About

Big Apple Chapel is a New Testament based church in New York City, modeled after the pattern of the early church, with a strong emphasis on following Christ as a community of His disciples.

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  • Sunday - 10:30 am
  • 520 8th Ave, 16th floor
    New York, NY
  • phone: +1 (973) 837-1041
 

Sermons

BAC Sermons

Is Divorce and Remarriage an option for a believer?

2005-04-02

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1. God’s “Plan A” is that a marriage reflect God’s unity thru leaving (social), cleaving (emotional) and becoming one flesh (sexual)

Gen 2:24  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

 

2. God hates divorce (and punishes it with sanctions) because He is a fiercely covenant-keeping, true, just God who keeps His word.

Mal 2:13…You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, With weeping and crying; because (rsv) He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. 14 Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant.16  "For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence," Says the LORD of hosts. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously."

 

3. Breaking a vow is the sin of fools, leading to discipline and destruction

Num 30:2  "If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.   De 23:21  "When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you.

Ecc 5:4 When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 5  It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6  Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake; why should God be angry at your voice, and destroy the work of your hands?

 

4. Moses permitted the divorce of a defrauding wife (unfaithfulness/fornication during the betrothal period)

De 24:1 "When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness/shame/nakedness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts [it] in her hand, and sends her out of his house,

Matt 1:18…After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away/divorce secretly. 20…do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 24 did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25  and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

 

5. Matthew records that Jesus prohibited divorce (even/except for unfaithfulness/fornication {in the betrothal period, otherwise it’d be adultery} )

Mat 5:31 It has been said: ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32  "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except fornication (kjv) causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.  33 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’

 
                5a. Matthew is writing to a Jewish audience who understood the OT customs. Mary and Joseph in Matthew serve as an example: they were betrothed (engaged), not yet married, but Joseph wanted to divorce her, which would be the righteous thing to do. An unmarried, but betrothed couple were considered husband and wife, and if the wife was unfaithful during the year before their marriage, the husband was to divorce her.

 

Mt 19:3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" 4  And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5  "and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6  "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." 7  They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8  He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9  "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for (“even for” – Heth) sexual immorality/porneia/fornication, and marries another, commits adultery/moichao; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." 10 His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry." 11 But He said to them, "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12  "For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it."   Note how the disciples understood Jesus’ words

 

                5b. "Hardness of heart" was cited (Mt 19:8) as the reason for Dt 24's teaching, designed to protect the wife from her husband taking advantage of her. "Hardness of heart" is not a condition which a partaker of the New Covenant can plead. Everywhere in the Scriptures where divorce is mentioned, it is viewed as contrary to God's ideal.

 

6. Mark & Luke didn’t tell their readers about the alleged “exception clause” (betrothal customs different in Greek/Roman cultures).

Mr 10:2 The Pharisees came and asked Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" testing Him. 3 And He answered and said to them, "What did Moses command you?" 4 They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her." 5  And Jesus answered and said to them, "Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6  "But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ 7  ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8  ‘and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9  "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." 10  In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. 11  So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12  "And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

 

Lu 16:18 Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.

Pr 6:32  Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.

 

 

7. Paul clearly taught that remarriage before the death of the first spouse was adultery (no exceptions).

Rom 7:2  For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3  So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4  Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another——to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

 

 

8. Disobedient believers lose their eternal reward, and reap temporal judgment for a bowl of lentil stew. DUH!!!

Heb 12:14  Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15  looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16  lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17  For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

 

1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were/are (kjv) washed, but you were/are sanctified, but you were/are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 18  Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (next verse is chap 7:1).

Heb 11:25  choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, (cf Js 5:5)

 

9. Divorce was prohibited for believers yet apparently permitted for unbelievers (since maybe God didn’t join them together?)

1Cor 7:10  Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11  But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.

 

1Cor 7:12  But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13  And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15  But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16  For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? 17  But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.

 

Ezra 10:10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, "You have transgressed and have taken pagan wives, adding to the guilt of Israel. 11  "Now therefore, make confession to the LORD God of your fathers, and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives." 12 Then all the assembly answered and said with a loud voice, "Yes! As you have said, so we must do.

 

                Since marriage consists of a legal, emotional, spiritual, and physical union, the case of putting away foreign wives in Ezra 10 raises the question of whether unbelievers are indeed joined together by God. After a person becomes a believer, and "all things become new," is the new believer bound to a previous marriage in which the spouse has left? I Cor 7:15 addresses that issue, apparently indicating that the believer is not bound.

 

10. Points to Ponder and Apply

a. The all-wise and all-loving almighty God orchestrates our lives and circumstances for our highest good and His glory.

b. Satan tries to deceive us into thinking that our highest happiness lies in the direction of disobedience to the revealed will of God

c. Worship is a correct truth-based response to Revelation, for which God both enables by His grace and holds us responsible/accountable

d. Regardless of what the rest of the world (under Satan’s control) thinks, we must do what God has mandated for us, or die trying.

e. God prepares us for receiving His blessings by purifying/sanctifying our motives/values and perfecting our act.(getitogether, auditions, road)

f. The sanctified saint takes pleasure in Christ-like other-centered, self-denying, self-sacrificial love, for that’s what God created us to do.

g. Our ability to enjoy God’s blessing is dependent upon our ability to enjoy God without any blessings, delighting in the Lord alone.

h. If we need anything other than God for our happiness we dishonor Him, deny His sufficiency, and become idolaters.

i. Demonstrating our faithfulness to God during our brief time on the stage of life determines the degree of our temporal/eternal reward.

j. Remember that divorce is not the unpardonable sin, but God specializes in healing repentant sinners.