North Anderson Baptist Church
Sacred Institution and Sacred Word
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
1. Sacred Institution

God has ordained and blessed marriage between one man and one woman as the first institution on earth.
It is obvious that God’s original plan was for this concept of marriage to be holy and relatable to the God who created us.
In the New Testament, Jesus spoke of the original intent of marriage and also of divorce with the Pharisees in Matthew 19:3-9,
Jesus did not place the blame on Moses but on the hearts of the Israelites. The religious leaders tried to catch Jesus in a falsehood or a contradiction but He was too smart for that. He placed it squarely back on them.

Let us first look at the scripture for today so we can put these thoughts from Christ into context. Our first thoughts are under the subject of divorce.
Marriage and Divorce

When Jesus spoke of divorce it is obvious that He must start with marriage before He can speak of a divorce. So, marriage is the basic assumption here. Most scholars believe that when Jesus is referencing the “certificate of divorce” He is speaking about the passage of scripture from Deuteronomy 24:1-4 which reads,
It is first important to notice God established marriage but man wanted a way out of the union God set aside to be sacred. Jesus’ comments from the Matthew 19 passage helps us to see it is the desire of man’s heart to get what he wants regardless of what God has ordained to be true and permanent. Note what Jesus said, because your hearts were hard. When God brought the people out of Egypt He wanted them to follow the laws He gave them so that they would be protected. One of the reasons for marriage is to show who God is in the Trinity and to make sure that there is a special relationship and unity between man and woman that is seen in the person of God. Jesus pointed out that God intended marriage to be a covenant–a permanent promise of love and faithfulness. (Life application Bible Commentary) God also sought to keep marriage sacred and sexual relations pure between one man and one woman. The Pharisees regarded divorce as a legal issue rather than a spiritual one–marriage and divorce were merely transactions similar to buying and selling land (with women being treated as property). But Jesus condemned this attitude, clarifying God’s original intention–that marriage bring unity that no one should separate. (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 369)
When Jesus speaks of the “certificate of divorce” He speaks of a man made law that by-passes God’s law. God’s original intent is overruled. So, Jesus speaks of the concept of adultery to those who break the marriage vows, either through breaking up the marriage through giving of a certificate of divorce and having the wife leave the marriage to be married again, thus causing the next man whom she marries to commit adultery, as well as “making her a victim” of adultery.

According to Jesus in the Matthew 5 passage, a man can divorce his wife for the reason of adultery. In the context of the day, we have to remember that the husband is the one who is in charge and has the right to divorce his wife if he desired. Using the Deuteronomy passage we can see that the man can divorce his wife for practically any reason; it could actually be something that displeased him. The evident purpose was, as far as possible, to favor the wife, and to protect her against an unceremonious expulsion from her home and children. Professor Driver, The German the Revised Version (British and American) (Kautzsch) Yet, the wife is not addressed here that she can do the same because the wife was close to being property according to some scholars. "In all such cases where the wife was concerned as the moving party she could only demand that her husband should divorce her. The divorce was always from first to last, in Jewish law, the husband's act." The common term used in the Bible for divorce is “shilluach” 'ishshah, "the sending away of a wife" (Deuteronomy 22:19,29). We never read of "the sending away of a husband." The feminine participle, “gerushah,” "the woman thrust out," is the term applied to a divorced woman. The masculine form is not found. Professor Israel Abrahams, Cambridge, England, before "the Divorce Commission" (London, November 21, 1910)

Even though divorce was made possible it was not necessarily easy to do. What the law tries to do is to regulate it, usually in favor of the wife. We infer from this law that a man could divorce his wife (a) only for good cause; (b) the case must be brought before some public official; and (c) a legal document prepared and placed in the wife’s hand. These formalities, involving time and money, would act as a deterrent to hasty or rash action, which end the present law would further serve. (George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible Vol 2, 473-4)
Some reasons for divorce in that first century were: “some unseemly thing’ or “some indecency”. Some would say that was adultery, which could be enforced by the extreme penalty of death. But some have said they thought that the extreme punishment was never enforced. Two schools of thought before and during the time of Christ taught that divorce could come for: 1. Shammai - the extreme reason of adultery and divorce only for this reason. But the other school believed, 2. Hillel - that “if she, (the wife,) finds no favor in his eyes,” the husband, then he has the right to divorce her “and in the Mishna and some rabbinic writings contended that divorce should be granted for the flimsiest reason: such as the spoiling of a dish either by burning or careless seasoning. Some of the rabbis boldly taught that a man had a perfect right to dismiss his wife, if he found another woman whom he liked better, or who was more beautiful (Mishnah, GiTTin, 14 10).” "The following women may be divorced: She who violates the Law of Moses, e. g. causes her husband to eat food which has not been tithed . . . She who vows, but does not keep her vows . . . She who goes out on the street with her hair loose, or spins in the street, or converses (flirts) with any man, or is a noisy woman. What is a noisy woman? It is one who speaks in her own house so loud that the neighbors may hear her." It would be easy to extend the list, for the Mishna and rabbinic writings are full of such laws.
Now with all that said, Jesus was facing all these ideas and He made a clear declaration that marriage was sacred and divorce could only become legal if there was adultery on the wife’s part.

