Good News #6 – What Will Work Be Like in Heaven?

Have you ever thought about if we’ll work in Heaven? In this sermon from “Good News”, Pastor Mark talks about how God working is a model for our work and that, in Heaven, work will also be restored to the perfect plan God had for it prior to the fall. Because Christians work for Jesus, our good works will be rewarded in Heaven.

Covenant and Contract

In this talk from the 2019 Stronger Men’s Conference, Pastor Mark uses Genesis as the backdrop, Adam and Eve as a case study, and spiritual warfare as a lesson on manhood and marriage.

What Reasons Does the Bible Give for Divorce?

In our six-week study of the Old Testament book of Malachi, the subject of divorce is the focus of chapter 2. Most anytime this subject arises, there are numerous questions that people have, including the reasons divorce is permitted according to the Bible. This subject is one of the most debated and complicated in all of Scripture, largely because of the complex nature of the marriage relationship and great emotions surrounding the family. Here are four scenarios, or grounds, for a possible divorce according to the Bible:

1. Death

Romans 7:2: “a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage”.
1 Corinthians 7:39: “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.”

2. Abandonment

1 Corinthians 7:15: “if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved”.

3. Adultery and Sexual Immorality

Deuteronomy 22:22: “If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die.” (Old Covenant)
Matthew 5:32: “everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality…” (New Covenant)
Matthew 19:9: “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery”. (New Covenant)

4. Hardness of heart

 Mark 10:5-9: “They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’”
The categories are in order from easiest to the most difficult to evaluate. If someone is no longer alive, obviously the marriage has ended. If someone has abandoned the marriage (e.g. moved far away in an effort to disappear and not have any relationship or is serving a life sentence in prison) then it is impossible to have a marital relationship. Sexual immorality, including adultery, is sometimes obvious but often hidden and secret sin. Lastly, hardness of heart is admittedly a judgment call. But, people with an ongoing hard heart against God and their spouse do some very awful and painful things that make the relationship unhealthy, unsafe, and unlivable. After a few decades of ministry as a senior pastor, I have walked with people through the unimaginable and won’t repeat these things because they are unspeakable.

Admittedly, this subject is so important that it cannot be fully addressed in a brief daily devotion. But, as a pastor who loves folks, here are some practical recommendations:

Your heart is wrong if you are actively seeking to meet some criteria. If you are trying to figure out the grounds for divorce so that you can get your relationship to qualify, then you have a heart problem.
You do not have to divorce even if you have grounds to. Couples can and do forgive one another, work through a process of healing with a pastor or counselor, and some make it through from awful times to wonderful times.
You cannot make this decision in isolation. The issue of divorce is so complicated, especially where children are involved, that discreet wise counsel needs to be invited in. These people cannot be friends and family who take your side, but godly people seeking to help everyone involved find God’s side (such as professional counselors or godly pastors).
You cannot make this decision in haste. In anger or hurt, we can make a short-term decision that we later regret.
You cannot make this decision in lust. If you have an emotional and/or physical relationship with someone other than your spouse and your motivation for the divorce is to move on to another person, then your reasoning and motives are polluted, which will keep you from walking in God’s will.
It is unfair, unjust, and unhealthy to make only one person in the marriage obey biblical commands. Through the Bible, God repeatedly speaks to both husbands and wives about their roles and responsibilities. Subsequently, both husbands and wives should be lovingly encouraged to obey God and trust Him for the outcome of their relationship.

Malachi #4 – Learn to Persevere

When tough times come into your relationships, are you the kind of person who is more likely to hang in there or hang it up? In every relationship, there are times when we want to give in and give up. This is especially true with family members, including our spouse. But, when we learn to persevere through hard times with God, family, and friends, the long-term blessings outweigh the short-term burdens.

If you commit adultery, do you have to tell your spouse?

Someone commits adultery and then ask God for forgiveness after repenting for what they have done. However, they do not tell their spouse about the incident. Is this true repentance? Unfortunately, this hypothetical question is a painful reality for some couples.

This week, I take a deep dive into adultery, marriage, and true repentance.

And if you have a question you’d like answered, email it to [email protected] today!

The Woman Caught in Adultery

They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.

– John 7:53-8:4 

The story of the woman caught in adultery smells like a set-up by religious people who care about power a lot more than they care about piety.

First, the timing is suspicious. As Jesus’ fame is growing and He is present at the Temple to teach the crowds during a major feast it just so happens that His most vicious and vocal critics catch a woman in the very act of adultery. For maximum scandal and shock value, they drag her from the bedroom to the packed Temple, likely half clothed and placed in shame on display for all to see in front of all the worshippers.

Second, the fact that the woman was “caught in adultery”? This is a very private matter that occurs in secrecy. How in the world did a group of religious men just happen to all watch a woman and man commit adultery?

Third, where is the man? Adultery is not a solo sport, and if only the woman is brought forward for justice and the man is nowhere to be found this has all the makings of a setup.

In this story, are you more like the woman who got caught doing evil, the man who did evil but was not caught, or the religious leaders looking for a way to profit from the pain of others?

John #17 – The Woman Caught in Adultery: John 7:53-8:11

The story of the woman caught in adultery is one of the best most and hotly debated sections in all of Scripture. For starters, it is possibly that the story was not originally even part of the Bible. In this weeks sermon, Pastor Mark has his work cut out trying to first explain how we got the Bible and why we can trust it. Then, he will unpack the story of how a woman caught in adultery can be forgiven, loved, and honored by Jesus. To blow your mind and melt your heat, you will learn how you are just like that woman and need Jesus like she did.

Should you be friends with your ex on social media?

It’s common in today’s connected world to friend your ex online. But it might be a sign that you’re looking to others for something you should be getting from your spouse.

In other words, you risk undermining your most important relationship. Watch above as Grace and I discuss why you’re playing with fire when you don’t guard your marriage on social media.