MDR - Palatka, FL 1958

Sermon Transcript

H. E. Phillips
Transcribed by Tom M. Roberts

(Beginning comments unclear - tr) ....Effort you have put forth in trying to grasp, to understand, and to use the things of the lesson that we have for our study tonight. When I arise before any number of people, on an occasion like this, I am impressed with my responsibility, not only to you, but to Almighty God, for the things that I say and the spirit with which I say it. That causes me to feel humble and to do my very best regardless of the circumstances that may be present. We are here tonight to study a subject that I have been asked to deal with in the light of God's word and it is the matter of Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage. I could not possibly afford, in one session of study with you, to cover everything and every principle and every problem that could and should be discussed in matters of this kind. There is one thing for certain, that I am aware of as well as you, that a lot of the people who could and should be here to study this subject are not here. Now they are not here because they are doing God any harm by being away, but they are here for the very reason that the Bible says that some stood away from Christ and shunned the apostles and others, in the days when they taught upon error. Every one of us sustains the teaching or preaching truth one of three forces, that is, sustained that relationship to God when truth is being taught. Some of them sought the Lord as did Andrew and Peter and James and John and the others, everywhere they went. They sought the Lord and his teaching on the various subjects that had disturbed them. There were some others who were completely indifferent to the things which were being said. In the sixth chapter of John, there were a lot of people who followed the Lord about, just as long as he would perform miracles upon their sick and as long as he would give them bread to eat, miraculously, or any way. But Jesus finally said to them, in the latter part of the chapter, "You were not impressed with my miracles, you're simply following me for the bread that you can get." And when he informed them plainly of their purpose and his knowledge of it in going after him, the scriptures say that "many of them turned and walked no more with him." And I'm sure that's exactly the way a lot of people are tonight, not only here in Palatka, but everywhere. When the law of God touches their life and when it begins to deprive them of some things they want to do, or when it stops them from doing some things they are doing, they are not ready to walk any longer with the Lord, but to turn aside from him. Then there are some in the class of those when they heard Stephen preaching, they stopped their ears, gnashed upon him with their teeth and they put him to death, finally, by stoning him because what he said from the word of God did not approve....was not approved in their sight in any sense of the word.

I want to read, to begin the study together with you tonight, a verse of scripture that's reasonably complete in its import on this matter of marriage and divorce and remarriage. It is from the nineteenth chapter of Matthew, and I'll commence reading with verse 3. If you have your testament, read along with us, and think upon each of these words and their relation to others. "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. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female? And said, for this cause, shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and they twain shall be one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They said 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 hearts suffered you to put away your wives. But from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for fornication, and shall marry another committeth adultery. And whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples said unto him, If the case of a man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save them to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs which are so born of their mothers womb, there are some eunuchs which are made eunuchs of men, and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

Jesus, perhaps, stated more about the matter of marriage and divorce and remarriage in this passage than any other one single passage in the New Testament. Although a number of times the matter is touched upon in one way or another. There are two ways in which we sustain a relationship to every person: there is the right way and there is the wrong way. Now, just putting this here temporarily, so that you may have it impressed upon your mind, really what we are talking about, suppose I talk about our relationship to God, there is a right relationship and there is a wrong relationship that every man can sustain to God. It is clear that he does not sustain the two relationships at the same time. There is nothing in any relationship that a man can have that is both right and wrong at the same time. That's an impossibility. He is either right or he is wrong in that relationship. Now, if I'm talking about God, I am either standing with God or against God. If I am talking about how I stand in relation to my neighbor who is not my brother in Christ but a man of the world, there is a right relationship and a wrong relationship that I sustain to him. If I'm talking about my brother in the Lord, there is a right and a wrong relationship that I have with him. And if I am talking about my wife, or my children, there is a right and a wrong relationship to sustain to, between a man and woman, that a man sustains to a woman, either as his wife, or as one not his wife.

