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Happily Imperfect


"7 They *said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?" He *said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

Good Morning my beloved, 
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is such a tremendous honor and privilege to come together with you today for the study God's Word. God has been great in continuing to bless your efforts in reaching the lost and the deceived. We are reaching people and places as never before imagined, bringing more people to Christ. I thank God for those of you who have been so moved by His Spirit to support us in the ministry, whether by sharing the ministry website, and social media platforms with your family and friends, or financially. I ask you will continue to join us in praying, asking God to continue to bless this ministry in reaching the lost, the broken and the hopeless. May He continue to bless our growth together as faithful followers, as we lead others to Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Because no man or woman in perfect, no marriage is perfect, that doesn’t mean you cannot have a great marriage. Even in the best of circumstances, marriage, like all relationships, can be difficult, because each person brings a certain amount of baggage into it. The unblemished ideal of a perfect marriage exists only in happily-ever-after fairy tales. The sooner we can accept that as a reality of life, the sooner we will be able to adjust and learn to forgive one another's mistakes. As the old saying goes, "If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary." The death of a marriage occurs when sin is allowed to rule the relationship rather than God, for with God all things are possible.
How one treats those God brings into their life, reveals a great deal concerning that individual’s understanding of the grace of God, and about the individual’s comprehension of God. Marriage is a holy covenant, emotion does not enter into the equation of divorce. That's why Scripture doesn’t say that an offended spouse is able to seek a divorce against the offending spouse, but gives two allowances for divorce, which are sexual immorality and abandonment. Conflict is inevitable, and is to be expected. God never intended for divorce to be the standard, but forgiving love and restoring grace, as illustrated with Hosea and his unfaithful wife, Gomer. God’s attitude hasn’t changed.
Man is moved primarily by thoughts that arise from sight, and a woman is moved primarily by touch. Therefore, it is the eye and hand that are the culprits in adultery. I believe it's important to guard one's self at all times in the presence of others.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for the clarity of Your Word. Help us to grasp its breadth and depth, that we might be faithful to obey it. Refresh our spirits as we come to study Your Word. May we seek a holy marriage relationship according to Your design, may we never be tempted to raise up against the knowledge of Your Word, marrying or divorcing because of feelings, emotions or social pressure. Whether married or single, help us to live for the kingdom of heaven and for Your glory, that exalts and magnifies Christ.
In Jesus' name we ask and pray
Today's Message: Happily Imperfect 

In our society, we face the reality of marital conflict, and the reality of divorce in a fallen world. Having acknowledged that, though it lawful to divorce, as is the popular view, God still hates divorce. Divorce falls short of God’s ideal plan. You will remember, in our last message, the Pharisees were attempting to trap Jesus by asking the question, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" Jesus answered their question not by simply saying no, but by taking them back to God’s original standard. "And He answered and said, "Have you not read 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, and the two shall become one flesh’?" 
As we mentioned earlier, it is not by coincidence that two become one, as one is an indivisible number. The fact that divorce was permitted in both the Old and New Testaments, indicates that people failed to live up to the revealed will of God. By the way, permitting divorce did not in any way, bring with it the approval and blessing of God. Furthermore, I believe it is even more foolish to enter a second marriage without trying to sort out and deal with what went wrong in the first.

Open your Bibles to the nineteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 19:7-9. I invite you to follow along with me as I read verses 1-9 to you to refresh our minds. Let us open our hearts and see what the Spirit of God has to say to each of us. I pray that the Spirit of God would help us to hear and apply what He's saying to each of us today. Matthew 19:7-9.
"When Jesus had finished these words, He departed from Galilee and came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there.

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" And He answered and said, "Have you not read 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, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

They *said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?" He *said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

