OPENING PRAYER: Father, help all your children who are married to keep their spouses to the end. Deliver our marriage institutions from collapse.
MEMORY VERSE: “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” – Malachi 2:16
BIBLE PASSAGE: Matthew 19:3-12 KJV
3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning, it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
According to the Bible, marriage is a lifetime commitment (Matthew 19:6). God realises though, that, since marriage involves two sinful human beings, divorces are going to occur. He laid down some laws, in the Old Testament, in order to protect the rights of divorcees, especially women (Deuteronomy 24:1-4).
However, Jesus pointed out that these laws were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not because such laws were God’s desire (Matthew 19:8). Therefore, it is important to remember Malachi 2:16. The pain, confusion, and frustration most people experience after a divorce are surely part of the reason that God hates divorce. Even more difficult, biblically, than the question of divorce, is the question of remarriage.
TEXT REVIEW: Matthew 19:3-12.
The Pharisees went to Jesus with a tempting question about marriage. The question went thus: “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause”
The Lord Jesus Christ answered in verse 16.
“Wherefore, they are no more twain, but one flesh, what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder”. Matt. 19:16.
Identify any other five things which the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 19:5-15
LESSON OUTLINE 1: GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
Question: What is divorce?
Answer: It is putting away one’s spouse. Mal. 2:16.
Question: Are there any biblical ground for divorce? If yes, mention them.
i. Instance of sexual immorality. Matt. 5:32; Matt. 19:9.
ii. Instance of abandonment by an unbelieving partner. 1 Cor. 7:15.
However, God has called us to peace.
Question: What are the first steps to take whenever there are issues in marriage?
Answer: The first steps comprise confession, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration.
Question: At what time or level is divorce an option? Though, hated by God.
Answer: When confession, forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration have failed.
Question: Are there other reasons or grounds on which people seek divorce?
Answer: Yes. The grounds are an abuse of spouse (physical or emotional), child abuse, addiction-pornography, drugs, alcohol, criminal activities, financial mismanagement, gambling, a threat to life, etc.
Question: Should a couple remain in marriage when there is a threat to the life of either of the spouse or a criminal intent?
Answer: No. Separation for some is appropriate under such instances.
Question: Why is separation for some and not divorce a welcome development?
Answer: To allow for repentance and restoration.
Question: Why should divorce be considered as the last option?
Answer: Because God hates putting away i.e. divorce. Mal. 2:16.
Question: What is the duration of separation?
Answer: Separation could be short or long depending on the partner’s willingness to repent and change his/her way.
NOTE: There would be no need for Class Activity 1.
LESSON OUTLINE 2: GROUNDS FOR REMARRIAGE AFTER A DIVORCE.
Question: What are the exceptional clauses which suggest re-marriage in the Bible?
Answer: a. Fornication (except it be for fornication) Matt. 19:9.
b.” If the unbelieving depart, let him depart”-A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases. 1 Cor 7:15.
Question: Is there any phrase in the Bible that suggests re-marriage?
Answer: Yes. Jesus said .. And marries another” Matt. 19:9.
Question: Is sexual integrity part of the marital bond?
Answer: Yes. God sees the two partners as one flesh through sexual relationship in marriage. Eph. 5:31.
Question: If one spouse is an unbeliever and continues to be, can the believing spouse continue the marriage or depart?
Answer: The believing spouse can exercise the option to depart if his or her life is threatened. 1 Cor 7:15.
Question: Between divorce and making peace with the other partner, Which one does God support?
Answer: Making peace (God has called us to peace) 1 Cor. 7:15c.
Question: Is there any reason why it is sometimes good not to marry accord to 1 Cor. 7:1?
Answer: Yes. To allow such 7:32-35 to devote attention to the things of God without distraction. 1 Cor 7:32-35.
Question: Is there any connection between “death of a spouse” and “re-marriage”?
Answer: Yes. The surviving spouse is free to re-marry another believer. 1 Cor 7:39
CLASS ACTIVITY: Students should mention cases of re-marriage they are aware of among believers.
SUMMARY: God’s factor is paramount in all cases of re-marriage so that the intending partner will not offend God and His Spirit.
Regardless of the ground for divorce, a couple can, through God’s grace, learn to forgive and begin rebuilding their marriage.
Students should say something which they have learnt under the lesson on divorce or re-marriage.
Father, please sustain our marriages with genuine love, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Mention five reasons divorce is so rampant in our modern societies.
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