Wanted: Dad’s Special Study On Divorce And Remarriage

   Dad was always concerned about people. He told of a mother of a large family, “Which of your children do you care most about?” To which she answered, “I care the most about the one who is away from home and the one who is hurting.”
   The church has many who are “away from home” and “hurting”. Jesus once told a parable (Luke 15) of a shepherd who had 100 sheep. One of them got lost. He asked his listeners, which of them would not leave the 99 and go and search for the one which was lost until it was found? The challenge has always been for the family of God to act like a family and care for each one. The challenge of the body of Christ has always been to feel the hurts of each member of the body and care enough to reach out and heal.
   One area where many have suffered and are in pain, is where Divorce has occurred. Leaders have been hurting as well, not knowing how to deal with this situation which is growing not only in America but also in the church. Evangelism has suffered because of traditional teaching on this subject and has resulted in turning away those who have been divorced and remarried (sometimes two or three or more times).
   Dad did his own study on this subject, and communicated with Olan Hicks (well known for his debates on this topic… www.olanhicks.com). He was in agreement with Olan on this subject… believing that those who had gone through Divorce (for non-adultery causes) and were re-married before they became Christians DID NOT HAVE TO SEPARATE, RETURN TO FORMER HUSBAND OR WIFE, OR LIVE UNMARRIED FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES, in order to become a Christian. He said that there is no example of this being a requirement in the writings of the New Testament.
   He believed that CHRISTIANS who sinned by divorcing and remarrying didn’t have to go through another divorce in order to UNDO the sin… He came to believe what I have always believed, that the blood of Christ cleanses from this and all sin.
   Non Christians need to repent and be immersed (born again) and commit to be faithful for life. (i.e STOP DIVORCING).
   Christians need to repent, confess and pray that God would forgive. Dad NEVER  down-played the sin of divorce at all. He knew It hurts, and that God hates it. He understood GRACE, and taught against the abuse of it (Romans 6:1-2). Christians indeed and unfortunately do at times abuse grace. The Christian that repents of this however, can be and is forgiven.
This will be very helpful not only to me, but to all who know the pain, shame and guilt that comes from this sin, and want to continue serving the Lord. This material can benefit our evangelism, by presenting the Gospel with grace and love as in truth. This materials can help many leaders in the church who struggle with ‘what to do’ when faced with this situation in their congregations. This material can help Christians who have suffered through this, realize their sins, and have repented, and want to serve the Lord further without being shunned or considered ‘second class Christians’.
   Please help in this search for dad’s material on this subject if you have a copy.
   God bless you,
   Heaven bound,
   Jack Exum Jr.

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“Divorced… Now What?”

This article is part 1 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

   (Presently updating this series)
   This series is being offered simply and solely to offer hope and healing to the broken hearted. This is not an easy thing to deal with, and should not be treated lightly. Yet the church continues to be faced with this. We are not dealing with ‘things’, we are dealing with hearts. “Have you been through divorce?” asks someone? The answer is sadly yes. I understand a little more about the broken hearted David. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2  Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3  For I know my transgressions; And my sin is ever before me. 4  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, And done that which is evil in thy sight; That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, And be clear when thou judgest.
5  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me.
6  Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8  Make me to hear joy and gladness, That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9  Hide thy face from my sins, And blot out all mine iniquities. 10  Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me.
11  Cast me not away from thy presence; And take not thy holy Spirit from me.  (Psalm 51:1-8). 

   Yet there is hope for the broken, penetent and contrite heart…

David found forgiveness… Psalms 32:1  Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2  Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile. 3  When I kept silence, my bones wasted away Through my groaning all the day long. 4  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer. Selah 5  I acknowledged my sin unto thee, And mine iniquity did I not hide: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah; And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.
What precipitated David’s ‘about face’ in his life? David met the prophet…Nathan who accuses and convicts him not only of adultery, but murder as well! David’s heart crumbles before Nathan and into the arms of the Righteous God, who in turn forgives. Were there consequences? Yes, but was he forgiven? Yes. This is the ‘mainest thing’, right?!  
   Is there hope for you, for me and others? Yes, but it rests in humbly repenting and confessing sin… not in pridefully denying it. Beginning again, means having a starting point. David found his… I found mine… you can find yours. As with all sin repented of, must come the promise, “Never again Lord, never again.”


   Most every person who knows something about the Bible knows what is said regarding divorce. Just a casual look at Matthew 5 and Matthew 19 shows that the Lord is against it, and didn’t approve of how the religious leaders were handling this. Obviously divorce is not a good thing, it hurts, it wounds, it destroys… there’s just nothing good about it. Bottom line… it is not easy!
   People don’t just wake up on a bright sunny morning and say, “Well, we’ve been together for a few years now, why don’t we go down and get a divorce.” Couples who go through this crisis have been and are hurting.   
   The questions start pouring in, problems multiply from everywhere but unfortunately, many in the church who mean well, offer little comfort or help with traditional views.
   It is not the purpose of this writing to pretend that I have all the answers or that there is some magic potion which will make all problems, hurts, and relationships will somehow all be made right. I just don’t. I do understand the feelings, struggles, and many problems because I have been through marriage failures. I am not proud of it, and am truly sorry and repent for breaking my Master’s heart, and won’t do it again. My purpose in sharing this and writing, is that today the church is truly facing a serious problem with so many going through marriage failure. 
   I truly want to help those who have travelled down this ‘road of tears’. Who was the ‘guilty party’? Who did what and when? These are important questions, however the bottom line is, when divorce ocures, there is sin, somewhere. Either in action, or attitude and words or all of these together. Paul said, “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23).
   I have never believed that the answer is in trying to ‘unscramble the eggs’ when this is not the Bible plan of ‘forgiveness’. Considering the First Century church and the circumstances surrounding its spreading throughout the Roman world, it is truly amazing that the Apostles handled questions of immorality, divorce and remarriage, with more simplicity than people have today.
   What I want everyone to understand at the outset is there is hope and forgiveness for all who sin, through the finished work of Jesus. He still saves “to the uttermost” all who seek Him.  
   Read what the Bible says is required for forgiveness (Acts 2:38-39 for those outside of Christ wanting ‘in’, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). (For Christians, Acts 8:22; I John 1:9). 
   Ever since I was in preacher’s school, and I ‘hitched’ a ride back and forth to and from school, with a good friend of mine, Harold Thomas. We would have ‘mini-debates’ on this topic…. I never believed adultery was an unforgivable sin or that peole who have divorced and remarried must separate to be or remain saved. 
   The question of the Christian, “Now what?” is addressed by God’s grace in response to Godly sorrow, repentance, and determination to NEVER, do it again.
Now it’s time to get back and serve the Lord.
   More later….


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