…exhort and rebuke with all authority… (Titus 2:15b)
One of the most unpleasant subjects that a pastor has to deal with is the issue of divorce. If I could ignore the subject altogether and go merrily on my way preaching my favorite topics and those alone, surely I would. Some have taken that tack because it is so much easier not to awaken this sleeping giant. Divorce is such a pervasive problem even among Christians that it upsets the congregation when you talk about it. But preachers are called to expound the whole counsel of God’s word and the truth of scripture is that it meets us right where we live.
The apostle Paul wrote some of the hardest scriptures you can find on deep doctrinal subjects. Even Peter said some of the things Paul wrote were hard to understand, and when you get into topics such as election and predestination, you understand why. We notice, however, that sometimes after speaking of weighty theological concerns, Paul will settle down to what most consider mundane subjects in order to instruct on issues of everyday living. Preachers today are called to balanced ministries where we do not fail to deal with deep doctrinal subjects, but we also do not fail to speak on the issues of everyday life.
This is why we are committed at Berean to preaching the word of God chapter by chapter and verse by verse. We must deal with every subject whether we like to talk about it or not. As you read the word of God, it won’t help you very much if you don’t let it instruct you when you are wrong as much as affirm you when you are right. So, we must speak about divorce and we must let God’s word correct us. If preachers of the past had been as forceful as Jesus on the subject and as faithful to preach it as they should have been, we would not face a divorce statistic among Christians that is no different from the world around us. Further, if churches enforced proper disciplinary measures to retain an unleavened church membership, we would have people that consider much more carefully the moves they make in marriage.
Having said this, divorce is not the end for a Christian. No marriage ends in divorce without a serious sin on the part of one or both marriage partners, but God is a forgiving God. When we admit our sins and confess them, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). The best thing to do when the preacher is following the text of God’s word and he hits you head on with your sin is not to get mad, but to get glad! He may have aroused the sleeping giant, but now you can slay him and be returned to fellowship with God.
Pastor V. Mark Smith