Jeremiah chapter three beginning in verse number one the Bible reads, "'They say if a man put a way his wife and she go from him and become another man's, shall he return onto her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, yet return again to me', saith the Lord." Now let me just start out by explaining what this chapter is about. Throughout the chapter he's using this illustration of the fact that the children of Israel ... He brings up both the northern kingdom Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. He talks to them both separately in this chapter. He brings up the fact that they have turned after other gods, and he uses adultery as a picture of that.
Now God in the old testament would often use an illustration of marriage to describe his relationship with the children of Israel, with that nation. He would use the illustration that's very similar to what he used in the new testament where he talks about the church where he says, "Husbands loves your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it", etc. Well, in the old testament it was the nation of Israel that he used that illustration with. Whenever they go after other gods, he likens that unto a wife who would commit adultery with other men. He's saying that's what it's like because God had made a covenant with the nation of Israel known as the old covenant or the old testament. They were going after other gods in violation of that covenant. He uses the illustration of people being married. They have a covenant with each other where they swear unto each other, "Till death do us part." Then when of course one of them goes and commits adultery with someone else, then they're breaking that agreement. It's a perfect illustration.
Throughout the Bible God uses parables like this just to help us understand spiritual truths. The most famous parable in the Bible is of course the parable of the sower where some of the seed falls on good ground, some of it falls in stony places. Here's where people make a mistake. They go too far with the parable. Instead of just basing what they believe on clear statements from the Bible, they'll take a parable and just run with it and create all kinds of new doctrines in contradiction to what the Bible has clearly taught. One of the most basic principals of studying the Bible that you should learn is that you should always base what you believe on clear statements in the Bible, statements, commandments from God, not on a parable. If a parable is the foundation of your doctrine, something's wrong with your doctrine. You should have a clear scripture to base your doctrine on, and then parables will just help illustrate that scripture and illuminate that point and bring it down to Earth and and relate it unto our lives. We shouldn't base what we believe on a parable.
I mean how many times do you have people come at you with some false doctrine that's just based on a parable? You'll show them a whole bunch of scriptures that flat out say you cannot lose your salvation. It's eternal life. It's faith alone that saves us. "But what about the parable of the ten virgins?" "What about this parable?" They'll pull out parables, and they'll misinterpret the parable and misunderstand the parable. The Bible says, "As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard so is a parable in the mouth of fools." Whenever we interpret a parable, we should always understand that it has to jive with the clear statements in the Bible, and not only that but we have to understand that no parable is a perfect illustration of that which is being represented. It's just to get us an idea of what God's talking about. It's not like we take it so literally that ... Well, the parable of the sower the sower soweth the word, so we should go out and physically throw the word of God. We're going to go out and get a bunch of gospel tracks with Bible verses on it and just start sowing them and throwing. That would be ridiculous. You don't want to go too far with this uber-literal or hyper-literal interpretation which doesn't make any sense when you get that literal with it.
In this illustration he likens it unto marriage because marriage is a bond that's until death us do part. It's interesting when you think about the fact that we went from old testament into new testament. You say, "Well, wasn't the old covenant till death us do part?" Yes, somebody died. Jesus. They killed him. You kill your husband then the marriage is over at that point. Anyway the point is in the old testament he's talking about them going after other gods and saying that that's a spiritual adultery. That's why he says a little bit later in this chapter that they had committed adultery. Look at the end of verse nine. It says, "It came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and with stocks." Well, stock there is like what we would think of as a tree stump. It's saying they committed adultery with stones and stocks because they're worshiping idols. In the previous chapter it talked about them having gods that were carved out of stone or carved out of wood that's who they're committing adultery with. It's not a literal adultery. It's a spirit adultery. It's figurative.
Now here's where people get false doctrine from this chapter. This may be a new doctrine because I have never heard of this doctrine until about six or seven years ago, but it seems like this doctrine has really gained a lot of steam in the last several years. It is a diverse and strange doctrine. Maybe it was around, but I sure had never heard of it. It's definitely a false doctrine. Basically what they do is they take this passage in Jeremiah chapter three and they use it to turn the Bible's clear teaching on divorce just to turn it on it's head based on a parable. Again that's one of the most dangerous things you can do when you're just basing everything on a parable.
Now look at verse number one in this parable where God's using an illustration. Keep in mind these people did not literally commit adultery. What they did was bow down and worship another god, and he's saying that's like a spiritual adultery because we're married in the sense that I'm your God and you're my people. If you worship other Gods, you're violating the sanctity of that agreement. Look at verse one, "They say ... " Now who's the "they"? Well, lets keep reading. "'They say if a man put away his wife and she go from him and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers yet return again to me', saith the Lord." Now keep your finger there and flip over to Deuteronomy chapter twenty-four. The "they" there, if we go back into chapter two to get antecedent, we understand that it's the children of Israel that are saying that. The children of Israel say that if a man put away his wife and she go from him and become another man's, shall he return to her again? He's basically saying if she does, wouldn't the land be greatly polluted? Where are the children of Israel getting that? Well, they're getting it from God's law in Deuteronomy chapter twenty-four.
