Life Theology

5 Tips for Topical Sermons

Justin Holcomb at the Resurgence gives this advice for pastors, especially in light of a special Sunday like Mother’s Day.

Number 5 is particularly helpful:

Your role is not to serve as a host for a special moment or to be an armchair critic of where our culture has goofed on motherhood or viewing women. You are a preacher of Good News. Proclaim the person and work of Jesus and his Gospel. The grace upon grace from Jesus (John 1:16) is the most relevant and needed thing for you to communicate.

Life Theology

A Hard Lesson on Sunday Morning at 6 am

In my personal time of worship before church this morning I read 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.”

What particularly stuck out to me was “love does not envy or boast.”  They are two opposite things. Normally people don’t envy and boast at the same time. It can happen. But it is not likely. People envy when they recognize with self-pity that someone is “better” than they are. People boast when they selfishly recognize that they are “better” than someone else.

I am no different. And this morning, God rebuked my sin and called me to realize, and repent of, these deep, dark transgressions. But it didn’t stop there. He called — and is calling — me to dig down to the root of why I am this way.

I often envy people for their gifts, abilities, or opportunities. I want to be “the man.” I want the glory. It’s embarrassing, yes, but it’s the truth. I often boast in my own accomplishments and skills so that people praise me.  Perhaps it’s not always verbally to others, but it frequently happens in my heart. It’s shameful, yes, but it’s the truth.

Both of these sins are rooted in craving the praise of man. I envy and boast because I want to be made much of. The only way to kill these sins is to look to gospel — where God’s love is manifested and provided in the person and work of Jesus without envy or boasting. Gospel love is unselfish and humble. It is sacrificial and servant-oriented. I will never love God and others as I ought if I let the praise of man rule my heart. God’s love — that love which gave up his only Son on the cross to remove his wrath and forgive my sin — must rule my heart.

O Lord, make me see how you love me, and cause that transform me so that I am empowered to love others that way.