Monday, 13 May 2013

Preaching an illustration to myself.

I found myself quite convicted last night preaching the latest sermon in the Big Stories Bigger Truth series.

Over the past few weeks we've looked at the story of Noah and the Flood, and David and Goliath.  It's been good to bust some of the myths that attach themselves to these stories and to look at how they impact the way we live a Gospel centred life today.  Last night was the story of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.  I did my research, read up on it all.  Looked at it from a Jesus centred perspective and wrote my sermon.  But about 10 minutes into the sermon I realised I'd missed the point, my 'three points' didn't seem to align to the central Gospel truth I felt jumping out at me as I read the Scripture for everyone.  So I didn't mention my points at all... I just went with this truth: "We have a great foundation so all we need to do is obey".

Joshua had an amazing foundation (go read Joshua 1:1-9) and it was from that he was preparing to take the promised land.  A lifelong general this guy knew about laying siege to a city, and we're told he'd already cut Jericho off from everything else.  It was just a matter of time before the city was his.  But God comes and tells him to do it differently... to do it in a way that minimalised Joshua's impact on the plan, but glorified God.  So that's what Joshua did.

He gave up his plan, his comfort and his knowledge that he was capable of doing something, and did it in a completely different way that showed he had faith, and that he would rely on God.

In a sense that's what I did with the sermon too.  I had prepared, I felt confident I was capable, but then I felt led to go a different way, and I had to trust God would provide enough insight for me to make just enough sense that He would be glorified.  The rest of the congregation didn't know I'd left my notes behind, and for me actually preaching that sermon was a personal illustration of the truth God was telling me to proclaim.  That was very convicting.

I hope other's there were able to grasp the message though - it's not often I wonder if I got more out of preaching the message than those who were listening.

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