Matthew 19- Jesus On Divorce

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? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 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?Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 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. Matthew 19:3-8

The topic of divorce is obviously a very complicated topic and is not black or white by any means. But Jesus did touch on this subject, so we can gain wisdom into his teachings. It’s important to note though, Jesus didn’t teach on this topic totally in depth, so I think there are alot of gray areas where many people make assumptions, we need to be careful in making wrong judgements on divorce.

Notice it says the Pharisees came to “test” or “tempt” Christ, we see this over and over again in the gospels, the religious leaders trying to trap Jesus with his interpretations of The Law. Now The Lord reveals a few things about marriage right here, first he declares God established the Covenant of Marriage in Genesis. Humans don’t have the power or authority to change the rules of marriage. Secondly, marriage is between One Man and One Woman, period. Any other arrangement outside of this is not a valid marriage in God’s eyes and is immoral. The third thing Christ reveals is marriage was designed to be eternal, “what God has joined, let nobody separate”

The religious leaders than came back to challenge Christ, “Why did Moses then allow divorce” ? And Jesus replied “Because of the hardness of your hearts” So to sum this up, Marriage was originally designed by God to be eternal, but because we live in a fallen world (Genesis 3) because we are sinners , God has allowed divorce under different circumstances.

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. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 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. Matthew 19:9-12

Now comes the gray areas of divorce, Jesus mentions adultery as a valid reason to get divorced, but is that the only reason? Now honestly I don’t think Jesus was doing an in-depth teaching on this topic, he was just listing a valid reason. Meaning I believe there are other valid reasons you can get divorced such as abuse, ect. Now with that said, we shouldn’t strive to get divorced, however sometimes divorce is necessary in some circumstances. Again living in a fallen world as fallen people

Don’t get me wrong I know “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16) however God also understands and has mercy and compassion. God divorced Israel (Jeremiah 3:8-10) Divorce is an unfortunate and painful separation that was not part of Gods original design, however there is mercy and healing through Jesus Christ, Amen! 

Matthew 18- Forgiveness

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Matthew 18:21-26

The topic of forgiveness is not a very popular topic. Most of us have been hurt by people or used, however as a Christian we are commanded to forgive these people. Sounds like a simple concept, however it’s so difficult that many Christians refuse to do it. Why should we forgive people? Well because Christ has forgiven us, even when we were wretched sinners, even when we were at the lowest point of our lives, Jesus showed mercy and compassion on us, and Christ forgave us! Reminds me of when Jesus was on the cross and said “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) Think about that! While Christ was hanging on the cross for our sin, the same people who crucified him , Christ forgave them!

Now Peter asks The Lord “How many times should I forgive someone who sins against me”? Now we talked previously about Jesus teaching on “Church Discipline” , this teaching ties in with this. Jesus said “I tell you not seven times, but seventy times seven times” Now to get some context here, the Mosaic Law believed you should forgive someone 3 times (Amos 1) so Peter was taking it to another level by forgiving 7 times. However Jesus is telling Peter to always forgive! This is the difference between the Old and New Covenants, while Christ provides grace and mercy and The Law provides death! The number 7 in the Bible is always symbolic of completion or perfection, this is most likely why Christ used the numbers 70 times 7

Jesus begins to teach a parable about a King wanting to settle debts with his servants. This is obviously about Christ forgiving us of our sins, the servant is unable to pay his debt and begs the King for mercy. This is true repentance, understanding our sin and asking Christ for forgiveness

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. Matthew 18:27-35

Now notice, the King (Christ) forgave his servants of their debt (sins) But the same servants that he forgave, would not forgive each other. As Jesus said “You wicked servant, I forgave you of all your sin, shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant”? We as Christians, can’t be hypocrites, if we expect Christ to forgive us we need to forgive others, even when its hard or seems impossible. 

Jesus ends with a warning “This is how my Heavenly Father (God) will treat you unless you forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart” This warning should cut us to the heart, it’s our natural response to be angry and hold grudges against people, but that’s not what Christ has commanded us to do! We need to forgive because The Lord has forgiven us first! Amen!

