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The Net Pastor's Journal, Eng Ed, Issue 27 Spring 2018

Spring 2018 Edition

Author: Dr. Roger Pascoe, President,
The Institute for Biblical Preaching
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 519-620-2375

Part I: Preparing For Preaching

“Finalizing Your Sermon”

A. Finalizing The Manuscript

There has been much debate over the years about whether preachers should use full sermon manuscripts in the pulpit, or a sermon brief, or sermon notes, or nothing.

1. A Full Manuscript

Unless you have had considerable preaching experience, I recommend that you write out your sermons in full, even if you don’t take the full manuscript into the pulpit with you.

2. A Sermon Brief

I use a sermon brief. By “sermon brief” I mean amplified notes, a partial manuscript, summary paragraphs.

Key Features Of A Sermon Brief Are:

  • Write the “lead” sentences in full

Indent supporting material underneath the lead sentences. This can be in note form.

  • Write illustrations in full.

I inset them within a border to easily identify them.

  • Write applications in idea form to jog your memory

Like illustrations, I inset applications in a border to easily identify them. This also helps you to assess whether you are making applications at the appropriate points in your sermons and how much of your sermon is application.

When preaching applications you can afford to be more extemporaneous, but make sure you have thought them through beforehand. Applications are very important. Be sure to make them contemporary and relevant.

  • Write out the introduction in full

Memorize your introduction - at least the introductory “attention-getter”. Be sure that your “sermon-in-a-sentence” is carefully, succinctly, and accurately stated.

  • Write out your closing in full

Carefully think through how you will make your final appeal at the end of your sermon and how you will ask the people to respond.

  • Write out all your transitions between main points in full

Transitions between segments of your sermon are a very important aspect of preaching. This makes sure that the people follow you - i.e. so that they know how you progressed from one main point to the next.

There Are Several Advantages To Using A Sermon Brief:

a) It gives me all the crucial data I need without forcing me to take the time to write the whole sermon out word-for-word.

b) It prevents me from falling into the trap of over preparation.

c) It prevents me from reading my sermon.

d) It sets out the road map of the sermon so that I do not get off course or forget important points.

e) It provides me with the right words at the right times (e.g. for main points and explanatory material).

f) It links me to other Scriptures which I might not remember otherwise.

g) It marks out appropriate illustrations at appropriate points.

h) It focuses me on the applications at the appropriate points.

i) It prompts me with the transitions when needed which I might otherwise forget.

j) It regulates the length of the sermon.

Even Though You May Not Write A Full Manuscript, Make Sure…

  • That your sermon brief includes carefully thought-out words, phrases, imagery etc. as you usually cannot think of the right words on the spot.
  • That your sermon brief follows carefully scripted sermon sections (introduction, main points, illustrations, application, closing)
  • That your sermon brief is written in such a format that you never appear to be reading.

Conclusion. Whatever form of manuscript or notes that you end up taking with you into the pulpit, remember that sermons are an offering to God which have eternal impact on the lives of people and, therefore, are worthy of careful preparation.

B. Finalizing The Message

Preparing to preach involves more than writing a manuscript. Your manuscript needs to become a message from God which you deliver to the people. Therefore, once preparation of the manuscript has been completed…

1. Prayerfully Review The Message

Make any last minute changes in grammar, theology, exegesis, illustration, applications, wording etc. Test the whole sermon:

  • Is it biblical, accurate, and clear?
  • Are the illustrations true?
  • Are the applications relevant?
  • Is everything necessary?
  • Does every point contribute?

Eliminate what is not needed, true, accurate, or necessary. Familiarize yourself with the layout and content and flow-of-thought of the sermon. Add anything that is needed to strengthen it. Make sure that someone who has never heard this message would be able to understand it and follow it.

2. Prayerfully Relate The Message (Preach It To Yourself)

Relate the sermon first to yourself (before you preach it to your people), in terms of application and obedience. We have no right to preach a sermon we have not obeyed ourselves. This is the incarnational process. Make sure that you own the message.

