2020-03-08 – Mark 10.1-16 – Law vs Love
Bible Text: Mark 10:1-16 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Mark | 2020-03-08 – Mark 10.1-16 – Law vs Love
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
(Pregnancy Resources visit)
Today we are going to talk about a couple topics that are somewhat sensitive in nature. As you probably know, the sermons you hear from me are based exclusively upon scripture, and in that we have been going through the book of Mark in a very methodical way verse by verse. The technical term for this is Expository and Exegetical preaching. Expository is a form of preaching that details the meaning of a particular text or passage of Scripture. It explains what the Bible means by what it says. Exegetical or Exegesis means to careful draw out the exact meaning of a passage in its original context. In laymen’s terms, I am explaining the bible using the bible in the bible’s context. The goal here is that you learn to know and love God’s words and not mine. To clearly understand what you are reading, so the next time you hear it or read it on your own, it will be kind of like you are coming home.
Again the topics we have today are somewhat sensitive as it involves marriage and divorce and children. But before we get started I want to take a quick-poll. Who here will admit to being both a Christian and a sinner? Okay, then maybe I am in good company. In Romans 3:23 Paul wrote “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” And that is why we all need a Savior, Amen?
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 10.1, pew Bibles pg. 897 of God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word. But let us first start with Prayer.
I will remind you that at this point in our study of Mark, Jesus and the Disciples had been in the northern area of the Sea of Galilee for quite some time now. The disciples now clearly recognized Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Savior. Over the next few weeks we are going to see Jesus starting to move His ministry back towards Jerusalem, which will lead Him to the cross. The timing of this study through Mark is pretty cool in that in a few weeks we will be studying the Palm Sunday account on our Palm Sunday. Again our first verses today starts at chapter 10 verse 1 and it is entitled in our pew bibles as “The Question of Divorce”.
10 He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on him again, and as was his custom he taught them again. 2 Some Pharisees came to test him, asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.”
First we should notice that in verse 2 it says that the Pharisees “came to test” Jesus. They were testing Him with a controversial question with the intent to do evil. The motive of the Pharisees was to set Jesus up for a fall. Depending on His answer they figured that He would either sin against God or give His enemies a reason for putting Him to death. It was a probe of many prongs so to speak. By posing this question about divorce, they are attempting to force Jesus into a corner where He has to either alienate some of His followers or He will contradict the law of Moses. But Jesus is so wise, and He turns the question back at them to answer. That “tactic”, of answering a question with a question is something we all might consider employing when faced with an evil adversary. When they ask a difficult or impossible question, just reply to them with another question, and in doing that, you will put them on the defensive and it will give you time to think.
Regarding this question of divorce, there is probably no adult here that has not been negatively impacted by divorce. For many of you who have walked through a divorce and are now single or remarried, or whose parents, siblings or children were divorced, the mere mention of the word carries a huge weight of emotions, sorrow and loss, tragedy and disappointment, anger and regret or guilt. In life, few things are more painful than divorce. It cuts to the depths of our personhood unlike any other relational gash. It can be more emotionally heart-wrenching than even a death of a spouse because of the ugliness of the sin and moral outrage associated with it.
In our text here the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked Him if it was lawful to get a divorce. Sadly in our world today, every adult knows that it’s not only lawful but easy and cheap to do so. Just Google the word “divorce” and see what you get (“Easy Online Divorce”, or “No Fault Divorce, $28.95”). Let me cautiously but seriously suggest, that those who build their livelihood around making things like divorce and abortions cheap and easy, need to repent and seek God’s forgiveness because according to His word, it is truly an abomination Him.
Sadly our society today is much like the Pharisees in Jesus’s day, for which He called them “an adulterous generation”. In these first verses, Jesus leads them to recall what Moses wrote about Divorce. [SLIDE] In Deuteronomy 24:1 Moses wrote: “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house,
or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord.” Keep in mind this was written when women had almost no rights in their religious and civil systems. Now see Jesus’s response starting at Verse 5:
5 But Jesus told them, “[Moses] wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. 6 But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother 8 and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
I feel compelled to make sure you understand what marriage is. Remember God presented Eve to Adam and thus formed the first marriage. They were brought together to be helpers for each other and for companionship and so they could multiply. But marriage is a human earthly institution. It is not something we will take into heaven. In Mark 12, the Sadducees asked Jesus about marriage. They said a lady married a guy with six brothers. Her husband died and each one of the brothers married her in succession until eventually they all died. They asked Jesus “At the resurrection whose wife will she be” Jesus replied, “When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven”. There are some religions that promote an eternal bonding, but you should know that is not at all biblical. Marriage is just a taste of the type of relationships we will have in heaven. It is a beautiful and holy institution by God while we are on this earth. And God clearly wants you to honor it.