But the very mention of a right and a wrong suggests something else to you and me, and that is there is some standard by which I can tell when I'm in the right and wrong relationship. How am I going to decide when I stand in the right relationship to God? Am I going to say, "Well, Phillips, you decide that? If you think you're all right, then you're all right." Am I? No, sir. Nobody would really tell you that who has any knowledge of the word of God. It is determined whether I stand approved or disapproved in the sight of God by what God has said my relationship should be. If my relationship to God is as he said it ought to be, then I'm sustained in the right relationship. In other words, I do not have anything to say about what I should do or how to do to be approved in the sight of God. That is, I can't do what I want to do. The same is true in my relationship to anybody else.

God governs human behavior, and the relationships of life, and he, from the very beginning, governed by a set of moral laws. It has always been wrong to kill, because no man sustains a right relationship to his fellow man when he kills him. That's always been wrong, from the time that God put man upon earth. It's always been wrong for a man to steal, for a man to lie, because it involves a relationship with his fellow man. These moral laws are not dispensational. You remember that. When we study about things of killing, the New Testament gives some rules regulating that. In an application now, for example, under the law, the moral law applied to the act itself, the taking of an instrument of destruction and taking the life of your brother. Under the gospel, it applies to the source of that, which is the heart. Jesus said "of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." And "from the heart proceeds all sorts of evil doing," said the apostle Paul. So, then, the matter of moral law governing murder under the New Testament does not govern it any different than it did before. It just goes at the seat or the origin of it, that is, the heart. So then if the heart is wrong, the act is wrong and the condemnation is placed upon the individual.

Now, in the study of marriage relationships, we are narrowing it now for this particular thing, as a relationship of mankind, I do not hope tonight to further answer every question that might be asked. I don't think I'm capable of doing that if I had the time to do it. And if I were capable I do not believe you would sit here to listen tonight while we examined every single phase that could be examined. When I have finished the lesson tonight there will still be a lot of questions that need to be answered. These questions, some of them, I do not know that I can answer them. Men sometimes get their lives in such a mess, I do not know whether I could tell them the wise thing to do. I can tell them what God's law says and that, after all, is determining what's right and wrong. I am not responsible, and since I am not, for what the word of God says, God didn't ask me about what to write, and it's in this book, and I have to deal with it. And since I'm not responsible for what men do themselves, I'm responsible for my conduct in harmony with God's law. I see no reason to begin the lesson with an apology or even give and making an apology when I have finished, what I have to say tonight. I am determined to say exactly what's in the word of God. But attitudes of men, sometimes, are formed beforehand, some during and some after, truth has been presented. The apostles Paul stated in Galatians 4:16, "Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" A lot of times, people have to suffer for telling others the truth. Stephen had to pay with his life. The apostles were, on occasions, beaten and imprisoned because they told men the truth. John the Baptist, talking about marriage and divorce and remarriage, in the wrong relationship of marriage, he had the courage which is required of all of us, to stand to this man who had the power in his own hand to take his life and tell the woman with whom he lived, "It is unlawful for you to have her." In the fourteenth chapter and the beginning verses, about three or four, begins there, to talk about this matter. Herod had married Herodias who was the wife of his brother, Phillip. And over in Mark the sixth chapter, where it is stated that he had married her, that is, Herod had married this woman, John said, "It's unlawful for you to have her." She still belongs to Phillip and you ought not to have her. And Mark tells us that an argument ensued between Herodias and John the Baptist, and she would have killed him but she couldn't. Herod wouldn't allow it. She was angry and certainly he did pay for his life, indirectly, with his life, for making that statement. And a lot of times, we'll have to suffer ridicule, be ostracized or in some way punished by people who do not want their sins exposed. They would rather that you cover them up.

Now I want to tell you something, in the very beginning, and I haven't even begun to get to the subject yet, I think these things are important in laying the proper foundation for any study of this kind. Whether it concerns marriage relationships, or that in the church, or whether it concerns our relationship to God, in the matters of salvation, we have to have the foundation for properly understanding it.

