What God Hath Joined Together

 

Introduction: Genesis 2:18-24

 

Marriage and the home was the first divine institution upon the earth.   Marriage and the laws of God regulating marriage are as old as the human race.  Marriage rates continue to go down while divorce rates are soaring… Cohabitation is the way of the future.  We have heard statistics cited about divorce so often that we have become numb to their sound.    Realizing that divorce touches so many families today, I began to research for my own information, and I was alarmed at what I found.

?  According to the National Census Bureau, the early  2002 projected divorce rate was 40% but has been upgraded to 50% … Think about it, 50% of all marriages will end in divorce, And if you have divorced and are thinking of a second marriage  divorce rate of all remarriages is 60%

?  Over 1 million children are affected by divorce each year.

?  Since the introduction of no-fault divorce, the rate of divorce has soared over 600%.

?  7- Finally, there are more people in second marriages today than in first marriages.

 

I do not have to tell you that divorce in America continues at epidemic rates.  Increasingly, faithful congregations, elders and preachers are finding themselves in situations where they must either compromise what God's Word teaches regarding marriage and divorce, or stand against the trends of time. I read the comment of a concerned preacher who stated: "If we preach the whole truth on marriage, divorce, and remarriage,  we could expect a third of our membership to walk out or be withdrawn from".

 

God's desire was that the first man and woman would live together in a loving relationship forever.  His plan was that children would be nourished in happy homes and prepared to love and serve Him. Deut 6:7  Mal. 2:15

 

Man was the crown of God's creation, but God realized that man had the potential to sin, and that there would be  homes broken by divorce…  But from the beginning this was not an acceptable situation to HIM.

 

The TEN COMMANDMENTS prohibited adultery and the coveting of a neighbor's wife… Ex. 20:14-17. It is clear from Scripture that when one destroys his marriage by the sin of Adultery,  he is alienated from God, until such time as he repents of that sin…

 

No fault divorce— divorce for ANY and EVERY reason.    What does the Bible say, regarding no fault divorce?

 I begin by looking at a passage that I believe puts a real meaning to our text:  Romans chapter Seven. Here Paul's purpose is to show that we are bound to a law, until such time as SOMETHING FREES US FROM THAT LAW.

And so he begins in Romans 7:1

 1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

 

 No fault divorce – since this has become effective, the divorce rate has soared to over 600% — Couples used to work through problems, today the civil laws  are such that it is easier to get a divorce than work it out.  NO FAULT DIVORCE — 

 

Does Jesus speak on this subject?   YES   In Matthew 19:3 we read:

3The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?   No-fault divorce, Lord is it lawful?

 

The background of this question was a longstanding debate. In Jesus' day there were primarily two schools of thought regarding divorce, taught by two Rabbi's " The School of Shammai, and the School of Hillel." Their differences   were  over he interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1

1When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 

 

The School of Shammai that a woman could not be divorced except she had committed adultery,  while Hillel's view was "a woman could be put away for any trivial matter that displeased her husband. " The Life And Times  Of Jesus the Messiah   by: Alfred Edershiem,  book 4 pgs 333-334

 

It is not hard to imagine which of these views was the most popular. And so the Pharisees come asking:  Lord “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”

 

This is a question that is asked of preachers and teachers alike today.   "Here is what my wife has done, here is what my husband had done.  Can I  scripturally  divorce them?  Am I free to marry someone else?"   Beloved — the truth is, that many times, we spend more time looking for loop holes in the words of Jesus than we do in trying to make our marriages work .   Divorce is a serious matter,  and  because marriage is a serious matter., The Word of God, was not written to give loop holes to everyone who is unhappy in a marriage relationship.

 

The fact that Jesus at first does not answer their question, but goes back to the very beginning reminding them of God's ideal for marriage— shows that He wanted to place emphasis on keeping a marriage intact  rather than finding a way to justify breaking it up.  Hear Jesus' answer:  Matthew 19:4-6

4And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

 

One commentator made a comment I felt worthy of repeating:  "In verse 4, Jesus emphasized one male and one female, if God had wished that the male should dismiss the female and marry another, He would have made more than one female in the beginning."  Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

 

Now in verses 5-6 we see the ideal situation    5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.    This word cleave means to glue in contrast to nailing,  and is a technical term used of bonding layers of papyrus. 

 

Some times it is difficult to get a young woman to leave her father and mother…She wants to run to daddy,  the man not able to function as a husband……And many times she has to run to her parents, because her husband will not be a husband.  We need to rely on the wise counsel of older parents, but there must be a leaving and cleaving….

 Mathew 19:5-6

5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder

 

An understanding of divorce must never be separated from an understanding of what marriage is based upon this context. When a couple decide to marry, they must LEAVE parents, CLEAVE one to the other, they become ONE flesh.  Divorce for any cause and every cause  must not be…….  

 

Moses' teaching was not given to make for ease of divorce but to regulate a bad situation. This is supported by the next verses:   Matthews 19:7-9

7They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8He saith unto them,  Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say unto you,  Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

 

And so it is in the context of commitment that Jesus answers their question  "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?"   NO, says Jesus  " Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."     Once you LEAVE AND CLEAVE to one woman, one wife,, you are not to leave and cleave again. Live up to the commitment that was made to each other before God.

 

In Mark chapter 10 in a statement similar yet more revealing we read:   Beginning in verse 6

6But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.     Worthy of note here:    If one puts his or her mate away in divorce (with the exception of Matthew 19:9) and marries again.  HE COMMITTETH ADULTRY…..  that is a continuous action, "continues to commit adultery in that situation" 

 

I would like to say a word of two about God's laws governing “SEPERATION”   In 1 Corinthians chapter 7— beginning verse 10        

10And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. 12But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

 

It is God's purpose that  a man and woman be together for life.  It may be that an unbelieving brother or sister may choose to leave their mate   Verse 15 is teaching that a sister is not under servitude to follow a man who departs.    But she would fall under the rules of verse 11 “et her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife”.

 

Perhaps you like the disciples of Christ are astonished at the teaching of the Bible on divorce.   Jesus had talked of commitment and stated only one reason for a divorce and remarriage:   This led them to state  in Matthew 19:10

10His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

 

Notice this statement is made in response to what Jesus has said about the  permanence of the marriage bond.   Perhaps many of them were wrestling with the thoughts of that day… Surely Jesus did not mean that!  Why if that is true, then it is better never to marry..   Jesus' answer is that not all men can accept that,  But whether a person marries or not, he should understand that the only commitment receiving a higher priority than marriage is that we make to God.

 

A word to those who have not as yet entered into a marriage relationship.  Most likely no person on earth will add or detract as much to our happiness or from our happiness as the person we choose to marry and spend our life with…. No person will have more bearing on whether or not we go to heaven or hell when we die as the person we marry.

 

Many think they can disregard God's laws regarding marriage and divorce… Many think because that much time has elapsed, that all is well…..  but time doesn't remove sin…. only true repentance can remove sin…..  We must remember that God ordained marriage for life, Our society may issue easy divorce for any reason, but that doesn't altar God's word.

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.   Matthew 5;31-32

 

I want to close this morning with a statement from Hebrews  13:44Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

 

contact:: Ron Cope minister

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658