3. Prayerfully Rehearse The Message (Pray Through It Before God)

As you pray, go over the entire sermon before God. Meditatively rehearse the sermon – pray the message to God asking him to show you anything that should be changed or eliminated, and anything that you need to obey, confess, or apply to your own life. This solemn discipline will reveal whether or not further adjustments need to be made or if you have His approval. Only then are you ready to preach. In your prayer, I suggest that you offer your sermon to God as a sacrifice, asking that it may be well-pleasing to Him.

4. Conclusion

As the messenger of the Lord, employ whatever pulpit method puts you at ease and makes you most effective in communicating God’s Word. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Then go out and “Preach the Word.”

C. Final Review

1. Every Sermon Has Four Essential Components In Its Structure

A) An Introduction

This is where you gain the attention of your audience, state your subject, proposition (“sermon-in-a-sentence”), and connect to the audience and to the Word.

B) A Body (Exposition)

The body of your sermon consists of explanatory material, which is usually divided up into main points, illustrations, and applications.

C) A Summation Or Wrap-Up

This is where you bring your sermon to a conclusion through condensation, exhortation, and invitation (see the Winter 2018 edition of this Journal).

D) Transitionary Sentences

Transitionary sentences help you make smooth and logical transition between the main parts of a sermon – between the introduction and the body of the sermon; between the main points of the sermon; and between the body and the closing.

2. Every Sermon Has Four Challenges

a) To stretch the mind = teach, inform, knowledge of God, biblical worldview

b) To stir, soften, touch the heart = affection, relationship with Christ

c) To stimulate, sensitize, prick the conscience = confession, holiness of life

d) To shape, subdue the will = obedience, submission to the will of God

Review every sermon to ensure that it fulfills all four of these challenges.

3. Keep In Mind Three Important Elements

a) Your theme / subject – this provides unity

“What is the dominating theme?” (the big idea of the sermon, the subject, the sermon-in-a-sentence). Ask yourself, “What am I going to say about the subject?”

b) Your thoughts – these provide structure and movement

“What are the integrating thoughts?” (the main points). What thoughts expose the theme / subject? State the thoughts in “principlized” form.

c) Your thrust – this provides direction and purpose

“What is the motivating thrust?” (the purpose of the sermon). What does the truth demand? What do you want them to do? What application are you going to make?

Part II: Preaching The Message

“From Start to Finish”

It is instructive that the apostle Paul, at the end of his epistles to the Colossians and to the Ephesians, asks for prayer concerning his preaching ability, clarity, opportunities, and courage.

“Praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” (Col. 4:3-4)

“And (praying) for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Eph. 6:19-20)

In both passages, Paul repeats the phrase “as I ought to speak.” There is an “oughtness” about preaching:

1. “How” we ought to preach - with “boldness,” courage, passion. This comes only when we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome our weakness and protected by the Holy Spirit in conflict with spiritual enemies.

2. “When” we ought to preach - “open doors,” opportunities.

3. “What” we ought to preach - “the mystery of Christ”; the mystery of the gospel.

4. “Why” we ought to preach - “to make the mystery known”. If we don’t make it known, who will? If we don’t make it known, it will be hidden and remain a mystery. In this sense, preaching is prophetic (revealing the truth of God) and apocalyptic (unveiling the truth).

5. “As I ought to preach” indicates strongly the very necessity and responsibility of preaching.

Foundational to the oughtness of preaching is prayer. We need to pray about our preaching and we need others to pray for us about it. Only with the enablement of the Holy Spirit can we preach in such a way that others will understand clearly, be convicted spiritually, and respond appropriately. Paul asks that “utterance” be given to him – to speak the very words of God. Thus, we are to “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2; cf. 1 Tim. 2:7). Clear, bold, relevant preaching of the gospel comes only from the unction of the Holy Spirit and prayer. When the Holy Spirit enables and empowers us, we will preach with courage, fluency, passion, conviction, and clarity.

A. Initial Remarks

Your initial remarks set the tone and really determine whether people are going to listen to you or not. They reveal something about yourself. People get this 6th sense about you from your opening comments. So, think them through and speak them wisely. You will either make it or break it here. If you lose the attention of your listeners here it is very hard to get them back.

Initial remarks form a transition from what went before to what is coming. It is always good to tie the previous part of the service together with your sermon by making remarks about something that was said or done before your sermon – e.g. by complimenting or thanking a worship team or sound system operator; or, by picking up on something that was already said or sung that is a natural transition into your topic.