Now, then, sin is the thing that is going to keep men out of heaven. I don't know whether it has ever impressed any of you or not, but I am more and more inclined to something disastrous approaching in this generation in this country. All my life, I have heard of from my forefathers back, the kind of freedom that we've enjoyed. I've been permitted to go around and say what I want to say as long as I do not defame the character of somebody or slander them in a libel sort of way. I can say what I want to say. If I want to, I can oppose the governmental powers that be. But one of the greatest privileges that I have is to read and to study the word of God and meet together in buildings of this kind without any fear of military forces breaking in the door and taking us to prison. But I believe, possibly, we're living in a time when some of us will see the day when we will be imprisoned for doing the very thing tonight. I may pay with my life for preaching the gospel of Christ. I'll tell why I think that's so impending. Every example in the Old Testament that we read about, of cities falling as in nations falling, it began with internal moral decay. And there is nothing more, getting more immoral, more decay, than the American home. Rome fell, not because there was a single force outside the mighty Rome and the Roman Empire that could attack it. It fell because the home life began to crumble. Marriage relationships just began to fall away. And it wasn't long until that corruption internally began to ooze out in certain places to where finally, the city fell. And great was the fall thereof. You may not realize just how immoral the life about us really is. And to think that people like you and like I am, are the ones who are responsible, in a great measure. What are our children going to be, and my grandchildren? It will depend a great deal upon what my home life is, and what the home life of my children, in whose home my grandchildren come along. That may well make us think very soberly and seriously about the matter that we must deal with. But whatever may come, there is another day, I know for certain, before us. It is not the day when the nation may fall into the hands of enemies, atheistic and infidelic, but the day when we must stand before the righteous Judge of all men and give an account for the way we have lived in this life. It will then be that every relationship in my life will be opened. I will be determined to enter into life or into damnation according to the way I sustain my relationships to God, to my fellow man, and in my family life, whether it be right or wrong. But how's it going to be? In that day when men stand before the throne of Christ they will be judged according to the things they've "done in the body, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10). And in Revelation 20:11-12, when before the great throne we stand and the books of God are opened, and another book is opened, which is the book of Life and the dead are judged out of those things that are written in the book, how am I going to be determined to enter into life? If I have kept the law of God, I may enter in. If not, I will be deprived into entrance into eternal life. I have coveted, above anything else in this world, if that's the good word to use, that one ability to be able to crowd into the hearts of men and make them realize for themselves, what it's going to be to be judged before the throne of God.. That's going to be the most horrible day and moment in the lives of millions of people who are sauntering through life now without a single thought of that day. "It doesn't make any difference what I do or how I live. Everybody else is doing it. So that makes it right." Here is what James said in James 2:10 and 11. He said that "if any man keep the whole law, or whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, then he also said do not kill. If thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou are become a transgressor of the law." Here's what that means. You don't have to disobey every law in the book of God to go to Hell. Just one is enough. If you do everything that God told you to do, but one thing, I'll tell you friends, that's what that passage says and that's what it means. I don't care who says otherwise. There are many things I do not know, but the few things I know is what is stated in plain and simple, easy to understand words in the book of God. Here it is. "Any man keep the whole law, yet offend in one point..." I don't have to do everything in the book to be put in jail, do I? I could violate one law of this land and that is enough to put me in jail. And they couldn't put me any further in jail if I commited a dozen crimes than if I just commited one. If my life is forfeited to, at the hands of the authorities of the state, because I commited a crime worthy of that, it is not because I violated every law. It's because I violated that one law, and I'm just as guilty as if I had violated every one of them. So with this things in mind, I want to ask and answer some questions about this subject.

First of all, what is marriage? When we talk about marriage in the light of the scriptures, we are talking about something that the scriptures talk about, otherwise, it wouldn't be in the light of the scriptures. There are three different concepts, I guess you would say, of marriage today. One is the legal concept. People think of marriage in terms of what the laws of the land say about it. Others feel that marriage, by the popular practice, that is, it doesn't make too much difference what the laws of a certain state might say, how are people generally acting in the marriage relationship? And the third, what is marriage in the light of God's word, or in the light of the scriptures?

In the thirteenth chapter and verse 4 of Hebrews, the apostle said, "Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled, but adulterers, whoremongers and adulterers, fornicators, God will judge." Marriage is honorable among all people, understanding from that, of course, that these people are in the proper relationship of marriage. Because it couldn't be honorable if they were not in the proper relationship of marriage. That is, if they were not, if they were married when they ought not to be married, according to the legal term of it.

