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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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What does the Bible say about marriage and divorce? Is there hope for struggling couples or those who have walked through divorce? This past weekend, we continued our study through the Gospel of Mark as Pastor Doug Sauder broke down Mark 10:1–16. In this message, we discovered the meaning of marriage and what the Bible has to say about honoring the Lord in singleness and in marriage. We also explored Jesus’ thoughts on divorce and heard about the hope Jesus offers for struggling couples and for those who are or have already been divorced.
In this week’s group study, Pastor Reuben Ramsaran invites us into a deeper conversation about Mark 10:1–16!
If you missed the message or want a refresher, click here to watch it in its entirety.
Below, you’ll find some key questions to reflect on and consider in your group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, some action points fo the week, and a look ahead.
Memory Verse of the Week: Mark 10:6–9 (NIV)
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Icebreaker: Who was your favorite married couple in movies or TV growing up? What did you like about them? What did you learn from them?
Getting the Conversation Going: This past weekend, we dove into a touchy subject for many . . . marriage and divorce. It’s probably safe to say that most all of us have either been impacted by divorce in some way or know someone who has. Divorce is a prevalent issue; it affects individuals and families regardless of socioeconomic status.
Maybe you’re going through a marriage crisis right now, maybe you’ve already gone through the process of divorce, or maybe you are or have been caught in the middle of a divorce between relatives, parents, or friends. Chances are this message hits you. But regardless of where you’re in your journey, there’s hope for you, and it’s found in Jesus!
Made by God to Display the Glory of God: As Jesus points out in verses 5–9, marriage was created by God. It’s the most sacred and unique of all human relationships, which is why it’s been the most under attack human relationship since the beginning. You see, marriage was created to reflect and point to the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church!
Read Ephesians 5:31–33 (NIV)
“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Marriage is meant to be the most beautiful picture of our grace-based covenant with Jesus and the safest human relationship one can find themselves in, a place where a man and woman can be completely vulnerable, exposed, and unashamed because their grace-filled love for one another covers a multitude of flaws, imperfections, insecurities, struggles, and hurts. It’s meant to be a covenant where joy is found through commitment and service, through mutual submission, honor, devotion, and sacrificial love for one another. But sin corrupts everything it touches, including marriage.
Read Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Discussion Question 1: What makes marriage such a unique relationship amongst all other human relationships?
Discussion Question 2: What’s the difference between the view of marriage held by the Bible and taught by Jesus and the apostles verses the view held by our modern culture? How has this difference impacted marriages both inside and outside the Church?
Jesus and Divorce: There’s no way around it . . . Divorce is always the result of sin. This statement is not meant to judge or condemn anyone who is in the process of or who has gone through a divorce; it’s simply a fact. Divorce is the result of a broken relationship. Broken relationships, immorality, adultery, abuse, abandonment all result from the sin nature that plagues us.
As we survey the Scriptures, we see, as Jesus explained to the Pharisees in Mark 10, that divorce was an accommodation in the law because of the weakness and sinfulness in people who disregarded God—multiple wives, immorality, adultery, abuse, violation of the covenant God established. He said, “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law” (Mark 10:5 NIV).
While there are situations in which divorce is permitted and justified (abuse, adultery, abandonment), it has become increasingly common today (as it was in Jesus’ day) for divorce to become center on the self.
“I’m not happy.”
“You’re holding me back from the life I deserve.”
“We’ve grown apart.”
“I’m not in love with you anymore.”
“Our marriage was a mistake.”
In these cases, we’ve been sold a lie that we’ll be happier and more fulfilled by getting a divorce and, as a culture, we’ve made it pretty easy to do so. But the truth is divorce always creates ongoing consequences, pain, and brokenness that affects us—and those closest to us, particularly if there are kids involved—in ways we often can’t even begin to realize. The benefits of no-fault divorce have been vastly oversold.
Apart from the previously mentioned issues of abuse, abandonment, or adultery, it’s so important to fight for one’s marriage, to truly try everything, to seek counseling and reconciliation. As God’s people, we must emphasize and focus on the nature of marriage and its purpose as a reflection of Christ and the Church as opposed to focusing on reasons to get divorced.
Discussion Question 3: Why is divorce something God doesn’t want for us?
Hope and the Faith of Children: Please know that divorce is not an unforgivable sin, nor is it the end for you. If you’ve been divorced, there’s hope, healing, restoration, and wholeness in Jesus! As the family of God, the Church is here to help you walk through this process.
Are you struggling in your marriage right now? Are you struggling with being single, looking for a relationship, desiring to be married? Are you hurting post divorce and wondering how to pick up the pieces and move forward? Are you filled with skepticism, doubt, fear, and maybe even hostility toward relationships, the idea of marriage, or even your faith? Jesus has a simple, but sometimes hard answer for us . . . “Receive the kingdom of God like a little child” (Mark 10:15 NIV).
Approach Him with a child-like faith and trust, without hesitation on concern of judgment, condemnation, shame, or guilt. Come to Him with the security of a little child to his or her parent. Come in humility and simplicity. The truth is we all have pains that have grown us up. We see life differently because of our pains—pains from our past, from today, and the ones we anticipate in the future that make us live differently, relate differently, and trust differently. Maybe in some ways our experiences have grown us up too much and robbed us of both our childhood and our child-like faith. It’s not too late! We can always run to Him with everything we’re carrying and lay it all at His feet. He cares for us so deeply, He loves us and wants to restore us and make us whole. He wants us to spend time with Him, to bring our burdens to Him. Will we trust Him today?
This Week: Pray for the sanctity of marriage. If you’re married, pray for your marriage, for your spouse, for the Lord to guide, protect, and direct you. Pray for the marriages of your friends, family members, and pastors. Pray for healing, wholeness, and restoration for those who are struggling to hold on to their marriage and for those who have been divorced.
Pray It Out: Share prayer requests in your group. Write down the requests of your group members, spend time praying over these requests, and keep praying individually over them throughout the week.
This weekend is Father’s Day! Whether you’re a dad or have a dad, granddad, or dad-like mentor, we want to honor all dads and the legacy they’re building. Let’s come together for this special service to worship our heavenly Father and celebrate the fathers God has used to shape our lives.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.