It is very good practice to thank everyone who has been involved in the service as well as all those who minister in the church in various ways – e.g. teaching Sunday school classes, looking after little babies. Public recognition is good and proper.

Stay away from the common propensity to tell a joke. Jokes are fraught with danger and are usually unrelated to what you are going to preach on.

Be brief with these initial remarks.

B. The Introduction

In preaching the introduction, make sure that it moves smoothly from the initial remarks to the start of the exposition.

Make sure that your introduction fulfills the purpose of an introduction – for help with this, see the 2018 Winter edition of this journal.

Somewhere in your introduction or initial remarks, remember to pray. It’s amazing how many preachers do not pray before they preach and some don’t pray at all.

If it has not been read earlier in the service, find an appropriate place to read your passage. I like to read my own passage at the time I preach, rather than have someone else read it earlier. This way, the sermon is directly tied to the passage. Be very careful how you read the text. Practice reading it. Read it meaningfully, slowly, expressively (but not unnaturally), lay emphasis where appropriate to give meaning. Make use of pauses for meaning, paragraph breaks, and emphasis. It’s good to ask the audience to stand for the reading of God’s Word.

Keep the introduction short – I suggest not more than about 10 to 15% of the whole sermon (i.e. 3 – 5 minutes).

C. The Exposition (Body Of The Sermon)

The exposition consists of a continual interplay between explanation, illustration, and application. Explanation of the text helps your audience to understand the original author’s meaning. Illustrations serve to clarify and strengthen the explanation – to make it more vivid, real, understandable, relevant, contemporary. So, illustrations are really a subset of explanation. Application makes the meaning relevant to and practical in life.

1. Explanation

Generally, explanation is the part of the sermon which is done the worst:

  • because this takes a lot of preparation time and it’s hard work
  • because preachers today want to go straight to the application or the “how-to”
  • because preachers seem to want to use the text merely as a bridge to the topic they want to speak on.

Make sure that you do a good job of explanation. Carefully identify the principles and show how they are drawn from the text. If you don’t explain the “what” of the text, you can’t effectively and powerfully apply the “how” or “why” of the text. Instruction always comes before action; principle always precedes and lays the foundation for practice; doctrine comes before and issues in duty.

2. Application

Application is best done as you go along rather than at the end of your sermon. If you leave application to the end:

  • it is divorced from the text from which it is derived.
  • it becomes routine, so that the people know when it is coming and they can shut off their ears.

While your explanation needs to be done accurately and well, make sure that you do not get stuck in explanation. You need to bridge from the text to the everyday lives of the people. They must be reached with God’s word.

There are four major principles involved in properly applying the sermon:

(a) The personal principle

This is the principle of the preacher applying the Scripture to his own life. If you preach to others what you have not applied to your own life, you will not preach with power. Not only does God know when you do this, but the people will know also. The preacher must preach what he believes and he must live it.

(b) The imagination principle

To properly apply the text, it must become real to you. The people, places, and emotions must come alive to you. If it is alive for you, then it makes it easier for you to make it real for other people and see how it applies to them.

(c) The stretch principle

As we preach to people over a period of time and guide them, the preacher gets to know them better – their fears, their needs, their hopes. Our knowledge of the people, where they live and who they are, allows us to stretch the application of the Scriptures to cover as many of these areas as possible. This does not give license for using the text inappropriately or inaccurately. There is only one interpretation of Scripture, but there are many applications to human experiences and problems.

(d) The declarative principle

The application of the text must be declared with authority and clarity. There must be no uncertainty about the application of the text. The people come to church for clear direction, to find out what God says, how they must live, and how they can get help for their problems. Therefore, the applications must be overtly declared so that the people are not left hanging or wondering what the point was.

3. Illustrations

Use illustrations wisely and appropriately. Make sure that they illustrate the point you are making. If you have to explain your illustration, it isn’t the right one.

Try to avoid falling into some of the following common traps:

  • Using too many illustrations so that the entire sermon becomes an extended illustration.
  • Using illustrations in such a way that they dominate the sermon.
  • Long illustrations. Illustrations should be succinct, to the point, readily understandable.

