Is This Sermon Over Yet?

June 7th, 2013 Post by

LutherPreachingIt 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.

 

 






Rules for comments on this site:


Engage the contents and substance of the post. Rabbit trails and side issues do not help the discussion of the topics.  Our authors work hard to write these articles and it is a disservice to them to distract from the topic at hand.  If you have a topic you think is important to have an article or discussion on, we invite you to submit a request through the "Ask a Pastor" link or submit a guest article.


Provide a valid email address. If you’re unwilling to do this, we are unwilling to let you comment.


Provide at least your first name. Please try to come up with a unique name; if you have a common name add something to it so you aren't confused with another user. We have several "john"'s already for example.  If you have a good reason to use a fake name, please do so but realize that the administrators of the site expect a valid email address and also reserve the right to ask you for your name privately at any time.


If you post as more than one person from the same IP address, we’ll block that address.


Do not engage in ad hominem arguments. We will delete such comments, and will not be obligated to respond to any complaints (public or private ones) about deleting your comments.


Interaction between people leaving comments ought to reflect Christian virtue, interaction that is gracious and respectful, not judging motives.  If error is to be rebuked, evidence of the error ought to be provided.


We reserve the right to identify and deal with trollish behavior as we see fit and without apology.  This may include warnings (public or private ones) or banning.

  1. John E
    June 7th, 2013 at 17:54 | #1

    Reminds me of the plaque we had installed on the lectern that said, “Let them see Jesus”.

  2. June 7th, 2013 at 18:30 | #2

    “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.”

    Amen!

    Acts 17:11

  3. June 7th, 2013 at 20:41 | #3

    A few years ago I attended a funeral of a relative in a protestant denomination that most would consider to have a generally conservative bent. About halfway through the 20 minute sermon I started to think, “What’s odd about this sermon? . . . Oh, yeah . . . he hasn’t mentioned Jesus even once, even in passing . . . I wonder if he will? . . . I’m gonna listen real carefully . . . nope, not the slightest reference to Jesus Christ—in an entire ‘Christian’ funeral sermon . . . not even one passing reference to the ‘Savior” etc.”

  4. Katy
    June 7th, 2013 at 21:30 | #4

    I love this article! Went to a camp/weekend retreat through my husband’s college and the “message” was how the story of Joseph related to broken families. It was so awful! My husband didn’t care to attend (wise one) and I thought, mistakenly, that it would be a sermon. Not so! I came back to our room angry and told him about the message. I think it does make a person angry to expect to hear of Jesus and then to have little to no reference in the “message” —Praise God for faithful Pastors who preach the law and the gospel and not a bunch of other…stuff.

  5. Nathan Redman
    June 14th, 2013 at 16:02 | #5

    @Katy #4

    Thank you for the undeserved compliment on the article. I am tempted to go to other churches and listen to sermons. When it comes down to it I’d rather my family and I attend my own church or another confessional LCMS church so I can get the good stuff. :)

  6. helen
    June 14th, 2013 at 20:12 | #6

    @Nathan Redman #5
    When it comes down to it I’d rather my family and I attend my own church or another confessional LCMS church so I can get the good stuff.

    You can have your church and your extra sermon, too.
    revfisk does “Greek Tuesday” where he discusses the Gospel lesson for the coming Sunday.

    I see at least one other sermon before I go to church to hear what my Pastor is going to do with the text. I think I listen more attentively (partly because I may be asked what I heard), but mostly because hearing it more than once reinforces the lesson. :)

    [Sometimes one of the pastors will throw a curve and concentrate on the other two lessons of the day. All of them are LCMS and in the same series, however]

If you have problems commenting on this site, or need to change a comment after it has been posted on the site, please contact us. For help with getting your comment formatted, click here.
Subscribe to comments feed  ..  Subscribe to comments feed for this post
Anonymous comments are welcome on this board, but we do require a valid email address so the admins can verify who you are. Please try to come up with a unique name; if you have a common name add something to it so you aren't confused with another user. We have several "john"'s already for example. Email addresses are kept private on this site, and only available to the site admins. Comments posted without a valid email address may not be published. Want an icon to identify your comment? See this page to see how.
*

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.