On October 9, 2011 I preached a sermon which, unlike most all sermons preached at Covenant Presbyterian Church, was not recorded. Ordinarily I would not have been too concerned about this, but this time I was a bit sad.
As far as sermons go, it was not one which was substantially better than any other sermon I have preached. However, this sermon did address issues which I know are of concern to many people. So I was sad that I would not be able to easily direct people to some content that might be of help to them.
The sermon centered upon John 14:15 where Jesus challenges his disciples with this statement:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Non-Christians and many Christians make the wrong assumption that Christianity is no more than a complex but carefully organized ethical system. To be a Christian means to have rules and to keep those rules.
Others have been introduced to the subject of grace and have subsequently been confused by the question of if and when and how to talk about rules and obedience in the Christian life.
This sermon is set in the context of several others (available here) on John 14 which trace Jesus’ instructions to his disciples hours before his death by which he intends to move them from despair to hope, from anxiety to peace. Obedience to him is a part of that. But HOW it is a part is what the sermon attempted to explore.
To make the content of that sermon available, I intend to post its content here. To keep from overwhelming the reader with a single 4000+ word post (which would be unbearable) I will divide the sermon by points and post each daily over the next couple weeks. If nothing else, for two weeks these will serve as a kind of daily devotional.
I am going to try to resist the impulse to apply heavy and extensive editing to what were simply my original sermon notes. What you will get here is basically what was before me the morning that I preached it. These notes were intended to be spoken and heard, not written and read, and so they will reflect some of that particular quality.
I trust that these thoughts will be of some benefit to those who read them. My heart’s desire, for myself, for those I love, for those who read these words, is that we would delight in our God, and that that delight would be reflected in the way we love to live our lives.
NOTE: After the above was written, I learned that the sermon I preached on October 16, the following Sunday, was not recorded either. Having seen the effort required to post the notes from one sermon, there is little to no chance that I’ll do this again. But this at least gave me the opportunity to create a witty title.
Well, witty to me, anyway.