Brothers and Sisters in the Lord. There will be no sermon this morning. I have a confession to make, and I am blocked in serving as Christ’s ambassador until I have done with it.
You may have noticed a lot of topical teaching in series recently from this pulpit. I have not had to labour in the preparation of any of them. They were old messages of mine on file. They were messages basically borrowed from another ministry. They were re-phrased magazine articles from any one of a number of televangelists. I have even asked friends in the ministry to lend me a few.
I thought in this way that I could keep up with the pace around here. So many programs, and Pastor is expected to be at every one, all smiles and enthusiasm. Providing the official endorsement on a number of activities of dubious edifying value. Friends we have gone down the road of trendiness and populism. We have all copied what we have seen and admired elsewhere. With a heavy heart I confess that I introduced such a spirit into this house.
I am not smiling. I am not enthusiastic. I am dry and ashamed. I ask your forgiveness. I stand here before you and the Lord asking for prayer, forgiveness and support.
You know, in the early days every sermon was an adventure, a plea for Christ Jesus to open the floodgates of hope, truth and clarification. No one learned more from the process than I did. No one. Sometimes the delivery might have been clumsy; the topic might have seemed curious. But it was all delivered under the urging and control of the Holy Spirit. I knew that. I was excited as He used me. I saw eyes in the pews sparkle with discovery, and any question that you might have offered thereafter was received with love and spurred on further prayer and research.
Oh to be growing in Grace again. Oh to approach the pages of Scripture as newfound treasure. Oh to deliver my message as Paul did…in sincerity and truth. “Sincerity and truth”; those words cut me now.
You are going to witness a change soon, or I will be done with the ministry. Remember how in Acts chapter six the apostles were released unto prayer, visitation and the preaching of the Word. Deacons stepped forward to handle administration, finance and community concerns. This must happen again in this Body. Soon. Men, where have you gone? Get back here!
There must be no scent of the gymnasium, the concert hall, the theatre, the restaurant or the lecture hall about this place. It is a place of gathering in the Name and Spirit of Jesus, to hear His message and to accomplish His works; to heal, forgive, develop and reproduce in the Family.
Remember how Jesus scourged the Temple in His Passion Week. Yes, He did have a temper. He was not beyond harsh words. “You have made my House a den of thieves”.
Those are words that I have heard recently. I must apologize. I must change. I must go back to the Cross. Hopefully you will be there with me.