Now look what the Bible clearly teaches in the word here not a parable, not an illustration, but a clear statement from the Bible Deuteronomy twenty-four beginning in verse number one, "When a man hath taken a wife and married her and it come to past that she find no favor in his eyes because he hath found some uncleanness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement and give it in her hand and send her out of his house. When she has departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. If the latter husband hate her and write her a bill of divorcement and give it in her hand and sendeth her out of his house or if the latter husband die which took her to be his wife, her former husband", watch verse four this is key, "her former which sent her away may not take her again to be his wife after that she is defiled for that is abomination before the Lord. Thou shalt not cause the land to sin which the Lord thy giveth thee for an inheritance."
Now notice this is exactly what they say in Jeremiah chapter three verse one, "If a man put away his wife, if a man divorce his wife, and she go from him and become another man's wife is what it's saying, shall he return unto her again? Shall not the land be greatly polluted?" Because remember what did it say back in Deuteronomy 24:4 it says, "That the land would be defiled." It said in verse number four in the latter part there, "Thou shalt not cause the land to sin." The land becomes polluted, the land becomes defiled if they would have this practice where a woman would be divorced and be married to another man and then go back to the original husband. You're like, "What in the world this is complicated." Let me just break this down for you. I know this sounds like some kind of a daytime talk show or something where people are getting divorced and going back to their original spouse. Here's the deal. The Bible is saying that if a man divorced his wife and she gets married to another man, that she can never go back to the original husband again. Does everybody understand that? She can never go back.
Let's say two people get divorced. Well, as long as neither one of them is remarried, then there's always hope that they could be reconciled. That'd be the ideal situation if people are divorced hopefully they could be reconciled. I've seen that happen where people are divorced. They're just single for a while, and then they end up getting back together and patching things up. Once one of them gets remarried, there is no hope of ever restoring that original marriage, and if you do, the Bible says it's an abomination. I mean that's a clear teaching here in Deuteronomy chapter twenty-four. It's crystal clear. I mean does everybody see it? There it is. Now in Jeremiah three what he says here in verse one is, "'If a man put away his wife and she go from him and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers yet return again to me', saith the Lord." Now first of all notice even in the parable ... Which we shouldn't use a parable to turn a Commandment on it's head. I mean the Commandment is the Commandment. It's just an illustration. It's just a parable. Often parables are about people who do things that are wrong, but they're just parables.
Well, let's say even if we went with this parable, does this say in verse one that she had gone and married someone else or just that she'd been with many lovers? Do you see the divorce there? He didn't say here, "Well, you've gone and married someone else, but I'm still going to take you back." That's not even what it says. It says, "You've been with many lovers yet return unto me", number one. Now the reason I'm bringing this up is because the strange doctrine has arisen in the last six or seven years I've become aware of it that says that if you're divorced and remarried that your second marriage is null and void, and you're supposed to go back to the original spouse. Who's heard of this doctrine before? Who's heard that taught? Yes, a couple of people. Thank God it hasn't gotten that popular.
It's a doctrine out there that says let's say you've been married two times, three times, it doesn't matter none of that is recognized in the sight of God, so, therefore, you must go back to be with your original spouse. Now that is the exact opposite of what the Bible says because the Bible says that if you go back to your original spouse, it's an abomination once you've been remarried or once one of the people has been remarried. They're turning scripture on it's head here. That's not what this passage is saying whatsoever. It's an illustration not even about that. It's about adultery where she's with a bunch of other lovers, and he is still saying, "Return to me anyway I'll still take you back even though you've done that", that's actually what's being said in the passage.
Now another false doctrine that's more common, that's more popular, that I've heard of my whole life that people will use this passage to teach is basically that it's okay to divorce your spouse or that it's okay to get divorced and marry someone else. What they'll do is they'll say this, "Well, even God's divorced. I mean if God's divorced, then I can get divorced too. I mean if God's doing it ..." Who's ever heard that one before? Yes, because they'll point to this where it says in verse eight, look down if you would at verse eight, "I saw when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not but went and played the harlot also." Here's the thing God did not literally divorce anyone because God was not literally married to anyone. Again these people are just going crazy with a parable getting real silly and turning the clear teaching of scripture on it's head by saying, "Well, God divorced them." No, because God is saying return unto me, and God is staying with them. It's just an illustration.
He's saying it's like I divorced you in the sense that I sent you into captivity in Babylon. Now you're coming back to me. It's a parable. It's just figurative. It's just symbolic. People will use this to say, "Well, God's divorced, so I can get divorced too." Now if you would let's go to Matthew five, and let's just get the Bible's teaching on divorce from the mouth of Jesus because the Bible in clear statements not in parables, not in illustrations, not in dark sayings, the Bible in plain English tells us over and over again what our view of divorce should be biblically speaking. Let's look at the scriptures. It's interesting because this is covered in Matthew, Mark, Luke, it's also covered in the Epistles, and it's always worded just a little bit differently just to make sure that there's no misunderstanding. He says it a little different in each place.
