Title: Discipleship in Marriage

Focus: Since Jesus taught that divorce is never God’s will, we should strive to be proactive in having great marriages

Function: To motivate the hearers to improve their marriages

Text: Mark 10:1-12


1.  So far, text has been contrasting disciples view of glory with Jesus humble
view of glory which involves selfless service
2.  Jesus has made some stringent demands for discipleship
3.  Selflessness and self sacrifice flow nicely into what Mark includes next

I.  The question from the Pharisees (v.2)
	A.  Keep in mind Jesus not dealing with an “honest” question
		1.  3:6 - Pharisees have been trying to destroy him
		2.  They slandered him, attibuting his power to Satan, 3:22
		3.  Jesus parables to hide word from not have ears to hear (4)
		4.  Pharisees, though washed, had impure hearts (7:5ff)
			- Good at finding loopholes
		5.  When they asked for sign, Jesus not give them one (8:11)
		6.  He told disciples to beware of their leaven (8:15)
	B.  Did Pharisees ask question to settle the issue?  No - It was to test him
		1.  Jesus’ answer could cause problems for himself
		2.  Could put Herod in bad light - 
			a.  Divorced a wife so he could marry his brothers wife
			b.  Herod put John the Baptist to death because he said it wrong
		3.  In addition, either way Jesus answered, would alienate some of the crowd
	C.  The debate divided from two Rabbinic schools of thought
		1.  Hillel - Can divorce for any reason, if can't cook, not pretty enough, 
		    can't have children, etc.
		2.  Shammai - Only for sexual impurity
		3.  Nothing ever said of a woman’s right to divorce
			a.  Jewish woman could not divorce husband
			b.  Roman women could divorce husbands
			c.  Jewish woman had no recourse if husband divorce her
		4.  School of Hillel was most popular school of thought
			a.  Result:  divorce was very, very common throughout the world
			b.  “People get married to get divorced, and vice versa”
	D.  Jesus typically fends of his opponents by going on a counter attack
		1.  Saw this with washing dispute in Mk 7:1ff
		2.  Jesus does the same thing here

II.  Jesus’ counter response (v.3-9)
	A.  Might expect him to engage in rabbinic discussion
		1.  Instead, Jesus throws question back at them
		2.  Moses permitted certificate and sending away
		3.  Based on Dt. 24:1-4
	B.  Jesus has now set them up for his counter attack
		1.  Instead of quoting rabbis, or Mosaic law, he goes to creation
		2.  Gen. 1-2 is the paradigm for God’s ideal - No sin in the world yet
		3.  What is the final, crowning act of God’s creation
			a.  Man made in his image?
			b.  Taking a rib from man and making woman?
			c.  Or taking man AND woman and making "one flesh"
			d.  Final act of God's creation was "one flesh"
	C.  ILL:  Interesting what people do to look attractive in the world
		1.  Poke holes in parts of body and put in pieces of metal
		2.  Rings around neck to strentch them
		3.  Plates in the ear lobes, or plates in the lips
		4.  Other things people do that we would call mutilation
	D.  What if parents who cut off child ears, nose, or finger to look cool
		1.  Human rights activitsts would be outraged
		2.  We would call it mutilation
		3.  Cutting apart the “one flesh” God has created is mutilation
			a.  God’s plan is -- One man + one woman = one flesh for life
			b.  So, the answer to Pharisees question is NO! It is not lawful to divorce

III.  But what about Dt 24?
	A.  What is the root of Dt 24?  Is it rooted in the will of God?
		1.  Jesus claims it is rooted not in will of God, but in a hard heart
			a.  Jesus goes back to Genesis, not Deuteronomy
			b.  God’s will is marriage, not divorce
		2.  Dt. 24 is a concession
			a.  Man has not lived up to God’s ideal
			b.  God often reacts by making concessions
			c.  Dt 24 does no condone or prohibit divorce
				- It takes it for granted that this is what people will do
				- IF man divorce, he not to marry her again
				- It simply regulates the divorce
			d.  Bill of divorce allows her to remarry
				- Prevent accusation of adultery when remarry
		3.  Dt 24 not give exposition on grounds for divorce
			a.  Compare to meticulous instructions of other things in the Old Test.
			b.  No meticulous instructions for grounds for divorce.  Why?  It not God's will
			c.  Mal 2:16 - God hates divorce
	B.  The Pharisees approach to the will of God was all wrong
		1.  They ask - What does it allow; what can I get away with?
		2.  Insterested in their rights, not their responsiblities
			a.  Sought legal justification not matter how it affect others
			b.  Should focus on God’s will, not what Moses permits
		3.  God’s will for marriage NOT in Dt. 24, but in Gen 1-2
			a.  They too focused on how to "end" marriage
			b.  Should be focused on how to "strenghten" marriage
	C.  ILL:  How do you feel when criminal gets off on legal loophole?
		1.  Even though can justify it by letter of the law, not make it 
		      morally right
		2.  Pharisees champions at loopholes (eg. “Corban” in Mk 7)
		3.  Here they have found another loophole
	D.  But we do not live according to the letter, but according to the Spirit
		1.  That means we don’t look of legal loopholes
		2.  It means we ask what God’s will is and live by it