4. The Close

This is the climax of the sermon. This is where you pull together the proposition (sermon-in-a-sentence) with the explanation and the actualization of the truth in the lives of the people. This is where the rubber meets the road in preaching. This, along with the introduction, is probably the toughest part of the sermon to do well.

In your close, try to…

  • crystallize the sermon – i.e. summarize it.
  • personalize the sermon – i.e. be direct and personal. Use “you” if possible.
  • actualize the sermon – spell out the response that the message demands and that you expect.

Thus, the close is by definition confrontational. In fact, all prophetic preaching is confrontational. You are saying, “This is what the word of the Lord says - now this is what you need to do about it.”

The response you call for may be:

  • a change of attitude or practice
  • a deeper love for God and for people
  • the confession of sin
  • repaired relationships
  • strengthened belief and faith
  • new understanding of truth
  • etc. etc.

Prepare the close very carefully and strategically. Do not introduce new material here. Spell out how you want them to respond – e.g. by…

  • coming to the front
  • silent prayer
  • standing where they are
  • raising a hand
  • speaking to you after the service etc.

Give time for response.

5. Transitions

Transitions make the communication of the message unified, smooth, logical, comprehensible. Don’t underestimate the value of and need for transitions between the various points and sections of your sermon. I recommend that you write out every transition in full.

6. The Sermon As A Whole

A good sermon will flow smoothly and progress steadily to the close. It will have movement – progression of argument, explanation, application, exhortation etc. When you have made your point, move on! It will be balanced between the sections of the sermon (introduction, exposition, and close) and balanced between main points so that one point is not 90% of the sermon. It will have pace – like a marching band, it will not race at one point and crawl at another, but it will steadily move toward the goal.

Use words sparingly and precisely. Search for words that give the most precise nuance possible to accurately express what you want to say. Remember, many preachers are too wordy. Speaking longer than necessary turns your listeners off. Be precise so that there is no vagueness or confusion. Develop word pictures, analogies, contrasts that embed the idea in the mind. Be colourful.

Part III: Devotional Exposition

“The Call to Church Order” (1 Cor. 4:6-21)

By: Dr. Stephen F. Olford

Introduction These verses bring to a close Paul’s treatment of divisions in the church. You will remember that he has not only thoroughly dealt with the curse, but also with the causes of these divisions in the preceding chapters. Now at last he comes to the cure. For this very reason the passage before us is of supreme importance, not only to the individual Christian but especially to the life of the local church.

The section divides into two parts: The first part is characterized by the note of severity (vs. 6-13). The second part is characterized by its extreme tenderness (vs. 14-21). To put it in another form, Paul addresses his readers first with the word of correction, and then he concludes with the word of compassion. These two notes are always sounded in the presentation of the Christian message because they are the expression of the very nature of God (see Romans 11:22). This was true of the Savior’s ministry. At times there was a warning note, while on other occasions there was a winning note. Certain circumstances called for a winnowing of men and women. At other times there was a wooing of men and women. First, let us consider:

I. The Word Of Correction

“And these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written…” (1 Corinthians 4:6-13). The Apostle introduces his word of correction by telling the Corinthians that he was employing Apollos and himself as illustrations of the great principles that affect the relationship between ministers, teachers, and members of the whole church. It is characteristic of Paul that he would not address his readers without involving himself. There was always a wonderful courtesy about this man. He had a way of including himself in his own warnings and condemnations. With this preamble, Paul strikes once again at the root cause and the positive cure of all division in the individual and in the corporate life of the church:

1) The Root Cause Being Sin and Self-Centeredness in the Church “…That none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other” (1 Corinthians 4:6). Quite obviously the heart of this self-centeredness is this ugly thing called pride. Using a familiar phrase – “puffed up” – which occurs no less than seven times in this epistle (4:18, 19; 5:2; 8:1; 13:4), Paul shows that this pride is:

a) Unbiblical. – “…Learn in us not to think beyond what is written…” (1 Corinthians 4:6). Paul is undoubtedly referring here to the general teaching of scripture on the subject of pride. There is nothing that God hates more than the pride of the human heart. Surely the Apostle had in mind such Old Testament passages as Daniel 4:37 and Isaiah 42:8 where it is clear that “God will abase those who are proud” and “will not share His glory with another.” There are similar verses in the New Testament where it is stated “…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). And “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). What a terrifying thought to realize that Almighty God sets Himself up to resist and crush pride in the human heart wherever He finds it! Until this monstrous thing is dealt with in the local church, there will always be divisions and contentions. But pride is not only unbiblical, it is also:

