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Dr. Ed Young - Run to Commitment

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    Dr. Ed Young - Run to Commitment
TOPICS: Happy People :), Commitment

It was toward the end of the day and a desperate, young housewife, whose husband was away at battle with the military, decided to take a shower. And she gets undressed and goes and pulls down the window shade but leaves it, you know, not intentionally, but about a third opened at the bottom, not thinking anything about it. She begins to take a shower, and across the way from her condo, there was a powerful, powerful, rich, military man who was not at battle, but he was seated out on the roof, waiting for the cool of the evening to come with a Cuban cigar and a glass of wine. And as he looked, he couldn't believe because that half-closed window shade revealed his neighbor's wife: beautiful, young, taking a shower.

That lead to a one night stand, that proceeded into an affair, developed into an unwanted pregnancy, and because of his of position with the military of wealth and power, he somehow arranged for her husband to be killed in action. He married her; the child was born, but in a few hours died. There were a lot of weeping, and then began a process of many, many months of covering up that sordid, sordid affair, putting a spin on every rumor, until finally a Godly man, humbly and tearfully confronted this man with the great sin in his life. He confessed, repented and was forgiven, but following confession, repentance and forgiveness, there is the price to be paid for rebelling against the immutable principles of God, and in that man's family you can trace every one of his children in this tabloid story and see the horrific lives they lived.

It's a story of David and Bathsheba. The best known, publicly exposed to Scripture, sinful, sensual affair, perhaps in all of history. They got married and began a God-fearing relationship. Bathsheba got pregnant and they had a son by the name of Solomon. And when you read the linage, the genealogy, the family tree of Jesus, there prominent in the listing is Solomon, the son of one Bathsheba and David. Also, if you continue to look at this genealogy, you also see listed there the name of Tamar, who was raped by her brother and there was a relationship there that was deadly. Tamar is in the genealogy of Jesus, and then you read a little further and there was a woman by the name of Rahab, who not only was a prostitute, but in probability she ran a brothel in her day, and there is her name: Tamar, Rahab, Solomon, I mean in the genealogy of Jesus, the Son of God.

It would be like, I would run my genealogy on my dad's side, German, in all probability spelled Young, Young, and I would trace the genealogy and discover that some of family tree back there came for Austria, and look there is a name Adolph Hitler in my family three. Ooh. And then we move farther and I see that one of the Youngs married, somehow a Jewish person, and they had children and oh, oh, there's Bernie Madoff. I got Adolph and Madoff in my family tree. If I were going to publish my family tree, I think I'd find a way to leave those names out. But in the genealogy of Jesus, look at it, what does that tell us? It tells us the words of that great hymn, "Grace that is greater than all of our sin".

So we talk today about a very controversial subject. But I began with, "Grace that is greater than all of our sin," to say to everybody in the sound of this service, to understand that up front and to begin where you are, and live as we have been talking about, a countercultural lifestyle, which is what happens to every genuine follower of Jesus. We're talking about divorce, and you take ten people, any ten people out of this group, and eight of those ten have been directly affected by divorce and the other two have been indirectly affected. Jesus spoke about divorce. It's interesting that divorce was an issue in the first century as it is an issue in the twenty-first century. As Jesus was teaching this profound, what was profound words of the Sermon on the Mount about how we should then live, if we're to be countercultural in this broken world. He talks about anger; he looks at in a different way. Did he not? He talks about adultery; he looks at it in a different way. Did he not?

And now a follow-up from anger and adultery, he deals with divorce. Listen to what Jesus says. Open your Bibles. Matthew chapter number 5, two verses, verse 31 and 32. "It was said," remember that's our formula, "It was said". He said, "This is the Old testament, this is tradition," it was said. Then he says, "But I say unto you, 'It was said whoever sends his wife away let him give her a certificate of divorce. But I say", fulfilling prophecy, fulfilling of the laws of the Old Testament. "But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery".

There is a commentary on these two verses. Look at Matthew chapter 19. In other words, Jesus gave these principles of divorce, this principle, but then also, he writes a commentary that is developed in a dialogue when a Pharisee begins to question him. And I want you to look at this with me in Matthew chapter 19, verse number 3. Here is the cultural question. In other words, this is the question they were asking in that day. It was a cultural question. Also we could ask the same question today because in our culture, it's the same question. Isn't that interesting? First century, twenty-first century, the same type of question, the same type of challenges that revolve around divorce.

