Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Value of the Custom-Crafted Sermon

Last Sunday our sermon was covering Ephesians 2:17-22, and how we are fellow citizens with the saints, citizens of God's Kingdom; also how we belong to God's household; that earthly government and earthly family is not our salvation (and I would add, it's a good thing, too!). I was amazed, for one, on how it corresponded to the very thoughts of my last blog entry regarding a heavenly citizenship, though set in entirely different context and thought process...though because our church is studying Ephesians throughout, I've been reading and rereading Ephesians for quite a while now, and I suppose I would be gathering some of the same ideas from it whether consciously or otherwise. The pastor had also said how the wall of division goes up any time we have something that rises above Christ as important in our lives, whether job, gender, or anything.
The thing I noticed was how the sermon pertained to many timely needs, how it pertained to the very answer I was trying to articulate to a friend who doubted that Katie should be off at college but felt instead should be home with family. The matter of the dividing walls that we make for ourselves really struck Tina, our homeschool music teacher, as a very useful thought--she was going to be gathering with some of the mothers from our 200+ child music classes. These music families come from a variety of backgrounds and many of them are being dragged down in divisiveness over trivial issues to Tina's great grief and frustration. Who knows how many of the congregation were feeling that applicable nature of the sermon? I had barely scratched the surface to find so much!
The way that the sermon confronted so many timely issues is an illustration of how the Holy Spirit works in the pastor as he crafts the sermon for the purposes of his own congregation. No ready-made work from anywhere could reach the hearts of the people like one that was custom-designed with the Holy Spirit's fresh and creative breath upon it for those particular people at that particular time. It makes me anticipate the hearing of it all the more, and the pondering of it later all the more potentially fruitful. How great it is that after my wrestling with whether I could think of a refreshed start in building on the foundation of Christ in my faith and its application, that Sunday I should hear a sermon affirming...my citizenship is in heaven. And I eagerly await my Savior from there!

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