What God Wants You To Do – Part 2

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Introduction – God plainly and honestly says “This is what I want you to do.”
Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly With Your God

Reflection 1
I have done a lot of weddings. Over the years, I have never used the phrase “If anyone can show just cause why these two should not be married.” I did that for the first time ever yesterday – just for a gag and to make a point about the couple’s history.

I have never used this phrase because it didn’t make sense to me. I realize it makes for a great dramatic moment in movies and television – what better time for the true love to make his entrance and stop the wedding. But that’s drama. In reality, I have always thought – if this priest and these people do not the reason the couple shouldn’t be married at this point, then they haven’t been paying attention!

I believe that the assembly gathered for the wedding ought to be the people who know every just cause as to why a couple should be married. In fact, they ought to know the reason why any of us are ever married and why we regard that with respect. If you are a guest at the weddings I “officiate” then I expect something of you. I expect you to be among the cloud of witnesses that testify to the covenants that God wants us to live by. I expect you to be there on the day the couple makes their vows and I want you to be there years later if they are struggling to keep those vows. [And you just thought you were supposed to bring a gift and enjoy some cake.]

Reflection 2
When I ask a couple to stand and be recognized for 50, 60 or 70 years of marriage I intentionally say – thank you for showing us the wisdom of God’s ways.

What if we were all stakeholders in the Covenants God Gave us?
We are all stakeholders in these covenants – at every stage. It is not just married people who have an investment in marriage covenant. Young, old, single, divorce, re-married: we all hold a stake in these covenants. When it comes to the marriage covenants, we all want to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Text: Matthew 19:1-12

  1. God – Man and Woman. God puts it together, don’t tear it apart.
  2. Jesus – Married and Single. Quit justifying adultery by calling it divorce. (That’s what his critics were doing with their reading of Deuteronomy 24)
    1. Jesus was a stakeholder in the covenant of marriage.
    2. Jesus was single
    3. His parents held to the covenant of marriage even though it was scandalous and hard for them to do so at the start
    4. Jesus was not patient with the rule-keeping Pharisees who he claims were actually playing fast and loose with the covenant by their attempts to limit and restrict divorce.
  3. Paul – Works with these rules in applying them to the troubles and real-life situations of the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7). Being single, being married, separated, divorced, remarried.


A word about ...


Preaching this is difficult – it always is, but not preaching it is worse. I realize how difficult it can be for people to hear. That is because I am not preaching about general concepts, but I am preaching about the experiences and realities of people that I care about, people I know, people that I love.
But isn’t that what God is doing through his word. When God talks about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, he isn’t simply setting up policy or civic law. He isn’t establishing an institution of marriage, rather he is talking about and speaking to people that he cares about, people that he knows, people that he loves.

What I hope to accomplish is to model a way for us to speak openly, truthfully, and plainly about these realities that have to do with the covenants that we live by – God’s covenants. And I hope that we can do the same. I hope that concerning these matters: marriage, divorce, being single, being family, we will do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 18 April 2010

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