Over the years, I have preached many sermons, led many Bible studies, and shared many talks about faith with various groups of people. At this point, it is hard to remember all the longer series of messages … much less a single sermon, but I certainly remember one message I gave about 22 years ago.
To be honest, I don’t remember the passage of Scripture I was teaching, the main points of the message, or the details of any application. But I DO REMEMBER ONE THING: a piece of feedback I got after I finished the message.
A dear brother in the Lord came up to me after I finished and said, “Mark, interesting talk today, but help me out here … how is what you were teaching today ANY DIFFERENT from what a Muslim or Hindu or any teacher of another religion might say?”
This comment floored me. It causes me to still shake a bit in my boots. I certainly was not AIMING FOR Universalist Therapeutic Deism, I thought I was speaking “Christian.” Upon further examination, though, I found the punch of this comment landed squarely on the jaw of my message.
Though I had based the message on a New Testament text, I had not infused it with New Covenant Life. Like every other religion, I was saying, “DO, DO, DO” without regard for what Jesus has “DONE, DONE, DONE” and what the Spirit was “DOING, DOING, DOING.”
From that day onward, I have always tried to run the messages I preach through a New Covenant Gospel lens … to share anything else would be to serve Corn Flakes to dinner guests when Filet Mignon is perfectly prepared in the cooker.
The true Christian life is not like anything else. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:4-18, it is gracious (based on God’s power), glorious (revealing God’s character), and generous (ushering us boldly into a state of freedom to live the life we have been called to live.)
This Sunday morning at Wildwood, I hope to share the gracious, glorious, generous HOPE of the Christ-exalting, Spirit-infused Christian life in part 3 of our “Mission: Brief” sermon series. Hope to see you in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 service as we worship and share communion together. See you then, and bring friends!