Tag Archives: Sermons

Thank God for great preachers

In a day when the good sermons seem to be outnumbered by the bad, we should give immense thanks to God for the great pastors that he has blessed us with.  It is here that I would just like to name a few.  Pastor Bill Cwirla of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, CA.  Pastor Craig Donofrio of God Whisperers fame.  Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church of the AALC in Oslo, MN.  Retired Pastor Greg Eilers, formerly pastor in Port Hope Michigan.  He should totally come out of retirement and plant a new church.  Perhaps in Maine because three is far too few.  Pastor Jonathan Fisk, host of Worldview Everlasting.  LCMS President Matt Harrison, may his reign be long and fruitful.  Pastor Todd Wilken of Issues Etc.  And my own Paul Nielsen of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Waterville, ME.  These are men that every time you hear them preach, you are guaranteed both law and gospel, exactly what every sermon should be.  There are many others out there and if you’ve got a pastor that preaches like these do, hang on to them.  They’re giving you exactly what you need.

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Jesus is not a cameo guest star

Growing up, I used to love watching Saturday morning cartoons. One such program was Garfield & Friends. It was two separate cartoons rolled into one half hour block. A running gag of the show was that a character from one of the cartoons would just show up in the other for no apparent reason for nothing more than a few seconds. Someone would usually remark, “What’s he doing here?” “Oh,” another would reply, “he’s a cameo guest star.” The cameo guest star would usually never utter a single word.

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The Two Parts of Every Sermon

There are two components preached on in every sermon; You Do and Christ Do.  The You Do can be preached as I Do, We Do, or You Do, but they are all effectively the same thing.  For the purposes of this post, I will only refer to it as You Do.  Whether a sermon is good or bad is dependent on how each Do is used. 

 

The bad sermon will say that you need to do X for God.  It will say that we are doing Y for Kingdom.  It say that I have done Z for Jesus.  You can hear a lot of this in pop “Christian” music.  Sure, Jesus gets mentioned seventy-seven times in four minutes and thirteen seconds, but lyrics are strangely me focused.  On the same token, Jesus is often bound and gagged, relegated to a cameo guest appearance with no lines.  At most they make mention that Jesus died for your sins and then brings it back to what you need to do because of it. 

 

The good sermon, however, puts the You Do squarely in the negative.  What You Do is sin and there is nothing that You Do that can ever redeem you.  But the Christ Do of the sermon is glorious.  Christ lived a sinless life.  Christ took your sins, the You Do, upon himself.  Christ died and suffered.  Christ absolved the You Do. 

 

The You Do is tainted in sin, even when You Do good.  The Christ Do forgiveness, mercy, and absolution.  And there is nothing that You Do which is a good apart from what Christ Do. 

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