Matthew R. Perry

When a Good Sermon Turns Ugly, Part III

In Sermons on February 8, 2008 at 4:27 pm

(This sermon was preached on Sunday, February 3, 2008, at Boone’s Creek
Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. To listen to this sermon in its
entirety, click here. You can also read over the Introduction , Part I and Part II.)

Part III: Most in our culture will seek to silence Jesus’ world

Luke 4:28-30 says:

When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. [29] And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.
[30] But passing through their midst, he went away.

Jesus made them so angry that they did not even finish the synagogue service. This was a good sermon that turned ugly, for sure. His Word had penetrated the hearts of those listening, that they felt it was their civic duty to silence Jesus once and for all!

Do we try to silence Jesus’ impact on our hearts? Sadly, many of us do this in a number of ways.

Sometimes, our theology gets in the way. Now, you know me. I’m all for studying the things of God — that’s what theology is. But there are times when we construct personal theological systems in our minds that make us think we are in good standing before God — even to the point where we do not examine ourselves.   Baptists are all about ‘once saved, always saved,’ which means that we often see no need to look at the condition of our hearts to see if we are on fire for God. How many preachers have led their people astray when inquiring minds come to them questioning their salvation, have been given the advice, “Go back to when you walked the aisle — that’s
how you can know.” What a dangerous and deadly poison that is. God may be telling them that there are areas which need to be examined, or that they may not be saved but just walked the aisle.   The Holy Spirit is a shining light that penetrates and examines hearts and minds!

Sometimes, we have a divided mind concerning sin. I used to have this problem. I had my pet causes and could spot from a mile away when someone wasn’t living out an areathat I had well under control. Yet, there would be areas of my life that were definitely not under God’s lordship,
but my own. I played ‘pick and choose.’ I would be holier than thou in
one area I had control over, but would justify my sin away in another area. Would you say that I had a problem in the sinful areas I was justifying away? Yes, but also in the other. “But Bro. Matt,” you say, “you weren’t blatantly sinning.” Yes, I was. I thought I had one area under control (that’s pride: I had it under control) and I justified my sin away in the other area (thus, silencing Jesus words in that area over the ‘words’ of my flesh).

Sometimes, we won’t move until we have a visible sign from God.
The operative word being, “Visible!”  We are more interested in the current blessing from God than we are the God who blesses. We distrust his timing
on this because they don’t conform to our standards. We know what God is saying, and may even believe it — but we won’t step out in faith until something visible is clear.

We must be quite careful in allowing something to stifle and silence the effect of God’s Word on our lives. We must ask ourselves, “Which crowd would we have been in — those who listened to Jesus’ gracious words or those who were offended and ready to silence Jesus at all costs? Do our programs and emphases uplift denominational issues while lowering biblical standards? Do we fear preaching on hard texts and, by doing so, silence the truth edge of Jesus’ teaching? Would we rather focus on the listeners or focus on the strength of God’s Word, come what may?

May the church remain faithful!

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