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Lesson Forty - Two

DIVORCE

MEMORY VERSE: And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for fornication. Matt. 19:9a.

BIBLE PASSAGE: Matthew 19:3-13
INTRODUCATION: Divorce represents one of the major problems facing homes today. Divorce is granted to the unbelievers for many reasons including adultery, cruelty, desertion, drunkenness, and neglect to provide, conviction of crime, separation, bigamy, incompatibility, etc. but is divorce permissible for Christians? Let us approach this lesson by attempting to answer a number of questions.

LESSON OUTLINES
1.   IS THERE ANY SCRIPTURAL GROUND FOR DIVORCE?
2.   SOME OTHER QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS?
3.   ADVICE FOR PARENTNERS IN A SHAKY MARRIAGE?
4.   CONCLUSION.

1.   IS THERE ANY SCRIPTURAL GROUND FOR DIVORCE?
Yes. There is one and only one reason, and that is fornication (Matt. 19:9). What does the word “Fornication” means in this passage? The basic meaning is illicit sexual relations with a third party. Does that mean then that once (Matt. 19:9). Is true, the innocent partner is expected to forgive the guilty one if he or she confesses and forsakes his or her sin? (Prov.28:13). Divorce was not in the original plan of God for human beings (Matt. 19:4-5,8).

2.   SOME OTHER QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS?
How long is a marriage contract? The answer is simply, “till death breaks it” (Matt. 19:6). In marriage, God performs a miracle when two individuals become one person. Only God is permitted to break that union by taking one of the partners in death. If a wife is divorced and marries someone else who later dies, may she return to her first husband? Definitely not. This is an abomination in the sight of the Lord. Deut. 24:1-4 clearly forbids any such action. May the innocent partner in a divorce re-marry? It is doubtful if there is such a thing as an innocent partner in the sight of God. It is most likely that the “Innocent” partner failed in some way which caused the partner to go further a field for satisfaction. Is it permissible for a divorced person to hold a church office? If the person can prove on the basic of 11 Cor. 13:1 that he or she is the innocent partner and that the divorce was granted on scriptural grounds then the answer would be yes. If the person is partially guilty or received the divorce for other than scriptural grounds, then the answer would be a strong, no. Why should people avoid divorce like a plague?
(a) Divorce represents a tragedy that has undermined the home, the very basic of society.
(b) Misery always follows in its path, broken homes, bruised and broken hearts, bewildered, homeless      children, delinquent youth, loneliness, tears and at times suicide or insanity.
(c) The couple should consider the welfare of the children who would suffer most and also the shame      connected with divorce and the scandal that it engenders.
(d) Many Christians look on divorce as sinful, regardless of the circumstances because it is a public      admission of utter failure which belittles the power the power of Christ (Phil. 4:13).
(e) Economic disaster often follows divorce and it is the cause of lack of love and happiness in marriage.

3.   ADVICE FOR PARTNERS IN A SHAKY MARRIAGE?
Let both husband and wife solemnly renew their vow for “better or worse, till death do us part.” Let each get right with the Lord and then with one another, confession and repentance with mutual sharing will make any marriage a success. Let them spend time in prayer individually and as a couple. Let the husband be the actual head of the home and not merely a figurehead. Let the wives be subject to their own husbands. Let husbands and wives continually woo each other because each needs a great deal of affection. Continuously ask God for a holy love for each other.

4    CONCLUSION
Can there be love when there is no respect? The answer is “Yes,” for God loves the unlovely sinner, whom He cannot respect. Love that is unselfish and godly can be deep and powerful even with those whom we cannot respect. With such a love our marriages will last for life (1 Pet. 4:8). Let us pray for such divine love.

QUESTIONS
1.   How long is a marriage contract?
2.   What is the scriptural ground for divorce?
3.   Why should people avoid divorce?

FURTHER READINGS: Matt. 5:44, 1 Cor. 7:20, James 5:20.