Divorce and Remarriage

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WE BELIEVE THAT GOD HATES DIVORCE AND INTENDS MARRIAGE TO LAST UNTIL ONE OF THE SPOUSES DIES. DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IS REGARDED AS ADULTERY EXCEPT ON THE GROUNDS OF FORNICATION. ALTHOUGH DIVORCED AND REMARRIED PERSONS OR DIVORCED PERSONS MAY HOLD POSITIONS OF SERVICE IN INDEPENDENCE BAPTIST CHURCH, AND BE GREATLY USED OF GOD FOR CHRISTIAN SERVICE, THEY MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR THE OFFICE OF PASTOR OR DEACON.

I. WE BELIEVE THAT GOD HATES DIVORCE AND INTENDS MARRIAGE TO LAST UNTIL ONE OF THE SPOUSES DIES.

A. It is important at the beginning to understand that sometimes divorce comes through no fault of the divorced person.

1. There are people who are divorced before they are saved. That does not mean they cannot serve God. They are, of course, restricted from being a deacon or pastor, but they can fulfill every other office in the church.

2. Sometimes a person finds themselves divorced through no fault of their own. Sometimes the spouse leaves and there is nothing that can be done.

3. Sometimes a person is divorced through their own fault, but that does not mean they cannot serve God in the situation they find themselves in.

4. One thing is very necessary to remember: Always serve God, regardless of the past. It is sometimes not possible to fix the past, but we can live successfully in the present, looking toward a glorious future.

5. No person is without sin, therefore divorced poeople should not be "looked down on", as if they are somehow lesser people than others.

6. In John 8:1-11, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman taken in the very act of adultery. They desired to trick Jesus into condemning her. Jesus told them it was okay to stone her, only he that was without sin should cast the first stone. All the men went away, beginning from the eldest to the youngest. The lessson is: all have sinned, therefore none can righteously condemn.

7. We must also remember that right is still right and wrong is still wrong. We can state the truth without condemning.

B. The principle of marriage lasting throughout a lifetime is established in the Genesis.

1. Genesis 2:24 states, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

a. The context of the passage reveals that God has shown Adam there was no suitable helpmeet among all the animals.

b. Adam gave names to all the animals, but did not find a sutiable help for himself.

c. God operated on Adam, and removed one of his ribs, from which he made the woman and brought her to the man.

d. Adam immediately named this creature "woman", because she as a suitable help to him.

2. The principle of lifelong marriage was challenged by the Pharisees.

a. Matthew 19:3-12 reveals, The 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? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He 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. 9 And 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. 10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

b. Notice the Pharisees said Moses commanded to give a writing of divorcement.

c. Jesus corrected them by stating that Moses, because of the hardness of their hearts, suffered divorce, but from the beginning it was not so.

d. The Pharisees were putting away their wives for any cause at all, even for "burning the toast".

e. The issue of marriage and adultery.

1.) Jesus said that for a man to divorce a wife, except it be for fornication, caused adultery.

2.) In the days of Christ, a couple was considered married when they were engaged.

a.) Matthew 1:18 states that when Mary and Joseph were espoused (engaged) she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

b.) Matthew 1:19 relates that Joseph was the husband of Mary, and considered divorcing her.

c.) In Matthew 1:20 the angel fo the Lord appeared unto Joseph, instructing him to take Mary his wife.

d.) Therefore fornication occurs during the engagement period, not after the couple officially becomes husband and wife.

3.) I believe there is a difference between committing adultery and living adultery.

a.) Committing adultery is when a married person has illicit sexual relations.

b.) Living in adultery is when a married person continually has illicit sexual relations.

c.) Marriage, even to a divorced person, does not constitute continual illicit sexual relations.

d.) Hebrews 13:4 states, Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

f. Matthew 22:23-33 gives the story of the Sadducees asking Christ about the woman who was married seven times to seven different brothers, all the brothers dying before the woman.

1.) The question concerns who she is married to in the afterlife.

2.) Christ explains they do not understand the resurrection.

3.) This story confirms the fact that God desires marriage to remain until death.

C. Paul continues to teach what Christ taught, that God intended marriage to last a lifetime.

1. Romans 7:1-3 reveals 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? 2 For 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. 3 So 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.