b) Unspiritual. – “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). A proud person fails to see that God not only makes people differently, but that He also is the sole Source of both natural and spiritual endowments. It is only the unspiritual Christian who does not recognize the distinctions as well as the derivations of these gifts. So Paul, in effect, asks: “What are you so puffed up about? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you were so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (v.7, Living Letters). The whole trouble in the Corinthian church and in many local assemblies today, is that Christians forget that they owe their souls and their all to God alone. But Paul goes on to show, in the third place that pride is:

c) Unsociable. – “You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us – and indeed I wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!” (1 Corinthians 4:8). With withering irony and holy contempt, Paul describes the unsociable state into which pride had brought these Corinthians. It was a condition of smug satisfaction, self-sufficiency, and snobbish superiority. Then Paul points out with stinging satire that such pride had estranged them from him. In the Beatitudes Jesus says that it is those who hunger and thirst after righteousness that are full, it is the weak that become rich and inherit the earth, and that it is the poor in spirit who receive the kingdom and reign. But for these Corinthians it was otherwise. What searching words these are, and yet how necessary is this divine corrective in our church life today! There is hardly a problem that arises in our religious circles which cannot be traced to this unbiblical, unspiritual, and unsociable thing called pride.

In our last study, the Apostle condemns all kinds of boasting, but here in this section he seeks to correct it, by exposing the sin of self-centeredness in the church. Having done this, he turns next to the positive cure for division in the local church:

2) The Positive Cure Being Christ-Centeredness in the Church “For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death…” (1 Corinthians 4:9). In the verses that follow, Paul shows that the only answer to self-centeredness is Christ-centeredness, and that the only antidote to the spirit of pride is the way of the cross. It seems as if Paul felt that he were the object of the pitiless gaze of a mocking world in the arena of life. To explain what he meant Paul describes the way of the cross in terms of:

a) Mental Suffering. – “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!” (1 Corinthians 4:10). With an ironical play on words, Paul contrasts the sufferings of the servants of God with the sophistication of the Corinthian believers. Because Paul and his brethren were associated with the cross of Christ, they had become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men – that they had been exhibited on a vast theater stage for all and sundry to mock and scorn. I wonder, are you and I willing to be ridiculed for our message? How many of us are tempted to compromise the gospel because it is unpopular and despised?

The way of the cross involves not only mental suffering, however, but also:

b) Physical Suffering. – “Even unto the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, beaten, and homeless” (1 Corinthians 4:11). Paul is quite obviously referring to something he was experiencing at the very time of writing. True, he had suffered in the past, but he says “Even unto this present hour…” Here are four things we take for granted as the basic necessities of life – food, clothing, protection, and shelter; but Paul was lacking in all of these. Yet, indeed, he labored with his own hands (v. 12). The Apostle had been taught to make tents of goat hair (Acts 18:3), but such manual labor was despised among the Greeks. The fact that he had so engaged in it at Corinth caused misgivings among the saints (see 2 Corinthians 11:7). But this is the way of the cross, and we must not forget it.

Paul climaxes this paragraph by combining the two aspects of his suffering by saying, “…Being defamed, we entreat. We have bee made as the filth of the world, the off scouring of all things until this day” (1 Corinthians 4:13). As he began, so he concludes – with a striking metaphor taken from human sacrifices in a Greek city. When criminals were sacrificed to appease the wrath of the gods, the poor wretches were thrown into the sea, and this is the word Paul uses to describe himself. Literally, the sentence reads: “We are made as the rinsings and the scrapings of all things.” In a word, we are nothing but garbage.

