It hit me like a a tonne of bricks. Some people had brought to my attention some aspects of my preaching that they thought I could improve on. It was weird because all their critiques sounded different and yet strangely similar at the same time. So for about a year I processed their critiques, prayed about them, talked with people about them and thought about them. Then I figured it out.
And it hurt.
I had stopped preaching grace. Sure, I did mention Jesus’ death on the cross and how we couldn’t do anything to be saved. Sure, I mentioned the word grace but if my sermons were people and grace was water they were dying of thirst. My sermons needed to be flooded with grace so my people’s lives could be flooded with grace. But my preaching and the church God had given me was a parched land that needed grace desperately. I needed to still motivate, encourage, rebuke and correct but I needed to do it with grace.
It is so easy to forget to preach grace. I have done it and I wonder if you have to? I wonder if you think your people need to be told what to do instead of hearing about grace because they have got grace down? Brother or Sister preacher, if that is you can I ask you to repent for three reasons:
1. In the Bible we are not only saved by grace but we grow in every way by grace. When Paul writes to the sexually messed up Corinthians he doesn’t say “You know you shouldn’t be doing what you are doing. Stop it!” No he says this:
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Paul tells them to flee from sexual immorality. But why? Because it is bad for them? Because they should know better? No, it is because Jesus has bought them at a great price. He reminds them of the grace that has been shown them. Paul’s pastoral strategy is to remind his beloved Corinthians of the gospel so their hearts will be full of God’s grace and they will want to change their sexual habits. If want your people to change don’t preach moralism, that may change their behavior but it wont change their heart. If you preach grace they will change from the heart on out.
2. If you don’t preach grace you aren’t preaching Christianity or the Bible
At it’s heart the Bible is not a list of rules to follow or a bunch of heroes to be like. No ,at it’s heart the Bible is a a story about how a holy God saves sinners by sheer grace alone. To step away from this and preach either moralism or a preach “Be like this Biblical Character” is to step outside of the bounds of Christianity. As we saw above Paul motivates holiness in his people by grace and if you have a look at the heroes of the Bible you will see that they are usually morally shady. Why are they morally shady?
“The Bible seems to take great care to demonstrate how deeply flawed the entire human race is so that all would acknowledge their dependence on the Jesus for salvation. – Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching, 285.
They are morally shady so we would know that we need grace and we would preach grace. To be a truly Christian preacher grace has to infect all of our sermons.
3. Your people need it.
As I said a few days ago all people are carrying around guilt for something they have done or not done. Whether it be they have made a mistake morally or they just don’t feel like they are good enough, all people are carrying around some form of guilt. People don’t need another standard to fall short of. They don’t need more doctrine that doesn’t have any relevance. They need grace. Grace to deal with their sin, grace to deal with their shame and grace to deal with their guilt.
If you listen to any of the great preachers around today or through out history their sermons are flooded with grace. Flood your sermons with grace and your people will grow.
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