Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Sign of Preaching

The following is a greatly abbreviated version of a longer sermon….

Wednesday: March 12, 2014 –– 1st Week of Lent
Luke 11:29-32

How do people hear God speak? One of the ways that God communicates is in the context of something the Bible calls preaching.

Preaching is something that has always suffered probably more than its share of ridicule. People laughed at Noah’s preaching. People were still laughing when, centuries later, Jeremiah was preaching. Paul admitted to the Corinthians that both the message and the medium of preaching was foolish (1Cor. 1:18-21). Yet preaching is something that has been chosen and set apart by God. Paul said that preaching is God's chosen medium of communication and salvation. He wrote, God was pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.

Solomon was one of the people God spoke through in the past. Jonah was a preacher that God once called to give his Word. Then the Son of God himself came and gave God's Word perfectly and completely. The words of Solomon were sign enough for the Queen of Sheba to believe. Jonah's words were sign enough for the Ninevites to repent. And now that the Son of God himself has come to show us God's Word, we should have more than enough of a sign for our own faith.

But that's not always the result. Sometimes the Living and Written Word is preached and people do not believe. There is no repentance, only a continuing in wickedness. That was the case with the crowd surrounding Jesus. They heard the Word of God from Jesus himself, but it wasn't enough. The Queen heard Solomon, and Solomon was enough. The Ninevites heard Jonah, and Jonah was enough. The crowd heard Jesus, but the preaching of Jesus wasn't enough.

When the preaching of Jesus isn't enough (either the preaching Jesus did or a message that's centered on Jesus), all that's left is judgment. Preaching is something to take seriously. It's God's way of calling us to faith and building us up. It's God's "sign" ––the sign of preaching.

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