Sermon #51 Series: Matthew
Title: Marriage, Divorce, Eunuchs, and Children
Text: Matthew 19:1-15
Reading: Mark Henson – Bob Poncer
Subject: Christ’s Teachings about Marriage and Faith
Date: Tuesday Evening – July 11,1995
Tape # R-56
The passage before us this evening is one of those passages about which there has been great debate through out the countries. And wherever there is great debate there is sure to be strong division. What a pity, that men and women who profess to be followers and disciples of Christ should debate over his words and divide over their debates about his words!
I know the debates. But I have no desire to enter into them. And I do not wish to give fuel to the fires that rage on either side of the issues in my text. One thing that expository preaching does is that it forces the preacher to deal with issues he might not otherwise choose to deal with from the pulpit.
At the outset, let me say that I know that some pastors, preachers, and teachers whom I highly esteem differ with the interpretation I shall give to these fifteen verses. But I am thoroughly convinced of the message in these verses. I hope that none of God’s saints and none of my fellow laborers in the gospel will be offended by my message. It is not my intent to offend. I am preaching this message because it is in the text and because it is a message we need to hear and understand, if we would honor Christ in our lives and in our attitude about the lives of others. In the verses before us the Lord Jesus Christ gives us crystal clear instructions regarding the issues of Marriage, Divorce, Eunuchs, and Children.
I. First, Our Savior Addresses The Issue of Marriage and Divorce - (vv. 3-9).
NOTE: I am talking to you who reverence the Word of God and are concerned about the glory of God.
In these verses our Lord teaches us that marriage is for life. The marriage union of a husband and wife is never to be dissolved, and cannot be lawfully dissolved, except upon the next serious grounds.
I cannot over note the importance of our Lord’s words in these verses. The well being of nations, the happiness of society, and welfare of the church greatly depends upon the strength of families. And family values, family strength, family wholeness depends upon a proper understanding of respect for the teachings of God’s Word about marriage.
In the days of our Lord’s earthly ministry, during the zenneth of the Roman Empire, moral decadence was much the same as it is in western society today. Divorce were permitted and marriages were dissolved, even among the Jews, for the most frivolous and trifling reasons. (Notice: The Form of the Question – “For every cause” – v.3).
It is true, because of the hardness of men’s hearts, to prevent the abuse of and murder of women. Moses did permit men to divorce their wives, but not for “every reason” (Deut. 24:104). Yet, by long tradition and great laxity, what Moses permitted men and women commonly practiced until marriage had become nothing more than a whimsical thing, regarded with utmost disdain.
NOTE: When men and women abandon God’s law and look contemptuously upon marriage, they produce a generation of children who are utterly without conscience (Mal. 2:14)
NOTE: The disciples comment in verse 10 will give you some idea of just how bad things were. They as good as said, “If a man cannot get rid of his wife whenever he wants to, he would be better off not to marry at all!”
A. Marriage is a Relationship of Greater Importance and Greater Influence than Any Other Earthly Relationship.
It was established by God in Paradise, before sin entered into the world (Gen. 2:18-25). It was chosen to be typical of the relationship that exists between Christ and his church. (Eph. 5:25-33). And marriage is a relationship superior even to the relationship between parents and children (Eph. 5:31).
1. Marriage involves commitment – devotion.
2. Marriage involves sacrifice – self-denial.
3. Marriage involves love.
· Love is giving, never taking.
· Love is yielding, not demanding.
· Love is unconditional, never qualified.
4. Marriage involves a dissolution of other relationships and a blessed isolation with one another.
B. Our Lord Teaches us here that their blessed relationship of Marriage, is A Life-Long Union.
Today, few people enter into a marriage with the determination that “This is forever.” Multitudes write out prenuptial agreements I anticipation of divorce. And many do not even bother with a wedding ceremony. They just shack up like wild animals until something more attractive comes along.
1. “From the beginning it was not so.”
2. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”
3. All who violate God’s Word in this matter are guilty of adultery, and cause those who are recklessly abandoned and put away to do the same.
C. This Life-Long Marriage Union Can Be Dissolved Lawfully, Biblically, Only For Extreme Reasons.
1. In this passage our Lord cites fornication as the basis of divorce – NOTE: Fornication here refers to sexual infidelity.
Christ is not teaching that men and women ought to get a divorce if one or the other commits an act of infidelity. Indeed, we ought to forgive. But he is teaching that in such cases, the marriage union may be permanently dissolved.
2. The apostle Paul, writing by divine inspiration, also allows that abandonment dissolves the marriage union (I Cor. 7:15).
3. In such cases, the person abandoned, or the one against whom the infidelity was committed, is perfectly free to marry again in the Lord (Deut. 24:1-4).
D. What about those who have already experienced divorce and remarriage – How should we Deal With Them? – As Forgiven Sinners, Just Like The Rest of Us!
If they are believers, if they are born of God, if they are washed in the blood of the Lamb, they are forgiven of all sin, free from all condemnation, and new creatures in Christ (Rom. 8:1).
NOTE: I Timothy 3:2 has nothing to do with divorce and remarriage! There Paul is dealing with the issue of polygamy.
II. Secondly, Our Savior Gives Us A Word of Instruction About Eunuchs, or about The Matter of Celibacy – (vv. 10-12).
The word “eunuchs” here does not merely refer to an emasculated man. No where does the word of God approve of physical disfigurement in the name of worship! The primary meaning of the word is – “Men who have no interest in marriage. But it has nothing to do with effeminacy!
A. Our Lord is Not here Teaching That Celibacy is A More Spiritual or More Desirable State Than Marriage.
B. The Lord Jesus is Teaching Us That Some Men Do Not Have The Need To Marry.
C. He is also teaching us Some Men Voluntarily Forgo Marriage That They May More Freely Serve Christ.
They too must not be held in supicion. Yet, in this day of rampant homosexuality, so as to avoid the suspicion of evil, it seems best for any man who is not impotent to take a wife with whom he can serve the cause of Christ, particularly if he is a minister of the gospel.
III. Thirdly, in verses 13-15, Our Savior Uses Children To Show forth Both His Own Humility and The Humility of All True Believers.
These little children were brought to the Lord Jesus, like other sick and diseased people, that he should lay his hands upon them and pray for them. There is no more and not less in this incident than that.
· Not a Word About Whose Children They Were!
· Not a Word About Baptism – Muchless Sprinkling!
· Not a Word About A Baby Dedication Service!
These verses teach us three things:
A. If we would do our children good, we must Bring Them to Christ.
· By Prayer.
· By Training.
· By Example.
B. The Lord Jesus Humbled Himself To Serve The Needs of Little Children.
· What a Tenderhearted Man He Is!
· How Accessible He is To Needy Souls!
C. If We Would be Saved, We Must Become As Little Children before God our Savior.
1. When you think of Marriage – Let your heart be drawn to Christ. Be married to the Son of God!
2. When you think about Eunuchs – May the thought inspire you to be devoted to Christ.
3. When you see a child – Pray for grace to be as a Child before Christ.