There are three words used in the word of God that tell us something about what marriage is. And to understand that would help us a great deal, in understanding when and how such a relationship, if ever, is broken and the matter of trying to bind ourselves to somebody else. There is the word of the first, the word "bond," or "bind." In the 7th chapter of 1 Corinthians and verse 27, Paul said, "Art thou bound to a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife, or loose, seek not a wife." Then in verse 37, he said that the "wife is bound to the law of her husband or by the law to her husband as long as he liveth." The word "bind" or "bond" tells us something about the marriage relationship. Now that word in verse 27 and in verse 39 is from a Greek term of rather strong implications and applications. The word is "to bind, or to tie fast." It means "as to put into chains, to lock together." If you are bound to a wife, that's expressing the idea of marriage.

Then the other word that is used is the word in the 19th chapter and within the verses which we read of Matthew, in the language of Jesus and it's the term, "join." "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." And that's the other word in that same text is "one flesh." "They are no more twain, but one flesh." Now if we understand what these terms mean, and how they all apply to the marriage vows, we can know a little more, perhaps, about the danger and the seriousness of trying to break this. One of these words right here, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder," that tells us that this joining or this bind or this making of one flesh is done by the hand of God. Marriage, my friend, is not a religious act. Marriage is not a church affair. Marriage is not a spiritual institution. You hear that. When fellows talk about marriage being a church affair, they miss it a country mile. Marriage is a physical union. It's born between physical people. It is broken when the physical ties are broken. There is no such thing as marriage beyond the grave. Jesus said that. In Mark, he said, "They are neither married nor given in marriage." My wife is here with me tonight and for a quarter of a century, we've walked together, joined, bound, one flesh, tied together. There is one thing I'm satisfied in my case. There is one thing and one thing only that can break the tie that God put there and that is, when one of us ceases to live in the flesh. If we do, then our relationship is brethren in the Lord, isn't that right? Yes, sir. When I leave this body, and she leaves her body, we will be kinsmen, as brethren in the Lord in eternity, and not as husband and wife. Marriage is a physical union between those who are eligible to be married, of a man and a woman, of such as are joined together or bound together and made one flesh in the sight of God.

But, the question sometimes comes along is about the nature of the bond. What is the..when is it made and how is it made and what does it mean? Maybe it is well to start in the last of those. The bond or the tie of one flesh, the joining together, is that which in the form of a covenant or a contract. In Malachi, the second chapter, God is talking about some sins in Israel and about those in Israel who had put away wives and had broken the covenant of the woman or wife of their youth. And he speaks of that in about verse 15, that he "hates putting away" or divorcing. God despises anything that breaks this here. Implied that something, somewhere, somehow, could break the bond, at least in that time, and he said, "I hate that." Marriage is a contract, between two people, between a man and between a woman, eligible to enter into that contract. Did you remember when you made marriage vows before someone recognized legally as authority? The vows may differ sometimes, in the way they are worded, but basically and essentially they are the same, because the laws of the land require certain things. You say to a man, "Do you vow or promise before God and man to take this woman to be your wife, and to love and to honor and to cherish her, and provide for her," and so forth, "as long as you two shall live?" And then the question is asked the woman about the same of the man and they say, "Yes." That is taking a contract or a covenant by which God ties together. Now when the vow has been made, don't you think you can come along and snap your finger and undo it. Because God ties the bond. The bond or the joining together has been done by God and the scriptures say so. I'm not just guessing about it. The Bible says here, Jesus said, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Man cannot undo that because God has sealed the contract. And how did it become a contract? Because you promised and your mate promised to certain things "as long as you live." I'll read in several laws, and I have not time to do it tonight, but from Eccl. 5 and Deut. 23 and several other places, some in Proverbs, that when a man makes a vow or a pledge to God or before God, he cannot slack to pay that debt, or that vow. He's obligated to do it and God holds him to that vow.

