Sunday’s message had two points, that marriage is designed for man and woman, and that marriage is designed to be permanent. In week two’s study we spoke in detail about the gender roles in marriage as designed by GOD, so today’s study will focus on the second point from this sermon, that marriage is designed by GOD to be permanent. Sunday’s passage showed us that CHRIST’s view and message concerning marriage was so high, that the disciples only reaction was to say, If that is what marriage is, then it is best that man not marry, because there is no way we could do it correctly (Matt 19:10). This is the gargantuan gap between the way that humans view marriage and that way that GOD designed it that was mentioned on Sunday.
1. As a group discuss the root of marriage. Is it love? romance? the desire to have a family?
2. Why do you think that the “world” has such a “take-it-or-leave-it” attitude toward marriage?
Marriage is a permanent union, it is not fleeting or temporary…it does not matter if it is easy or difficult, GOD expects us to uphold our end of the covenant that we make before Him on our wedding day. Many people will turn their attention to Moses granting a divorce in Deut 24 as a justification for getting divorced. They will say, “Well, Moses said it was ok.” This truth was also in Sunday’s message but lets look at the account of these events from Mark 10:1-9
3. As a group, read this passage. What is JESUS’ response to the Pharisee’s when they say, “But Moses allowed it.”?
4. Many people often cite “changing conditions” for the ending of their marriage. I believe the legal term is “irreconcilable differences”. This is the equivalent of saying, we have fallen out of love. As a group, discuss the term “irreconcilable differences” with the crucifixion of JESUS CHRIST and the atonement that it provided?
5. Turn to and read Col 3:12-13 as a group. How do these two verses apply to marriage?
6. In closing, discuss these two quotes and how they reflect the permanence of marriage in GOD’s eyes.
a. “It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
b. So I argue that staying married is not mainly about staying in love. It’s about convenant-keeping. If a spouse falls in love with another person, one profoundly legitimate response from the grieved spouse and from the church is, “SO WHAT! Your being in love with someone else is not decisive. Keeping your covenant with GOD is decisive.” John Piper
The “take-it-or-leave-it” attitude toward marriage, where the main culprit is the idol of self, has long tried to redefine marriage and find a way around GOD’s design. As believers, it is important to stand for truth and they way that GOD, not government defines marriage. But in a world where half of marriages end in divorce, it is also important for us to also be gracious to those hurt and scarred by divorce. GOD hates divorce, but He is also gracious to forgive and restore. GOD is a glorious GOD and worthy to be served!