married Life – Week 4 (Till Death Do Us Part)
Jason White


What are we supposed to think about divorce? In today’s culture, divorce seems to be normal, but when we look at what Jesus said about marriage, we see that it was created to be a “till death do us part” kind of marriage.



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Sermon Audio Transcript
So this is one of those things in marriage that if we are married have all declared in some way, “for better or worse, till death do us part.” “I vow to be with you throughout the good and the bad all the way through life until we die.” And these people that we just saw standing are doing it! Like really doing it!!! And it’s awesome…WE -But I wonder how many of us are here today and wondering how? How does anyone do this, “till death do us part” thing? I wonder how many of us are thinking “we’ll never make it?” I wonder how many of us might even be thinking, “Is it really that big of a deal?” “I mean I know we say that and all as part of our vows but does anyone today really mean that? I mean does anyone think that is even possible any longer in today’s day and age to stay married till death do us part?”And I wonder how many of us might be thinking things along these lines because it sure seems to be what our culture is thinking based on what is happening all around us. Here’s what I mean…According to government statistics there is 1 divorce that occurs in the United States of America every 42 seconds! That’s roughly 2,046 divorces each day…14,364 divorces each week…and 746,971 divorces per year! That is a staggering number of divorces that are occurring in our culture…and out of those getting divorced the average marriage lasts only 8 years before deciding to call it quits…And the numbers go up after a divorce/new marriage. 41% of 1st marriages end in divorce, 60% of 2nd marriages, & 73% of 3rd marriages end in divorce.So this is something that is happening all the time…And here’s the deal, with this many of our marriages ending in divorce it has started to raise the question among some, “Is marriage over a long period of time even reasonable?” There was a Washing Post article that came out several years ago, and the writer of the article basically came to the conclusion that it isn’t…that marriage over a long period of time isn’t reasonable. He said, and I quote… “A reasonable level of divorce may be a symptom of a healthy and mobile society…“Long marriages are simply not natural. Is it not possible that the ideal companion for our younger, child-rearing years will not be the ideal companion for our middle and latter years?”So there you go…what is reasonable apparently is that we’d each have 3 different spouses…one that we have kids with…one that we go through our mid-life crisis with…and one to end life with. The view within our culture has become, “I’ll stay with you till death do us part OR until I’m not happy with you any more”…and most likely that is going to happen we think…b/c it’s just not natural to stay married for that long to the same person…But is this true? Is it unreasonable for marriages to last till death do us part? Is it better for society and for us to NOT stay married till death do us part?Well, let’s see what God has to say…I mean after all He is the one who created it…it was His idea, and generally anyone who is the Creator of something usually understands how it was designed to work best. Please turn to Mark 10…GOD Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. 2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied. 4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” 5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” How did God design marriage to work? Till death do us part. Jesus said, “what God has joined together, let no one separate.” God takes 2 individuals and joins them together as one for a lifetime… God designed marriage to be “till death do us part. Now, the Pharisees were quick to point out that the law permitted them to get a divorce…that it was okay…but Jesus pointed out to them that this was only something Moses instituted b/c of the hardness of their hearts…as a result of sin in our world…but it was NOT how God created it to be at the beginning. See, the Pharisees were taking Jesus back to Moses, but Jesus was taking them all the way back to the garden and reminding them of how God created marriage to work in the first place.So let’s go back and look at that too…Jesus was referring to Gen. 2 in his conversation w/these Pharisees…so let’s look at what it says in Genesis 2, beginning in verse 18… 18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.So again, from the creation account, we see that God’s design for marriage was to take 2 individuals and unite them together as one…the word translated “unite” in v. 24 in Hebrew is dabaq & it means cleave or joined together, united together, glued together.And so when Jesus was reminding the Pharisees about God’s design for marriage in Mk. 10, He took them back to the creation account to remind them that in marriage God takes 2 individuals and glues them together as one flesh…But then, Jesus made a summary comment after quoting this from Gen. 2. Remember in v. 9 of Mk. 10, Jesus says “therefore…” In other words, based on this Scriptural truth… 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Since God does this work of taking 2 individuals and gluing them together, then they should stay together “till death do them part.”This is God’s design for marriage. Culture may say it’s unreasonable or healthy for society, but that is not true! The Creator, the original designer of it, says it was designed to be reasonable…to last ‘till death do us part.’ And so what is good for society and for us (since God is a good and loving God) is to stay married together ‘till death do us part.’And so here is what I want us to see: If we are going to make it “till death do us part,” the first thing that has to happen is that we have to understand God’s design for marriage…No matter what feelings we have at various points throughout our marriage and no matter what culture says about marriage, “God says it is ‘till death do us part.’” Now…with that being said, I need to say this and I want you to hear me: First of all, if you have experienced a divorce in your past, I am not saying at all that there is no forgiveness and that Jesus cannot redeem the situation you are in. He can…He is a big God who is loving, merciful, and full of grace…and so please keep your eyes on Him and how He is leading you now moving forward…And here’s the 2nd thing I need you to hear me say when we are talking about God’s design for marriage is “till death do us part.”