As Christians, we are saved by the grace of God. That is not even a debatable topic. We are who we are because of the grace which God has “lavished on us” (Eph 1.7-8). With that being said, sermons ought to reflect this grace. Thus, the reason why I want to uphold the value of preaching “graciously” which is a term I am co-opting to say that I want my sermons to convey God’s grace throughout them and here is why.
As the church, we are people who confess faith in Jesus Christ but nonetheless, we are still people. That means there are still struggles, disappointments, doubts, and so on. Every preacher/pastor knows this. Whatever the problems are, we will not overcome them apart from God’s grace. Don’t get me wrong. I believe we are called to faithful obedience unto God and this is a choice that must constantly be made. Yet Paul writes in Titus 2.11-12:
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age (NIV, 2011).
That means preaching must speak of and point to the grace of God. This even impacts our mission as Christians. To live as witnesses of Jesus among the world, we need the power of the Holy Spirit which is only given to us by the grace of God.
All of this is why I want to uphold the value of speaking graciously in my preaching. The hope then is that the language we use to tell our story will speak of God’s grace, of what God is doing, and of God unceasing love for us. If our language does not speak in terms of God’s grace and what God has done and continues to do, then we really have yet to learn of God’s grace. On the flip side, if our language speaks of God’s grace then that grace is something we understand and seek as our sustenance for faithful living.
So I want to preach graciously. Besides constantly pointing to the work of God, I believe the sermon needs to keep God as the subject and ourselves as the object. That means that we’re not hearing stories of people “pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps” as I have sometimes heard but stories about God
What are your thoughts?
See also these previous posts: