Monday, February 25, 2013

things not said in a sermon

A couple of conversations the past two weeks have caused me to think about how many people hear a sermon. Often, based on a life circumstance or journey, a listener will focus on something the preacher says that is not really what the sermon is about. Let me give you an example or two: 1. In a sermon about the authority of God's word, a preacher my say, "We stand against divorce because God says he hates it". Now immediately those who have experienced divorce may be offended because theirs was "allowable" by Scripture and they may even take the preacher to task. 2. In a sermon on Christian family, a preacher may say, "God designed a family to have a mom and a dad and kids, and that is the best way to do family". Suddenly, single parent radars go off, feeling as though the pastor has made them a second rate family as they struggle to do their best. 3. In a sermon on struggling with sin, a preacher may say, "I sin every day even though I don't want to". Suddenly, people in the seats think everything from "I wonder what sins he commits" to "we pay him to be holy, why is he still sinning?" Suddenly the focus is on the sins of the pastor and not how the Holy Spirit guides us through these struggles of the flesh. My point is that there are always a multitude of things not said in every sermon because time does not allow for the preacher to explain in detail every theological nuance of the day's teaching. So, here's the best way to get past these distracting phrases and what is left unsaid about them. First, try to focus on the text and the points the pastor is making based on his week of study, prayer, and preparation. Often a word of The Lord is missed because we are listening for what we want to hear and not what God wants to say. Second, if there are things you hear in the sermon that are not fully explained, do some biblical research (eg. look up "divorce" in a Bible concordance and read the Scriptures where divorce is mentioned). I say often when asked about my opinion on some topic, "Whatever the Bible says about that, I believe that." Third, ask your preacher to explain but do so in love. Don't assume the worst of the preacher (ie. you have bad theology) but give him the benefit of the doubt (maybe he has a different context, or I heard it wrong). In short, don't allow the things not said in a sermon to drown out the things that are preached from the Word of God.


Peg said...

When I find that I am taking issue with the "content" of a sermon....I have to look at myself and wonder what God is trying to tell am I being do I allow the TRUTH to change me. The word is a powerful tool for change....LET IT DO ITS JOB!!!!!

Lizard said...

whats the unforgivable sin? i would like to know in a Christan perspective not in someone else ignorant response to it.. i want the truth.. can you tell me this?..
I have been worried about it alot..
Im scared to die and i have passed out yesterday :(

Can you make it spiritually or just physically .. i dont want to this sin...

Mike Baker said...

Much has been said about Jesus statement that anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven. It is not the easiest verse to understand, but in the context the Pharisees are saying that Jesus is powered by Satan. Of course this is blasphemy - to give credit to Satan for what the Spirit is doing. I think this is something Jesus was saying to these specific guys whose hearts were so hard they didn't know the difference between Satan and the Spirit. So...I lean heavily on I John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ALL unrighteousness! He forgives all!