This sermon is part of the sermon series "Project Hazmat: Handling Today's Tough Topics". See series.
The story behind the sermon (an interview with Peter Scazzero)
Preaching Today.com: Divorce is a landmine for preachers. There are so many ways a sermon on divorce can go wrong. Why was it important for you to preach on it?
Peter Scazzero: These "difficult topics" are people's everyday life. Well over half the people you preach to have been impacted by divorce. It's a deep pain. It's a death for people. They feel a lot of vague guilt and failure. And we don't address it clearly enough. I knew that I needed to address a larger series on singleness, sexuality, and marriage. But I couldn't ignore divorce.
I grieve at two extremes I hear in the church. One treats divorce as no big deal. That's a minority position, but it's out there. The other extreme takes the two "exemptions" mentioned in Scripture and makes it a new legalism. Both positions miss the heart of what Jesus said on marriage and divorce. It's theologically, in my humble opinion, wrong, and it's a misuse of Scripture. The practical result of both positions is bondage. It grieves me.
I've met women in domestic violence situations. Because that's not mentioned specifically in Scripture, they're told they must stay and take the beatings. Or a husband who's in an addictive relationship with severe emotional abuse. We miss what God is saying there. Not that I'm for divorce. I am not at all. But there's the temptation to become a legal expert at the expense of people. It's more complex than that.
It's obvious from your sermon, though, that you have a very high view of the marriage covenant.
Yes and so does Jesus. In Matthew 19, he goes back to the beginning to make the point that divorce is permitted because of hard hearts. We live in a fallen, broken world, and that's a reality. ...
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