This sermon was preached at Red Rocks Baptist Church (14711 W. Morrison Rd. Morrison, CO 80465) on Oct. 7, 2012 by Pastor Les Heinze. These notes are provided as a recap and for further study into the message from God’s Word.
JESUS’ TEACHING ON DIVORCE
Since numerous books and articles have been authored on what the Bible says about divorce, specifically how Jesus handled the subject, this recap of Pastor Les Heinze’s full message on the passage will only address Mark 10:11-12.
Although his disciples were present when Jesus answered the Pharisee’s ‘entrapment’ question (v. 2), in private (v. 10) they asked for some clarification. While Jesus’ answer is very short, only twenty-four words in the New King James Version, it is instructive as much for what it doesn’t say as what it does.
First of all, while Jesus permitted divorce, he didn’t require it. It was not mandatory, even within the adultery guidelines Scripture mentions. God can be glorified more when forgiveness is extended rather than infidelity being seized as an opportunity to end the relationship. Forgiveness doesn’t minimize adultery – it magnifies God’s grace.
It could be legitimately argued that choosing to divorce was just a ‘train wreck’ waiting to happen when a section of faulty track finally came along. In other words, don’t look for even a legitimate reason to divorce. Instead, look for opportunities to stay together. Staying together is decidedly more difficult, but God is able to provide the grace.
An applicable principle when facing difficult situations is one that the nation of Israel should have applied on the shore of the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit: Look for ways to bring glory to God before seeking your own relief (See Exodus 14:4).
Next, straying outside the biblical strictures that emphasize faithfulness in marriage could be, while not offering an excuse, attributable to not recognizing the differences between men and women. The Bible actually celebrates those differences by the varying responsibilities it assigns to each in a marriage (See Ephesians 5:22-35). Spouses don’t have the same responsibilities because they are different physically and emotionally. God has designed us to be complementary. When either doesn’t recognize the needs of the other and doesn’t meet them, the door opens to the possibility of infidelity.
Finally, we must not take our cues from the culture around us. The Pharisees had a much broader set of guidelines on what reasons were legitimate to divorce. Thinking about divorce as the entertainment industry thinks about it today, or even our neighbors, is a certain downhill path to disaster. By far the majority of marriages that fail do so because of a focus on unmet needs (It’s about me), not a focus on how to meet the needs of the other (it’s about you).
What would be the outcome of our relationship with Christ if that approach was taken? He is the bridegroom and we are his bride, so the comparison is valid. He has pledged himself to us in faithfulness. If we disappoint him, even repeatedly, does he divorce us? Do we fail to meet his expectations as outlined in Scripture? Yes, daily. But he forgives and the relationship grows deeper. May yours do the same.