Contend Earnestly: Hey Dirtbag...The Sermon is For You!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hey Dirtbag...The Sermon is For You!

If you are of Arminian persuasion, you probably want to kindly skip this post because it will make as much sense as Weight Watchers saying they "aren't a diet but a way of life." Whatever. Anyways, one of the issues I sometimes face while I am either preaching or while I am sitting in the crowd of hypocrites (me included), is noticing who is in the crowd and who isn't.

I will be sitting there and listening to the sermon thinking, "Wow, what a great point, I hope 'so-and-so' heard that." Or if they aren't present, I might think something like, "I really wish 'so-and-so' was here because they really need to hear this." As I am thinking this, I am usually smiling like Benny Hinn counting his money and shaking my head in agreement with the preacher. But, the realization is this: How prideful do you have to be to hope that others are hearing the message without realizing YOU are the one that should most concern you in hearing the message?

Everytime this happens with me I get very frustrated at my contentness of self in regards to the message preached. What I have realized is that if I am a good Calvinist, I should understand that everyone that is at the worship service is there by the hand of God and everyone that isn't there was retrained by the hand of God. So, what I need to understand is that it isn't that person that missed the service who needs to hear this message the most, it is me.

"Even from eternity I am He,
And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
I act and who can reverse it?"
Isaiah 43:13

"I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2

Surely these verses have a much greater meaning than who is in attendance at church. But, with any truth, the greater meaning of the truth will prove the lesser meaning.

Now, this doesn't mean that those who aren't there don't need to hear the message or that they are being godly for missing it, but what I need to keep reminding myself is that I am the greatest sinner and the one who needs to hear this message preached the most. Not anyone else. So, when I look around to make sure others are hearing the message, maybe I should carry a small mirror around and look at myself first.

This is the most basic understanding of the gospel. That I need Jesus most. That I need to judge myself first.

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:1-5

Here are some quick things you can do to better put forth examination of the preaching every Sunday:

1. Pray that God would bring to light what you need to hear during the sermon. Do this before you get to church. I would say to continue this practice throughout the week.

2. During the sermon, think of why God has you in the pew or folding chair, to hear this message this week.

3. Think of how you can see the glory of Christ in your life because of the sermon, and how God can exemplify his name even more clearer through you because of the sermon.

4. Ask others how you could apply this sermon in your life and what points they think you need to improve on the most.

5. Pray for change in your heart.

6. Finally, you are now hopefully ready to ask God how you can use the sermon to edify others to show them the glory of Christ.

This list isn't perfect, but if you are like me, too often I think the sermon is for others and not for myself. I thank God that "that person" is in attendance when humility is preached. I just pray that they don't get up to go to the bathroom when God is about to apply the sermon to their heart. I seriously am like an Arminian sometimes when it comes to the sermon preached. What a dirtbag I am. So, from one dirtbag to another: The sermon is for you so that you will learn more about your filthiness and the glory and honor of our hero, Jesus Christ.


Central Thai Guy said...

I'm sending this link to a friend, he totally needs to read this...

Nah seriously though, that was a good read, thanks.


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