All in Preaching

Humble Judgement: Three Thoughts on Matthew 7:1-5

For generations the undisputed most known and quoted Bible verse has been John 3:16. Today, Matthew 7:1 has taken the title. Yet, few who quote these words are even aware they are speaking the words of Jesus during his Sermon on the Mount. Nevertheless, “Judge not, that you be not judged” summarizes the mode and value of our current cultural moment. But have we misunderstood judgment?

We Want a Celebrity, Not a Savior

In October of 2014 the most influential pastor of his generation was compelled to write his letter of resignation amidst mounting claims of purchasing bestseller status and domineering leadership. In August of 2018 the most influential pastor of his generation was also forced to resign prematurely amidst mounting allegation of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. In February of this year a pastor was fired for a barrage of sinful leadership patterns including financial impropriety and domineering leadership.

How Lonely Sits the City

Jerusalem is devastated. Having recently been destroyed by her national and religious enemy, Babylon, God’s people found themselves identifying as a grieving widow and former royalty. The city used to be great. History repetitiously told of their conquests and triumphs over other peoples and powers. But now she sits isolated in weakness as a result of her idolatry. Once full of people, she is now filled with agony and left to merely lament the heaviness of guilt and shame.

Becoming Political

On January 1, 1802 the newly elected president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson responded to a letter he received from representatives of the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut (1). This Christian coalition reached out to the new commander-in-chief with hopes of extending good will and prayers. They wrote also for the sake of religious liberty. As formerly under a monarchy the idea of civil freedoms was still a bit uncomfortable—like a new pair of shoes; shiny, beautiful, but unworn, rigid, and unfamiliar.

Three Musts for Every Sermon

The Apostle Paul once wrote, we preach Christ and him crucified. When it comes to the sermon content is king because Christ the King is always the sermon’s supreme content. However the shape of a sermon puts this preeminent content on fullest display. So, let’s consider the sermon.

When a follower of Jesus walks away from a Sunday message believing they have heard a “good sermon” I think it’s because three things have taken place within the sermon’s structure. First, the sermon exposed the truth and beauty. Second, the preacher exalted Christ. Third, the message equipped the Church.

Weak

Many years ago I was preaching on a Sunday morning. As I prepared earlier that week I sensed an acute impulse to personally apply the sermon's main point. I remember feeling remorseful. I remember being anxious. God was inviting me into confession. And he was clear, this was not just for my personal formation during study time, he led me to write this confession of sin in my manuscript. And so on Sunday morning I confessed sin publicly before my church.