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Make Sure The Truth Cuts And Not You

We preachers have to come to terms with a few important points.

First of all, everybody ain’t gonna like what you throwing down…

In fact, if everybody loves all your sermons and messages, you probably are doing something wrong…

Somebody aught to get upset at least every once in a while. If everybody is comfortable..then guess what, something is wrong…

But that is not to say we should go out of our way to mess over folks.

Preaching God’s Dangerous Truth

Vision Of John The Preacher Of Revelation
Vision Of John from Revelation A Picture for Preaching

*****Art used by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992*****

I was thinking about preaching when I came across Rev. Zach Mills facebook entry which says:

“Dream dangerously! We currently live among a generation of people whose dreams are too realistic to do the world any good!”

Dream dangerously. That is a powerful thought. I began to think immediately of our vocation as those who are preaching the Gospel. Preaching is to give a vision of a different world. A world where God is come in and to humanity.

Preaching Birthright Stealers

Today, we are tempted to sell our birthright. Some of us are tempted by a Republican Elephant while others are tempted to give up the vision to a Democratic Donkey. These other vision theifs want to make us think that their vision of reality is what is “proper” or “believable” or “possible.” But the impossible truth of Advent, that God is come is our message. We should be preaching that powerful truth. Not the “possible,” not which is “believable,” not that which is “proper,” but let us preach that crazy truth that God is come.

Some of us are tempted to sell our birthright of preaching a message where all are blessed for proclamation that the rich are blessed and the poor are getting what they deserve. That is not the dangerous truth that Advent pushes us to teach. That is not the dangerous truth that is good news for all people (Luke 2:10).

Some of us are selling our birthright. We are selling our birthright when we attempt to make people shout without preaching something to shout about. Advent reminds us that our joy is not based in our possessions neither what we will get, but in the fact that God is come.

Some of us are selling our birthright. We are selling it when we forget that the God given vision of the coming kingdom is greater than even our conception of it.

Let Us Preach Again

In Revelation 10:10 the prophet John was called to come eat a book. The book was sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the belly. Yes, many of us have been preaching a message that seemed sweet in the mouth. We liked to equate the gospel of God with a political agenda. Yes it was sweet in our mouth, but it became bitter in our belly.

Yes, we have allowed our vision to be distorted by what we thought was “possible,” and that message was sweet in our mouth, but it became bitter in our belly. But thank God, in Revelation 10:11, just like John we are called to preach again to the world. God is calling us to preach again.

We ain’t done all that we should, but let us preach rightly this weekend. Perhaps we have not dared to dream and preach that dream that the “Kingdom of God is Come.” (Matthew 10:7). We may not have done it, but guess what, you are called to “preach again. I dare you to preach it like God has called you to preach it this coming week. Dream Dangerously and let God find you preaching the truth and changing the world!

Wrong Truth

This entry is part 1 of 13 in the series Subtle Errors

truthbillboardI want to do a series on how we can preach the truth and yet still end up with a presentation that is unhelpful for the people in front of you. The first of these is what I call “wrong truth.”

This is when the preacher preaches a truth that the people do not need. It is really insidious when the sermon is actually the opposite truth of what they need to hear. For example, when the preacher shows up at the local church that needs to hear about the implications of being a Christian like discipleship and obedience, and yet still feels that legalism is the problem and therefor never touches the law and spends all of the preaching time on grace and love. This kind of emphasis, however true, can be problematic and actually support bad behavior.

Likewise, the preacher who shows up at the local church of legalists and preaches nothing but law and the importance of obedience. Yes it is easy to preach. And yes it may be true, but when it ain’t what the folks need to hear, it ends up promoting a status quo that is not in line with where God needs to lead the congregation.

Yes it is important to recognize that we must preach truth. It is also important to make sure that we preach “needed” truth and not preach that which is easy and ignore what the people really need. They need truth, and they need the right truth.

Telling the Truth about the Bailout

Preachers are called to tell the truth. In this respect they are in the line of the Biblical prophets who had to tell truth to power. They had to say, like Nathan, thou art the man.

Bailout of the Super-Rich

This past week, the Senate and the House of the United States rushed together to push through a 700 billion dollar bill to support wall street and avert a collapse of the United States economy. The bill would help to bailout Wall Street executives who had engaged in unregulated speculations and had lost. To keep them from going down, the democratic congress and the republican executive branches rushed to essentially place a tab on the middle class to pay for a bailout of the super rich.

This bill made no mandates to help the poor and middle class retain their homes when this economic downturn will certainly cause others to lose them. This bill only makes an assumption that helping the super rich, who are largely to blame for the fiasco, will keep the economy afloat.

Preacher Must Tell the Truth

The preacher must stand up and be counted. The bill is a stench in the nose of God. If you are going to spend 700 billion dollars, why can’t some of that money go to those who are lower down the totem pole? Why can’t some of that money go to support the educational aspirations of the masses? Why can’t some of that money go to build up an infrastructure outside of the economic elites whose recklessness caused this issue?

Well God will not be silent forever for the Bible says that the riches of the powerful will become corrupted and their garments will become moth-eaten. Yes their riches will be a witness against the rich according to James 5:1-5. And one day the merchants will cry because there will be no one to buy their goods (Revelation 18:11).

Lord of Hosts Hears

American cannot continue to prop up the greed of the super rich at the expense of the aspirations of the poor and middle class. Yes the cries of the workers who have worked their whole lives only to find that the greed of the super-rich has eliminated their retirement goes up to the ears of the “Lord of Hosts.” (James 5:4)

Lord Help Us…

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