What a Great Sermon!

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Paster what a great sermon!

Pastors like hearing such things and and it’s nice for hearers of the preached word to think to say them as well. However, there’s another question being begged by that simple and really even well-meaning statement. Pastor what a great sermon.

And the question is: why was it great? What about that sermon was great? Was it because it made you laugh or because it made you cry? Was because it inspired you to great things or kept your attention or entertained you the entire time?

Now none of these things are in and of themselves bad, they just aren’t “the thing” that makes a Christian sermon a great sermon. St. Paul has something to say about this. He’s writing to Corinthian Christians and he’s acknowledging that there are a lot of criteria floating around what the Greeks like about what they hear and what the Jews want to hear too, but Paul says it, says it real plainly and like it is.

We preach Christ crucified. (1 Corinthians 1:25)

When a Christian sermon is a great sermon it does with words what a cross or a crucifix does without words. It simply holds Jesus and his dying right before our eyes because in Jesus and in his dying there are all your sins and all my sins, nasty and damning as they are. But even more, in those words that give to you Christ you receive nothing less than the forgiveness of all your sins that is merited by what he did for you on the cross. Your sins being removed from you as far as the east is from the west and paradise being given to you in those words.

One little line from a hymn verse summarizes the great sermon perfectly. “This the superscription be: Jesus crucified for me.” God grant preachers to preach Christ crucified and here’s to expect nothing more, nothing less. Amen.

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