What God Has Joined Together

English Service on November 15, 2015
Messenger: Pastor Jim Allison
MP3 オーディオファイル 26.5 MB

“What God Has Joined Together”


Matthew 19:3-12


Today’s message is another about a difficult moral issue in today’s world: marriage.  I am hoping to present to you what God tells us about it and, with you, receive the challenge He gives us to arrange our lives according to His teachings.  We believe that will give Him the praise He deserves, help build the best world we can, and in the process lead us to our greatest happiness.


If you are not married now, please don’t decide that this message is not for you.  For one thing, the Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:4, “All of you should honor marriage.”  So let’s take that as meaning 100% of us.  Also, in the reading for today, when Jesus’ friends and students come to Him and ask about marriage, His answers lead them to deeper understanding not only about marriage.  He also teaches them (and us) about (a) our true origins and identities, as well as (b) the meaning, purpose, and goals of our lives, especially in our closest relationships with Him and other people.  In other words, there’s a lot here for all of us, including some hot topics in modern society, so let’s listen closely for God’s voice inside the human voice you are hearing now.


In the beginning part of Matthew 19, Jesus speaks especially to experts in the religious Law of His country, the Pharisees.  They ask Him a question designed to make Him look bad.  If He says divorce is OK, it will look like He doesn’t respect God and His teachings.  If He says divorce is bad, it will look like He doesn’t have compassion for people who have gone through the pain of divorce.  But in answering, the first surprising thing Christ does is go back past the Law.  He talks most not about it but about the purposes and plans God had in the first place for human beings in marriage.  Our Father’s designs for human flourishing—for people to have fullness of life, for us not only to be alive but to thrive, for us to become our best selves—these are what God had in mind



when He set up human society in general and marriage as part of it in the beginning of the world. 

Jesus makes a direct link in v. 4 between (a) “the Creator ‘made them male and female’” and (b) “a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.  The two will become one.”  He links these two with “that’s why.”  Put another way, God sets up human marriage because He knows us, understands who we are, what we need, and what kind of world He wants to build through us.  There are strong hints there about how God works not only in marriage but in many parts of our lives.  


              Well, what does God want to do through marriage?  Many things, but here are two that receive special attention in the Bible.  First, He wants to give human life.  God likes babies.  That’s why He told people, “Have children and increase your numbers” (“be fruitful and multiply” in another version, Genesis 1:28).   He really enjoys seeing children grow up in strong, loving families and become parents of their own children.  That’s normally how we as humans bear the image of God, which He gave us in the beginning.  A lot of what it means to be human is tied to being made in the image of God.  For example, God is creative, and He makes us able to create life through the amazing gift of sex.  God is loving, and He makes us able to give and receive love inside healthy human relationships, especially the family.  In other ways, too, we find our place in the world by discovering what we can do that is like our Creator and makes Him the happiest.  The usual way He has set up for us to do all this is through family life, and that starts with marriage.   


Second, God gives us marriage as a way to understand more deeply our relationship with Him.  He calls it acovenant relationship, and even today we hear in wedding ceremonies the words the covenant of marriage.  A covenant is a promise, a deep commitment, not just trying something to see if things work out but giving ourselves 100% to each other, no matter what.  As Jesus says in Matthew 19:5b-6a about the couple in a marriage, “The two will become one. 



They are no longer two, but one.”  He calls us, as His church, the bride of Christ in the New Testament.  So God had things like that in mind when he made marriage.


What is marriage, according to the God of the Bible?  I think you can say it is a relationship of love between one man and one woman together as life partners.  If you understand it that way, marriage is built to last the whole life of the partners, not just until married life becomes boring or stressful.  In this view of marriage, it is not something that religions added onto human life but a basic part of what it means to be human.  With that model of marriage, many people for many years around the world have put that relationship together with sex and having babies as parts of the same set package. 


But beginning especially in the 1960s and 1970s, in Western culture, Japan, and other parts of the world, the sexual revolution has brought a separation between marriage, sex, and babies.  Far more people today live together and have sex and babies without marriage.  Many have marriage and sex with no babies through birth control of various types.  There are more and more ways to have babies even without sex or marriage.  Some are working hard to change the basic meaning of marriage.  As a result, there is a crisis in traditional Christian marriage today.          