Then, going back, seeing that this is the end of the matter, we'll go back over here and start determining just when marriage takes place. Unless we know when it takes place and what it is, how do we know when we are married? How do we know when we have broken such a marriage vow, unless we know what it is and where it is? We don't have to guess about this. Marriage, in the light of the scriptures have been pretty well defined. There are different ideas or propositions stated as to when marriage begins. Some people say that marriage begins when the sexual act of marriage has been engaged, when physical contact is made, that's the time and the moment of marriage. Some others say, "No, that isn't the time. Marriage is brought about at the moment when the ceremony has been said. That's the time when a person is married, or when people are married." Others say, "No, the time goes back before that. It's back yonder at the time when they actually fall in love with each other and when they promise themselves to each other." Let me just put here on the board, a man, if you can read this. Can you see that all right? A man and a woman, understanding that, in this particular case, that they are eligible to be married. That is, that all conditions are prevailing whereby God could acceptably join them together. All right, they come down here this way. The civil law makes some requirements in that. The Bible teaches that we are to be subject to the laws of the land as far as those laws are in harmony with the laws of God. Certain things must then be, we must comply with these things in order to be right in the sight of God in any kind of contract. But then over here on this side, we'll say, here's God's law, requiring certain things. Now, this is the highest authority that anybody can recognize. Whether a man is in Christ or not, he would admit if he had any respect for the Bible and for God that God's law is superior to any other law. All right, taking this in this way, that this man and this woman wanted to become united in marriage. What is required , then, to do that? Well, God's law requires love. Without love, there can be no marriage, and I'll show you that's true in a minute. This law also includes a purpose. Without some idea of purpose and design entering into marriage, you are not complying with God's law. Then there is required a vow or pledging, that is, these intents put into actual practice. Then there is the time of consummation of marriage, which means here is the time that the contract begins. Understanding it's a contract, there must be a preliminary working, there is the contract itself, and then there is the beginning of the operation of the contract. The laws of the land require a license to be married. And the law of the land also requires a ceremonial (?), some authoritative person, recognized by the law, has to perform some kind of ceremony for that marriage to be legal. Then the law of the land recognizes and requires a consummation of these events. (While turning and writing on the black board, his words are dimmer and unclear in some instances. Tr) ......they are married. Who does this? God, does the marrying, and the civil law recognizes this union, so that they are bound and joined, they are one flesh in the sight of God when these things are brought about.

But now, notice. Indeed, this is what marriage is. Notice now, one of these doesn't make marriage. Let us take, for example, the vows of the ceremony. Somebody says the ceremony makes vows, or makes marriage. If that be the case, then a person, all he needs to do is to engage in a ceremony of some kind with another woman, before the right authorities, and he would be recognized as married, and in marriage covenant, whether he had any love or purpose or not. Is a person married in the sight of God, since God does the joining, does God join people together who do comply with his law? Certainly not. (Static breaks up the words, tr)

....."except it be for fornication and marries another commits adultery." That exception is there......Now then he said, "If a man puts away his wife." Jesus told of her committing adultery if he puts her away for any cause other than fornication. Here is the woman over here. And this woman marries again. That's implied in the passage because he said "Whosoever marrieth her that is put away committeth adultery." Now notice this. This woman right here is guilty of adultery. Jesus said she was. Why? She married again. This man over here, is guilty of something, because he divorced her for some reason other than fornication. He bears the brunt of her sin. He is guilty just like she is, because he caused it. And this woman is guilty of adultery because she marries. And the man who marries her which is put away, he is guilty of adultery. Now if language is simple and plain anywhere in God's word, it is right there. I just don't see how anybody can misunderstand that and just read it word for word. That's what it is. If the bond of marriage is broken in divorce when the two remain living, except it be for fornication, every person in Matthew 5:32 is guilty of adultery. Every single solitary one of them.

Now let's go to Matthew 19, 8 and 9. Another is given there. He said a man and woman are married....and he says "Whosoever," and, of course, since he's talking about the wife (tape is unclear)...Whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for fornication and marrieth another."

