Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Deja Vu preaching 2)

I do believe that repeating sermons is permissible.  In fact, when I was itinerant with a full-time job, it was my Plan B.  But, with the theme: Be imitators of God, I knew I needed a fresh word. Rereading the whole passage, immersing myself, putting aside commentary helps or past sermon efforts I focused on Gal 4: 29-5:7, though the rest of chapter 5 is vitally involved too..

Among the many responses possible, it struck me how many imperatives crowd in - almost in a shouty way!  Recently, my local church has started singing the Phil Wickham song: Yahweh, Lord of all the earth we shout your name, shout your name. Some psalms encourage shouting and certainly my church lets rip. Right through the song it's SHOUT your name.

We should note how some passages of Scripture also shout at us.  Many words are to be heard in bold,  action words to make us sit up and take notice. Megaphone words.  Like WAKE UP (5:14). stop sleep walking. They come thick and fast: Be imitators of God (v1), Walk in love (v2), Don't partner disobedient people (v7), Be very careful how you walk (v 15), Don't be foolish (v17).  There is urgency and seriousness. It really matters to God that we behave better.   The Message paraphrases Be imitators of God: Watch what God does and then you do it, like children who lean proper behaviour from their parents.  Much of Chapter 5 is about proper behaviour and the crunch question comes: IS IT WORKING?  

After all, the gifts of God's love in Christ should result in different living. I remember one senior minister confiding in me: Michael I have been preaching to this church for years now about the difference Jesus makes but they never seem to change for the better. You can never tell the difference sharing good news can make, but our nitty-gritty behaviour shows whether we behave as God copiers. That's a continuous challenge to us as disciples, together.

There are two truths in particular that we should never forget.

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