Written by Chris McKnight
A sermon that’s not applied is a waste of time. Satisfying intellectual curiosity, entertaining the saints or just filling the allotted time is ultimately worthless. Sermons must be aimed at salvation and sanctification. Their end result must be information that leads to transformation, better Christian lives of increased faith, holiness, obedience and integrity. Knowledge puffs up. Love in action edifies.
This effort of application is equally shared by both preacher and listener, all dependent on the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Word then comfort, convict and inspire.
With yesterday’s sermon, we have now covered the first eight of ten principles for Christian ministry. We need to apply these principles to our individual lives and we need to apply them corporately to Kerrville Bible Church. If we aren’t growing, changing and ever reforming, then we need to shut the doors and go camping.
On a praise note, two couples, Whitaker and McGinnis, have stepped forward with desire to reach out to the local Jewish community. Praise the Lord! Let’s be in prayer for them to be able to make a connection. As a follow up, do you know any Jewish people personally who haven’t heard the gospel?
On a personal note, two of the first eight stand out as areas I need to apply in a greater way to my ministry and heart – doing good deeds to validate the message and fear of God, not man. I’m a teacher at heart, not an evangelist or servant of physical deeds. My gifts are explaining truth and leading/organizing, so those practical deeds of love take extra effort and attention. And when it comes to evangelism, I’m either Tony the Tiger or that timid, muted mouse – there doesn’t seem to be much in between! I either come on really strong or don’t say a word. I’ve gone into our jail and proclaimed Christ with great boldness to a room full of men who barely seemed interested, but then I can’t seem to bring up Christ to my own family. Go figure!
On a church note, I want to encourage our Children’s Church workers, AWANA leaders, Good News Clubs workers, Sunday school teachers and youth workers to proclaim repentance in light of Christ’s return. It’s often incorrectly assumed that children don’t need to hear about repentance. I would agree if they haven’t ever sinned! But as soon as children sin, they need to be challenged with God’s command to repent. The true Christian has a repentant faith and a believing repentance. Just because children haven’t had sex or gotten drunk doesn’t mean they haven’t sinned against God. Children lie, dishonor and disobey parents, hit, steal, hate, manipulate, and often lose control of their emotions and tongue. They can be stubborn, prideful, rebellious, and even lustful, all by the age of six or seven. How can we tell them they are sinners and need to believe in Jesus to be saved without also telling them they need to turn away from their known sins and walk in obedience to Christ?
Too often in child evangelism we water down the gospel, we soften it and we are too eager to get a “decision” from our children without them really understanding faith and repentance. As a result, many of them drift away from the faith and the church because real conversion never happened. Too many so-called childhood conversions are nothing more than that child seeking to please their parents or peers or taking a step in understanding or mental assent without the presence of real trust and conviction of their sins. Never assume that understanding equals conversion. I’ve said a hundred times if I’ve said it once, you don’t know what’s in a child’s heart for certain until they leave the home and have total freedom to do whatever they want to do. Take off the restraints of parents and then you see what matters to a young person. So let’s play the long game of a thorough gospel presentation with integrity, praying that God the Holy Spirit would convict these kids of sin, judgment and righteousness that they may turn from their sin, avoid God’s judgment and plead nothing but the blood and righteousness of Christ.
I’d love to hear from you, how you are applying this series from Matthew 10 to your life.
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