I wonder how many of us are prepared to walk the way of the cross. It may not fall our lot to experience physical hardship in this affluent society, but we are all called to suffer mentally for Christ’s sake, for if we are true to our message of Christ crucified, we shall be the world’s rejects, objects of laughter, scorn, and ridicule. Here then is the word of correction that Paul addresses to the Corinthian church. But with this note of severity he also sounds the note of tenderness, and the paragraph concludes with:

II. The Word Of Compassion

You can sense the Apostle’s heart of love as he addresses his readers as his “beloved children.” “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you…” (1 Corinthians 4:14-21). Paul’s approach here is completely different. The word of correction is now followed by the word of compassion. The charge of the Apostle has given way to the appeal of a father. And so it should be in all ministry. Severity is needed, but it must always be followed by the message of tenderness. So the great Apostle admonishes them on the basis of:

1) A Parental Relationship in Christ “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, be followers of me” (1 Corinthians 4:15-16). Having addressed them as beloved sons, Paul assures that it is not his design to make them hang their heads in shame, but rather to admonish them. As a father, he wants them to be brought up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In the previous paragraph he has dealt with them as an instructor, but now he wants to speak to them as a father. An instructor was essentially a disciplinarian who was responsible for the supervision of a boy’s dress, food, speech, and manners during his minority. But Paul wants them to now act as grown sons (v. 16). Needless to say, Paul only wanted the Corinthians to imitate him to the extent that he followed Christ. This was a challenge to mature living (his own and theirs) as opposed to the childish behavior they had been expressing. What a word to you and me! It is time we grew up and left behind our babyhood! Paul continues his appeal on the basis of:

2) A Personal Remembrance in Christ “For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17). The Corinthians had overlooked many of the truths that he had taught them. So Timothy was coming to remind them of teachings, helping them to be worthy sons and daughters of God. This ministry of remembrance is underestimated in our Christian experience. Indeed, a great part of the preacher’s responsibility is to remind us of truths that have been forgotten or neglected (see 2 Peter 3:1). This is one great function of the Holy Spirit in this age, “to bring to our remembrance” the things the Lord has taught us in times past. So also the Lord’s Table is designed to remind us repeatedly of the central truths of the gospel and the soon return of Christ. The heart that responds to the ministry of remembrance, however, is one that has been broken at the cross and is ready to accept not only the word of correction, but also the word of compassion. Finally, Paul presents his appeal on the basis of:

3) A Pastoral Responsibility in Christ “What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?” (1 Corinthians 4:21). Knowing that there would still be some proud people in Corinth (v. 18), Paul climaxes his compassionate appeal with this note of authority. He tells them that if the Lord wills, he will come to them and then discover whether or not there was, in fact, arrogant opposition in Corinth or mere idle talk (v. 19). He reminds them that the kingdom of God is not just talking, but living in the power of the risen Christ (v. 20). God has provided every means by which Christians should live as responsible men and women. This is the whole purpose of the cross of Christ and the whole power of the resurrection.

Conclusion: So Paul concludes with the words: “What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or I love and a spirit of gentleness?” (1 Corinthians 4:21). He gives them a choice whether they will receive him as a father in the spirit of love and meekness. Paul’s love for his children in the faith was no blind, easy, sentimental love. On the contrary, it was a love that knew that sometimes discipline is necessary and when it was, he was prepared to exercise it. There is a love that can ruin a person, by shutting his eyes to his faults. At the same time, there is a love that can make a man, by bringing him face to face with truth as it is in Christ Jesus. The cure for divisions in the Church is the acceptance of the word of correction, which smashes our pride and leads us to walk in the pathway of the cross. It is also the acceptance of the word of compassion, which encourages us to live, learn, and love as grownup sons of God. Are you prepared to meet these terms, and so know the peace and joy of doing the Father’s will?

Part IV: Sermon Outlines

To listen to the audio version of these sermons in English, click on these links: Link 1 - Jn. 15:12-13; Link 2 - Jn. 15:14-17, Link 3 - Jn. 16:5-15

Title 1: Five characteristics of a true disciple (Jn. 15:1-17)

Note: See the 2018 Winter edition of this Journal for points 1-3 (John 15:1-11).

Point #4: The fourth characteristic of a true disciple is… loving (12-13)

Point #5: The fifth characteristic of a true disciple is… knowing (14-17)

Title 2: The Coming of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:5-15)

Point #1: Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our Helper / Comforter (5-7)

Point #2: Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world (8-11)

Point #3: Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide believers into all truth (12-15)

Related Topics: Pastors

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