Monday, May 11, 2009

In the Beginning It Was Not So

Malachi 2:10-17; Mark 10:1-12 / Genesis 2:5-25

I. How Do We Trap the Christians?

A. Jesus taught people who wanted to learn. “And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. (Mark 10:1)

B. Some people delight to disrupt gospel progress with tempting questions. “And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.” (Mark 10:2)

1. The term “tempt” or “test” enters the Gospel when Mark uses it to describe the work of Satan. “And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.” (Mark 1:13)

2. Mark uses the term three other times; each of these echoes the first usage. See Mark 8:11; Mark 10:2; and Mark 12:155

C. Christ turned the trap on the trappers; the question was disingenuous. “And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?” (Mark 10:3)

D. The Pharisees were mishandling Scripture just as Satan had in Matthew 4:1-10.

II. Jesus Unraveled the Problem

A. The people asking the question knew that the Bible permits divorce. “And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.” (Mark 10:4) “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)

B. Scripture provides divorce as a remedy for the abject depravity of the human heart; rather than permitting divorce for any reason, the pattern was designed to restrain sin and protect the weaker party. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.” (Mark 10:5)

C. God created people with important differences that complement and benefit each other through interaction. “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” (Mark 10:6)

D. Marriage is implicit in the human design. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; (Mark 10:7) See Genesis 2:24

E. A supernatural interaction of marriage partners is more reflective of the Trinity than of the atomized individuality of the unbelieving world. “And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. (Mark 10:8)

F. Polygamy appears in Scripture, but practicing polygamists cannot fit the original marriage paradigm and practicing polygamists are excluded from church office. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;” (1 Timothy 3:2) “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” (1 Timothy 3:12)

III. No Fault Divorce Is an Oxymoron

A. The ingenuity of sinful minds, excusing evil, should never be given more authority than the facts of Creation. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mark 10:9)

B. How should Christians handle all the exceptions and complications? “And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.” (Mark 10:10) “His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.” (Matthew 19:10)

C. Unbelievers substitute tender mercies for justice and the only remedy for protected sin is divorce; just cultures would not leave many evil people alive to divorce. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

D. Righteous people extend mercy to every area of life and unrighteous people convert mercy into cruelty; something is fundamentally flawed when society protects snail darters and funds abortion. “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10)

E. Swapping for a better deal is actually adultery, not divorce. “And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” (Mark 10:11-12)

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