Look at verse 3, "Some Pharisees came to Jesus testing him, and asking him is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason"? They asked Jesus this question to see which side of the issue he would take, to decide if he were a Republican or Democrat, if he were of the school of Rabbi Shammai or Rabbi Hillel. Now, Hillel was a very liberal interpretation of Deuteronomy 24. This was the basic thrust of divorce the Jews used. Look at it, Deuteronomy 24 verse 1. This is Moses. "When a man takes a woman and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house".

Now, the question was, what is that "some indecency"? Now, Hillel gave a very liberal interpretation. Say some indecency might be, "that you said an angry word to my mother. I'm divorcing you, babe". Mother-in-law problem. Some indecency may be, "You never make my favorite soup, and I've told you, here's a certificate, here are three witnesses, you're out of here, gal. I'm divorcing you". That was how silly and how liberal, or better yet, I've found somebody younger and better looking than you, and you're gone and I'm running out, here, here's the certificate. "Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, you're out of here". That was how liberal divorce was interpreted by that particular rabbinical School. Then they had a strict interpretation, Rabbi Shammai, and he said, "Look, you could not get divorce unless there was some kind of indecency". And he said, "That was a sexual, promiscuous life".

And so he was a very strict interpretation of who could get divorced and who could not get divorced, and the other interpretation was a very liberal: you could divorced for just about almost anything. Make a wild guess as to which school was most popular? It was the liberal school. And so marriage had degenerated in the Jewish culture to low a state, and therefore, there was this debate going on, and therefore, this is the context in which Jesus was asked this cultural question of that day. And look how Jesus answered it. I want you to see his answer. He didn't agree with either Rabbi: Shammai or Hillel. He disagreed with both of them. He said, "We're not going by to Deuteronomy, I'm going to take you back to Genesis". He said, "Let me show you how this thing began in the first place".

Look at his answer. And Jesus said, verse 4, "Have you not read, and that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, thus the two shall become one flesh.'" Verse 6, "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let, let, no, no man separate them". What did Jesus say? Jesus say back in the Garden of Eden, in Genesis chapter 2, God joined these two together, and they were there and the relationship was exclusive. Leave father and mother. Let me remind everybody here, the most important relationship, anyone who is married has on this earth is the relationship with your mate. It's not your children, it's not your grandchildren, it's not your mother, it's not your father. Your mate has to have first place.

Somebody says, "Well, it's such a..." No, no, no, it's not. It's your mate, it's your mate, it's your mate, it's your mate, it's your mate. It is an exclusive relationship. Every other relationship is secondary. And Jesus says that's the way it was from the very beginning. That's what we're talking about when we're dealing with marriage. That's the way it was. And now we see that is his countercultural answer. And then the Pharisee must have said, "I've got you, I've got you now". Look at this cultural follow-up, look at verse 7, "And they said to him, 'Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?'"

Look at Jesus' countercultural answer. "And he said to them, 'Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but it was not that way from the beginning". They said, look how they twisted this. Boy, there's a great lawyer. He went University of Texas Law School. He said, "But Moses commanded". Jesus said, "Oh, no, no, no, Moses didn't command. Moses permitted," big difference, "because of the hardening of your heart to proceed in this way of divorce". So we see his countercultural answer, and then we see this next verse is simply a restatement of our verse in Matthew 5. What does Jesus say? Verse 9, "And I say to you," see it was said, "I say to you," authoritatively, "whoever divorces his wife except for immorality," same word, "and marries another woman commits adultery".

Let's be clear. What are the grounds, biblically for a divorce? It is unchastity, is immorality, and the word there is porneia. By the way, the issue was adultery. How did the Jew punish someone for adultery? They killed them. It's simple. Caught in the act of adultery, bang, you're out here. Now the Romans restrained that, but that's another thing. They killed them. So the issue was porneia. What is porneia? It may be bestiality, it may be homosexuality, it may be some perversion. It is sexual promiscuity, it is lewdness. We get our word porneia, our word pornography. So he's saying this is a reason for divorce, when someone practices overtly without a penance, and they persist in this kind of porneia. That's one ground for divorce.

Adultery in our culture would be a part of that. Fornication, incest, whatever, porneia. Porneia, that's the word. Divorce is permitted: not required, not commanded, it's permitted. Now, is there any other grounds for divorce? Let's look what the apostle Paul says. By the way, I'll not be exhaustive in this. Somebody, "Well, preacher you didn't mention". "Well, hello, how long would you like to stay today"? So we're giving some basic principles. I always have to remind all these. Like last week somebody came up, "Well, you didn't". These are basic principles, overview, a lot of nuances and application, some subjectivity involved. Make no mistake about it, understand that the Bible is very nuance and the Bible understands this.