In these verses Jesus said to them about divorce, “Because of your hard hearts Moses wrote you this commandment.” Divorce is not God’s will or design. But because of their sin and their pleading to God it was permitted and regulated. God’s permission doesn’t at all mean He felt it was an ideal “solution” for His people. That was true for the Israelites and that is true for us here today as well. You have heard the statement, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”. This isn’t just a popular expression, it comes from the Bible, Matthew 19:6: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” The intent here is what results in God’s Holy math, that 1 + 1 = 1, and only in that holy bond is where His beautiful design flourishes when they later multiply.
This deliberation in our verses continues at verse 10:
10 When they were in the house again, the disciples questioned him about this matter. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Again, aside from accepting Christ as our Savior, marriage is the most serious step we can take in our lives. It is not something to be taken casually and it is not for the timid either. Marriage is designed by God to be a beautiful and holy union of a man and a wife until death. In Malachi 2:16 God said He “Hates divorce”. The pain, confusion and frustration most people experience after a divorce is surely part of the reason. No loving God or parent would want that for their children.
However, in Matthew 19:9 Jesus also said, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Adultery is the sixth of the Ten Commandments, and a very serious sin. Jesus even doubled down on that when He said that if you even look at another person with lust you have committed adultery in their heart. God want’s us to cherish our spouse, just like Jesus loves and cherishes His bride the Church.
Jesus never forsakes her. He never abandons her. He never abuses her. He always loves her. He is always patient with her. He always cares for her and provides for her and protects her and delights in her. Sacrificial love He gave; and that is what He wants us to do likewise. So weather you are married once, married five times, or married never, if you choose to receive Jesus Christ as a Savior then you are considered part of His bride the church. In Acts 10:43, the apostle Paul wrote “Everyone who believes in him, receives forgiveness of sins through his name”. In Him alone I have my confidence, and in that alone I have my peace. God’s grace and mercy and compassion is all we need, amen?
Our last verses here today turn the topic to the children. Verse 13 says:
13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 After taking them in his arms, he laid his hands on them and blessed them.
First I want to share that I find it amazing that the circumstances surrounding our guest Pregnancy Resources coming to our church on the day we have this particular verse is to me affirmation that God is with us brothers and sisters.
This quote by Jesus is also written in Matthew 19:14 “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Just like we learned that Marriage is holy on to the Lord, so are the little children. We need to protect and look after all God’s children, from the womb to adulthood, amen? The debate we hear so frequently is when does life start. I ran across a great verse the other day and I posted it up on Facebook.
In Doctor Luke’s Gospel, chapter 1:14 the angel Gabriel foretells John the Baptist’s birth. He said, “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He shall never take wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb”. This is a complement to another popular verse, in Psalm 139:13 David wrote, “For You formed my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb”. So God not only knew you in your mother’s womb, He knit you together and He loved you. Such an amazing love. What a wonderful Father God we have.
I love that old song, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world” And the second verse says “Jesus died for all the children” and the third is “Jesus rose for all the children”. Isn’t that just beautiful?
In our last verses here, Jesus, who had so much already on his plate. Who was ministering to all people from all walks of life, surrounded by people including the Pharisees, shows His compassion for even the little children. God in the flesh, Jesus Christ loved on them that day, and we should endeavor to do the same.
As we prepare to close here today I wish for you to clearly understand, regarding God’s relationship with us in marriage and the family, it isn’t about the Law, it is all about God’s Love. Thus the title of our message today, Law vs Love. Everything God does is about His love for us. The more we head His instruction and emulate Jesus’s character, the more we will find that true love with Him and with each other. Please listen now as I read from Ephesians 5 this section entitled “Instructions for Christian Households”:
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
We talked about some pretty sensitive subjects here today. I pray you have a better understanding of God’s will in all of this. Remember we are all sinners saved by grace. And in that all I can say is Hallelujah.
Would you please stand and pray with me now.
Father, this is why we’re here to worship today, because of the glory of Your precious Gospel. Confirm it to our hearts Lord, as we pray this in Jesus Christ’s Holy name, amen.