Look at Matthew chapter five this is our first new testament teaching on this subject. It says in verse number thirty-one of chapter five, "It hath been said whosoever shall put away his wife let him give her a writing of divorcement, but I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication causeth her to commitment adultery and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery." Now this is real clear. The Bible says if you marry a divorced woman, you are committing adultery. Does everybody see that? The Bible's also saying that if you put away your wife for any cause other than fornication, you are causing her to commit adultery. Why? Because he's saying that when people get divorced, it's very rare that those people are just going to stay alone for the rest of their life. If they get divorced, it's very rare that person would just say, "Well, I'm divorced, so now I'm just going to be alone for the rest of my life."
What he's basically saying is that it's almost inevitable that the woman is going to marry someone else especially back then when you didn't have a lot of women in the workforce and stuff like that. He's saying if you divorce your wife, you're causing her to commit adultery because that's probably what she's going to end up doing. He's basically saying it's your fault because you divorced her in that sense. Then he's saying that if you marry a divorced woman, you're participating in that sin. You are committing adultery. Now here's one thing that the modern versions toy with about this verse. They'll basically change fornication to adultery. Even though if you're reading a Greek New Testament, it's two separate words for fornication and adultery which is why our King James gives us an accurate translation of two separate words: fornication's fornication and adultery is adultery. It's that simple, but what they'll do is in the new versions they'll translate that word as adultery here. Even though it's not the word for adultery they just have decided that's what he's talking about. We're just going to change it for you. Well, that's not true because fornication is different than adultery in the sense that fornication takes place before people are married and adultery takes place after they're married which is why in the old testament it talks about him going in unto her when he first marries her and finding uncleanness in her.
It talks about Deuteronomy twenty-two going in and finding her not to be a virgin, finding her not to be a maid, finding some kind of a disease or something there, some kind of an uncleanness whatever the uncleanness, whether it's a moral uncleanness of not being a virgin or whether it's a physical uncleanness of being diseased, but God basically gives that allowance for a divorce at the very beginning of the marriage because of the hardness of their heart. If you remember this is something that Joseph was going to take advantage of in Matthew chapter one. Because when Joseph found out that his espoused wife Mary who he'd not been with physically yet, the marriage had not been consummated, when he found out she was pregnant, he wanted to divorce her privately. "He didn't want to make her a public example, so he was going to put her away privily", Matthew chapter one. It says being a just man he was going to put her away privily. There's nothing sinful about him saying, "Well, if you're pregnant with some other dude's kid, I don't want to be married to you." That was up to him. He had that prerogative.
Then of course he gets a vision in the night explaining to him that she had not been unfaithful, but that which was conceived in her was of the Holy Ghost. It was going to be Jesus Christ, the virgin born Son of God that was going to be born. That's a case where she was going to be divorced for what? Was she being divorced for adultery there in Matthew chapter one? No. She was being divorced for fornication something that happened before the marriage. We see that taught also in Deuteronomy twenty-two and Deuteronomy twenty-four. Another thing that the modern versions will do here is they will translate the word "fornication" as sexual immorality basically just this blanket term that can mean anything. They'll do that. Now here's the problem with that ... because they'll say, "Well, if you go back to the Greek, the Greek word for fornication is porneia", but here's the thing these people don't speak Greek. They can't order Greek in a Greek restaurant. I've heard pastors get up and go back to the Greek and say ...
Even the people who work on the translation committees if you actually meet them in real life, some of these people on the NIV Translation Committee, New American Standard Translation Committee, New King James they're not even fluent in the language like the fifty-four expert scholars that gave us the King James, but they're just, "Porneia that sounds like porno", so then they just jump to conclusions about what the word means without really knowing what it means. Now there are lots of words like this in other languages that can lead us astray where we think we know what they mean, but that's not really what they mean. Like for example we're speaking Spanish and we talk about efectivo? What do you think that means efectivo? Effective. No, it means cash. Efectivo is cash. How about this one? You know in Jude when they go after strange flesh, going after strange flesh, you want to know what the Greek word for strange is there? Heteros. Now define irony. Here's the thing it's another language, folks.
Don't try to dabble in another language that you don't understand because you think you know what words mean. Embarazada. I know embarrassed. No, it means pregnant. You can't just sit there and look at a word and say, "I bet I know what that means." How about this word here's a beautiful German word mist. Now mist is a beautiful thing in English, but in German mist is a cow pie. It's dung. You think you know what words mean. Here's another beautiful German word gift. Doesn't that sound like something you'd like to receive gift? Gift is poison in German. We think we know what words mean. We don't. You can't just go to the Greek and be like, "Well, the Greek word for offend is skandalizó so it means it's scandalous." You can't just make things up like that because you don't know the language. If you only speak English, then you need to read an English Bible and not exercise yourself in things that are too lofty for you, too high for you, over your head.