Matthew 18- In Jesus Name

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:19-20

Many people often quote Jesus here “Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them” ,  people typically  use this to justify a small Church or Bible study, but is this being used in the true context? The scriptures right before this, in my post “Church Discipline” , Jesus talked about having 2 or 3 witnesses when calling someone out for a sin or violation. This is in reference to the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 19:15)

So is saying Christ is with us when there are only 2 or 3 people, No of course not. But it can also be questioned, if we are alone is Christ not with us? Of course, Christ is always with us, the Holy Spirit is living inside of us. So I think the overuse of this phrase “Where 2 or more are gathered” is primarily used out of context, and was meant to reference witnesses for judgment within the Church

Jesus also said “If two of you shall agree on touching anything they ask, it shall be done for them by my Father in Heaven” Now false prosperity teachers have a field day with this, falsely telling people whatever you demand from God , He will give it to you. And then they will tell you , to challenge God and demand that He gives it to you based on Christ words

First of all , demanding things from God is total blasphemy, we should not test The Lord God (Luke 4:12,  Deuteronomy 6:12) Secondly , if we really Love The Lord God with All our mind, soul, and strength (Matthew 22:37) then you would want to do the Will of God (1 John 2:17). A true Born Again Christian is not carnally minded and desiring the lusts of the flesh from God

Context is key when studying the Bible, we can easily “cherry pick” scriptures from the Bible and make them fit our agenda. The key is to read the scriptures in the full context with the entire Chapter, this is why I try to go through the Bible verse by verse in these commentaries, to try and capture the full context of what God is trying to teach us

As Jesus taught us to pray “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done” (Matthew 5) we should want to be in God’s Will for our lives and not our own will. Humble yourself and follow Christ, Amen!

Matthew 18- Church Discipline

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:15-18

Church discipline is a topic basically not practiced anymore by todays Church or even spoken of. And for the Churches who do practice “Church Discipline” they are often mocked by the “Christian” community or called “Legalist” However it would probably surprise these “Christians” today, if they actually read their Bible, that Jesus and the Apostles taught Church discipline

We live in a culture today of “Don’t Judge Me”, this is often the response from most people when they hear the gospel or anything Biblical. However there is a a great Judgment coming for those who are not saved, so they might as well get used to being judged. Many Christians today have this thought that because we are “Under Grace” than there is no accountability for them, this couldn’t be farther from the truth

As a Born Again Christian, you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, therefore there is an expectation of Sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4) . Part of the responsibility of The Church is to keep each other in line, accountable for their actions. There is actually greater judgment, or atleast there should be, within the Church then the outside world, why? Because as a Born Again Christian, the Law is written on your heart (Romans 2:15) You know right from wrong, you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, there is a greater responsibility and expectation for disciples of Christ

Jesus said “If your brother (Christian) sins against you, confront them privately” You as the Church are to address sin within the Church. If there is known sin going on in the Church, you as the Body of Christ, need to call out that sin, of course privately first. Jesus goes on to say “If they will not listen, take two or three  others (Christians, along so every matter can be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses”

If the Church member refuses to repent, then you bring in additional Christians to hear out the matter. These are the Bylaws established by Jesus Christ himself. Many people would leave this Church if they were held to this accountability, but this is Biblical. The Church is supposed to be the spotless bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:27) We often hear the saying “The Church is a hospital for sinners” Yes that’s true but people get better while in the hospital, they don’t stay the same. The same with Christ, you come to Christ as a sinner, your going to be Born Again, regenerated, made new!

Lastly Jesus said “ If they neglect to hear the Church, then treat them as a Pagan or Heathen” If members of the Church are living in sin and refuse to repent, then they are to be kicked out of the Church! Most people don’t want to hear this, but these are the words of Jesus Christ!

Jesus is coming back again soon, and Christ is coming for his spotless Bride Amen!