… If you are in an abusive relationship I am not saying that you need to stay in this marriage no matter what.” Please talk to someone and get the help you need…But what I am talking about is this idea that it is not reasonable to be in a marriage till death do us part and that perhaps we were intended to be with different people as we age and change in life is not true. It’s not the way it was designed and it’s not what is best for you. Now…that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be easy. There probably will be challenges and problems that you face along the wayBut here’s the deal: If it was designed by God to be this way, then it’s possible…it’s possible to stay together till death do us part. But it’s not just possible. God didn’t design it to be just possible and kind of to just make it through… it’s designed to be great, to be enjoyed, to be fun. But the key of course is then to keep your eyes on Jesus since He knows how He designed it and how it would work best for both of you.So let me spend the rest of this time talking about some things that I think if we keep our eyes on Jesus throughout our marriage, He will lead us in. And really, these keys are found right in the creation account we were looking at…b/c Jesus is going to lead us back to the way things were designed to be.And really the first thing to point out is what we have been saying throughout this series all along…and that is this…1. Trust that Christ is LifeAnd remember we talked about during the 1st week of this series how God talks about there being 2 trees in the garden in the creation account…there was the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…and the tree of life represented God…we were designed by God to live with Him as our Source for life. He told Adam that if you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, basically you will be separated from me…you will experience a spiritual death and you will not have your needs being met by me any longer…you’ll be in a constant search for contentment, security, and worth without me as your Source. And of course, we know that this is what we as humanity chose and have suffered the consequences of sin being in our lives ever since.But Jesus came to fix that…& of course He did. His death on the cross & his resurrection paved the way for our sins to be forgiven & to be reconciled to God through faith. And so when we place our faith/trust in Jesus for salvation, we are united back to God…the way we were designed to be from the 1st place, & now we can live with Him as our Source again…trusting Him to meet all of our needs for Life. Remember in Jn. 7, Jesus said, 38 Whoever believes in me…rivers of living water will flow from within them.” All of our needs are constantly being met by God through our union with Christ.And again this is really the key to a “till death do us part marriage.” B/C there are going to be moments where we feel like our spouse is not loving us the way they should love us…moments where we feel like our spouse isn’t giving us the feeling that they once gave us when we were first dating. And what we might be tempted to think is that we married the wrong person…or that this was only meant for a seasonBut if we understand that Chris is our Life…that all of our needs are being met in Him, then when we start to have these other feelings and thoughts about needing to get out and finding someone who can meet our needs that we feel are not being met, we can renew our minds to the truth that in reality they are being met by Jesus and begin to experience the contentment, security, and worth we do have in Him and then we are free to keep serving our spouse and we are free to pray for them that God will do a work in us and them to renew us back to the ways He designed for us to live in this relationship together. And that leads me to my next point…2. To live in the companionship He’s providedWhen we were looking at the creation account in Genesis, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” And He created Eve to give him a companion. And Adam cried out, “23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” “YES GOD!” “Now, there is someone else made in your image, like me, but different than me to spice up the life you gave me…to add some flavor to it.” So one of the things we see about marriage is that God provides us a companion…someone who is of the same likeness, but different than we are to do life with.Are you doing life with your spouse? I mean, if companionship is what we see was God’s original design, then if we are keeping our eyes on Jesus to guide us in our marriages, He will be leading us to do life together as companions!Leading us to have fun together…To discuss things together…To learn together…laugh together…to cry together…To romance each other! In other words, He’ll lead us into an intimate companionship.Gary Thomas in his book A Lifelong Love dives into this and the difference between shared intimacy and what we a lot of times see happening in our lives which is sharing tasks… He says…Some couples wake up one day to the reality that they’ve been living relationally on shared tasks, not shared intimacy, which is built on praying together, sharing your dreams, carrying each other’s burdens, and building that all-important empathy for each other. Instead, they’re teammates, not spouses, and when you’re merely teammates and the season is over, what do teammates do? They go their own ways.And so if we keep our eyes on Jesus to lead us, He’s not going to lead us to just share tasks but to develop and intimate companionship. And intimate companionship is the stuff that Jesus uses to carry us through a healthy and vibrant lifelong love together.Okay, so #1, Trust Christ as Life (He is the Ultimate Source of providing fulfillment, contentment, security), and #2, Develop intimate companionship by doing life together w/your spouse as Jesus guides/empowers you to do so. And here is the final thing I want you to notice that we see in the creation account that Jesus will lead us to do if we are going to have a “till death do us part” marriage…3. Leave our father and motherRemember when I read Gen. 2:24 it says, “24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” There is a uniting together that happens, but it comes as we LEAVE!Our parents had a role of raising us up, but that role changes when we get married! Our parents are no longer in a place of authority over us. We are to still honor them, and they can be a rich part of our lives still…but the role changes. Jesus leads us to create something new…He joins us together in a way that will be different from your parents’ relationship. The problem for some of us with the companion piece of marriage is that we’ve let our parents in too far or into a role they weren’t designed to have. They can still be involved and should be a part of our lives, but our primary loyalty is to our spouse, not our parents! So…Jesus, in order to really allow us to experience the companionship and oneness that He creates in our marriages, will lead us to LEAVE our parents and make our spouse our number 1 priority. It also means that if you are parents of grown kids, Jesus will lead you to release your kids into the marriage that Jesus puts together for them & be there to support and encourage but to not overstep your bounds.YOU – Okay, so my time is about up…let’s review: God’s design for marriage is “till death do us part.” This is the first thing we have to understand or renew our minds to as truth.But then as the Lord leads us through that “till death do us part” marriage, He will lead us to again understand that…#1, Christ is our Life and the Source of meeting our ultimate needs…#2, as we keep our eyes on Jesus, He will lead us to live in and enjoy the companionship that He has provided for us…and…#3, He will lead us to make our spouse our #1 priority by leaving our father and mother to create something new together…and God willing you too will be able to celebrate 50-60 years like some of these we have seen today and give Him the glory for who He is and what He’s done!