Sermon Follow-Up

It is practically impossible to include everything you want to say in a sermon in a sermon.  After upwards of 30 hours of research, reading, study, reflection, writing, and re-writing and re-writing and re-writing, there is a lot of material that gets left on the cutting room floor. And still, after so many hours of sermon preparation, sometimes you don’t think about something important or helpful until after you have preached the message, which can be quite defeating if you allow what you didn’t say to affect you in such a way that undermines all the good you did say.

This happens to me all of the time. I remember a great illustration that I didn’t use or an application that I didn’t mention after I have preached the message. Ugh.

Today, after a sermon from James 3:1-12 entitled, “Words that Hurt, Words that Heal,” someone mentioned how the words that they struggle with the most are not the words others speak to them, but the words they speak to themselves–the words “in my head.” I thought to myself, “Yes! How did I not talk about those words.” What a perfect opportunity it would have been to teach on “preaching the gospel to yourself” in view of the lies of the flesh and the enemy.  Thankfully, I remembered that I had said something very similar a couple of weeks ago in another message. But even if I had not mentioned it at all, it is okay. After all, it is practically impossible to include everything you want to say in a sermon in a sermon.

This is one of the great benefits of having a blog (not to mention preaching week in and week out, where I can say something next week that I forgot this week). In this context of a blog, I am able to process with you thoughts and ideas that I didn’t think of in sermon preparation or thoughts and ideas that you bring to my mind in conversation after a sermon. This means that your post-sermon input is welcomed, encouraged, and appreciated!

This leads me to the post-sermon idea of learning to speak the truth of gospel identity and reality to yourself, especially when you are hearing distorted, unbelieving, orphan voices in your head.

This morning during the call to worship, I showed a card that my wife carries with her everywhere she goes. It is her Christian ID card. On the card, it reminds her that in view of the verdict at the cross, she is fully forgiven, perfectly accepted, beautiful, loved, and even delighted in by her Father in heaven. Nothing can change that.

Her Father is sovereign, working all things for her good. Fate is a lie. He is for her, not against her. His disposition toward her is not anger, but affection.

When the voices of condemnation begin to arise in her head, she can go back to this “gospel identity card” and speak the truth to herself–truth that the Father is speaking, too.

This is the reality that any believer can speak as we learn to preach the gospel to ourselves and to others, because just as wounded people wound people, healed people heal people. Forgiven people forgive people. Loved people love people.

So let’s look to Jesus and be healed, forgiven, and loved.

Want to listen to what I did say? Listen here.

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