What Have You Been Preaching Lately?

What Have You Been Preaching Lately?

Yesterday’s blog considered the leper that Jesus healed with a word and with a touch. As I mentioned, touching lepers was just not done. It was unhealthy, risky, socially unacceptable. But Jesus chose that path to bring healing to this outcast.

I think it says something about Jesus’ idea of preaching. One morning, very early, Jesus rose and went to a desolate place to pray. It was still dark out. When His disciples arose, they saw that he was gone and began searching for Him.

They eventually found Him. Simon and those with him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” Jesus answered, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out” (Mark 1:37-38).

And so, they went to the next town. And there Jesus was “preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons,” healing the sick and ministering to people.

His sermons came to life in His actions.

His actions showed those who were watching what the message He’d been preaching actually looked like in real time and space – what it looked like to live out the love that fulfills every commandment.

Jesus touching the leper – a strictly forbidden act – was not merely intended to meet the man’s physical need, although it certainly did that. It was also an illustration of what the message of love. Jesus was saying, in effect, ‘Here’s what that love your neighbor thing looks like.’

“God so loved He gave …” (John 3:16).  So, God’s love led to action. In fact, love always does that! Love, real love, always propels us into doing something.

James put it this way: “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:15-16)

(Answer = no good at all.)

‘Love’ that does not lead to action is not love; It’s just a word.

Paul says that love – real love – actually “controls” us (2 Corinthians 5:14, ESV). The Greek word behind “controls” is difficult to translate with a single English word. It means to hold something together, to sustain it, to close something by pressing it together.

So, it carries the idea of being pressed by something both in and around so as to leave little room for movement – to crowd someone. It can even mean to seize or torment someone.

What is Paul saying here?   

He’s saying that as followers of Jesus, love presses us from every side, crowding us in, motivating us, thrusting us forward into new and powerful ways of expressing itself through us.

We just can’t escape this love, it’s all around us. Paul said, “[If I] have not love, I am nothing.”

It’s what drives us into time and space, pressing us to live out this radical love before all who are watching.

And that’s exactly what Jesus did when He touched the leper: He was living out the message of a radical, and very risky, love.

That’s the way Jesus preached. He let his life illustrate His words.

The truth is, we’re always preaching. Sometimes we preach with words and sometimes we preach without them, but we are ALWAYS preaching.

And, interestingly enough, what we do is often more significant to our observers than what we say.

Anyone can say anything.

Touching … well … that’s something else again.

But when the words we speak are affirmed by the things we do, what powerful sermons we preach to the watching world!

 

To consider …

  • If it’s true that we’re always preaching, what messages have you been preaching in the past seven days? The past month? What’s the theme of your current sermon series?
  • Would those around you be convinced that God has indeed sent the Savior into the world by watching the sermons you preach with your life?
  • Reflect upon Philippians 2:14-16a (my latest ‘favorite’ Bible passage): “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life …”
  • Paul argues that “grumbling or disputing” will keep us from being “blameless and innocent” as “lights in the world.” Why do you think this is true?
  • Do you feel that your life is a light for Jesus in the “midst of [the] crooked and twisted generation” wherein you live and move? Why or why not?
  • What sermon are you preaching to those around you when you grumble or complain?
  • What would those closest to you know about Jesus from watching your life?
  • Do they see a marked difference between the way you handle the challenges of life as compared to the way unbelievers do?
  • Is there something you need to talk to Jesus about?
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Comments

  1. Ouch! Right to the heart – do all things without grumbling. Even the grumbling no one ever hears – the one in your heart and mind that God DOES HEAR! If we are honest we all are guilty of this. Thank you for the reminder of God’s Word – and to turn the focus off ourselves and how we “feel” and be a light to this dark world. Lord forgive my grumbling and my pity parties and shift my gaze where it needs to be- thank You Lord for a church family that points me to YOU!!

