This past Sunday the sermon was brilliant but wrong.
Instead of leaving us with the joyful reminder that through faith alone in Christ we are forgiven and loved by God, he left us with an application to live better as Christians.
We got good advice instead of good news.
I went home feeling heavy. The law does that to me. I walked away from church with the weight of my sins on my mind and felt wretched because my joy had left me.
It wasn’t until the next day that I went back to the same passage to read it in its context (rule #1 of bible study), and then I carefully read the verses that were the theme of the sermon. When I read the last verse of the chapter, the truth of the gospel exploded in my heart and I was set free again. The entire point of the passage was having faith in Christ!
The pastor longs to shepherd a healthy church. I get it. We can all improve, I know that, too. But the only way to do that is to go deeper in the gospel, marvel more at what Christ has done for us which would lead to loving him more.
We didn’t need an application lesson.
That’s the Holy Spirit’s job anyway.
I tell this story because if you’re not watchful, you might go home with law instead of gospel. It happens in most churches these days. There’s a huge push to be relevant, practical and captivating. People expect a take-away every Sunday.
What is more significant?
Coming to church to serve others or coming so God can serve you from his Word, bread and cup?
Coming for the fellowship with other Christians or communing with God through Word, sacrament and prayer?
Opportunities to work and serve abound, but on God’s day, he summons us to sit and listen and eat and take delight in him. He has prepared a table before us and he is host and server.
Don’t let anybody take that away from you.
Talk to me.