              All these are parts of our world that we need to understand, but as Christians we need to see them from God’s point of view and not only from those our cultures give us.  Our faith teaches us to look at our world and ourselves critically.  So we ask questions about the impact that the sexual revolution has had on the world and people’s lives.  We certainly had many problems before it came, but it seems like it has brought several newer ones.  It looks like they will be a bigger part of our future, so I want to look at a few of them in the time that remains in this message.




Today’s young people in my country are in the “hook-up culture.”  Many people are choosing sex outside marriage.  Compared even to the 1960s and 1970s when I was growing up, large numbers of people believe that casual sex is fine if both people freely choose it.  Many students are becoming sexually active before they are out of junior high school or high school.  In one Center for Disease Control survey in the U.S. (DeNoon, p. 1), about 55% of 15- to 19-year-old males and females said they had had some form of sex. 


When I was young, people called it free love, though I don’t hear that term recently.  Maybe it was becoming clear to too many people that there is little or no real love in many of those relationships.  The price in sexual diseases, abortions, broken marriages, and other areas made it clear to many of us that the word free doesn’t describe that kind of relationship, either.


Christians are called to enjoy the gift of sex but keep it inside marriage.  Even if our cultures and hormones give us different messages constantly, we find no real support for following them from the God of the Bible.  He tells us that sex is special, and He wants it to receive special treatment, set aside only for His creation of marriage.  Maybe more today than ever, we need to be intentional if we are really going to follow Christ.  Especially in questions of sexual purity, if we allow ourselves to be in situations where we have to think about it and decide yes or no, it may be too late.  We really need to have made those decisions before the temptation or pressure is there.  If we don’t, it will often simply be too difficult to make the right choice.           


              Another part of the crisis in Christian marriage today is divorce.  In my lifetime, we have come to see a far higher rate of divorce in many countries.  In the U.S., about 53% of marriages end in divorce.  For Christians who go to church regularly, the numbers are apparently lower—though for people who identify as Christians but do not actively take part in church life the numbers are not very different from everyone else.  In Japan, about 36% of marriages



fail.  That is just the reality we live in, and probably most or nearly all of us have friends or family, often inside the church, who have suffered through divorces.


              What does God tell us about this?  He has very high standards for His people, and He does not lower them just because our cultures do.  Jesus says in v. 6 that we must not separate people that God has put together in marriage.  When we do, we set ourselves not just against tradition but against God and against what in the long run will lead to more human flourishing and a better life.  He says in v. 9, “Anyone who divorces his wife and gets married to another woman commits adultery.  A man may divorce his wife only if she has not been faithful to him.”  Those are painful words for many people to read.  But Jesus does not back away from them, so I do not feel free to do so, either.


Still, let’s remember even as we continue thinking together, God’s grace is greater than any bad choice we might make.  Nothing can separate us from His love, and we can always make a fresh start thanks to His unchanging mercy.   


Christ explains that the divorce the Law allowed was not our Father’s best plan for people.  It was just that God, more than anyone, is realistic.  He knows that we as humans will at times make choices that break our marriages.  Instead of handling this with no laws to guide people through these times, he set up laws.  That is the heart of God—coming to us where we are in our brokenness, not just sitting in heaven waiting for us to become perfect and judging us when we don’t. 


Even in this harsh teaching, we may sense His deep care.  But we cannot use the Law to say that God supports divorce.  He stands against it.  We are going to look at the matter of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) and other lifestyles in a minute.  Many Christians have spoken against these



ways of life, saying they go against God’s teachings.  But we have often not been nearly as strict in speaking against the choices of heterosexual people such as divorce that do not line up with the Bible’s instructions.  So especially if we are going to criticize others, straight Christians need to begin with our own repentance.  As we do, we can begin to move closer to the healing and wholeness that God most deeply wants for all His people.           


              As you may remember, the U.S. Supreme Court in June of this year, in a 5-4 vote, made gay marriage legal in my country.  There is still nothing called marriage between people of the same gender in many countries, including Japan.  This is such an emotional question for many people, my human tendency is just to be quiet about it to avoid arguments.  But it is one real part of our world today, and we as Christians need to know what the Bible’s God says about it.  So I’ll ask you to think of some key questions at the heart of the problem, then give you the answers God shows in the Bible, as best I can understand them.


First, who gets to decide if something is right or wrong?  Christian faith teaches that God does.  So whatever I think or any human thinks is on the most important level beside the point. 