*Let me stop there for a moment and say, “Does Jesus not recognize that a man can also commit adultery and the wife would have the right to declare for divorce as well?” Does Jesus not enfer from the rest of His teaching that both the woman and the man have equal rights before God and then if a man commits adultery that the wife may also seek a certificate of divorce? You would think that, would you not? Because of the whole of the New Testament, we could be on strong spiritual grounds to come to that decision.
Now to us today! Today many of you in here have been divorced and some of you have remarried after your divorce. I want to be careful in speaking about this because we need to keep in mind what the world has said is okay to do, does not necessarily mean God says it is acceptable to Him. The world has made divorce pretty easy, no fault divorce for example. But God is still clear, but for adultery, divorce is not permitted. That doesn’t mean that if you got a divorce for the reason of cruelty and abuse that God doesn’t know that, He does and He understands. I will leave that judgment up to Him because He knows your heart and circumstances. But remember, all of us have to stand before the throne of Christ to answer to Him for all we have done.

Because God has set up marriage to be sacred and permanent, He still declares that He hates divorce, but hear me loud and clear, He is a God of love and He showed it to us …. He loves us to the cross!

Each of us must live before the Lord with a clean heart and spirit. Seeking forgiveness for sin, any sin. There is a process which the Lord has made clear in the Word of God whereby we all can find true forgiveness.
Let’s say today that you are struggling with having had a divorce and then being re-married; God has a great word for you. Forgiveness. Read right away the first through the 42nd verse of John 4. It is a story of a woman who had been married five times and at that time of talking with Jesus she was living with a man who was not her husband. Jesus, the Son of God, was talking with her and showing compassion and caring for her spiritual needs and letting her know that God would forgive her if she would receive Him as the one and only Messiah, Son of the Living God. You may need to talk with Him, submit to His love and forgiveness and move forward with God to be used for the glory and the honor of the Lord. Maybe you are right now having problems in your marriage and thinking about divorce. Don’t pursue it right now but talk with God, read His Word and seek good Godly counseling before you go further with that decision. God knows your situation and can give you wisdom to go forward.
Let me speak to the people here who have never been divorced. You are so fortunate to have found the one God had for you and blessed that even through the tough times God gave you the grace and you were willing to follow Him and submit to His will, to keep your marriage together.

“Someone once asked Ruth Graham if she had ever thought of divorcing Billy. She told the person that she had never thought about divorce, murder, yes, but not divorce.”
In the past, some who were a part of churches, who were not divorced, they caused a great deal of trouble for those who were divorced because they thought they were so much better than someone who ended up in divorce. It was almost like they placed a big red “D” on the forehead of a divorced person where everyone could see. They were kept by the church from participating in major roles in the church. Most of the time the formerly divorce just wanted to be an integral part of the church, to serve God. I have seen it in my years of ministry. Let me congratulate you here at NABC for not being one of those who judged others or a church as a whole, who judged others who were divorced. The love of Christ is to prevail in all circumstances and where Jesus can forgive and reconcile then we ought to be able to do that too.
2. Sacred Word

Telling the Truth

I believe the Lord Jesus is speaking of the ninth commandment when He speaks here in these verses. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16) We are to make our words truthful and not lie. There is no need to even take an oath when you speak truth. Who will doubt you if your word is always true. Become known for speaking the truth and you won’t have to take an oath. Jesus says that your words should be true and you are to “speak the truth in love,” as Paul the apostle says in Ephesians 4:15. Even James talks about this same subject of not swearing in James 5:12. How many of you add to the end of your sentence, seeking to have the people you are speaking to to think you are more truthful, by using the phrase, “I promise.” People try to make folks believe that their words are true by what you are willing to swear on. God is not One for you to swear on or any other thing on this earth or above it. Jesus just basically says, “No swearing at all, make your words true!”
Let me relate this to the marriage and divorce section we have just gone through. I believe when you take your wedding vows you are making a commitment that you are going to abide by those vows in the presence of God and all who are attending. You have told the one whom you are marrying that your word is true and that you will keep it until the day of death. Only then, at death, you are allowed to say your vow is over and your spouse can move on to make a commitment to another, if they desire.
In a conversation a husband and wife were having about death coming into their marriage, the wife says to her husband, “If I die are you going to marry again?” He looks kind of sad but goes on to say, “I guess I would if you say I should.” “I think it is okay,” she says. But she says, “Do you think that you will have her move into our home?” The husband says, “Probably, it would be the best and there wouldn’t be so many great changes for me.” Then the wife says, “Will you let her drive my car and even sleep in our bed?” He says, “Probably I will.” Then the wife says to her husband, “Will you let her play with my golf clubs?” And he says, “No, she is left handed!”

Really, you do have to be very careful with the words you speak!
God is ready to do business with anyone who is willing to surrender their life to Him. Whether your need is salvation from your sins or whether you need the Lord to help you through your problems or forgive some sin, maybe divorce; He stands ready to touch your heart with His love and forgiveness. Come to Him this morning with your heart open wide to allow Him to do whatever is needed with your sinful heart. All of us have sinned and need the help of the Savior.

Invitation

Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is www.northandersonbaptist.com and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.
Pastor Bill Rigsby

http://www.northandersonbaptist.com