A while ago I preached at a friend’s church. After the service a guy came up to me and said “Man there was a lot of grace in that sermon!” I took that as a massive compliment. In fact I think there is no greater compliment! But I think it is so easy to forget about grace in our preaching. It is very easy to look for the killer application or the knockout illustration to bring everything back to the grace of God.
Now don’t get me wrong I want my sermons to be challenging in their application, but the challenge needs to be rooted in the grace of God. This is what Paul does all the time. For example in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Paul challenges the Corinthians to bring their sexual lives in line with biblical sexual ethics. How does he do this? By reminding them about the grace of God. The argument crescendos with these words:
“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.”
Why should we live in line with God’s sexual ethics? It is because of the grace of God, shown at the cross, which bought us at a price. We have been redeemed therefore we should live as redeemed people. For Paul, a life filled with awe at the grace of God is the foundation of a life of holiness. Therefore to not preach grace will mean that lives won’t be transformed. They may change but this change will be short lived. If you preach grace, the results may take longer but the results will last forever.
If we do not preach grace we will invariably preach morality. We will preach “Do this because you should” which our people will hear as “Do this because God will love you!”. In doing so our people won’t grasp the gospel. To preach grace means that we will not burden our people with rules and regulations but encourage them to live lives of holiness in the grace of God and under the power of his Spirit..
Is your preaching full of grace or lacking in it?