Second, is same-sex sex a sin?  The Bible clearly says that it is.  Some people disagree, of course, but it is very difficult to find support for their position from the Bible.  Various parts of the Old Testament Law and I Corinthians 6:9 in the New Testament seem quite clear in calling it a sin. 


Third, why is it wrong?  The Bible says that God did not design human society to include it.  More on that in a minute. 


Fourth, does God make people gay, lesbian, etc.?  The Bible says no.  We often hear people say, “I was born this way.”  But gay twins with the exact



same DNA usually are not both gay.  (The percentage of twins that are gay varies widely from study to study, but it is often high enough to mean a lot statistically.  But what it means is not yet clear.)  So it’s not as simple as “being born that way” sounds. 


Fifth, then why are people gay, lesbian, etc.?  The Bible does not make that clear.  From what we learn inside and outside God’s word, it seems safe to say that it’s basically not a simple, conscious choice that people make.  Neither are people slaves to their sexual desires, with no role at all to play for free will and human choices to follow these feelings and act on them or not.  It seems more in line with God’s teachings to be honest and say that we really don’t know enough about this. 


Sixth, is it wrong to feel sexual attraction for a person of the same sex?  The Bible does not say the feeling is wrong.  As we have already seen, it pretty clearly says the action is wrong.  But God may often call both same-sex-attracted and straight people alike to make the choice not to follow the sexual desires we feel.  Our feelings are not our most reliable guide—God is.  For a certain number of people, as Jesus talks about in vv. 12-13, there is a special call from God to be single and keep away from sex.  Those who receive that call could be either gay or straight in orientation.  


Seventh, what effects do gay lifestyles on the people in them and their families?  These questions have not been studied very carefully yet in many areas, so there is much that none of us understands very well.  Are children with two gay parents as healthy and happy as other children?  Do they graduate from school and make friends and do other things we call being successful as much as other children?  It is very difficult to say we know enough about these matters.  But serious questions have been raised about the trauma that comes from the loss of at least one parent, which has led children to be in a family with same-sex parents.  Katy Faust, for example, has often




spoken openly about this as a daughter of two lesbian mothers.    


              Now I’ve talked for some time about same-sex lifestyles, asking various questions.  But as I listen to myself, I fear that I’ve left out the most important one of all.  How does God feel about gay, lesbian, and other people in alternative lifestyles?  The answer, of course, is in the cross.  He has shown with His own Son’s life and death that they, to Him, are important enough to die for.  I’m trying not to be prejudiced, but the fact that this question did not come before all the others may show my bias and need to repent.  “If you’re going to speak, start with a word of love.  Before you speak, do something that shows the love of God.”  That’s what I hear a voice saying. 


God’s first, last, and constant motive is love, not only for the truth of His teachings but also for the people to whom He gives them.  That includes gays, lesbians, and others just the same as it does straight people.  As they say, the ground is level at the foot of the cross.  All of us, gay or straight or whatever, need to see our brokenness, repent, turn away from the parts of our lives that do not please God, and begin the journey of life again with Christ.    


We have co-workers, classmates, teammates, friends, and others who are in same-sex lifestyles, whether we know it or not.  If they need to repent and move away from these actions to follow Christ, then we have plenty of reasons to join them.  We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, He tells us (Romans 3:23).  For example, many straight people have been very unlike Christ in our attitudes and actions toward homosexual and other people for many years.  If we become closed and un-accepting toward anyone that God has created, loved, and died to save, we are not only damaging our own relationship with Him.  We are also giving a false picture to the people around us of what it means to be a follower of Christ.




Is it possible for us to accept the Bible’s teaching that same-sex sex is wrong, yet live in relationships of understanding, respect, and friendship with people in those lifestyles?  I believe it is, and God tells us that we must do all we can to treat all people with His love.  Not everyone agrees this can happen.  Some people will call you a hateful, narrow-minded person unless you say that their actions are good.  There may be more and more of a price to pay in the future for following the Bible’s teachings instead of cultural trends.  But followers of Christ obey the Lord’s rules for living.  In doing that, we find that our faith helps us be more welcoming and supporting to people different from us—not less.   


Even if we are right in saying that God does not accept same-sex sex, we have to remember Jesus’ way of treating people.  Throughout the gospels, He goes out of His way to stand on the side of people whom others have rejected.  He suffers together with people who suffer.  He has a special feeling for the least, the last, the lost.  And that is exactly how many LGBT and other people have been treated for many years.  If Christ does that, then how can we find ways to share some human kindness with people who are different from us in their sexual orientation?  That is a question for us to take with us into our thoughts, prayers, and actions in the days ahead.           


