LIFE group discussion guide: whole

NOTE: We’ll use the discussion guide you’ll find below in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church tomorrow night (Nov. 23). This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning on remarriage (Whole). To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.

Reason

Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this morning’s sermon (or sermon series).

To consider and contemplate the place of remarriage among Christians.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.

• Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” (Genesis 2.19 NRSV)

• He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10.11-12 NIV)

• To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion. To the married I give this command—not I but the Lord—that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. To the rest I say—I and not the Lord—that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you. Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife. (1 Corinthians 7.8-16 NRSV)

• I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you do not sin … (1 Corinthians 7.26-29 NRSV)

• A wife is bound as long as her husband lives. But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7.39 NRSV)

• The Spirit clearly says that in latter times some … will turn away from the faith. … They will prohibit marriage … Everything created by God is good, and nothing that is received with thanksgiving should rejected. These things are made holy by God’s word and prayer. (1 Timothy 4.1,3a,4-5 CEB)

Relation

Use the following icebreaker question to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.

1. Have you ever repaired some broken something and it turned out stronger than before? Tell us about it.

Research

These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.

1. What is the meaning of the phrase “only in the Lord” in 1 Cor. 7.39? Study what scholars have written.

2. Read 1 Timothy 3.2 and Titus 1.6, comparing them in various translations. Is Paul saying a remarried man isn’t eligible to serve as an elder, if a man is married he must be a “one woman kind of man” or what?

Reflection

These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.

1. The church has generally made life for the remarried: (a) easier, (b) more difficult, (c) both, or (d) other.

2. Why shouldn’t remarriage be an option to those whose divorced mate resists reconciliation or is dead?

3. Fill in the blank: “Most arguments against the divorced being allowed to remarry sound ______ to me.”

4. Studies have shown that with each successive remarriage, most marriages are less likely to last. Why?

5. A divorced friend tells you privately that they’re considering remarriage. What advice do you offer?

6. How does one determine how much time to give a divorced mate an opportunity for reconciliation?

Response

These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.

1. Urge all believers within your sphere of influence, to marry a maturing disciple (if they marry at all).

2. Refuse to “look down on” or “keep at arm’s length” the remarried. Rather, accept and strengthen them.