Radically Great: Divorce and Remarriage – Luke 16:16-18

Radically Great: Divorce and Remarriage – Luke 16:16-18


Divorce in the UK



“”Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Luke 16:18)


When? How Divorced? Free to remarry?
21st century Britain “no fault” Y/N
1st century Israel “any cause” Y/N
1st century Roman cities Move out!
Separation = divorce
Old Testament Israel “marital unfaithfulness” (but its more than just adultery) Y/N



Deut 24:1 “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house,”

Exodus 21:10-11 “If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.”

Jewish divorce certificates contained the words: “You are _____ to marry”


“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” (Matthew 19:3, NIV)

“And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” (Matthew 19:3, ESV)

“And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” (Matthew 19:3 RSV)




“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.””

1) Remember your marriage is a miraculous gift from God

“Haven’t you read,” Jesus replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘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. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:4-6)

Challenge: where have I been neglecting the oneness in favour of myself?


2) Banish any thoughts that divorce is the solution



“”Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” (Matthew 19:7-8)


3) The greatest threat to your marriage is your hard heart.

This week: look at any area of your marriage where you think it isn’t working at the moment – and write down one or two ways your own hard-heartedness is causing it– and then show what you’ve written to your spouse, and say sorry.


4) Jesus can heal your heart


“I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”(Ezekiel 36:26)
”Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)


5) Never stop forgiving.


Jesus taught us to pray “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sins against us…” Who do you need to forgive? Forgive them!




Get other people involved before you do anything radical!




I want to know more:

A book supporting the view I presented in this sermon:

Book: “Divorce and Remarriage in the church” (David Instone-Brewer)


A book presenting a more traditional view:

Book: “Marriage in Church after divorce” (Andrew Cornes)


An older book presenting a few different views:

Book: “Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views” (IVP, 1990)


A free ebook that tackles the whole subject in incredible depth…

“Divorce and Remarriage: recovering a biblical view” https://bible.org/series/divorce-and-re-marriage-recovering-biblical-view



For a good overview of the “any cause” v “marital unfaithfulness” historical data, visit www.divorce-remarriage.com/

For a good position paper giving a more traditional view of divorce and remarriage, visit www.desiringgod.org/articles/divorce-remarriage-a-position-paper


To listen: premier Christian Radio debate between David Instone-Brewer and Andrew Cornes – www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/13-Feb-2010-Two-views-on-Divorce-and-Remarriage-David-Instone-Brewer-Andrew-Corn


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