              Whether it is sex outside marriage, divorce, or definitions of marriage that in effect do great damage to it, we see today a variety of problems combining to form a crisis in Christian marriage.  God calls us to learn more and more how to live in the true covenant relationship of love with Him as part of His Bride, the Church.  Through moving steadily deeper into that relationship, may we become able to live more faithfully, more thoughtfully, and more joyfully with the people around us, both inside and outside our marriages and families. 


God, for this we pray.  In Christ’s name, amen.





Barna Group, The. (March 3, 2008). “New Statistics on Church Attendance and

              Avoidance.” Retrieved November 14, 2015 from            https://www.barna.org/barna-update/congregations/45-new-statistic             s-on-church-attendance-and-avoidance#.VkdG_ih7mcM

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (February 19, 2015). Retrieved     November 14, 2015 from  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/marriage_divorce_tables.htm

DeNoon, D. J. (August 6, 2012). “When Do U.S. Youths Start Oral Sex,             Intercourse?” Center for Disease Control. Retrieved November 14,   2015 from http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/news/    20120816/when-do-us-youths-start-oral-sex-intercourse

Faust, K. and Stonestreet, J (July 10, 2015). “BreakPoint This Week: Not        Optional - Mom AND Dad.” Retrieved November 14, 2015 from             http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/discourse/entry/15/277         89

Healy, M. (October 9, 2015). “Scientists find DNA differences between gay men           and their straight twin brothers.” Retrieved November 14, 2015 from               http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-84639858/

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マタイ福音書 19:3節~12






















5節 それゆえに、人は父母を離れ、その妻と結ばれ、ふたりの者は一体となるべきである」。


我々が誰であるか、我々が何を必要とするか、我々を通してどんな世界を造りたいのか? 結婚だけでなく生きる意味を見出そう。




(聖書)創世記1章27節 神は人をご自身のかたちとして創造された。
































アメリカの今日の若者の傾向「hook-up culture.」←気軽な性的な関係





私が若かったとき、人々はそれを 「自由恋愛」と、呼んだ。







米国では、結婚の約53%は、離婚。 定期的に教会に行くキリスト教徒の離婚率がより低いという結果の研究調査がある。日本では、結婚の約36%は、失敗が現実。








それらは、多くの人々が読むと厳しい命令。 しかし、イエスは彼らにひるむことなく、我々もそうすべき。


神の恵みは、我々が行うかもしれないどんな悪い選択よりも大きいのを思い出しましょう。 何事も我々を主の愛から切り離すことは出来ません。そして、我々は常に主の変わらない慈悲のおかげで、新たな歩みを始めることができます。







・我々は主の深い憂慮を感じる。 しかし、我々は、神が離婚を支持すると言うのは断じて出来ない。 神は反対なのです!


LGBT(レスビアン、ゲイ、バイセクシャル、性転換者)と他のライフスタイルの問題。 多くのキリスト教徒は彼らが神の教えに反すると言うが、我々はLGBTについて聖書的に話すことすら避けていた。

特に我々がLGBTを批判するならば、我々自身の悔い改めから始める必要がある。 我々の懺悔により、神がすべての人々のために望んでおられる治癒と完全性に近づき始める。








聖書で示す答えで彼らを理解しよう。 (注:便宜上、ゲイ、レズビアン、バイセクシャル等を含める言葉としてこれから「同性愛等」と言う。)





















聖書には、感覚が間違っているとは無い。 行動は間違っていると明白。







非常に難しい。 しかし、重要な問題は少なくとも1人の親を失ったことから来る精神的外傷にではないか。


今まで同性愛者等のライフスタイルについて話し、そして、いろいろな質問をした。 しかし、自分自身の話を聞いて、私はすべてで最も重要なものを無視したのを恐れます。



答えは、もちろん、十字架 神は自身の息子イエスを十字架に掛け、同性愛者の人々をも十分重要であると示した。








我々の周りには同性愛者である同僚、同級生、チームメイト、友人、等がいる。 彼らが悔い改めて、キリストに従うために生活を捨てる必要があるならば、わたしたちも共に悔い改める理由が山のようにある。

我々は罪を犯して、神の栄光に達しなかった。(ローマ人3:23 すなわち、すべての人は罪を犯したため、神の栄光を受けられなくなっている。)