So first ground, ground for divorce is porneia, right, in its many forms. Number two, what is a ground of divorce? Paul talks about it here in this passage, and this is where you find that big operative word, what does desertion mean? Here we go, look at 1 Corinthians, chapter number, verse 13 following, listen, carefully, "And a woman who has an unbelieving husband and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away, for the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife and the unbelieving is wife is sanctified through her believing husband. In other words, your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves her, let him leave, the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace".

What is this desertion about? It is when a man is married to a woman and the woman becomes a Christian. The man is unbelieving, he is not a Christian and they have children. And God says, "The believing woman is to live with that unbeliever, but if the unbeliever walks away from her as a Christian, she's not to call him back, she is free. Divorce is taking place, she's not under bondage, she can remarry". Now, understand, where there is grounds for divorce, there's grounds for remarriage, no longer under bondage. Porneia, desertion. Limited, limited, you can't take desertion and made it, hoo, all things, oh, no. Limited, and there's where the nuance, there's where the subjectivity, there's where Godly wisdom comes into play, okay? And there's one other factor, and this has to do with remarriage. I believe that someone who became a Christian after their divorce has grounds for remarriage.

Where do you get that? 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold new things have come". You know what the word "new," there means? It means new. Don't want to move too fast for anybody. In other words, if you had divorce or whatever happens prior to becoming a Christian, then you are new, born again, regenerated, fresh, new creation. Therefore, you have grounds to marry, even though your other marriage or marriages may be as sordid as they could be. So what do we have? Two grounds for divorce, follow me: porneia, desertion. Limitations there, nuance, subjectivity there, you know what I mean. Also ground for remarriage, third ground, be someone who became a Christian after they were divorced. There is ground for remarriage there. So we're tracking.

Now, let me say two, two quick things that we need to remember. When your marriage is going through a tough patch, rough times, whatever the situation, remember what you and I do. Remember that we look not for grounds for divorce, we look at grounds for reconciliation. That's where you start, reconciliation. Number two, understand that marriage is not a contract. It is a covenant. The secular world says marriage is a contract. What's a contract? You enter into a contract as to what you can get out of it. You sign a contract: how much money will I make? What will I get in this relationship? I want to get all that I can out it. That's a contract. In Christ, we have what? A covenant.

Look on your screen, look what a covenant is. It is a husband and a wife on these points. And notice as the husband gets closer to Jesus, as the wife gets closer to Jesus, look what happens: they get closer to one another every single time. And Ephesians 5 and many other passage tells us this is a sacred covenant. You know what the word for a covenant partner is in Hebrew? It is the word haloop. Haloop. Ladies and gentlemen, if you're married in Christ, you have a haloop for your mate. If you're unmarried you are looking for your haloop, a covenant partner in marriage. Everybody say haloop with me. You're fluent in Hebrew. Haloop. You know, the problem met with courtship today? You're go into a room, a guy goes into a room, there are ten girls over there, he eliminates six immediately, just by appearance or how they dressed or their hair, whatever. And he said, "Maybe there are four here".

You see, relationship should begin with friendships. If you begin with friendships, love and marriage is based on friendships that catch fire. When you start off with the sensual as most of us do, we get into sensual; we never get back to friendship. We wake up married on a sensual relationship, we say, "I don't know this person. I didn't know they were like that". Let me tell you it begins with friendship, true marriage is friendship that catches fire. I dated Jo Beth six and a half years. Friendship came before the fire.

So what do we do? We're going through a rough patch? Remember that marriage, we look for common ground. We look for separate ground we can bridge over. We look for new ground and we find holy ground. We look for grounds for reconciliation, not grounds for divorce. And remember that marriage is not a contract, it is a covenant with God and Christ in the middle of it, and that, in it of itself, makes it dynamic and exciting and growing, and in the process, we discover that marriage and love is friendship that catches fire. They've been married over 40 years, she contracted Alzheimer's, he cared for her at home as long as he could, then he put her in a place, a wonderful place where they looked after her 24/7. He would get up early every morning, he would go down and bathe her and dress her, he learned how to fix her hair, he learned about manicure, and pedicure and facials, and he spent seven days a week just there with his haloop. Not for a month, or two months, or a year or two years, but for three years.

And finally, all the nurses in the place came to him and said, "We've never seen a husband like you. You're here every day. Look, you need to take some time off. We'll look after her, we know her, we know her needs. You take some time off. Go on a vacation, get away for a week or so, we'll take care of her just like you've taken care of her. She doesn't even know you're here anyway". And he just looked at them, and tears began to come down his face. He said, "You don't get it. You don't understand". He said, "I wake up every morning looking forward to the time I'm going to spend with my gal".
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