Here's why it's such a dangerous doctrine of saying, "Well, if you go back to the Greek it said porneia, and that just means any kind of" ... According to them, not biblically but according to them, it just means any sexual immorality or it just means porn then basically what you have is people saying, "You can divorce your spouse if they looked at porn." You can divorce your spouse if they just did anything immoral. Let's say they're just looking at scantly clad women. Let's say they just kissed someone. Look I'm not condoning these type of activities. Let's say someone got drunk. Obviously no Christian should ever be drunk, but these are real life situations. Somebody got drunk and they're at a bar. They're dancing with some other woman or something. "Well, that's porneia right there", because it's just this catchall word to these people. I mean think about it when you just say sexual immorality that could just mean anything. See how it just opens a real dangerous door for people. Basically if you want to divorce your spouse you can just find a way to make whatever they've done in the last thirty years somehow fit into that category, and now that's your ticket out of this marriage. It's garbage.
The Bible says, "The Lord hateth putting away." God hates divorce. "Well, he's divorced." Don't be a fool. That's a parable in the mouth of fools. God is not divorced. That's the danger of not having a King James Bible. Here's a key doctrine here that's completely screwed up if you're in a modern version. Only the King James is going to steer you right on this scripture or a Greek New Testament. You don't speak Greek, but if you did, it would steer you right too. Now, if you would go to Matthew chapter nineteen. Look we live in a day where a lot of people get divorced, don't they? Why? Because when you allow people to get divorced, they get divorced. I mean what if God just said, "Hey, you can get divorced for any reason you want"? Well, that's what the Pharisees interpreted the Bible as saying. Look what the Bible says to the Pharisees. Verse three of chapter nineteen of Matthew, "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?'" I mean just because you don't like her face, just because she burned the food or whatever just you can divorce your wife for every cause. I mean what kind of a nonsense doctrine.
You know what religion teaches this doctrine? Islam. You can divorce your wife just for any reason. Did you know that in the United States of America you used to not even be allowed to divorce your wife? It was only in the 70's that we got this easy divorce law where there's a no-fault divorce where nobody's even done any adultery or abuse or anything not that that even necessarily even justifies divorce, but basically this easy divorce where you just divorce because we just don't like each other anymore, that's since the 1970's. You know who was the first country to institute that in the modern era? The Soviet Union. The communist's Soviet Union instituted a no-fault divorce law, and then next California followed with the same thing. Many other states didn't have it. You had to go to California to get the easy divorce. Now pretty much all the states you can divorce for every cause, just get a divorce. Basically it gets to the point where the marriage isn't really even worth the paper it's written on. It's not really a legally binding document. You say, "Well, I'm a libertarian it shouldn't it." No. The Bible teaches it should be legally binding. It's a legally binding contract.
By the way that's to protect women too because women are staying at home and they don't really necessarily have the earning capability that a man has so it protects them that their husbands not just going to have a bunch of kids with them and leave them high and dry but that he's committed to that relationship and that there's a legally binding document of marriage to protect women as much as to protect men.
The Bible says Jesus' answer here to this question, "Hey, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" He answered and said unto them, "Have you not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female? Except for this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain", that's two by the way not three, not four, no polygamy, "They two, they twain, shall be one flesh, wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder." They say unto him, "Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement and to put her away?" He saith unto them, "Moses because of the hardness of your heart suffered or allowed you to put away your wives but from the beginning it was not so, and I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for fornication and shall marry another committeth adultery. Whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
His disciples say unto him, "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it's not good to marry." Now look they understood what he's saying. Based on their response they understand if you marry you're stuck with her. I don't know if they're jokingly saying that or if they're being 100% serious when they say, "Hey, in that case we better just not get married if you're going to be stuck with the old ball and chain for the rest of our lives." What does he say to them when they say, "Well, if the case of the man be so with his wife, it's not good to marry." Does he say to them, "Well, guys hint/hint, wink/wink, nod/nod you can still get divorced I mean if things really go south." Is that what he says? No. He just says to them, "All men cannot receive this saying. Hey, some people just can't handle this preaching but guess what? That's the fact. That's the way it is."
Now go to Mark chapter ten. I love Jesus' response when people criticize his preaching. They come to him and say, "Knowest thou not that the Pharisees were offended at this saying?" "Man, I'm so sorry." He's always just like, "You know what every tree that my Father hasn't planted is going to be uprooted. It's going to be plucked up." "Hey, all men cannot receive this saying." I love what he says, "He that hath an ear to hear let him hear." What's he basically saying? "Whoever wants to hear this preaching can listen to it, and he that is unjust let him be unjust still."
Now look at Mark chapter ten. The Bible says in verse number two, "The Pharisees came to him and asked him, 'Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?', tempting him. He answered and said unto them, 'What did Moses command you?' They said, 'Moses suffered or allowed to write a bill of divorcement and to put her away.' Jesus answered and said unto them, 'For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept, but from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh so then they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.' In the house his disciples asked him again in the same manner." Why? Because this has always been an issue that people struggle with. They choke on it. The disciples are choking on it. The Pharisees are choking on it. They're like, "Wait let's talk about this again, Jesus."
