It was sometime in 2006, I was looking for a Lutheran Church to visit and possibly join. I grew up in an ELCA church so I checked out those first. I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I guess I wanted a church that made me feel welcome and comfortable. I wanted a pastor who preached a sermon that made me feel good, connect with me emotionally, and entertain me. I didn’t know what to look for in a church. How would I know what to listen for in a sermon? I finally attended a local LCMS church where the pastor preached something completely different than what I heard at the other churches, he preached only about Jesus Christ. After that I didn’t want to hear anything else in a sermon.
We’ve all been there, wondering if it will ever end. Your pastor is all pumped up and ready to preach, he’s been waiting all week for this. He has your ears, but does he really? You’re probably thinking about lunch, the horrible sweater the guy in front of you is wearing or the afternoon football game. You’re probably getting distracted by your children or people getting up to use the bathroom. You’re hoping for something interesting, something in his sermon to keep your attention.
What you need to realize is that the sermon isn’t about you or making you feel good. You need to understand the sermon is meant to preach Jesus Christ to you and that alone. While it’s great to have a pastor who can make you chuckle, think, or become emotional during a sermon; that is not what the sermon is meant to do. The message of your pastor’s sermon should always be Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of your sins.
The Law and the Gospel should also always be present in your pastor’s sermon. The Law is there to show you that you’re a sinner in need of a savior. The Gospel is there to show you that you have a Savior; Jesus Christ, who takes all your sins away. You should be able to pick the Law and the Gospel out very easily. Everyone wants to hear all Gospel, let’s face it the Law makes us feel bad. The Law always makes me think of what I deserve, hell; burning forever for my sins. Then the Gospel comes along to extinguish you, washing you of your sins just as you were washed in your baptism. In the life of a Christian, the Gospel of Jesus Christ always has the final word.
The Holy Spirit works through your pastor to preach to you the Word of God. The Word of God is inerrant and infallible; your pastor however is not. There are times when he may have a bad sermon, he’s not Martin Luther even if he wants to be. Every pastor should be able to back up their sermons if you have a question, he did go to the seminary you know. Respectful questions are not out of line and should be encouraged. Keep him on his toes and learn as much as you can from him. It should be painfully obvious if a pastor isn’t keeping Jesus Christ at the center of his sermons. If this is the case, run away. Find another church to attend. Any pastor who doesn’t preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified from the pulpit isn’t Christian or Lutheran.
Christianity is Jesus Christ. Our baptism connects us with Jesus Christ. Holy Communion is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ. The forgiveness of our sins is because of Jesus Christ. Our faith is in Jesus Christ. Our redemption is in Jesus Christ. A sermon is the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed and nothing else.
So the next time you’re leaving the divine service, stop and thank your pastor. Thank him for preaching Jesus Christ to you and your family when so many other “pastors” do not. Thank him for standing up for the true, biblical Christianity and confessional Lutheranism. So, “Is This Sermon Over Yet?”, the sermon and gospel of Jesus Christ are never over. Thanks be to God for that.