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What God Has Joined Together

Genesis 2:20b-24 & Mark 10:5-9

Rev. Kurt Hering

Trinity Lutheran Church  
Layton, Utah

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Oct 4, 2009
18th S. a. Pentecost

Sermons from February 8, 2015 to October 16, 2016 preached to the saints of the Lutheran Church at Christ-Elkhart and Faith-Hugoton in Kansas. All sermons prior to that date were preached either at Trinity Lutheran Church-Layton or First Lutheran Church-Tooele, Utah.

Greetings dear people of God!

If you would like to hear the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah for the 18TH Sunday after Pentecost, click on the MP3 link provided above.

Have a blessed week in the Lord.

Rev. Kurt Hering, Pastor

Trinity Lutheran Church

Layton, Utah

Here is the sermon manuscript.

TEXT: But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."

24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  Genesis 2:20b-24

5And Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 7 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and they shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." Mark 10:5-9

"Dearly beloved, We are gathered here in the sight of God and before his Church to witness the union of this man and this woman in holy matrimony. This is an honorable estate instituted and blessed by God in Paradise, before humanity's fall into sin.

"In marriage we see a picture of the communion between Christ and His bride, the Church. . . .

"The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for the mutual companionship, help, and support that each person ought to receive from the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Marriage was also ordained so that man and woman may find delight in one another. Therefore, all persons who marry shall take a spouse in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust, for God has not called us to impurity but in holiness. God also established marriage for the procreation of children who are to be brought up in the fear and instruction of the Lord so that they may offer Him their praise." [LSB, p. 275]

So begins the order of worship that is the Divine Service in which God unites one man to one woman for as long as they both shall live.

Marriage - Creation of God for mutual companionship, help, and support in good times and bad. Two persons, one man and one woman, become one flesh by the command of God because from one flesh He created them in the beginning.

Marriage is not the product of our work, to do with as we please and throw away when we are done. It is God's gift to us as a reminder of how we were created and who created us; as well as a means through which God fills the world with those who would bear His image - if not for that little thing called sin.

That we treat marriage, that is the physical union of man and woman in this world, so cavalierly is evidence of that sin and our need for forgiveness and restoration. And this does not just speak to those who legally divorce their spouse or who have extra marital affairs. These just act on the sin we all harbor in our hearts.

That we treat church, that is the spiritual and physical union of God and man in this world, as if it is our work and unnecessary for salvation is also evidence of our sin and need for forgiveness and restoration.

Just as Adam's bride, the first woman and mother of all living was taken from the side of man, so the church - the second Adam's bride and mother of all who are given eternal life is taken from the side of the Son of Man who is Jesus, the Christ the Son of the Living God. That is why we sing --

"Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in thee; let the water and the blood, From thy riven side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure: Cleanse me from its guilt and pow'r."

The Bride of Christ, the One Holy Christian and Apostolic Church is carved from the Rock Himself, hidden in the cleft from His own side - the water of baptism and the blood of the Lord's Supper that flow from the pierced side of the One who is both the Son of God conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and Son of Eve born of her offspring the virgin Mary.

Even the Old testament witnesses to this marriage relationship between God and His people - Hosea is commanded to marry a prostitute by which God shows us the depths of what He means when He says, what God has joined together, let not man separate."

And we have other pictures of this gift we call church as well:

Joshua and the Israelites surrounding Jericho.

Moses hidden in the cleft of the mountain and then leading the Israelites out of slavery and provided for in the desert.

Noah's family and the ark of God.

Who established, provided for and protected these OT examples of church - that is, those assembled around the Word and Promise of God? For those who forget we have the example of Eli whose sons were killed and who fell dead himself; Moses who was not allowed to enter Canaan; and of course the Israelites themselves who sought pleasure and excitement while Moses was on Mt. Sinai and got 40 years in the wilderness as their reward.

We also have the NT example of Ananias and Sapphira who used the church for their own gain, holding back yet giving the appearance they had given all.

Most importantly, we have Jesus own words for those so taken with their own importance:

Matt 3:8 9 "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

Luke 19:40 But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."

Neither marriage nor the church is ours to do with as we please for our gain according to our plans and desires. They are God's creation and gift to man through which He is pleased to bless and serve us so that we might serve others and His kingdom would increase according to His plan and desire.

• "what God has joined together, let not man separate." [Genesis & Mark]

• for nothing"shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom 8:39

Marriage is a gift of God, not of works so that no one should boast. Cleft out of the side of the man, woman and marriage are the creation and work of God—joined together by Him to be an earthly blessing of companionship to each other and to "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it . . ."

"What God has joined together, let not man separate." But all too often we do just that with marriage. And the truth is, these words are not spoken to the witnesses of the marriage so much as to the bride and groom themselves. It is only because of the hardened, unforgiving hearts of husbands and wives who do not forgive each other and who abuse and take advantage of one another rather than sacrifice and serve out of love that our Lord even permits such a thing as divorce. No matter what anybody else does, short of murder or kidnap, nobody can separate a man and wife that do not want to be separated.

The same is true of the marriage of Christ and His Church. Though we baptized are at times unfaithful and even walk away from our union with the Lord, thankfully "divorce" is not in God's vocabulary. Jesus left the Father to cleave to His bride the Church. He has returned to His Father with His bride, never to be separated from either again. What God has joined together, no man can tear asunder.

Church is a gift of God, not of works so that no one should boast. Built on the Rock of Christ, cleft out of His side and living by the water and the blood that thus issue forth, the Church and her people are the creation and work of God—joined together with His Son to be a spiritual blessing of fellowship and to "Be fruitful and multiply" and "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."

In this Church, through Baptism, the Father joins you to His Son Jesus Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit and hides you in the cleft of His side. There through the preaching of repentance and the forgiveness of sins, and the giving of the body and blood of our Savior to eat and to drink, He nourishes and keeps you there-- to give you life and salvation by forgiving you all of your sins including your unfaithfulness to Him- in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Insofar as this sermon is a true proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, it belongs to Him and His Church. Therefore its use is free to all who deem it worthy and beneficial.

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