I mean he already made it clear to them, but they're like, "Now that we're in the house, now that the Pharisees are out there come on, Jesus what's going on with this? Is this for real? We're actually supposed to stay married no that matter what?" He says to them when they asked him about it again in the house this time it says in verse eleven, "Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another committeth adultery against her. If a woman shall put away her husband and be married to another, she committeth adultery." Here it's worded a little different because now even a woman that divorces her husband ... because we think of men in the Bible divorcing their wives, but the Bible's even saying what if she divorces him? If the woman divorces her husband and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Now go to Luke sixteen. Luke chapter number sixteen and the Bible gives us the same teaching a little bit different it says in verse eighteen, "Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another committeth adultery, and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery." It's real clear. There it is Luke 16:18, and yet today we have all kinds of Christians justifying divorcing their spouse and marrying someone else. Honestly if you make allowance for that, if that becomes the doctrine, you'll have this happening all the time. That's why we have a divorce rate amongst Christians in America today that is pretty much identical to the divorce rate amongst non-Christians because you'd expect the non-Christians to get divorced a lot more often and that Christians would stay faithful. No, it's the same, same stats. Why? Because churches are not teaching this. Churches are teaching you, "Your husband was mean to you. He hit you with a pillow. He throw a raw hot dog at you. Well, then in that case you need to get ... He smoked marijuana. Yes, I mean you got to get out of that horrible environment." Look I'm against drugs, friend. I'm against pornography. I'm against drunkenness. I'm against non-consensual pillow fights. I'm just kidding. I'm actually for them, but the point is though that doesn't mean you divorce your spouse because guess what? People aren't perfect. People make mistakes.
It's for better or for worse. You married a sinful person. Now look some people are really laid back, cool people, and they don't have any problems in their marriage and stuff. The exception proves the rule, but if I were to ask for a raise of hands for who's had some knock-down, drag-out fights with your spouse virtually every hand would go up in the building if we had our heads bowed and eyes closed and you really knew that no one ... If you really knew no one was looking around, there'd be lot of hands going up. When you're a pastor, you hear all kinds of stuff from people. I don't put a shingle outside my door like, "Hey, marriage counselling." I actually try to stay away from that stuff, but the thing is people still constantly come to you and they tell you stuff. The bottom line is there's no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.
You hear about things being thrown and shattering and breaking stuff and screaming and whatever. Look it's life. It doesn't mean just, "It's over. My marriage is over." It's not over till the fat lady sings. It's not over till the bitter end. It's for better or for worse. It's for richer or for poorer. It's till death do us part. If that would be thundered from the pulpits of America saying it's till death do us part, then you know what people would be staying married. Another thing that needs to be taught is that these are your choices biblically. If you want to be right with God and walk in the will of God, these are your choices. You stay with the person that you're married to or you get divorced and stay alone for the rest of your life. Because if those are the choices people would be like, I think I'm going to make this work. When the choice is stay married or trade up for something else, well then the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Then all of a sudden you have a divorce rate of 50%, 75% whatever in churches. That's what's going on these scriptures aren't being ...
Look I talked to a lady that had been divorced over three times. She said, "If I would have known what these scriptures said, my life would've gone differently. I wouldn't have made that mistake in the first place if I would've known that that's what the Bible taught." People don't know. They're not being taught. Well, it's going to be taught here. You say, "Well, you're offending people in the room that are divorced and remarried." Well, all men cannot receive this saying. This is what the Bible says. Look if you're divorced and remarried, I don't hate you. I'm not mad at you. The Bible's teaching is that you are to stay with the person that you're married to right now because two wrongs don't make a right. You married somebody. You broke that vow. That was sin. You married someone else. You committed adultery it's over. Now, you've made a second vow to a second person don't broke that second vow. It's your job to going forward do right. God commands us to keep whatever vows that we make. Therefore, if you have divorced your spouse and married someone else, you can't go back in time and fix it. There's no sense in beating yourself up about it. I don't want to spend the whole night on this. I've done whole sermons on it.
Let's go back to Jeremiah three so we can get to some other material here. You say, "Well, Pastor Anderson, what if that's me? What if I'm divorced and remarried?" Here's what you do. You confess it as a sin to God one time, once. You say, "God, I'm sorry I did this, and it was wrong. I disobeyed. I'm sorry." Then you say, "Lord, from here on out I want to obey. Whoever I'm married to right now I'm going to stay married. I'm not going to make the same mistake again", and then you move on with your life. Now look there could be consequences and punishments that are coming at you from what you've done because I'm not going to get up here and say that you commit sin and you have no consequences.
Even though God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, there are still often consequences in our lives for the things that we've done. All we can do is confess and forsake our sin and then we will find mercy with God and hopefully other people are praying for us when they see us sin. They're interceding for us and asking God to be merciful to us as well. That's all we can do. Then we just live our lives and serve God and forget those things which are behind and reach forth unto those things which are before, but to sit there and say go back to your first spouse, that is a false doctrine. That is a lie. That is not biblical. That is a twisting of scripture that's become popular in recent years.
