Sermon 008 Jesus and Divorce, or the Worst Valentines Sermon You've Ever Heard

This sermon no longer accurately represents my views on the questions at hand and is very heteronormative. It remains here for archival, as well as my belief that being wrong in public is okay.

Begin by reading Matthew 19:3-10

  1. Genesis 1:26-27
    1. From the beginning, God creates humans with gender, intending them to be together to accomplish His purposes together.
  2. Genesis 2:18-24
    1. God realizes "it is not good for the man to be alone"
      1. God, out of the "the man," creates "the woman," his "partner"
      2. Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh
      3. Man leaves his parents, "clings" (glued or welded to his wife,) and they become one flesh.
  3. Deuteronomy 24:1
    1. Point of the passage is prevent women being treated as property
      1. Women had no rights, no provisions, no protection, no dignity
      2. There must be a certificate
    2. "Finds something objectionable"
      1. "Nakedness of a thing"
      2. Shammai - only unfaithfulness (focused on "nakedness")
      3. Hillel - if wife burned the toast or if you find someone more attractive (focused on "of a thing")
    3. "And so he writes her a certificate of divorce..."
      1. Not a command, but an allowance, an assumption.
  4. Matthew 19
    1. Verse 3: The Pharisees already assume that divorce is lawful. The question is under what circumstances. We cannot approach this text the same away, looking only for laws and regulations of brokenness, when we are instead presented with God's original intent for the wholeness of marriage. This passage was never meant to be read as the "definitive answer" to marriage, divorce, and remarriage.
    2. Verse 4-5: Jesus completely circumnavigates the Pharisees Biblically. Instead of approaching divorce as automatically assumed, he instead returns to God's original intent.
    3. Verse 6: His conclusion is that it is God Himself who "glues" people together in marriage. Therefore what God has put together LET (command) no one separate.
    4. Verse 7: Pharisees respond by "quoting" Deuteronomy 24. "Why did Moses command...?"
    5. Verse 8: Deuteronomy 24 was an allowance based off of our sinfulness, not God's original intent. "In the beginning it was not so."
    6. Verse 9: Don't get caught up in that same old tired debate about what "pornea/unchastity/immorality" means. That was the opposite of Jesus' point. The Pharisees, like the disciples in verse 10, are only interested in how easily men can get out of marriage. Basically, the barbaric way of asking this, is "How much like property can we really treat women?" Jesus' response is a solid, "Not at all." The "exception clause" has nothing to do with giving a list of possible reasons divorce becomes moral. Instead it means that when a marriage partner goes and "becomes one flesh," with another person, they have essentially severed the original "one flesh glue."
  5. Application
    1. For those remarried
      1. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Anyone who tries to take this passage or ones like it and try to prove to you that you are currently living in adultery have missed what Jesus is saying, as well as ignored the Biblical promises that the old is gone and the new has come. 
    2. For those married: we are for...
      1. Fidelity (stay true to spouse)
      2. Reconciliation
      3. Endurance
      4. far as it is possible
      5. 1 Corinthians 7: If the unbelieving spouse separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you.
    3. For those affected by/near to divorce
      1. Don't take sides.
      2. Ask if you have the authority to speak into a situation.
      3. Authority to speak is earned and authority is invited in.
    4. For those considering marriage
      1. Stick to God's original intent. Marriage is meant to be life-long. That means prenuptial written up with the express purpose of anticipating divorce are in fundamental conflict with marriage itself.
Anthony Parrott

Anthony Parrott

Washington, DC