Program Air Date - 7-22-01



What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.

This morning we again want to begin by mentioning one of our sister congregations which help financially to make this program possible. Today, I would like to introduce you to the Prairie Grove Church of Christ in Caulfield, Missouri. We are happy to have these brethren involved in this work of our Lord. We really appreciate their like desire to do God's will, as we together reach out to this area with the Gospel of Christ.

If you have opportunity, please take advantage of meeting with these brethren - even this morning. Today, they will assemble together for a Bible study at 10:00 a.m. This is followed by a worship assembly at 10:45. Another opportunity to worship is also offered at 7:00 on Sunday evenings. During the week this family also comes together at 7:00 on Wednesday evenings. I hope you are able to visit with this congregation very soon.

If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister brother Doyle Garner. His phone number is 870-458-2339. We again thank this congregation for their continued support!

It's time to start our praise through song. Won't you join in the first song of the morning, as we together sing, "Jesus Calls Us!"
(SONG # 1)


When was the last time you thanked God for all He has done for us? More specifically, when was the last time you thanked Him for your brethren in Christ? I often think we forget just how blessed we are to not only have an earthly family but to also have a church family. In fact, if you are like many some of us are as close to our church family as we are our earthly families! I love what Paul said along these lines as he was writing to the Thessalonian brethren in 2 Thessalonians 1:3! There we read, "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other," We find here that Paul was thankful for his brethren, but why? He went on to say that the reason he was thankful was because of their great faith. Also notice here what Paul said was demonstrating their faith - "Love for one another!"

You see, we are well blessed when we show the proper love and care for one another as Christians. Because it will benefit us now in this life with relationships that will last forever, but even more so it will benefit us in the eyes of God. This is how He and others know we are truly of Him. Isn't that what Jesus said in John 13:35? There we read, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Even Christ Himself said that we are truly known as God's followers by how we treat one another as brethren.

On the other hand, have you ever heard of someone saying they don't like or hate a fellow brother in Christ? I have! However, notice what John said in 1 John 4:20. There we read, "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" We most love our brethren! So, let's all remember the great need we have to love one another in Jesus Christ. Remembering that this is how we are encouraged and helped in this life, as well as this being the way that God and others see our true faith. Are you loving your brothers and sisters as God commands?

Today we will continue with our new series of study concerning "Socially Accepted Sins Of Today!" Our specific study this morning will focus on "Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage," as we look into the pages of God's will.

We have a guest speaker with us this morning who you will recognize. We are again happy to have Ivie Powell with us, minister for the Curry Street Church of Christ in West Plains, Missouri. So stay with us this morning and in a few minutes brother Powell will return and lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Just Over In The Glory Land."
(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ivie Powell

"The churches of Christ salute you," Romans 16:16. Thank you brother Sullins. I deeply appreciate the opportunity of being here once again. We would like to invite you people in the area to be with us for Bible Study this morning at 9:30, the morning assembly at 10:30 and back again tonight at 6:00. We also have services each Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.

We're going to be discussing today a subject that is highly controversial to say the least. We need to remember that God's word is truth whether we believe it or not, whether we accept it or not. "Let God be true and every man a liar," so Paul stated in Romans. And so we need to understand that the Lord only gives us the truth. "The truth shall make you free," John 8, verse 32. When you turn to Galatians chapter 5, we find that Paul lists the works of the flesh in verses 19 through 21. In this list, he includes not only murderers and drunkards and revelers, but he also talks about the adulterers and fornicators in Galatians 5:19 through 21. And you will observe carefully that he says that they shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

So this subject is a very serious subject. It is an important subject. I am very fearful that far too many pulpits of churches of Christ throughout this land have completely abandoned preaching the whole council of God. And I want to remind every elder and every preacher that we will give an account of not only what we have preached, but what we have refused to preach. We must faithfully discharge all the truth. I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who should judge the quick and the dead that is appearing in His kingdom preach the word. Be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. And so with that in mind, we're going to examine this subject of marriage, divorce, and re-marriage. Let me say my friends that most of us have loved ones and friends that have been married and divorced, some two or more times, but we must love the truth more than we love friends and relatives or anyone else. We must abide by the teaching of our Lord. It is not the fault of God or what is presented in His word that man has abandoned God and His word. So let me examine with you please several questions. We are going to look at as many as possible, and I believe that you will find the truth regarding marriage, divorce, and re-marriage in this study.