I've never even heard of it because it's so off the wall compared to what the Bible actually teaches. Look God is the God of a second chance. I'm not saying if you're divorce and remarried, your life's over. You're doomed. You know what it's wrong. If you're divorced and you're not remarried, then you should go back to your original spouse. If your original spouse is already remarried, then you should remain single until your original spouse dies. That's what the Bible teaches. Well, that's a hard saying, but that's what the Bible teaches. Now there are people that would ask the question, "Well, what if you divorce your first spouse and then you marry the another and then that person dies?" He brings that up in Deuteronomy twenty-four and says you can still never go back to the first spouse once there's been a remarriage. Even if the other people involved die. Now if the other people involved die, you can go marry someone else, but you can't go back to the old spouse that's what God's law states. It's in an abomination. It defiles the land. Our land tonight is defiled for that and a lot of other worse reasons. Our land is very defiled.
Anyway back to Jeremiah three I don't want to spend the whole night on that. I did want to spend some time showing the Bible's clear teaching so that we don't take a parable in Jeremiah three and then throw out the words of Jesus where he clearly stated what his will is. You know what his will is? For two people to get married and to stay together until death. If anyone divorces their spouse for any reason, it is because of the hardness of their heart. It is not God's perfect will for your life. If you commit that sin and then you marry someone else, you're adding sin upon sin and it's not God's will. We need to just decide those of us ... Who's married here tonight? Put up your hand if you're married. See all the married people. We need to all decide that we are going to stay with the person that we're married to right now until the bitter end, until death do us part. If things get bad, then we dig in and we pray for better days. We try to fix things. You find a way to make it work. When failures not an option, it's amazing how people find a way to make it work.
It's funny how people ask these people that have been married for fifty or sixty years ... Maybe you've even asked people like that. I've been present when someone asked an elderly couple, "What's your secret to staying married sixty years? What's your secret for staying married?" Whenever they hear that question you can always see it in their eyes that that's a stupid question. Seriously you can always see it in their eyes that their thinking, "You don't get it." There's no secret. It's just you just don't get divorced. Because see the people who are asking that question, "What's the secret to staying married for fifty years", they think there's some secret where your marriage just becomes all unicorns and rainbows and butterflies and then all of a sudden you're going to stay married for sixty years because it was just so awesome every day. Why wouldn't you stay married when it's this awesome every day, every month, every year for sixty years. I haven't even thought about throwing in the towel. No, that's not true. The real reason is that they stayed married because it was the right thing to do.
Here's a novel concept. They loved each other. They loved each other even when things got bad. I mean look even when things get ugly we should still love our spouse. We should love our spouse even when marriage is at it's low point, even when our husband or our wife is acting in a bad manner and making our life misery we should still love them and stay faithful that's what love is not this fair weather type of love where you only love when things are going great. No, while we were yet sinners ... God commanded his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Christ died for the ungodly. Christ loved the unlovable. We need to love our spouse even when they're not at their most lovable that's true love, true commitment, true faithfulness. What's the secret? The secret is obeying the Bible that's the secret. It's not a secret at all because it's been published, and you can buy it at the Dollar Tree.
Anyway Jeremiah chapter three says verse two, "Lift up thine eyes." That was all verse one. It's going to be a long night. Buckle up. No, I'm just kidding. Anyway we went to some other verses. "Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness." You're like those Muslims he's saying. "And thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain. Thou hadst a whore's forehead. Thou refusedst to be ashamed." Yes, speaking of the Arabians, obviously there are a lot of godly Arabic Christians, but let me say this I'm not impressed with the morality of these Muslims. They act like they're so moral, and we Christians are so decadent. They divorce their spouse at the drop of a hat. The Quran tells them that they can do that. Their own Prophet Muhammad was marrying divorced women. You know he had multiple wives; one of them was his adopted son's ex-wife? He married a divorced women in the Quran.
What does that make him according to the Bible? An adulterer. He also was a pedophile. Look when your religion is started by an open adulterer and open pedophile like Muhammad, then guess what? The disciples not above his master and the servants not above his Lord, therefore, there's a lot of wickedness. There's a lot of porneia going on amongst the Muslims. There's a lot of all kinds of deviancy going on amongst these people. If you talk to people who actually have been there, they'll tell you ... I'm not even going to mention from the pulpit stuff that they told me that they've seen over there just the immorality that goes on amongst Muslims that are supposedly so clean and moral, but actually they're committing all kinds of filth and wickedness. Notice he says at the end of verse three, "Thou hast a whore's forehead. Thou refusedst to be ashamed." Not only did they commit sin, but they were not ashamed about it. They didn't feel bad about it that made it even worse. Again it wasn't literal adultery. It's actually that they're worshiping other gods. He's using an illustration.
He says in verse four, "Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, 'My, Father, thou art the guide of my youth? Will he reserve his anger forever? Will he keep it to the end?' Behold thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest. The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, 'Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? She has gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.' I said after she had done all these things, 'Turn thou unto me', but she returned not and her treacherous sister Judah saw it." Then we already read verse eight about I saw for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I put her away and given her a bill of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not but went and played the harlot also. The bill of divorce he gave Israel was when they went captive to that Assyrians. He didn't really literally divorce anyone. He just allowed them to be taken captive. He's using an illustration or a parable.