IV.  Jesus point was to emphasize the permanence of marriage
	A.  Notice how he sidestepped issue of what law “permits”
		1.  This passage does not deal with exposition of grounds for divorce
		2.  Jesus went around that discussion to God’s "ideal" will
	B.  Jesus emphasized the radical union involved in marriage
		1.  Word study
			a.  English word “divorce” implies legal action
			b.  No such concept in ancient times
				- Simply sent woman (or man among gentiles) away
			c.  Apoluo - To release, send away, dismiss
				- Word does not necessitate legal action
				- Examples: Mk 8:9; 6:45 - Dismissed, sent away, not “divorced”
			d.  Whether there is “legal” action or not, sending away is divorce
		2.  Marriage and divorce is not about a legal piece of paper
			a.  Can learn about marriage from God's relationship to his people
				- Eph 5 - Jesus and his bride, the church
				- Hosea - God and his bride, Israel
				- God describes his relationship to us in terms of marriage
			b.  Is it God’s will that you go through motions mindlessly when you worship him?
			c.  God is interested in the heart
				- Jer 4:4 - Circumcise your heart
				- Mt 5: - Blessed are the pure in heart
				- Rom 2:29 - True circumcision is of the heart
			d.  Mk 7:6 - This people honors me with lips, but heart is far from me
				- How was it far away?  (look at the context)
				- Not interested in God’s will, but in loopholes
		3.  So marriage is also a matter of the heart
			a.  Mt 5:28 - Adultery with her in your heart
			b.  *Marriage without heart is not God’s will
	C.  ILL:  2 Pieces of equipment that are “married”
		1.  They only meant to work with each other
		2.  Each part incomplete by itself - together makes a whole
		3.  Like two plants that grow together intertwined.  They become one
	D.  Implications . . .
		1.  “Separation” is no more God’s will than legal divorce
		2.  Merely "existing" in same house is no more God’s will than divorce
		3.  Simply prohibiting divorce not solve the problem
			a.  Allowing it doesn’t solve it either
			b.  Does not solve hardness of heart issue
			c.  Marriages that end in divorce typically broken long before legal papers
		4.  Can never fully be "divorced" if you have become "one flesh"
			a.  If like two plants intertwined - Cut them apart, lose part of self
			b.  Part of the other person still with you
			c.  Even more so if kids are involved

1.  Don’t get me wrong, I realize that there are exceptions and concessions
	a.  Paul deals with them in 1 Cor 7
	b.  Jesus mentions one in Mt 19
	c.  If spouse is abusive, I would not encourage you to stay, especially if have kids!
2.  What if I have been divorced?  Oh no!  I am mutilated!
	a.  God makes concessions - that is what the cross was
	b.  Remember - Jesus is not speaking to divorced people struggling
		- He is speaking to hostiles bent on trapping him
		- Speaking to people with a hard heart looking for loopholes
	c.  Remember God is gracious
3.  God’s ideal, God’s will - One man + one woman = one flesh for life
4.  But what if I am “going through the motions” in my marriage?  That is not God’s will!
	a.  Answer is NOT divorce (God not divorce his harlot people in Hosea)
	b.  Answer is selfless service as he has been talking about in context in chap 9
		- World says marry the one you love - WRONG
		- Bible says love the one you marry - Not self centered
	c.  Become an expert
		- ILL:  On the job, get training, continuing ed, etc. to be better
		- Do the same for your marriage
		- Lot’s of resources - HNHN, seminars, classes, books, etc.
	d.  But it seem so awkward and fake 
		- So does learning to ride bike (William did at first with bike, but now second nature)
		- But after awhile, it become second nature
		- You become what you repeatedly do
		- BE PROACTIVE in strengthening your marriage
5.  If see any signs of trouble, act now
	a.  ILL:  Met brother in Mulberry, AR, waited to late on tumor
	b.  Don’t wait on marriage, seek help

6.  Invitation