All right, here is the man over here, this man becomes married to another woman. The sin here is the man put away his wife, the exception to the rule is "except it be for fornication," this man divorces this woman and she marries again. "Whosoever putteth away his wife except it be for fornication and marries another committeth adultery." This man right here is guilty of adultery. All right, it's this man right here is guilty of adultery. He's the same one who was up here. And this woman, being a partner in adultery, she's guilty of adultery also. Because, going back to Mt. 5, who was the one who married the one put away, this one here, he's not put away, but he has done the putting away and he is guilty of sin in allowing this..."except it be for fornication" of course. Now, this woman put away, she marries. Also assuming that this man put her away, now because of fornication, "whoso marrieth her which is put away, committeth adultery." Now you are talking about the guilty party being free to remarry again. Jesus said here, the one that is put away, combining Mt. 5 and 31 and Mt. 19:8, 9, he said that the woman who is put away, except it be for fornication, this man, of course, is guilty of contributing to that, but whoever puts one, whoever marries one put away, except it be for fornication, commits adultery. But the man here who marries the one put away, it says in Mt. 19:8, says this man puts her away for fornication even, this man is free to marry again, but this man isn't, if like is true. So then, if for fornication these are guilty of sin, this man is not. But if it is a matter of other than fornication, this is simple, and of course, this relationship is broken and this relationship is broken. Outside of fornication, there is not a bit of difference in this world in adultery and fornication.

A lot of time (unclear), a lot of time, people make a lot of distinction and worry because Jesus used the word there. So far as the act is concerned, there is not a bit of difference in this world. Both of them are clearly defined as the "illicit or unlawful sexual intercourse of one with another of the opposite sex (of course) out of wedlock." That is what it means. Any time a wilful, entering into the sexual act out of wedlock is the sin. Now the difference is, if the one committing it, where the strict sense of the word is used, words, sometimes are used in a general meaning and sometimes they are used in a strict meaning. The word "temperance" or "temperate," and the word "sober" are used in the New Testament quite often to mean the same thing. But when they are used in the same passage and used in distinguishing between the two, the strict sense is that one is a thing that causes something and the other is the effect of it. But it is the same act. But it is just looking at it from different angles. Fornication is the act of one, strictly speaking, who is not married. Adultery is the act of one with another other than the mate in marriage or in wedlock. Now, the sin being the same, the condemnation, whether a man is guilty of fornication or adultery, hell is the same. And if I had the time, I would gladly go into the details. There isn't any question about the language of Jesus in the use of fornication and adultery. They are very plain and very clear in the matter.

What about remarriage? What about the adulterous marriages as they're existing? What is required when a man finds himself in such a case? Some of the most pitiful people I've ever talked with are those, when they have come to a knowledge of the truth, and they see their condition and see that it's got a hopeless, "What shall we do?" All this was born back yonder in ignorance, "What shall we do?" How shall it be corrected?

I don't know, sometimes, just what to tell them. I tell them the law of God. And then they must make the decision. I know this, that something stands between man and God that causes man to need salvation. If man did not need salvation, then he would not be a sinner. He wouldn't be guilty of sin. People sometimes say, "Oh, this applies, this whole thing applies only to those who are in covenant relationship to God." That just is not so. There isn't the intimation anywhere in God's word that the Lord gave moral laws applying to people in covenant relationship with Him and not applying to others. And the laws of marriage are moral laws. Everyone of them. Because moral law is that law governing human relationships. As marriage is such law, belongs in that class, it goes before the Gospel, it goes back before the Law, it was in the beginning. God gave the laws of governing marriage and it has come all the way down. There is a word, symbolized we'll say here, by sin. What is sin? Isaiah said that sin separates man on the one hand and God on the other. As long as this sin is between God and man, this man will never be blessed of God, this person. What is sin? Sin is a "transgression of the law" (1 Jn. 3:4). That's what it is. But how am I going to transgress a law if the law doesn't apply to me? If a law in some other country over yonder is binding on the people there and I don't live in that country, how do I violate that law or transgress it if it doesn't apply to me? There is a man down here who is a sinner. And whether he is in covenant relationship with God or not, is this man guilty of sin when he lies? Well, doesn't man have to be in covenant relationship to God before he sins when he lies? Is it wrong for him to steal? Is it wrong for him to commit murder? Is it wrong for him to commit adultery? If it is, it's wrong for him to have the wrong marriage relationship. God recognizes marriage relationships regardless of church affiliations because it is not a church obligation, it's not a spiritual bond. It's a physical bond. It's that which is not made based upon the contract of one in relationship with God. Now, it's a spiritual vow or marriage to God. That is a spiritual bond. But the physical bond is between my wife and me. And that bond is made physically. We have to understand this to understand what is meant in the word of God about these things.