It says in verse nine, "It came could past through the lightness of her whoredom that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and with stocks." The thing I want to point out here is that it talks about her not being ashamed, it talks about the lightness of her whoredom, basically it means that she did it without even thinking it was a big deal. Lightness like so what, who cares, what's the big deal? Well, if you look toward the end of the chapter, he refers to this. He says in verse number ... Let me find the place here. It says in verse number thirteen, "Only acknowledge thine iniquity that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you've not obeyed my voice saith the Lord." What's he pleading with them to do? Just acknowledge your sin. Just admit that you did wrong. The fact that they're unashamed, that they're treating it lightly, and that they won't acknowledge it, that's what's making him so mad. God would go easy on us for our sins if we would actually admit our sins because the Bible says, "If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness", but if we say that we've not sinned, we make him a liar and his words not in us.
The thing that really bothers God is when we won't confess our sins, when we won't admit it, and when we just act like it's not a big deal. We commit some major sin and then we're just like what's the big deal? We need to get on our knees and confess it to God and tell him that we're sorry and feel bad about it if we want to have a good walk with God. Then another word that keeps coming up here is backsliding. Now what does it mean to be a backslider? Backsliding means that you are less spiritual today than you were yesterday. It means that basically instead of growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ you're actually moving backwards. Now backsliding implies that you're going uphill so then you slide backward. You slide downhill. Now the Christian life is an uphill battle I think anyone would agree with that, that it's difficult to do what God wants us to do. Therefore, if we are not putting forth effort, if we're not trying, if we're not struggling and sweating and pushing forward, what's going to happen? We're going to slide backward if there's no effort being put forth to grow.
It's like swimming upstream. As soon as we stop swimming, we're going to start to backslide. We got to keep swimming hard, keep moving forward. Look in the Christian life you're either moving forward or your moving backward. There's no such thing as I'm just coasting. I'm just maintaining. I'm just idling. No, you're either growing, or you're moving backward. We have all been backslidden at times. I'll admit to you I have been backslidden at times. We're all going to be backslidden at times because it's impossible to just always just, "I'm pressing on the upward way. New heights I'm gaining every day." I mean every day. "Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. Every day with Jesus I love him more and more." Yes, it's a great song, but does it really represent reality that just every day ... No, because there's going to be a time in our life where we get backslidden. The difference between those who make it to the finish line and those who quit on God and quit the church ... They're still going to Heaven of course. You can't lose your salvation, but they quit serving God. They're no longer used by God.
The difference is the people who can get back up, dust it off, and keep moving forward. The Bible says, "A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again." It doesn't say the just man never falls. It just says he falls and gets up again. It's like a boxing match. You get knocked down, but you're not knocked out. You get back up before the ten count, and you're back in the fight. That's the way our lives are. You're not just going to go through life with zero knock downs. You're going to get knocked down. You got to keep getting back up. Just confess your sins. Forsake your sins. Just keeping moving forward. It's easy to get backslidden. Listen if there was a time in the past when you were doing a lot more for God than you're doing right now, you're backslidden. If you're in church now less than you used to be, you're backslidden. If you know less Bible than you used to know, you're backslidden. If you're spending less time on the things of God than you used to and more time on the things of this world than you used to, you are backslidden. You just need to realize I need to get back to Bethel. I need to get back to where I once was. I need to get back and realize that you're backslidden.
The Bible is warning us about this. He says what to do if you're backslidden verse twelve, "Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, 'Return, thou backsliding Israel', saith the Lord, 'and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you. For I am merciful', saith the Lord, 'and I will not keep anger for ever.'" Isn't that great. Israel was in way worse shape than Judah. Even though the book of Jeremiah is directed primarily at Judah, he's still saying even Israel it's not even too late for you if you'll just return. I'm merciful. I don't want to be mad forever. Come back. Come home. "Only acknowledge thine iniquity", see that's what it takes. It's like backslider's anonymous. "My name's Steven Anderson, and I'm backslidden." The first step is just acknowledging that you have a problem, and then you can start fixing it.
Verse fourteen, "Turn, backsliding children, saith the Lord. For I'm married unto you. I will take you one of a city and two of a family, and I'll bring you to Zion." Now, it's interesting he says turn. What's another word for turn? Repent, right? Repent and turn both mean the same thing. He's telling the backsliding children to turn. Repentance is often directed at saved people. Saved people need to repent. People that are already saved they're already children of God. It'd be like if I said unto my children repent, turn, stop being foolish, do what I tell you to do. It's not that there're going to stop being my kids like a person could lose their salvation, which you can't. They're still my kids, but there's no fellowship there. The fellowships been broken. The blessings aren't there. I would say to my kids, "Turn, backsliding children, you used to be more obedient." That's what he's saying here.
He says, "I'm married to you." Now look people break their marriage vow as we talked about earlier in the sermon. That's the reality of the sinful world that we live in. Let me ask you this is God ever going to break his vow to us? I mean if God says I'm your Father, your my son, he says I'm married to you, he's not going to break that vow. The Bible says that he will never leave us or forsake us. The Bible says this is the promise that he hath promised us even eternal life, but that doesn't prevent us from being backslidden. A lot of people think if you're backslidden, you lost your salvation. No. He's still married to you. You're still his child. It's just that the fellowship is broken. People will say if you're backslidden that you were never even saved in the first place. Well, that's ridiculous because it's so easy to get backslidden. It's an uphill battle, folks. As soon as you stop marching, you start sliding backwards. It's like going up a muddy hill.
