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Dr. Terry Cheek | Marion, North Carolina
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The Inspiring Word
3809 Old Hwy 10 East
Nebo, NC 28761
Dr. Terry Cheek
3809 Old Hwy 10 East
Nebo, North Carolina 28761
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The Inspiring Word for September 2015
Posted by: The Inspiring Word | more..
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September allows us to continue our exposition of the Sermon on the Mount. We continue with the Lords discourse on marriage, with our theme this month on fidelity. When discussing marriage, fidelity and infidelity we must also discuss divorce and remarriage. There are biblical instructions for each. Over the last three or four decades there has been a reluctance by the evangelical church, even pastors to expound on this subject. I understand how complex and controversial this subject is and the deep emotions that go along with it. That is why an honest and compassionate discourse on the subject is necessary, and that is exactly what I prayerfully seek to present.

In Matthew 5:31-32 we learn of marriage fidelity. These two verses hardly represent the total of Jesus’ instructions regarding marriage and divorce. However, they seem to give an abbreviated summary of His teachings (a fuller record is found in chapter 19). I will examine both passages and attempt to interpret for this article.

In Jesus day there was a controversy surrounding marriage and divorce; and it continues strongly today. Then it was between the rival rabbinic schools of Hillel and Shammai. Shammai held a rigorous line founded from Deut. 24:1; a view that divorce was a grave matrimonial offence caused by an indecent act. Hillel held a very liberal and lax view that accepted divorce for many reasons including social, household and personal image issues or opinions. If we accept the writings of Josephus the Hillel approach was the dominate attitude. Even in our scriptures because the Pharisee’s applied the Mosaic provision to a man who “desires to be divorced from his wife for any cause whatsoever.” Another portion of scripture that supports the liberal attitude is the question: “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” These men were wanting to trap Jesus into supporting one of their opinions instead of seeking God’s intention for marriage. Jesus answers this question in three parts and in each part He dissents from the Pharisees.

First notice Jesus declined to answer their question; instead He ask a question about their reading of Scripture. He referred them back to Genesis, to creation of mankind as male and female in Ch. 1 and to the institution of marriage in Ch.2 where man leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife to become one. This defines marriage as both exclusive (man & woman) and permanent (cleaving to his wife to become one).

Second, the Pharisees responded by asking “Why then did Moses command on to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” This is a garbled version of the Mosaic provision, the Pharisees disregarded the whole counsel of God and implied their own teachings. Pharisees actually encouraged the practice of divorce by taking out of context Deut. 24:1-4 where conditional clauses are listed but no command for divorce. Jesus reminded them divorce was permitted due to the hardness of a people’s heart (unrepentant sin). Then Jesus reminds the Pharisees and us “from the beginning it was not so.”

Third, and the conclusion of Jesus debate with the Pharisees coincides Matt. 5:32 and 19:9 where we learn the only acceptable reason for divorce is unchastity. Also remember last month’s article when we discussed lust, Jesus taught that lust was adultery which is unchastity! When we explore the word unchastity we learn it is inclusive of adultery, fornication and unnatural sexual vice (pornography, homosexuality, bestiality, etc…).

To this general principle there is one conclusion. The only circumstance in which divorce and remarriage are possible for the innocent party without breaking the seventh commandment is when the marriage vow has already been broken by sincere sexual sin. In this case only did Jesus teach that divorce was acceptable but remember this, it was not required.

As a pastor I have officiated a few marriages, each one required pre-marital counseling. One point of discussion I stress is the importance that male and female be born again. I feel an unequally yoked marriage is the biggest cause of divorce in America. Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” I often hear during counseling of a troubled marriage; “I thought I could change him/her after we married” or “he/she told me they were saved just to get through the marriage.” If someone is a Christian when you meet them their life will be a testimony of it. Unchastity is an anchor that has drowned many marriages. Don’t let yours become one of them. Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, recommit your life while you can; repentance is a blessing, take advantage of it. Until next month may God bless you is my prayer!

Dr. Terry Cheek Dr. Terry Cheek

Category:  The Inspiring Word

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