Earlier this week at ThomRainer.com:
- Ten Ways to Bring Joy to Your Pastor
- Seven Characteristics of Proactive Pastors – Rainer on Leadership #368
- Five Difficult Pastors to Succeed
- Why Dying Churches Should Have Hope – Revitalize & Replant #001
- Five Pathways for Dying Churches – Revitalize & Replant #002
- Three Important Financial Realities Facing Churches Today – Rainer on Leadership #369
We need to be very careful how we talk about other churches. I get it. There are megachurches that have abandoned the gospel and feel more like shopping malls than the body of Christ. But that isn’t the case with all large churches, not even megachurches. Yet, when we assume that it is, we participate in a form of soft persecution against the body of Christ, all the while assuming that our preferred brand of church is best.
I have recently been reading some of Andrew Murray’s classic works in the Legacy of Faith Library, which I highly recommend. Murray’s chapter on “carnal Christians” provides great insight on a childish Christian and how we can recognize this in our own hearts (I am taking these three points from Murray). A childish Christian…
A Christian who has an online platform ultimately is using a gift he or she has been given by God to build up others for the good of the kingdom of God. The Lord has gifted all of us in different ways. Some gifts receive more public attention than others—those who have the gift of teaching are often given more opportunities to platform that gift than people who have the gift of service or the like.
TED speakers are allowed a maximum of 18 minutes. The organizers have found it’s “short enough to hold people’s attention, including on the Internet, and precise enough to be taken seriously. But it’s also long enough to say something that matters.” Now, I’m not advocating for 18 minute sermons (most congregations have been trained well enough to listen for longer), but most preachers would benefit from being forced to preach an 18-minute sermon from time to time.
In recent years, there has been a rapidly growing interest in gospel-centered preaching. With the help of the internet and its resources, many preachers like myself have been transformed by the examples of Tim Keller, Art Azurdia, Anthony Carter, and countless others. We have come to believe, like them, that every sermon should faithfully connect that week’s text and theme to the gospel. Those of us who hold to this philosophy do so because it is consistent with Jesus’s teaching in Luke 24 and with the ministry approach modeled by the apostles throughout the New Testament. Yet, as with any philosophy, it is often easier to believe in theory than to implement in practice. Here are three ways those committed to gospel-centered preaching can unintentionally fail to preach the gospel.
When the foundations shake, we can return to what is true regardless of circumstances. We can know, for example, that the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord. And we can know, for example, that Jesus is still the authoritative ruler of heaven and earth. And we can know, for example, that God is still, even now, working all things for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. We know these things. But may I offer an exhortation regarding these theological truths? Christian, don’t use your theology as a weapon.