Ah, the woman at Jacob's well, when Jesus talked to her, he said, "Yes, you've had five husbands. The man that you have now is not your husband." Jesus said, here is a woman had a husband and she was not in covenant relationship with God, not recognized by Jews because of same context. He said, "You people don't know what you worship. We know what we serve, or who, we serve."

And then there is Herod, who had taken his brother's wife, Herodias. John said she belongs to Phillip; she's his wife. But you've married her and it's unlawful for you. How could a thing be unlawful to Herod who was not in covenant relationship with God?

And if it be true that these marriage laws apply only to God's people, then I would say that marriage, that the gospel does something to human relationship, and it doesn't. What does the gospel do? When we talk about sin between men and God, the gospel deals with sin. What is sin? It's a transgression of God's law. It doesn't correct or deal with my human relationship. Before I obey the gospel, if I have a brother in the flesh, after I obey the gospel, he is still my brother. The gospel doesn't change human relationships. If a man is married, he obeys the gospel, he's still married. That's a human relationship. What does marriage do? Well, it changes the man's life. It changes his feelings from serving the Devil to serving God. But if he marries, he's not serving the Devil. If he marries right because God gave them law, contract, governing that. Does a man who is not in covenant relationship, does a man when he tells his brother the truth, does he sin? Why no, he's isn't committing sin because he isn't violating a law. But he's not in covenant relationship to God. Man who marries, not in covenant relationship to God, to another who is eligible to be married, he isn't sinning before God. He isn't violating any of God's laws. He only violates those laws when, whether he is in covenant relationship or not, when he crosses God. On the other hand, here is a man who isn't in covenant relationship with God, he goes out a takes a pistol and shoots, puts a bullet through the head of his fellow man out here. Has he sinned? Has he? Yes, sir, he sinned. Why? Because he transgressed the law of God. He's simply adding sin to sin. He's a sinner. Well, he's not in covenant relationship with God. Here is a man who puts away his wife for other than fornication. Has he sinned? Yes. Here is a man who commits adultery before he obeys the gospel. Is he a sinner? It's adultery then. Let me tell you, brother, sin is an act. It is an act of violation of God's law. It is an act of violation before one is baptized, and that same act after baptism is just as much sin as before. Can't you steal after you are baptized just like you did before? Yes, sir. The act is a transgression of God's law. Well, what is an act of sin? Man committing adultery, he has a woman he ought not to have. She doesn't belong to him. Nothing he can do, he can baptized a dozen times and that doesn't cease that human relationship. He's still living with the wrong woman. Suppose he doesn't marry any woman at all. Suppose he just goes out here with a woman and he co-habits or engages in sexual intercourse with this woman, this act. Then he walks down the aisle and he wants to repent and he says, "I'll obey the gospel and become a Christian." "Old things are passed away; behold, all things are new." And then he goes back over here and goes into this woman and commits the same act. Is he a sinner? He's guilty of adultery that time, just like he did before, because the gospel does not change human relationships. It changes the relationship of the person to God. There are three changes that take place. Faith changes the heart. Repentance changes the life. Baptism changes the relationship to God, or the state. A man whose mind is not turned by faith will never be changed any further. A man who life is not transformed because of his repentance, will do no more (side one of the tape ends).......

(Side two of the tape begins)...I don't apologize for it. I know this, the wise man said in Proverbs 13:15, "The way of the transgressor is hard." Men make their lives sinful in walking away from God. Sometimes they have to walk a mighty rocky and rough road to get back to God. The apostle Paul was flinging his arms and in opposition to the church, he was going about to the crushing defeat on the part of the Christians everywhere, fighting them. Every where he went, he stood out as victor. One day he came face to face with Jesus Christ. He had to turn around and walk back over that road, so difficult, and I've thought a lot of times, when the apostle had to go back into those people he had beaten and imprisoned and killed some of them, had to go back and say, "It is wrong." When he had to go back down to the Sanhedrin and say, "I give it all up. Here are my papers and whatever I have." When he had to turn to his parents and others (unclear) and say, "It's all over. I have to give it up." When he had to suffer in Christian (unclear) and be beaten and stoned and all of this for the Lord, he had to walk the tough road. But he knew it had to be done.

