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Scripture Memory: The Door.

VERSE : John 10:9 “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

26 February 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Elder Lim Teck Chye (Genuine Concern for Sinners, Dan 4:19, 27)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Ps Tan Soon Yong (The True Worshipper, Psalm 15)

5 March 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Lee Hock Chin (The Pride of Man and the Grace of God, Dan 4:37)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Fullness of Joy in God’s Presence, Ps 16)

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CAN I DIVORCE AND REMARRY? (Part 2)

In Part 1 we had seen Paul’s instruction for Christians who are married to Christians in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11. This instruction had originally come through our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was only reinforcing what Christ had already taught as recorded in Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke 16.

But the instructions that follow just after this did not come through Christ although they are also from God. This helps us to understand what Paul wrote at the beginning of v.10 (“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord…”) and v.12 (“But to the rest speak I, not the Lord…”). The ‘Lord’ here refers to Christ, who never spoke on what Paul was about to speak on in vv.12-16, simply because the situation which is addressed here did not exist in the time of Christ. But since Paul is an apostle of Christ, the instructions he gives here are no less authoritative than all the instructions Christ had given. 

2. Instructions for Christians Married to Unbelievers Who Want to Stay Married

“But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” (1 Corinthians 7:12-14)

The basic instruction here is: “…let him not put her away…let her not leave him.” In other words, keep the marriage. It is important to understand that this does not teach that Christians can marry unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 7:39 makes it clear that when Christians marry they should restrict themselves to marrying ‘in the Lord’ which means marrying a believer.

Verses 12 is about a person who was not a believer but becomes a Christian after he is married (Thus he is called a ‘brother’). But his wife still remains an unbeliever, and yet she is content to stay on in the marriage. Such a person should not divorce but seek to win his wife to the Lord.

A similar situation is addressed in 1 Peter 3:1,2 – “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” Here, the wives are the ones who had become Christians, and they are told to conduct themselves in a godly and submissive manner to their unsaved husbands in the hope of winning them to Christ.

One possible reason why the Corinthians needed this instruction is that there were some among them whose spouses were still unbelievers living in the grossest sins and pagan idolatry that Corinth was famous for. And as the Christians grew in their love for God and His holiness, they naturally found it more and more difficult to tolerate their spouses’ sinful habits and ungodly behaviour, fearing to be spiritually defiled through them. The urge to walk out of such a marriage would have been very great.

This may be the reason why Paul wrote to them v.14 – “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband.” Here he was telling them that staying married to the unbeliever does not defile them. Contrary to that, it sanctifies the unbeliever they are married to. The word ‘sanctified’ here refers to the holy influence that the unbelieving husband receives from living with a Christian wife. He is blessed with opportunities to hear the gospel from her and to see it working in her life. Besides that, whenever she is blessed by God, he gets to enjoy the overflow of those blessings into his own life.

When Jacob sojourned in Haran and married into Laban’s family, Laban testified to him after many years had passed, “I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.” (Genesis 30:27) When Joseph became a slave in the home of an Egyptian officer named Potiphar, “…the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.” (Genesis 39:5) How good it is to become a source of blessing to others, even to unbelieving husbands and wives. For their sake therefore, Paul urges the Christians who are married to them to remain in their marriage.

He then adds another reason why they should do this: The children of such a marriage are not unclean but holy. This is found at the end of v.14– “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” This does not mean that all the children in a family are automatically saved when one parent becomes a Christian. The word ‘holy’ here means that they are set apart from the children of unbelievers. They have ample opportunity to receive the gospel and godly influence from the Christian parent. But each child still has to respond to the Gospel with faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved.

A non-Christian home where one family member has turned to Christ for salvation is just like a dark room where a lamp has been lighted – the light shines in the darkness and brightens up the whole room. The rest of the family are blessed because of him. One Christian in a home graces the entire home! This is the reason why husbands and wives who have become Christians should continue in their marriage if their unbelieving spouse does not mind staying with them.