The Bible says in verse fifteen, "I'll give you pastors according to my heart which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." This is where the Bible says in Ephesians four in the new testament that he gave us pastors and teachers for the edification till we all come to the knowledge. What is the purpose of a pastor? To feed us with knowledge and understanding. I put this out there for you. If you go to church and you never learn anything, you don't have a very good pastor. If you're going to church week after week and it's like, "Well, I've heard this a bunch of times", and you're never learning anything new, that is not the pastor that God wants to give you. He wants you to have a pastor that feeds you with knowledge and understanding. He gives you new information, and he causes you to understand the scriptures that's the purpose of a pastor. That's a pastor according to God's heart that will feed knowledge and understanding to the people.
"It shall come to pass", verse sixteen, "when you be multiplied and increased in the land in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more the ark of the covenant of the Lord neither shall it come to mind, neither shall they remember it, neither shall they visit it, neither shall that be done anymore. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered unto it to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem, neither shall they walk anymore after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land which I've given for an inheritance unto your fathers. I said, 'How shall I put thee among the children and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations?', and I said, 'Thou shalt call me, my Father, and shall not turn away from me.'" Now I don't have time to go into it because we're almost out of time, but basically this is a little bit of prophecy here talking about the future millennial kingdom way off in the future where he talks about all nations flowing into ...
We covered this a lot in Zechariah in that series. All nations flowing into Jerusalem. Israel and Judah becoming one nation again. This is all talking about stuff in the millennium. It's interesting because in that millennial reign it says, "They shall say no more the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Neither shall it come to mind." Nobody even cares. Is everybody getting this? Nobody cares about the ark of the covenant of the Lord. It's saying, "Neither shall they remember it, neither shall they visit it, neither shall that be done anymore." He's already implying that there's going to be a change in the law. Even in the old testament here he's implying that there's going to come a day when there's not going to be a day of Atonement, where the high priest is sprinkling blood on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant where that's an important thing anymore. Look we're already living in that day where that's been abolished because that was abolished with Jesus. When Jesus Christ came, that was all done away with.
The Bible says in Hebrews chapter eight, "The priesthood being changed", or chapter seven rather, "the priesthood being changed there is made of necessity a change also of law." Don't let these Hebrew roots people tell you, "Those laws will never change." Well, they already have. Hebrews said a change of the law. We're no longer understand that Levitical priesthood, and the ark of the covenant no longer has significance. Well, here's the thing in the millennium the ark of the covenant he's saying here is not going to have significance during that time either. Anyway I just wanted to point that out. We don't have time to really develop that and go into all the detail. Verse twenty, "Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, house of Israel, saith the Lord." By the way though the anti-Christ will sit upon the ark of the covenant. He'll sit upon the mercy seat and declare himself to be God, the anti-Christ not Jesus Christ.
Look at verse twenty-one, "A voice was heard upon the high places weeping and supplications for the children of Israel for they've perverted their way. They've forgotten the Lord their God. 'Return ye backsliding children, and I'll heal your backslidings.' Behold we come unto thee for thou art the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills and from the multitude of mountains. Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel. For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us. For we've sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God." Here is the whole chapter in a nutshell. What's chapter about? It's using an illustration about a wife committing adultery on her husband. He's saying by worshiping false gods that's basically what you've done unto me. He's saying your backslidden, but I want you to return to me. If you return to me, I'll be merciful.
This can teach us so many things. In a nutshell the chapter is teaching us that God is always willing to welcome his children home when they're backslidden. This is encouraging because if you're a Christian and you ever get backslidden and you get out of church and you quit serving the Lord and maybe you go off and start living a life of sin, God is always there ready to welcome you home. Saying look, "I'm not going to be angry forever. Return to me. I'll heal your backsliding." That's a very encouraging message. Then it's used as an illustration of marriage because of the fact that God is saying that we as husbands should always be ready to forgive our wives. Wives should always be willing to forgive their husbands and be able to say to their backslidden husband or backslidden wife return unto me. Return unto me. I'm not going to be angry forever.
The Bible says, "Let not the sun go down on your wrath." It shows us that, number one, there's hope for our marriage to start over, to push a reset button, to have a fresh start, to heal the marriage and to have a second chance, third chance, fourth chance, and then it's also showing us that when we get backslidden from the Lord, he always wants us to come back. He's always waiting for us to come home. He's ready to receive us with open arms. He's not going to be angry forever. He'll be merciful.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for this encouraging chapter, Lord. It's a chapter that's twisted by those who like to justify their sin into being a pro-divorce thing or let's go back to that wife that we had a couple wives ago because she wasn't so bad all these weird doctrines that people twist to us. Actually it's a beautiful passage, Lord, about how you're ready to receive us and give us another chance. Lord, help us always to give our wife another chance, our husband another chance, Lord. Help us always to realize that mercy is one of your attributes, and we should have mercy with our own spouse and other people in our lives in Jesus' name we pray amen.