There is another passage, we know it's true, Galatians 6:7: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." If you sow the seed, God is not going to keep the seed from coming up, because it is not what you want it to be. A man may sow things in his life and now want to reap the fruits of it, but the fruits are going to come just as sure as you sow it, you're going to reap it. And that's true in marriage. Sometimes you have to go back and plow up things that have been done. But it all hinges on this. Just how much do you want to go to Heaven? I can't change these laws. And if I were to tell you, "Now, you're all right." I'm conscientious in what I say tonight. I'm not saying it to entertain. This is not popular. I know it isn't. I know that people don't approve of this and they are ready to say, "You are wrong." That's all right. You say that. But here is the book that you must face in the Judgment. I know that I must face Him and I'm going to be as true to it as I possibly can. I'm preaching what I believe to be in the word of God. If I had written it, I might have changed it. But I didn't write it. And we have to deal with it, we have to face it. One of these days, this might keep you out of Heaven. And there is only one way you can get rid of sin and that's by obeying the gospel. But when you obey the gospel, you must repent. That means that you must quit everything in life that is sinful. "Well," they say, "After you obey the gospel it makes it all right." No, it doesn't. Cause Jesus said, "The one who marries her" is living in a state of illicit sin. That means that they are living in a relationship, why ever time they go together in the sex act, it's an act of adultery, every time. I didn't say that; God said it. And if adultery is not a sinful act, any more than telling a lie. If you told a lie and then repeated the same lie tomorrow and the next day, is it just a lie one time you tell it? And the next time, it becomes true, after you obey the gospel? Is that right? No, sir. Just as long as you tell that story, if it's a lie the first time, it's a lie all the way along. Just as long as you commit the act, it's adultery, and the Bible teaches that no adulterer can enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Baptism will forgive past sins, but let me ask you this in closing.

There's so many things that could, and should, be said, and I'm afraid that I've already wearied you tonight, in the talk about this, but I've got one time at bat tonight, just one, and I'm taking advantage of it. I may strike out, but I'm going to be here one time, and that's all. If the matter of baptism, if a man and woman are married, and they are living in an adulterous marriage, I mean by that, a state in which by civil law, by popular opinion is right, but by God's law, it isn't lawful for them to be together, and so they're living in a condition where every time they come together, it is an act of sin against God, but if baptism changes that, as they say, after we are baptized, that makes that all right, to the alien, because it's for the remission of sins and "old things are passed away," let me ask you this: Why would it not be that a Christian could go out here and form the same relationship and then pray God for the remission of sins as Simon the sorcerer did, and his marriage be all right? If one will work, why wouldn't the other work? Baptism is for the remission of sins to the alien. But repentance and prayer is for the remission of sins to the one who is in covenant relationship with God who has sinned. And if remission of sins makes the relationship all right, why wouldn't it work and why do we worry about it? Just let the man and woman go out and pick whomsoever they will and they get along for a little while together and if they don't work out all right, just marry again and then just get on your knees and pray to God, then that marriage will be all right. Of course, that first act will be adultery, but the rest of the time would be all right. That isn't so. We know that isn't so. According to the word of God. These things do not change.

There is a passage, 2 Thess. 1:8-9: "Ye that are afflicted, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting punishment from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power."

My life is short. I have already gone past the midway mark, normally speaking. I don't have many more years to live. Some of you have even much less time if we have the same number of years on earth. But eternity is such a long, long time. And whether I spend it with God or without God depends upon the way I live while here upon earth. I must make my calling and election sure. I must be willing, as Paul said, to "count all things but dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ" that I may have these things in Him. Everything else is of no importance, cast it away. The man who wants to go to Heaven is going to have to do what God says do. You can't go there doing what you want to do. And if I told you it's all right, as I said a while ago, that doesn't change God's law. I'm anxious in telling you what the law says, not what I would like for it to say. I would change maybe a lot of things, if it were left to me. But it isn't. I do not have the wisdom in these things.

I've talked with you long enough about these matters. I hope that some principles have been established. I shall be glad to go further or talk with any, anywhere, either to learn or to help some learn what God has to say on the subject. It's important. I do not know the condition of any in the audience tonight. And for that reason, I shall turn the services back to brother Reed and bid you good night and God's blessings. I appreciate so much the very courteous and wonderful attention that you've given tonight.......(closing remarks faded and unclear).

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