3. Instructions for Christians Married to Unbelievers Who Insist on Leaving

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:15-16)

 In this situation, the unbeliever strongly objects and wants to terminate the marriage after his or her spouse becomes a Christian. This may happen right at the moment when that spouse announces his desire to be baptized. Emotions flare up as the wife issues an ultimatum: “Now you must choose between me and your desire to change your religion. If you change your religion I will walk out of your life right now!”

It is extremely painful to end a marriage for the sake of one’s faith in Christ, especially after living together as husband and wife for many years. But this difficult step has to be taken since our Lord Jesus has said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37,38)

Someone may then say, “But I love my wife very much, and I wish that she would be saved as well. If I agree to this divorce, how can I ever bring her to Christ? But if she is forced to stay in the marriage at least there is still some hope that she may be saved.” Paul would reply that this is a vain hope because she has already made up her mind: “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” (v.16) If you make her stay against her will when she wants to leave the marriage, you will only create more strife and unhappiness. Thus it is better to part peacefully than to seek reconciliation in the vain hope of trying to save her soul.

In the face of all the tears and heartbreak, God’s instruction to a Christian in this situation is very plain – “If the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace” (v.15)

This verse also provides another grounds that is legitimate for a Christian to divorce and remarry besides proven adultery: Willful desertion by the unbeliever. This is understood from the words ‘not under bondage’ since Paul used the same term in v.39 when he wrote about remarriage after the death of a spouse: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” Likewise, the Christian who is deserted by an unbelieving spouse is at liberty to remarry if he wishes to do so, but only to another Christian.

However a happy ending is still possible even after the unbeliever has willfully deserted the believer. For God in His great mercy and providence may convert that unbeliever later on. If that happens, the broken marriage relationship can be joyfully restored if both have not married others yet. Anything is possible with God! Our part is simply to trust Him as we obey His instructions.

Here then is a summary of God’s instructions concerning marriage and divorce. If Christians marry, they should marry Christians and not unbelievers. Christians who are married should not divorce. If unbelievers marry and one of them becomes a Christian after marriage, he/she should not divorce, but should also not refuse to be divorced. Christians may remarry in three situations: When their spouse dies, when they are the innocent party in a divorce which had resulted from adultery, and when they have been divorced by an unbeliever.

Here is a final word of advice: If you face marital problems the most important element you need to resolve them is forgiveness. Many couples have resolved their problems and reconciled well through forgiveness. Someone has said that a happy and long-lasting marriage is a union of two imperfect people who are good “forgivers.”

Forgiving your spouse is also something that you can do with God’s help. God has done so much more to forgive you than you can ever do to forgive your spouse. He gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross so that all your sins may be forgiven! When Christ was unjustly tried, sentenced to death, humiliated and nailed to the cross to die at Calvary He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Is it so hard to forgive your spouse when God has forgiven you? May the Lord help us to do what He wants us to do.                                       —Pastor

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NS Talk

Date      : 25 Mar 17 (Sat).

Time      : 9am - 12.30pm (lunch provided).

Venue : Life Mtg Hall

Speakers : Eld Lee Heok Seng & Mr Yeo Hock Seng

Testimonies : Shawn Lim & Ryan Cheung

Register by 18 Mar @ http://lifebpc.com/ns-talk  

Enquiries : Contact Rev Quek KK 

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Missions Seminar - White Unto Harvest

  Venue:   Beulah Multi-Purpose Hall

  Date:      Saturday 1 April 2017

  Time:     3 - 5.45pm (Dinner at 6pm)

  Register at: http://lifebpc.com/missions-seminar

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1) Infant Baptism on Easter Sunday, 16 Apr 17. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 12 Mar 17. Please email church office giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

2) YAF Retreat 2017. 29 Apr to 1 May at Changi Cove. Theme: Renewed Minds and Transformed Lives. Speaker: Rev JJ Lim. Join us for a time of learning, fellowship & fun! Register at: https://yafretreat2017.wordpress.com/. Contact: Arthur (87213071).

3) Life BP Church Camp 2017 will be held from June 12-15 (Mon-Thu) at Batam Holiday Inn Resort. Do book your annual leave now to join us for a blessed time of fellowship, and exhortations from God’s Word.

 

Preaching appointment:   Rev Wong at Life Chinese Service, 11am.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11