There is no mighty works or miracles in this passage, just Jesus’ teaching, showing how different the kingdom of God is compared to the earthly realm. He confirm God's ideal plan for marriage. Scripture does not condone, commend or recommend divorce. In fact, it restricts the grounds for which may divorce a spouse, and prohibits remarriage when divorce occurs. Look at Leviticus 20, verse 10 "If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Originally, there was no divorce permitted for adultery, only death. At which point the innocent party would have been freed from the marriage, right? Dead people can't remarry.
In Deuteronomy 24, if someone divorces his wife and remarries, that marriage constitutes adultery, and the penalty for adultery is death. This confirms God’s ideal plan for marriage. This is not a recommendation, this is God's law. God’s law reflects the divine ideal, so you’re not going to find any grounds for divorce in the Old Testament. It wasn’t long after the law of God was given Moses, that people were unfaithful and disobedient to the law, and the leaders weren't enforcing the penalties.
Now, let's look at verse 7, "They *said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?" This is the compelling follow-up question about Moses’ permitting people to divorce. Again, they were hoping to ruin His reputation before the people by contradicting Moses. The problem, nowhere did Moses ever command divorce, but allowed if "he has found some indecency in her." In other words, divorce and remarriage were allowed, but not commanded. If people were living right there, would be no questions of interpretation about divorce. God's ideal for marriage is not difficult to understand. 
So, in verse 8, "He *said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way." God mercifully held back the penalty of death the adulterer deserved, but it was never God’s original plan. Moses was essentially trying to manage the chaos of the people, because their hearts were hardened against the things of God. If restoring the marriage did not work, then permission given to divorce. Divorce does not reflect God's plan of creation but the hardness of the human heart. God-ordained marriage, a covenant before God, to be a holy union that is not to be broken. Sin, the refusal to obey God, is what destroys a marriage. Grace, forgiveness, and redemption are still available if it is sought.
I'm thankful that God is gracious, God doesn’t kill every sinner who deserves to be killed for being disobedient, aren't you? We’ve all been unfaithful to God at one time or another. I believe that God tolerates adultery and divorce in the framework of disobedience today. You can study the Old Testament, and see all the times that God acted as executioner. I don’t want the wrath of God coming down on me and my sons. Whatever God's Word says, I do my best to do it. When I fail, I immediately start confessing and repenting for my sin before God and try to do better the next time I find myself in that situation. There's nothing that speaks worse to the character of a Christian, than disobedience to God. God hates sin.
In Proverbs 6, it says "A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, who points with his fingers; Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, who spreads strife. Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing. There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers."
Jesus then says, in verse 9, "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery." The word immorality is the Greek noun "porneía," occurs 25 times in 24 verses in the New Testament. The first time it is used is by Jesus in Matthew 5:32. It is an all inclusive general term for any kind of sexual behavior or activity outside of biblical marriage, such as prostitution, promiscuity or fornication, adultery, pedophilia, bi-sexuality, homosexuality, lesbianism, incest and bestiality. More recent Bibles translations, such as the English Standard Version, avoids translating porneia as fornication. Porneia is repugnant to God. 
In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul says there are two biblical allowances for divorce are sexual immorality and abandonment. "But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 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 wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?"

If you are a Christian, and you are married to a non-Christian, and that non-Christian leaves you and wants to get a divorce, you can allow that divorce to happen.
When you put verse 8 with verse 9, we see that Moses permitted divorce and Jesus is affirming the only grounds for divorce. By the way, there isn’t any explicit verse in the Old Testament that records God gave permission, it must have been revealed to Moses. Just as when God commanded Cain and Abel to bring a certain sacrifice, it wasn't recorded in Scripture, but obviously they knew what should have been done. So, I believe that Jesus is affirming that God being merciful, allows for a divorce in the case of adultery here in Matthew 19:8-9. But only after extended patience, in case God should do a work of repentance in that heart. Adultery that is continual demonstrates there’s an impenitent heart. Wanting to divorce for any reason, illustrates their desire for adultery was insatiable. God constantly calling disobedient, adulterous Israel back. Currently, God is separated from the Jewish people because of their sins and their transgressions, but He is not divorced from them. God is very patient, because He made a covenant Israel.
There’s coming a time for the people of Israel, because God hasn’t changed His mind.

I believe they got the message. The conversation with the Pharisees ended, it's over, we'll look at that next time.

In Closing..

In the world that we live in today, people get married on a whim, or maybe because their mother keeps saying, "When are you going to settle down and give me grandchildren?" The problem is their not ready for it, and can't handle it. They later say, I can't stand this person, I don't want to be stuck with this person the rest of my entire life, and they get divorced.  When you get married, you multiply your trouble. You each already have your own issues, then you inherit all of the quirks of the other person accompanied by the pressure of pushing two lives, with two different personalities together. But that's the way it is, it can really complicate life. If you can't handle that, then stay single.
Marriage is a gift from God, not something to be taken lightly, when God blesses that union, it's best that life has to offer in every aspect. My advice to those of you who are single, don't rush into marriage, choose carefully and choose spiritually. Beauty fades, so look for someone who loves and longs to serve Christ with undistracted devotion. If they do not, and aren't willing, don't be afraid to walk away and say I want nothing to do with this relationship.
You must choose well to begin with, because marriage is intended to be permanent, the way God designed it. It is my prayer that you wouldn’t settle for anything less than God's best.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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