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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Taking Stock of My Preaching

It was a great joy to share Joshua 8:30-35 with our body this week. As we discussed burnt offerings and peace offerings, we naturally found ourselves in Hebrews 10:1-25, where the author discusses the intent of the offerings. In the midst, we stopped at verse 14 to discuss the author's use of the word sanctification.

Unfortunately, sanctification is largely misunderstood by the church today. We fear teaching a "works righteousness" (becoming justified by my deeds) so much that the church has quit expecting the righteous to do works (Ephesians 2:8-10). However, the Scriptures articulate that God will sanctify those whom He has justified. In fact, in moments of personal doubt, the Scriptures tell us to examine our lives and look for sanctification. It's not about looking back to see if you prayed a prayer one day, or looking for a particular date in your Bible where you came forward at church (neither element is remotely described in Scripture), but rather taking yourself through a simple test:

Since the time that I have come to understand the gospel, do I see more of Christ evident in my life than before?

Now, some people panic over this question. If they've had a bad day, week or month, they panic that they must not be saved. Sanctification is not like that. It does not mean perfection (that is called glorification). Sanctification does not mean each day must be better than the day before. However, it does mean you need to be able to see evidence that God is doing a work within you (Philippians 1:6).

In our first service, I used the stock market to illustrate this point. It may go up and down. It may even seem a bit volitale to you. But when you step back and observe the bigger picture, you see growth. I thought it was a pretty good illustration.However, as I was sharing about the market, nearly every person I made eye contact with looked a little troubled. Even as I'm sharing, I begin to wonder, Oh no. Is this a bad illustration? Are there elements about the market I don't understand that are actually making a point to the contrary? Am I misinformed about the market, or worse yet, about sanctification? Am I bordering on something heretical???? The beauty of preaching two services, is that I had the opportunity to chuck the illustration for the second group (and I think that's the one we recorded).
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Then we enjoyed a New Member's Class that evening. One man, who sat through both services approached me before we began. He was very complimentary about the message (Side note: There are few things better than hearing the Lord used His Word to encourage, grow, strengthen and challenge a brother) but then stated, "You gave a really good illustration in first service and then you didn't use it in the second. Why didn't you mention the stock market again?"

Doh! I hope preaching is like sanctification. You don't nail it everytime, but over time, hopefully it is getting better.

7 Comments:

  • At 6:23 PM, Blogger BReformed said…

    I think that is an excellent illustration. Perhaps the troubling look was the connection you made to the reality of life. There really are downs, and lots of them. It's called thlipsis.

    "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

     
  • At 10:32 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    Yeah, I think that is a great illustration Danny. It puts the whole conversation about church marketing back in perspective. Hee hee!

    Nah, in all seriousness, that is a great illustration of sanctification.

    Bears by 14. Peyton is a baby.

     
  • At 9:31 AM, Blogger Noel said…

    Love the illustration.

     
  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger Brad said…

    Hmm. Actually looks like a good eschatological chart as well.

     
  • At 1:39 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    sure it does brad...

    if the "x axis" is years
    and the "y axis" is closeness to His return.

    of course, the "thlipsi" don't make much sense then.

     
  • At 5:07 PM, Blogger Brad said…

    Of course I could answer your first comment with a dumb preterist joke and say "yeah, if you flipped the chart backwards" But I won't.

     
  • At 10:07 PM, Blogger Gary McDuda said…

    Hmmmm, first service, huh? That probably means the older crowd? Any chance the people with the troubled look were 60 something and lived through the great depression or their parents had just survived it?

    Perhaps they were just trying to figure out how a precipitous crash where all was lost fit into your illustration. It hasn't always been a predominately bull market. The younger crowd knows nothing of MAJOR crashes (A few black Monday's or Tuesdays, but nothing like "the big one" ) and so thought the illustration was near perfect.

     

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