Monday, October 8, 2018

October 6-7, 2018 LSB Setting I with Holy Communion
Title: The bride of Christ, the bridegroom of man!
Text: Mark 10:2-16

9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Marriage is when you agree to spend the rest of your life sleeping in a room that's too warm, right next to someone who's sleeping in a room that's too cold.

Contributed by E.J. Graff.

2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test [Jesus] asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

Divorce has become all too common. It is all too common in the world and among Christians as well. The Pharisees were coming to test Jesus asking if it allowable for a man to divorce his wife? I spent many years in the sales business and one of the key teachings of sales is to: answer a question with a question.

So Jesus, being one of the best at it asks:

“What did Moses command you?”

And the Pharisees reply:

“Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.”
What they are really asking Jesus in a roundabout way is this:

“Moses said that is lawful for a man to divorce his wife and send her away. What Jesus, do you say?”

In Creation God made all things good, even saying in our Old Testament lesson for today:

18 … “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Gen 2:18

So Jesus calls them out on their question because what God has made good sin has broken. Their hardness of heart is opposed to God and his design so that a law was given to allow divorce for reasons of unfaithfulness.

And Jesus answers them:

“Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

So the word of God is in conflict. The man and the woman shall become one flesh and the Law of Moses allows for a divorce for reason of unfaithfulness.

Not really … but "because of your hardness of heart," Jesus says.

One of the most quoted stats by Christian leaders today is also perhaps one of the most inaccurate.

“Christians divorce at roughly the same rate as the world!”

We may think that.
We may know other Christians that are divorced.
It may even be you that has suffered a divorce.

During the 36 years of my marriage to Monica we have known someone, family, friend or acquaintance that

Is divorced,
Has been divorced,
Or is going through a divorce.

The brokenness of sin gets to the very core of who we are as sinners. Adam’s choice to sin has cast God’s perfect creation into the chaos of dead in sin – and dead to God.

God created marriage perfect.

Adam and Eve were created as a perfect couple – “a helper fit for him”, God says in Genesis. But where Creation gives way to corruption by the fall into sin all things – marriage too – have been broken.

If you think about it, unfaithfulness in a perfect creation is impossible, but in a corrupted and broken world it is all too common.
Jesus even says to his broken world disciples:

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

The six commandment:

You shall not commit adultery.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

It sounds good on paper but in a broken world it’s hard if not impossible to keep.

But Jesus came to restore all that was broken. The sin of separation from God has been restored and redeemed in Christ.

The idolatry of self in marriage just doesn’t work.

The two have now become one so that in all things - in marriage / in Christ - the focus is placed on this unity.

The article that I mentioned earlier about the statistical divorce rate among Christians being about the same as the world is wrong.

Here’s the truth…

People who seriously practice a traditional religious faith—have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population.

The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice.

What appears intuitive is true. Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes—attend church nearly every week, read their bibles and spiritual materials regularly; pray privately and together; generally take their faith seriously …

Living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples—enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members, the general public, and unbelievers.

There is no guarantee of a divorce free married life but being in the word is a great help. You see, in Christ you are a new creation. Set apart as God’s child and fully forgiven in Christ. When two in Christ become one there is something bigger than the individual to unite them. They become one in marriage and one in Christ.

This oneness - sees the woman as bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.
This oneness - becomes subject to her husband as unto Christ.
This oneness - loves his wife as Christ loves the church.
This oneness - is no longer two but one and in Christ.
This oneness - can endure the trials of sin, death and the power of the devil because …
Christ is the Lord of husband, of wife, and of family.

Many enter marriage with the hope of “A happily ever after!” – This is nothing more than a fairy tale apart from a unity in Christ.

The Marriage can even become an idol, made in the image of husband and wife where hopes and cares are placed in failed sinful beings rather than in Jesus Christ as Lord who came to restore all things in him.

Paul in speaking about idol worship in 1 Cor. 10:23 says,

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

This is also especially true with the neighbor we are united to, and in unity with, within our marriages.

While sin remains a part of our life and the world we live in … it is also true that in Christ all things have been made new; so when Christ rules your life and your marriage together, all things work better with Christ as the head.

love and cherish those blessed children God has given you.

Children are a blessing that results from the union of man and woman.
Children brought to Christ are welcomed by him.
Childlike faith receives the Kingdom of God.

With child like faith we all have entered the Lord’s courts let us together with Christ love and live as one in Him being received as his beloved children.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit


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