of Jesus shine a spotlight on the kindness and faithfulness of God, the one who has mercy for both the betrayed and the betrayer.
Questions For Discussion & Discovery
1. What prompted God (through Moses) to make an “allowance” concerning divorce (verse 8)? Was this only an ancient problem? Why or why not?
2. How do we see God’s bride being unfaithful throughout the Old Testament? How does God respond to his loved one’s infidelity? What does this teach us about God?
3. For what two reasons does God permit divorce? Why such strictness when it comes to the covenant of marriage?
4. What is “this saying” in verse 11 that Jesus says not everyone can accept?
5. What is the so-called gift of singleness and to whom has it been given? Why does this matter?
6. How does God’s law, his unflinching commands, show us our need for a Savior? Why do we need the bad news to accurately understand the good news (gospel)?
1. “A friend of mine is dealing with a divorce. … This was a shock. … I am sitting at work and have had a question bugging me for a couple days now… Here’s the question: If the person that you are married to wants a divorce and there is nothing that has happened that God would allow divorce for, is it a sin for that person to get a divorce? What are they supposed to do if God doesn’t want them to get a divorce? I’m confused. …”
2. Read Matthew 19:3-12.
3. Read Matthew 19:7-8.
4. “With divorce illegal, thousands of couples live double lives until death parts them.” – Hector Tobar
5. 01. God’s actions are motivated by love and his heart for the helpless and abandoned.
6. “’I hate divorce,’ says the Lord.” – Malachi 2:16
7. “Whoever divorces his wife except in the case of sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
8. Porneia: every kind of illegitimate sexual intercourse.
9. :: Marital Infidelity (porneia)
:: Desertion by an unbelieving spouse
10. 02. While God hates the sin that occasions divorce and the consequences of divorce, God does not condemn all divorce.
11. “When I looked at you and saw that you were old enough to love. … I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.” – Ezekiel 16:8
12. “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert.” – Jeremiah 2:2
13. “[She] has been unfaithful … she said, ‘I will go after other lovers. …’” – Hosea. 2:5
14. “I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.” – Jeremiah 3:8
15. “She is not my wife and I am not her husband.” – Hosea 2:2
16. “Jesus’ enigmatic words about remarriage and adultery must be understood in relation to invalid and illegitimate divorces. If people grant divorces where God does not, then the couple is still married in the sight of God. Therefore, remarriage of illegitimately divorced people constitutes entering into an adulteress relationship.” – R.C. Sproul
17. This was a prohibition against marrying a woman who had an “unlawful and frivolous divorce.” – John Calvin
18. 03. The covenant of marriage is so weighty and the consequences of divorce so severe that Jesus’ followers will make every effort in the power of the Spirit to save their marriage.
19. “After a strong prohibition, it is highly unlikely that Jesus’ moral teaching dwindles into a pathetic, ‘But of course, not everyone can accept this.” – D.A. Carson
20. “The ‘gift of singleness’ is not something that must be spiritually discerned or subjectively felt. Singles do not need to search their hearts to see if they are truly able to live as contented singles. … Rather, the gift is a description of an objective status. If you are single, then you have the gift of singleness. If you are married, you don’t. If you are single then you exchange the gift of singleness for the gift of marriedness. Both are good. Simple as that.” – Albert Hsu
21. 04. Where you are right now is where God has you. He can be trusted to do good to you.
22. Read Matthew 19:13-15.