Sermon Serious

I don’t mind admitting that I was one of the suckers who left the church after I cracked The DaVinci Code.  A decade has passed since then, along with a lot of livin’ and learnin’.  Since I was young, my mantra has been, “Life is funny, I’m serious.”  The older I get, the more I find it to be true.

While it was reading that caused my faith to falter, it has also been reading that has guided me back to faith.  I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that in the couple of times that I have been back in a church, I have felt the prodigal son’s father’s arms around me.  I am unable to dive back in devoid of all skepticism, but I’ve seen enough over the years to recognize the simple truth that good people are good people.  And good people are rare.

I can’t help but feel like something is amiss though.  In the time I was away, a shift has taken place.

As I write this, I feel like an old timer longing for a past that probably never existed.  We’re all more than familiar with the rather cliche critique of modern churches, “they are too feel good.”  Maybe, maybe not.  Either way, I’m not interested in joining that chorus.  Instead, what I am interested in musing about is the amount of comedy that has been interjected into sermons.

Comedy in sermons interests me because of the subject matter.  For all communication, save sermons, I believe the speaker’s first step is to recognize his or her audience.  Sermons dealing with ‘the Truth’ are different.  By definition, if one person is going to communicate that they really know the nature of human existence, the audience has the responsibility to adapt to the speaker. The Truth is fixed, it doesn’t bend or change.  It is universal.  On top of that, it simply becomes too difficult to discern why someone is listening and/or why the speaker is popular if the sermon is built around the audience.

Did Jesus of Nazareth ever purposefully try to keep his listener’s attention?  What do you think?  Can you picture Him ever caring about whether the audience felt entertained?  Would Jesus have ever removed some Truth from his message in order for it to meet expectations, or to gain a follower?

I know life was fundamentally different back then.  I get it.  But they killed Him via public execution.  Whoever “they” actually were is irrelevant to this point.  An organized ‘they’ killed Him.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and I’ve concluded that it would be very difficult to give a sermon today that would incite some group of people to that amount of passion; enough to call for a capital punishment proceeding.

(This is where my respect for Him grows tremendously.)

Let’s say I did develop this sermon.  Could I give it?  Perhaps.

I guess I would have to believe it was the Truth.

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3 comments

  1. karelharris

    Keep searching. Don’t give up on the church. People are the church and Christ died for her and He’s coming back for her. There are many imitations out there. You’ll know. Something won’t feel right, it’ll be off. Keep searching though. There are remnants. Times are changing though. It’s a time to have your ears tickled to hear what you want to hear or go where the truth is preached and your heart is convicted and change takes place and we are transformed by the truth that is spoken. People are flawed humans in need of a Savior and that’s what we find in churches, don’t let that come between you and Jesus. Keep searching.

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      • karelharris

        I wanted to say things differently, better, and I was suffering a terrible headache and maybe should have waited but just really wanted to reply. I’ve been there where I’ve felt so discouraged by the “church” and the people in it but because I am so passionate about Christ and all He’s done in my life and through my life. The church by comparison to Him can be a huge disappointment. But, in perspective, they are just like me, messed up struggling human beings trying to get it right. I can’t give up on the church or being a part of it because Christ has called us to be a part of it and to gather together. Hebrews 10:25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
        And there is unity in the body of Christ, He is the Head and we are the body:
        1 Corinthians 12:12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:14-23 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
        The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (and ROmans 12:5) We don’t have to conform to everything but definitely being among other Christians we learn a lot about how to live in and get along in unity, we have to work those things out. When we remember that Christ is our common denominator. He makes us one.Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. How else will we grow spiritually unless we interact with other believers? We learn humility, gentleness and patience, developing the character of Christ as we relate within the body of Christ.
        And we see that Jesus, while on earth went to church every chance he got. It was where he seemed to want to be as often as he could be. Again, church IS the people not the building.
        And no, they are not all created equal, sadly. They do not all preach the truth, or ALL of the bible. Many leave out a lot of the bible because it is not going to make them popular, win them fans, be considered politically correct, fill their mega church seats or make them a mega church or get them on TV, or wealthy. That’s sad and has nothing to do with Christ. Christ is about humility, the full gospel, the truth, the cross, laying down of one’s life in order to truly find it, putting Him first above all else and trusting Him with everything else. I’ve walked in and out of many churches. Learn the scriptures, spend time alone in prayer with the Savior talking with Him, tell Him your heart and that you want Him, and the REAL experience and the Truth, because He is the Truth and ask Him to lead you to Him in a church where there is a pastor of integrity who preaches the word as Paul did, as Christ Himself did. He will honor that. And be persistent. He hears your words and even better, He listens to your heart. Read my blog post: Prayer. What’s the Difference? I just posted it last week. It was probably for you 😉 I’ll be praying for you. Not because you’ve asked but because I think the Holy Spirit is calling you to GREAT works and has gifted you for amazing things.

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