3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
Then we skipped to the next event – totally related to first:
13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. Matthew 19:13-15
Our first text deals with the very foundation of our society and how it relates to the Kingdom of Heaven – that of marriage. Marriage was ordained of God as the first institution among men – the foundation of communities, nations and societies – MARRIAGE.
Genesis 2: 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh
Please note in both cases that marriage is between a man and a woman – this signals God’s creative plan for the world, but also for a foreshadowing of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Passover Lamb was a foreshadowing of the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world, for our sins.
The marriage ceremony is provided in the English Book of Common Prayer – a book which was derived from the Ancient Fathers and restored by the Anglican Reformers; however, the ceremony is the traditional one used by most churches today:
Read first paragraph of Matrimony BoCP –
¶ At the day and time appointed for Solemnization of Matrimony, the Persons to be married shall come into the body of the Church, or shall be ready in some proper house, with their friends and neighbours; and there standing together, the Man on the right hand, and the Woman on the left, the Minister shall say,
DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is commended of Saint Paul to be honour-able among all men: and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. If any man can show just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
Look at the three conditions of marriage given in a sermon by Dr. J Vaughan:
I. Consider how this union, of which all marriage is the intended allegory, actually takes place between Him and us. The first mover is, as it ought to be, the Lord Jesus Christ. The wife does not seek her husband, but the husband seeks his wife. Gradually, by His own sweet constraints, and the outgoings of His Spirit to Us, we begin to love Him. And then come the early betrothals of a heart made willing—the moving of holy desires and of sacred yearnings. And then the contract—that indissoluble contract which is between Christ and the believer, strong as adamant.
II. Note the conditions of the union. In the presence of witnesses the covenant of marriage must be ratified. And so here angels and the Church look on when Christ, before the whole universe, confesses you, and will confess you, to be His for ever. And you, on your part, must confess Him before Christians, before the world, before angels, before all men. The mutual confession is the basis of the stipulation.
III. And with common consent it must be. Free as the wind was His choice of you; absolute and explicit must be your surrender to Him. No compulsion, no outside circumstances, no secondary motive will avail. It must be your own independent, unbiassed will, the full accord of your whole heart. It is a compact of perfect affection, absolute duty, untiring allegiance. The soul of all attachment to you is Christ. It is a relation of the most exquisite fondness, but it is a relation of the most unqualified obedience. —Sermon Bible
Note the ancient custom of marriage among the Hebrews (which, incidentally is very similar to the Korean custom):
The Father makes inquiry on behalf of his son, for a decent and well-favored young lady to betroth to his son. First, the family must be of well-repute. We, too, must be from the family of God – the Church. When found, the family must consent to the meeting. The father arranges a meeting at the young lady’s home. A cup of wine is provided on a table dividing the son and young lady. The son and young lady talk a bit. If the young man approves of the young lady as his future wife, he will drink from the cup.
1 Cor 10 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 1 COR 11:25
If the young lady also agrees to the betrothal, she, too, will then drink from the Cup. In doing so, she pledges her undying devotion and faithfulness to this one young man for life. She can never drink from another such Cup. It is the same as our Communion Cup – (1 Cor 10)
21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
The intentions of God are that marriage is not entered into lightly, but with full knowledge and consent aforehand. It is forever.
In our sermon text, we read again the Words of Christ-
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
What is the purpose of marriage? Of the Church? To REPRODUCE children to the glory of God!
Read again the next event from our sermon texts today:
13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
Christ was a man of rugged physical strength and rough hands that had been accustomed to the art of carpentry. But, as is the case with many strong and simple laborers, He had a heart of love and gentleness which children found attractive – so they came to Him simply and trusting in His love.
He took the children into His Arms and Loved them. He pointed out to the sophisticated preachers and others that, should they enter into the Kingdom of God, they must become as little children – innocent in heart and trusting in the love of God.
The church is to love and foster the baby Christians.
What is a baby Christian?
A child who comes to Christ trusting in His love and power to forgive, save, and preserve.
A child of four years of age, or a child of eighty years of age. No matter our age, we are always children in the eyes of God 9or in the eyes of our parents).
Children, you need Christ to save you. Come as you are, and He will cleanse your sins and place your feet on solid ground