Number 1, the question is: Does the teaching of our Lord in Matthew 19, verse 9 apply only to Christians? The answer is "No." It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that. When the Lord said in Matthew 19:9 regarding marriage, divorce and re-marriage, He says, "And I say unto you whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for fornication and shall marry another, committeth adultery, and who so marry her which is put away doth commit adultery." The whosoever there is any and all whether they are members of the church or not members of the church. Now bear in mind in this 19th chapter in verse 8, He lets them know that from the beginning it was not so, having reference to Genesis chapter 2. So marriage is not something that came into being when Christianity came into being. Marriage came into being back in Genesis chapter 2, and it is the design of our Heavenly Father that all people in all places be married one man, one woman for life until death, with one exception and that is fornication. So the teaching of our Lord applies to all whether they are Christians or whether they are not Christians.

Number 2, May the guilty party, in Matthew 19:9, remarry? The answer is "No." Notice again the 19th chapter and the 9th verse, he says there, "Whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for fornication and shall marry another committeth adultery and who so marries her which is put away doth commit adultery." Now for those who think that they are going to find some loophole by re-defining terms, we need to understand that adultery and fornication according to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon that these words are dealing with unlawful sexual activity. One having reference to one having intercourse with another's wife and the other fornication is an illicit sexual term in general. So we find that he is talking about sexual sins. We find also that the guilty party cannot re-marry. This is why there should be such a seriousness when it comes to people getting married. Remember the marriage vows that you made before God and man.

Number 3, If the deserter leaves, or that is if a Christian is deserted by a non-Christian, is the believer free to re-marry based on 1st Corinthians 7:15 not unto bondage? The answer is "No." He is pointing out here that the Christian is not accountable if that non-Christian leaves them, but nothing is said in the text about them re-marrying. Now some believe that because of the situation of that day and time that in 1st Corinthians 7:15 that the person that left was guilty of adultery. Well you are operating from the silence of the scriptures. That might be the case that they were guilty of adultery. I don't know. But I know this is the case that the Christian is not going to be held accountable because that non-Christian leaves them. He is not discussing re-marriage in this verse at all. Well, what about verse 20? In the 20th verse, Paul says, "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called."

Is this verse teaching that individuals who are in a second, third, fourth, whatever the number may be marriage that is not a scriptural marriage continue in that marriage after they are baptized? The answer is "No." One can only abide in a state that is legitimate and right. Now I want you to pause and think about this. What about two practicing homosexuals who want to be baptized? Can they continue in practicing homosexuality after their baptism and abide in that state? The answer is "No," because the state was wrong in the first place, the state they were in. Well, what about a man and woman out here who were just co-habitating as we used to call that down in Arkansas, shacked up? Here they are. They are not married. They never have been married to one another or anyone else. Can they be baptized, come up out of the baptism and continue in that state and please God? The answer is "No," because the state was wrong before they were even baptized. So wherein lies the difference in those two examples and in a mans and woman who are in a case of absolute known adultery, who are going to be baptized, come up out of that watery grave? Can they abide in that state? The answer is "No," because the state is not one that God approves in the first place. So 1st Corinthians 7:20 is not saying that people can continue in any kind of situation they're in after baptism.