    I went searching and found a Steve Green Hide them in your heart songs
    https://YouTube.be/THBlwr2_NM

    Do everything without complaining

  2. Wow that hurt but in a good way because I know some times I complain. But then I realized there are people hurting more than I can ever imagine but God is so good he does give me his eyes and his ears at times . If we can just listen we will hear him because I know I do because I love helping people with problems sometimes it’s not all fun but very rewarding . God bless

    • Kathryn Boisvert : November 29, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Well put, Brother! Thanks for sharing. I do realize after the fact sometimes when I’m right in the middle of it and I shouldn’t be grumbling or complaining but hey, just being honest here that in the end I feel blessed because I knew I did what pleased God and in the end, i helped somebody.

  3. Wow…talk about taking a sip from a fire hose! The past 7 days I’ve been privileged to breath the air of contentment as gratitude has overflowed from within. This is a sweet victory as life is not as I would have written it. In the past month He has shown me that stewardship is not merely about being discerning in monetary matters. It is about examining what I have the means to purchase but don’t really need. Asking, “Is there an emotional hole I am trying to fill but not with Jesus?” When I press in to His heart, I only hear one word resound, “Enough.” This has revolutionized my ability to let go of objects that others may truly need. Finally, my current series would be “Modeling Submission Before Hostile Hearts.”

  4. Today, as I listened to the message again, I find my spirit convicted. I always want to help when I’m aware of a need. However, when it is someone that I am close to (as in a relative, or close friend), I realized that I may be a bit judgmental. When I hear there may be a need in the life of one of these, I wonder: Is it something they brought on themselves with poor decisions they made? If they gave up X, would they be in this situation? Will I be helping them “dig a deeper hole” if I help? Would I be an enabler?

    I guess it’s time to be deeper in prayer and covered by His dust on these questions.

    Lord, give me your wisdom in ALL that I do and say. I want others to see YOU in everything that I do, and don’t do. Your will be done in my life so that I may be a light-bearer for you. I want my life to be a life giving and life changing sermon to those who see and/or hear me. I want them to get to know the One I love, and who loves me.

    • Amen! I’ll be praying this prayer, too, as it is my desire for others to see Jesus when they look at me! Thank you for sharing it!

    • Kathryn Boisvert : November 29, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Wow, Karen Martel! I was very blessed by what you had to write especially the last part where you said let my life be a life-giving and life-changing seemon to those who see and hear me! How challenging that is. And impossible really without the intervention of the Holy Spirit! I’m happy to have heard from a quiet godly woman! Thank you so much for sharing. I hope to hear more from you 💖

  5. My family and I have been the recipient of love and compassion the last couple of days( and even tomorrow) as my mom and dad have been in new york with my grandma. People ( you know who you are) have dropped of dinners, and spending time with us and calling and praying for my grandma and us kids as we are without my parents for these last couple of days. I want to thank them and let them know that seeing the way people put love into action is appreciated.

  6. Do all things without complaining…I was thinking about all the leaves in the yard…does anyone recall leaves being raked in the bible? Is it because they didn’t complain…they just did it? It is such a waste of time to complain..so let’s try to focus on what’s important. Stay positive. Pray!

  7. Thinking of that text in Phil. 2, frequently in the Sunday School class the discussion centers on the rigors and sacrifices of discipleship. On several occasions we kick around the difference between willing to serve/ willing to be a servant, living the Christian life or having Christ live His life through you. Discipleship/servanthood can have one or two approaches, it can be more from a duty aspect, which eventually leads to drudgery, or from devotion which will lead to joy. We all know which one is under the power of the Spirit and pleases the Lord and will strengthen our resolve to stay faithful. “Therefore, my beloved brothers be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Cor. 15:58

    • Kathryn Boisvert : November 29, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      I love that verse that you shared. Its one of my favorites. It is pretty tricky to be steadfast in the faith. Hard to be immovable! There’s so many things that come against us the winds of change curveballs that Satan throws at us etc. But as long as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit we cannot fail! Said it so well that serving out of a full heart really does bring joy and it is not drudgery! Thx for ur post 🙌🏻😀

    • Amen!!

  8. Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!

    • Kathryn Boisvert : November 29, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Of course I am completing this song in my mind and now I’m singing it aloud here in my room with the 20 foot ceiling! 🎶 ! you brought back wonderful memories of growing up in the Catholic Church -music was so important to me. And I’ve been thinking about the beautiful words and some of these hymns that we sang. So full of worshiping God the father and worshiping Jesus. Thank you brother !

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