2. The subject of this passage is not marriage, but the limited domination of the law.

a. Paul uses marriage as an example to the limited domination of the law.

b. Paul uses what the people commonly know and accept about marriage to teach a principle of the law they do not understand.

II. DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IS REGARDED AS ADULTERY EXCEPT ON THE GROUNDS OF FORNICATION.

A. I think it needs to be said that God looks on spiritual adultery very differently than physical adultery.

1. I do not think God approves either spiritual or physical adultery, but spiritual adultery is much worse than physical adultery.

2. I believe men today consider physical adultery is be a most terrible sin, but do not think spiritual adultery is bad at all.

3. We should have God’s prespective on this matter.

B. The definition of fornication and adultery.

1. Fornication is illicit sexual contact of a single person.

2. An engaged person commits fornication when they have illicit sexual contact before marriage.

3. Adultery is illicit sexual contact of a married person.

C. I believe there is a difference in "committing adultery" and "living in adultery".

1. The married person who has illicit sexual relations with a person other than their spouse has committed adultery.

2. The married person who is "living with" a person other than their spouse is "living in adultery".

3. The single person who is "living with" a person is committing fornication.

D. A divorced person who remarries has committed adultery, but is not "living in adultery".

1. Matthew 19:9 states, And 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.

2. 1 Corinthians 7:9 also reveals, But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

a. There are people who believe it is better if a divorced person never remarries; that they are "living in adultery" if they do remarry.

b. I do not believe the Bible teaches that.

3. Matthew 5:27,28 helps put things in perspective by stating, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

a. Therefore we understand that looking with lust constitutes adultery in the eyes of the Lord.

b. It must be understood that what God sees is often very different from what men see.

4. God used King David after he committed adultery and killed Uriah.

a. God can also use people today who are divorced and remarried, as long as their heart is toward God and holiness.

b. God did not use King David until after he repented of his wickedness.

E. God despises interfaith marriage.

1. Genesis 6:1-3 reveals the flood in the days of Noah occurred because of the sin of interfaith marriage.

a. There are many people who believe the sons of God were some sort of angel that co-habited with women, who produced giants.

b. This is not so.

c. The sons of God are saved people who married lost people (the daughters of men).

d. The giants are giants – read carefully verse four which states there were giants in the earth those days, and also after that (after the giants were in the earth) that the sons of God married the daughters of men.

e. Verse 4 makes it very clear the giants were not the result of angels co-habitating with women, but the giants were there before the interfaith marriage became prevalent.

2. Israel had dealt wickedly with the marriage convenant and God would hold them guilty.

a. Malachi 2:12-17 states, Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. 12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts. 13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

1.) This passage is a description of what Israel has done to God.

2.) God describes the illicit relationship of Israelites who have forsaken the wife of their youth to marry wives of a strange god.

3.) God will cut off every person who has done this, regardless of their station in life.

4.) God states that he is the one who makes marriage, that makes two one, for the explicit purpose of making a godly seed.

5.) Israel has done all they could to destroy the purpose of God by divorcing the wives of their youth.

b. In Nehemiah 13:23-31, Nehemiah curses the Israelites who married wives of Ashdod, Ammon, and of Moab.

III. ALTHOUGH DIVORCED AND REMARRIED PERSONS OR DIVORCED PERSONS MAY HOLD POSITIONS OF SERVICE IN INDEPENDENCE BAPTIST CHURCH, AND BE GREATLY USED OF GOD FOR CHRISTIAN SERVICE, THEY MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR THE OFFICE OF PASTOR OR DEACON.

A. Pastoral qualifications require that a pastor (bishop) be the husband of one wife.

1. I Timothy 3:2 declares, A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

2. Titus 1:6 states, If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

B. One of the qualifications of a deacon is that they be the husband of one wife.

1. I Timohty 3:12 clarifies, Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

2. It is very apparent from these scriptures that a woman cannot be a pastor.

C. There is nothing wrong or unscriptural with a divorced and remarried person being used in the service of God in a local church.

1. The qualification of a pastor and deacon having one wife is given because there were male members of these churches that practiced polygamy.

2. Whether the divorced male had one wife at a time, or the non-divorced male had more than one wife at a time makes no difference before God.

The only objection I have to divorced and remarried people taking an active part in church services is when they defend their divorce and remarriage or condemn others who are divorced and remarried.