Well another question. Actually we've answered this, but it's stated a little differently. Does baptism make holy an unholy relationship? Well the answer is "No." I remember a question and answer session some years ago a friend of mine was telling me about over in Tennessee and they asked this brother this particular question and he said, "Baptism doesn't wash away husbands and wives." I laughed and thought, "That's a real good answer." Oh if a situation is an unholy, ungodly situation before baptism and one comes up out of the watery grave of baptism still in that ungodly, unholy situation then baptism, the blood of Christ has not remitted their sins. Now this really hinges on the word repentance. Does repentance simply mean "I'm sorry. I won't do it again." And we can just continue in this? I recently heard some fellows in discussing this subject affirm that, that a person can simply say, "Well, I repent and I'm not going to do this again and I'm going to go on from this point and stay in this marriage and live for the Lord." Well, the problem is they haven't repented. Repentance in Matthew 21:28-29 shows us that it involves not only a change of mind, but a change of direction. There has to be restitution. Someone says, "Well, murderers can be forgiven." Yes, but what if a person were to say, "Well, I murdered one, two or five people. I want you to baptize me and when I come up out of the baptistry, I'm going to continue murdering people." Well you say, "Well no. They haven't repented." Well, what would they have to do to repent? Stop murdering people. Oh, is that so? Well, what about here's a person that is in an absolute state of continuous adultery and they're baptized and they come up out of that watery grave still in that state? Now wherein lies the difference? My friends, repentance demands a severing of a way of life that is sinful and wrong. Repentance involves a change of mind that results in a change of direction.

Another illustration. Here's a fellow that comes up and says, "Well brother Sullins, I want you to baptize me but I want you to know that I rob banks and I shoot people. I want you to baptize me but I'm still going to go out there and rob banks and shoot people." Why no. He wouldn't baptize him. Why? The fellow is telling him, "I'm not going to change my life." That's what repentance is. "I'm not going to turn away from my sins. I'm going to continue in my sins." Bear in mind that in 1st Corinthians the 6th chapter, Paul says in verse 9, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Now who would be in this list? "Be not deceived neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revelers, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God." People that are living in those states cannot inherit the kingdom of God. What are they going to have to do? They are going to have to repent. They are going to have to come out of those states. They are going to have to stop living that kind of life. People can't live in a state of sin, in a state of adultery. Now some would say, "Well, you do not find those exact words in the Bible. We find in Colossians chapter 3 when Paul talks about that "Christians were to mortify, put to death fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness, which is idolatry." Now notice, "For which things sake, the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience." Verse 7, "In the which you also walked sometime when you lived in them." There had been living in adultery. So my friend, people that are living in any sin are going to have to come out of that sin.

Now another question very, very quickly. And that is: How do you, preacher at the Curry Street church of Christ or you other gospel preachers, how do you handle it when people come to you and discuss marriage, divorce and re-marriage? I open up the Bible and I read to them Matthew 19:9 or I let them read it and then when they say, "We believe that we have a scriptural divorce and a scriptural re-marriage, I leave that between them and Almighty God. But now, we need to understand my friend, that there are situations that only they and God know whether they tell us or not, God knows it.

Well, who can re-marry in the sight of God? "A widow or a widower can re-marry," notice 1st Corinthians 7:39. "Their mates having been dead," Romans 7:1-4, "they are at liberty to marry a qualified person." "Then the innocent party," in Matthew 19:9, "they certainly can re-marry."

Are you making the sin that these people are in, divorce and re-marriage the unpardonable sin? No, I am not. Neither is the Lord. God will forgive any and all people if they're willing to repent. That's the key of their sins. As a matter of fact, "a child of God," in 1st John 1, verse 9, "is going to have to repent, confess his sins to the Father, and the Father will forgive him." So my friend, we plead with all people in all places to abide by the teaching of our Lord to realize that when you marry, you are marrying for life. You need to consider before you get a divorce the heartache that it's going to cause your children. Have you ever asked your children what they thought about your getting a divorce? You're going to have to think about if you are a member of the church, you're going to have to think about the church. You're going to have to think about those who are not Christians. You need to think about the state that you are putting yourself in. If you are going to enter into an unscriptural divorce, or if you're going to enter into an unscriptural marriage, you're going to lose your soul unless you repent, my dear friend. This is a serious matter. And then ask yourself, "Is it really, really worth it?" We plead with those who are having marital difficulties to talk to your elders, to talk to your preachers, talk to those who are Christians counselors and psychiatrists and psychologists. Get help. Any problem can be solved if we're willing to do the will of Almighty God. Marriage is honorable in the sight of God.

Thank you for being here. Until next time we have an opportunity of being with you, good day.
(SONG # 3 - "Farther Along!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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As we consider the many sins taking place in this world, may we always go to God and His Word to know His Will concerning Marriage, divorce and remarriage.
(Program closing)