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“WHAT GOD HAS JOINED”

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INTRODUCTION

1. There has been much news about redefining marriage...
   a. State courts in America are considering whether it's
      unconstitutional to deprive gays and lesbians of the right to
      marry
   b. Courts in Canadian provinces have already approved marriage rights
      for same-sex couples
   c. Some legal scholars are proposing a 'delegalization' of marriage
      altogether

2. The definition of marriage has been undergoing change for quite a
   while...
   a. Most states allow no-fault divorces, permitting remarriage under
      any circumstance
   b. Many churches have followed suit; in some denominations the
      divorce rate is higher than among atheists and agnostics!

[There has never been a greater need to return to what the Bible teaches
regarding the institution of marriage.  When we do so, we learn that it
involves two people that...]

I. ONLY GOD CAN JOIN TOGETHER

   A. MARRIAGE IS AN INSTITUTION OF GOD...
      1. Ordained by God 'at the beginning' - Mt 19:4-5; Mk 10:6-8; cf.
         Gen 2:21-24
      2. God, not government, joins a man and a women in holy matrimony
         - Mt 19:6
         a. The wedding ceremony may vary according to local custom
         b. Whatever the custom, it is God that does the joining
      3. God, not man, defines the marriage relationship
         a. Who has a right to marry
         b. Who has a right to terminate a marriage

   B. MARRIAGE IS A PRIVILEGE FROM GOD...
      1. For the single man and woman - Gen 2:21-24; Mt 19:4-5
         a. Male and female
         b. Created for union together as one flesh
         c. Thus biological design reveals that God created the male and
            female for heterosexual union, not homosexual union
         d. A person with a reproductive organ cannot say that God made
            them for union with a person of the same sex!
      2. For the widowed - Ro 7:1-3; 1Co 7:39
         a. God joins a man and a woman for life
         b. Death releases the surviving spouse from the marriage bond
         c. "Till death do us part" is a vow to be taken seriously
      3. For the scripturally divorced - Mt 19:9
         a. Only one exception is given in scripture for divorce and
            remarriage
         b. A person may put away their spouse for fornication, and only
            then remarry without committing adultery 
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[Only God has the authority to dictate the definition and terms of
marriage.  Those willing to submit to His definition and terms can be
assured that when they marry God indeed 'joins' them as husband and
wife.  For those so joined...]

II. ONLY GOD CAN PUT ASUNDER

   A. MAN MAY TRY, BUT GOD MUST APPROVE...
      1. Many Pharisees thought a certificate permitted any divorce
         without guilt
         a. Their interpretation of the Law was amiss - Mt 5:31
         b. They focused on the mention of a decree - Deut 24:1-4; cf. Mt
            19:7
         c. They failed to note the affect of the woman's remarriage:
            why the first husband could not take his wife back even
            after the second husband died - Deut 24:4
         d. The woman's second marriage 'defiled' her, just as adultery
            is called a defilement - cf. Jer 3:1; Lev 18:20; Num 5:13-14
            1) "The second marriage of a woman who had been divorced is
               designated by Moses a defilement of the woman...a moral
               defilement, i.e., blemishing, desecration of the sexual
               communion which was sanctified by marriage, IN THE SAME
               SENSE IN WHICH ADULTERY IS CALLED A DEFILEMENT in Lev
               18:20 and Num 5:13,14..." - Keil & Delitzsch
            2) "Thus the second marriage of a divorced woman was placed
               implicit upon a par with adultery, and some approach was
               made towards the teaching of Christ concerning marriage
               (Mt 5:32)..." - ibid.
            3) "If the second marriage of a divorced woman was a moral
               defilement, of course the wife could not marry the first
               again even after the death of her second husband...
               because the defilement of the wife would be thereby
               repeated, and even increased, as the moral defilement
               which the divorced wife acquired through the second
               marriage was not removed by a divorce from the second
               husband, nor yet by his death." - ibid.
         e. For such reasons God hated divorce in OT times - Mal 2:16
            1) It is a treacherous act, covering one's garment with
               violence
            2) Like polygamy, God tolerated it; but it was hurtful to
               women
      2. God permitted the Jews to so mistreat their wives, but no more
         a. It was allowed temporarily due to the hardness of their
            hearts - Mt 19:8
         b. But now Jesus requires a higher standard of righteousness
            - Mt 5:20
         c. He holds those who divorce without proper cause guilty of
            causing adultery - Mt 5:32
      3. Note well: government may issue divorce papers, but God may
         still consider one married!
         a. Giving your spouse papers doesn't free them to remarry
            without guilt - Mt 5:32a
         b. Marrying someone with divorce papers can still result in
            adultery! - Mt 5:32b

   B. WHAT GOD APPROVES, MAN MUST HEED...
      1. God approves two reasons for ending a marriage
         a. The death of one's spouse - 1Co 7:39
         b. The fornication of one's spouse - Mt 5:32; 19:9
         c. What about separation?  What about abandonment?
            1) Separation must be by consent, and only for a short while
               - 1Co 7:5,10-11
            2) Abandonment by an unbeliever only frees one from marital
               obligations; there is no indication one is thereby free
               to remarry - 1Co 7:12-16
      2. Reject God's Word, and face grave consequences
         a. God will judge fornicators and adulterers - He 13:4
         b. They will not inherit the kingdom of God - 1Co 6:9-10
      3. Yet where there is repentance one can find grace
         a. One can be washed, sanctified, and justified - 1Co 6:11
            1) The blood of Christ can wash away sin
            2) The Spirit of God can help one live a sanctified life
         b. Though it may mean living a celibate life - cf. Mt 19:10-12
            1) Becoming a 'eunuch' by choice, if necessary to accept
               Jesus' sayings
            2) Because the kingdom of heaven is worth any sacrifice

CONCLUSION

1. Those who accept Jesus' teaching on marriage, divorce and
   remarriage...
   a. Have the assurance that God joins them in holy matrimony
   b. Avoid the sin and trauma of causing adultery or committing
      adultery
   c. Can have the hope of entering the kingdom of heaven, though it may
      mean celibacy

2. Those who reject the Bible's teaching on marriage, divorce and
   remarriage...
   a. May have papers saying they are divorced, or married, but God
      still holds them accountable
   b. Have no basis for rejecting all sorts of ideas regarding the
      institution of marriage
   c. Have no hope of inheriting the kingdom of God, though they may
      have temporal bliss

Jesus said that those who would be His disciples must abide in His Words
and observe what He taught (Jn 8:31-32; Mt 28:18-20).  How will you
react to the teachings of Jesus?

   "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with
   Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, 'Do you also want to
   go away?' But Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we
   go? You have the words of eternal life.'" - Jn 6:66-68

Are you willing to follow Him who has the words of eternal life...?

http://executableoutlines.com

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