I was digging through an old notebook this morning, looking for notes on Ephesians 1 for my sermon this weekend at Bethel Franklin. I did not find what I was looking for, but I did find piles of vintage Steve Murrell sermons. This blog is a summary of a sermon I preached at Victory-Manila in November, 2004. Not sure where the original idea come from, but I think it was inspired by a conversation with Rice Broocks.
It is increasingly common today to hear parts of the gospel proclaimed. The same was happening in the early church. In Acts 20:26,27 Paul says to the Ephesian church elders, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the WHOLE WILL OF GOD. (Acts 20:26, 27)
Unlike many modern preachers, Paul refused to edit out the difficult parts of the message. He insisted on preaching the whole gospel.
In 604, Pope Gregory wrote about the “Seven Deadly Sins” which included pride, gluttony, envy, lust, anger, greed, and laziness. In the spirit of the Pope’s top seven, here’s my list of “Seven Deadly Sins of the Pulpit.”
1. PREACHING CHRIST WITHOUT THE CROSS. No cost Christianity. Paul determined to know and preach nothing except Christ and Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). Today it seems we preach everything but Christ and the cross, causing many to live as enemies of the cross (Philippians 3:18).
2. PREACHING SALVATION WITHOUT SANCTIFICATION. No change Christianity. So many claim Christ today with no evidence or change in their lives, and the pulpit is at least partially to blame.
3. PREACHING DECISIONS WITHOUT DISCIPLESHIP. No commitment Christianity. I know we are getting crowds and decisions, but are we making disciples?
4. PREACHING LOVE WITHOUT LORDSHIP. No compliance Christianity. Jesus is Lord, and because He is Lord, he heals, delivers, provides, and saves.
5. PREACHING PROSPERITY WITHOUT PURPOSE. No cause Christianity. God blesses us so that we can be a blessing.
6. PREACHING BLESSING WITHOUT BIRTHRIGHT. No covenant Christianity. Esau threw away his birthright and still expected a blessing. It does not work that way. If we want the blessing, we must accept the covenantal responsibilities that go with the birthright.
7. PREACHING REVIVAL WITHOUT REFORMATION. No transformation Christianity. We are called to be salt and light, to impact individuals and cultures, families and nations. The gospel is supposed to be transformational.
I have certainly been guilty of all of above at different times in my life as a preacher. As I have matured, hopefully, I’m being more and more faithful to preaching the WHOLE WILL OF GOD. How about you?