Should Christians Get a Divorce?

 
 
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This week we are tackling the question of is it ok for a Christian to get a divorce?  Be sure to stick through to the end because the final part of this message is the most powerful of it all!  God has a future for you and I want to help you get there.  Need prayer? visit my.oswegochristian.com/pray to post a request. Subscribe to our podcast on your phone to automatically have new messages downloaded weekly: in iTunes (https://my.oswegochristian.com/iTunes) or Android (https://my.oswegochristian.com/Google)

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MEMORIZE: Luke 7:48SCRIPTURE STUDY: Luke 7, Matthew 19, 1 Corinthians 7
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: A few years ago my uncle Max decided to give me my grandads Knife making equipments.  My Grandad was a true craftsman when it came to making knives.  He would sell them for hundreds of dollars.  So, I bought some steal and watched some YouTube videos and started working on making knives.  I would spend hours on a blade trying to get the blade to come out smooth and perfect, but could never get the grind to quite look right, it would always come out wavy.  Seriously, I was spending hours working on it. And then one day, I was backing out of my garage and I looked at the platen, the piece of steal that the sanding belt rests on.  This steal is what gives the sanding belt the stability for you to grind the surface of your knife.  What I saw blew me away.  The surface that was supposed to be guiding my knife into perfection was actually curved and malformed from where my grandad had worked it over for years making knives – he had literally worn valleys into the steal…And it hit me,What looked smooth on the surface and perfect for accomplishing the job, was actually faulty and causing all my imperfection…Because you can work on that knife all you want, but if the foundation is faulty, you’re always gonna end up with rough spots and imperfectionI can draw that knife across the shaping agent and if the foundation is off it will never come out straight…Listen, you can come here to church, you can get involved in all kinds of groups.You can start to read the bibleYou can have your life drawn against the shaping agent of God and if your foundation isn’t solid – you will end up still with frustration and out of shape spiritually…So, before we get into todays topics, we need to deal with your foundation…As Americans you and I have been sold a bill of goods that we are primarily sexual beingsI mentioned this a few weeks ago – we find our identity in sex-we sell with sex-we dream about sex-it is entertainment for usand for some it’s literally how they define their lifeBut this is not how the bible talks about us…The bible says the foundation for who you are is set in the image of GodGenesis 1:26-2726 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”27 So God created mankind in his own image,    in the image of God he created them;    male and female he created them.The Imago DeiYou reflect God’s ability to have rational thought, creative freedom, the ability to bring into existence things you dream of, and the ability to go beyond your own abilities.ILLUSTRATION:I have to be honest with you, even as a pastor, for a long time I bought into this idea that I’m just a sexual being.  I would go to my wife for physical affection and not come to her to give her my strength.  I would struggle to be with her physically and not desire to be with her sexually.  And then one day it hit me, I believed that that’s all I was.  That if a woman touched me I was preprogrammed to react sexually.  I’m not denying that we have sexual desires, but the reality is, when we live out of that place as our primary identity – we come out shaped funny…You are SO much more than your sexualityYou do not have to be ruled by your sexualityYou are not an animal reacting to animal instinctWith all that said, I want us to look a topic that is honestly, a difficult one to have to preach – but as a preacher, I can’t pick and choose what to say. But even this issue that we are about to look at, I believe it’s been shaped by how our culture has taught us to look at things like sex and marriage…So, here’s the question:Is it ok for a Christian to get a divorce?There’s two things we need to look at to answer this question…The first is this,Paul said in1 Cor. 7:15-1615 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. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?What he’s saying is if your spouse abandons you, it’s ok for you to no longer honor that marriage.I apply this same logic to abusive relationships – if you are in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship, I view that as a form of abandonment and you need to get out and away and get safe.The second part of the answer to this question is a little harder…Jesus got the same question as well..Matthew 19:3-103 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?”Now, you need to know, they are actually quoting a passage out ofDeuteronomy 24:1-4If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.This was something the rabbi’s had debated over, some said you could divorce her for any reason – if she burnt your toastThey are trying to find out where Jesus lands on this…4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 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? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”Jesus says something key here – that when a man and woman unite in marriage they becomeOne fleshPaul says, in 1 Corinthians 6 that if you have sex with a prostitute you become one flesh with her. The idea is that the sexual union is a marriage union in the eyes of God.Does this mean I’m married to whoever I’ve had sex with?I know for some of you, that’s a disturbing thought-and the answer is yes, that in each of those interactions you have given a part of yourself to the person you had sex with.You know this to be true don’t you?Your past sexual exploits have likely not made your current relationship more stable, if anything, they’ve introduced potential for jealousies and insecurity-because even if we don’t believe that sex makes us one with the other person, we do know that something more than a physical transaction has taken place…Even Psychology knows this, listen to this quote I lifted from a Psychology today article:“Randall Collins, the great American sociologist who’s been writing on the subject [of sex] for decades, argues quite persuasively that humansexualitycan be fully understood only in a social context. Human beings, fundamentally, are distinctly, spectacularly social. Lonely and isolated, we cannot survive, let alone thrive. For us, power and meaning emerge through making connections. Sexual desire, thus, is not chiefly aimed at physical pleasure or the production of children, but at connectedness with others. Sexual pleasure is fundamentally a social construct, an emergent property of social exchange.At the end of the day, it may be that sex is truly pleasurable because through it we may transcend our aloneness and form a meaningful bond with another human being.”I was BLOWN away when I read that – that’s one of the most biblical things I’ve ever read about sex…-It was created to help you form a meaningful bond with another human beingSo, why does Jesus say you shouldn’t get divorced?  He says it’s becauseA piece of paper can’t undo the physical, spiritual, emotional connection you have created before God – you are One FleshListen to what these guys ask Him7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”their point is that Moses didn’t say, “don’t get divorced,” instead, he said, “here’s how to do it”  “if a woman becomes displeasing to you”Listen to Jesus’ response8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”I checked the other passages in the gospels where Jesus talks about this issue, each time he ties divorce and remarriage to adultery…I told you this would be a tough one…How can that be though, I’m telling you this is hard for me to preach, because I know some of you are squirming in your seat right now…It is adultery because you cannot undo the bond that was created in the original sexual relationship you engaged in.ILLUSTRATION:Last summer when we went to Wyoming for our retreat, we were driving in the mountains and someone’s tire threw a rock at our windshield.  As we kept driving, I remember saying, “that’s gonna crack”The crack wasn’t good obviously, but the windshield still worked, I was just making a statement about the state of my window..The reason you are all squirming is because you are thinking, now I’m broken – God can’t use me…maybe you’re sitting there thinking, is my current marriage a sham then?Maybe you are worried thinking, “maybe we can never have true intimacy then if that’s true…”If you want to know what Jesus thinks about something, look at what He did as much as you look at what He said…CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:Some of my favorite people in the bible are people who had a varied sexual history.  Jesus is hanging out with a bunch of religious people, getting ready to eat dinner and this woman who is a prostitute comes and starts washing his feet with her tears…  Jesus looks at her, I imagine with all the tenderness in the world and say, “You are forgiven…” This was Jesus’ pattern over and over again.  The woman at the well was on her 6th man and had been married 5 times before and she is the first person Jesus reveals Himself as the Messiah too. This is not a sermon to make you feel guilty, this is a sermon to tell you forgiveness is yours!But if you never admit that your foundation has been off – that you’ve been viewing sexuality as just something you do, you’ll never find that freedom.  And if you are in a relationship with someone who has a varried sexual past and they are truly repenting of it, there is no greater grace that you can give them than to forgive them…  There is a power greater than all you know in the power of forgiveness!——————