What the Bible Says about
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

John Coblentz

What can the church do to build strong homes
and resist the erosion of marriages in the church?

Pages 90 - 94

In addition to the suggestions given in answer to the former question, the church should lift up a high moral standard and should strongly support the family unit.

1. Church leaders should teach and be an example of a high moral standard.

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (II Timothy 4:2, 3).

"Be thou an example of the believers . . . in purity. Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity" (I Timothy 4:12; 5:1, 2).

Those who are immoral want teachers and preachers and counselors who cater to their lusts, who tell them their marital sins are understandable. The pure church, however, needs ministers who will stand for the truth with clarity and love. Ministers today must live pure lives themselves, exercising discretion in the way they relate to women. What minister can effectively stem the tide of impurity at his church door who violates Jesus' teaching in his own marriage?

Ministers need to instruct their people in what the Bible says about marriage, about divorce, and about remarriage. This can be done through sermons as well as through literature. If ever a people needed to know the truth about such issues, it is the people of our day.

2. Church leaders should encourage healthy family interaction.

Many church leaders today mistakenly think that a highly organized program is necessary for the needs of families in the church. Unfortunately, there is often so much going, so many good things for toddlers, juniors, teens, and every other age group, that the family unit is actually being pulled apart.

It's time to slow down. Families need to be taught to do things as families. God instructs fathers and mothers to talk to their children "when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deuteronomy 6:7). For many families, "sitting in the house" and "walking by the way" are activities of a different age.

One of the major problems in today's families is that fathers, mothers, and children spend too little time together. Fathers face the pressures of being a success at work. Many mothers have entered the work force either for the personal satisfaction of a career or to increase the family income. Many homes in Western culture today are reaping the consequences of fragmentation as a direct result of both father and mother pursuing their own interests outside the home.

Parents need to be taught the priority of family life. "Every wise woman buildeth her house" (Proverbs 14:1). As much as possible, mothers should be "keepers at home" (Titus 2:5). Husbands "ought to love their wives [not their jobs] as their own bodies," and commit themselves to rearing their children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 5:28; 6:4).

3. Church leaders should assist parents in guarding their homes against the pressures of immorality.

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret" (Ephesians 5:11, 12).

"For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness.... Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters" (II Corinthians 6:14, 17, 18).

One of the direct pipelines of sin into Western homes today is television. Through TV many parents unthinkingly invite adulterers, cheaters, liars, and murderers into the family room and allow these people to entertain the whole family with their sin for hours on end. The average amount of time family members spend per day associating with these TV characters is significantly higher than the amount of time they spend in meaningful interaction with each other. Is it any wonder our age is producing people who are unfaithful in their marriages?

The Bible says we are not to have fellowship with the wicked and that it is shameful even to speak of what they do in private. How much less ought we to find their sinfulness entertaining! Many Christians today who are serious about building their homes for Christ do not permit television in their homes. Furthermore, they reject other forms of worldly entertainment such as movies, videos, radio programs, music, and magazines which cater to the "lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (I John 2:16). If God's people wish to raise up a moral standard which keeps marriages and homes solid, they must not only teach sound morals, but also make their homes havens against the evils of the world.

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