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“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, ESV).
Much confusion exists today over just exactly what the gospel is. In an effort to clarify the gospel some begin with a via negativa. Highlighting what the gospel is not can be very helpful because, unfortunately, the word “gospel” is thrown around quite a bit, and we need to be reminded that just because we use the word “gospel” does not mean we are gospel people. But stating what the gospel is not isn’t sufficient. We must continually remind ourselves what the gospel is, for IT is the power of God for salvation to all who believe and IT is what we need to fight against sin by faith and grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. There are several places in Scripture where the gospel is briefly summarized; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, is just one of those places. There the apostle Paul reminds us:
The gospel is the revelation of God’s plan to reconcile sinners to Himself (1 Corinthians 15:3). This saving plan was prophesied long ago (1 Peter 1:10-12), revealed to the New Testament apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20) and inscripturated for our sake under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:16-21). In other words, the gospel is not a man-made message (Galatians 1:11-2:11) but a divine revelation received (1 Corinthians 15:3).
The gospel is about Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This saving plan that was revealed in a progressive but limited fashion to the Old Testament prophets, then fully disclosed to the New Testament apostles and prophets concerns Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1-4). God reconciles all things to Himself through Jesus (Colossians 1:19-21). Consequently, the Father sent Jesus at the appropriate time in history to face the “hour” of His death on the cross for us (John 12:23-28; 17:1). In this sense we may also say that the gospel is an unrepeatable event in history.
Thus, the heart of the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for this historical event was the plan which has now been revealed (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
1. Jesus Christ died as a propitiatory sacrifice for sin (1 Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 2:14-17). We are sinners born in sin who owe a debt too large to pay (Romans 6:23). Thus, the gospel is not a message of what we must do to redeem ourselves—that’s religion. The gospel message announces that only the Father can cancel the debt of sin that we owe by counting it against Jesus, His own Son (Colossians 2:13-14; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21). This penal-substitutionary death was according to the Scriptures (Isaiah 53:4-5).
2. Jesus Christ was buried. The point here is that contrary to Greek philosophical ideas that Jesus only appeared to die, He really died, and He really was buried (cf. Isaiah 53:9).
3. Jesus Christ was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:4; see also Acts 2:23-32). Without the resurrection there is no gospel, no good news. Without the resurrection we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:12-18). The resurrection reminds us that in the same way Jesus was raised, all who hope in Him will also be raised.
What are we to do with this gospel?
1. We are to repent (turn away) from our sins and receive Jesus’ work on our behalf by faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-2; Mark 1:14-15).
2. We are to remain in this gospel by faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-2), for the gospel is that on which Christians stand. In other words, we will never outgrow the gospel.
3. We are to proclaim this gospel, for it is the only hope of salvation to the world (1 Corinthians 15:1, 3). This is the gospel priority (1 Corinthians 15:3). It was Jesus’ priority (Luke 4:18, 42-44); it was Paul’s priority (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 1:17; 9:23); it should be our priority (Mark 16:15; Luke 24:44-47).
Knowing that we are sent on mission in a hostile environment (Matthew 10:16), and having prepared ourselves for hostilities should they arise (Matthew 10:16-22), how are we to respond to persecution when the time comes?
Don’t be anxious over words, but trust the Holy Spirit to recall what you’ve been taught (10:19-20).
Though these instructions deal directly with the twelve whom Jesus is sending out in the Galilean mission (10:5), it is appropriate to hear this promise for a time beyond their immediate mission. After all, the reality of being brought before Gentile rulers for the purpose of witness (10:18) does not occur until after Pentecost. Specifically, the promise is that the Spirit of our Father will guide our words. We too have received the promised Spirit and should find hope in the promise that in the cases when we may be dragged before officials, be they religious or civil, we can trust God’s Spirit to guide our words as well.
This promise does not mean that we are excused from studying God’s word. This promise helps us realize that in some of the most difficult circumstances when we may be at a loss for words, God’s Spirit will guide us and help us recall the word that has taken root in our hearts: the word that we have read and studied and meditated on, in fact, all that we have been taught. Therefore, Jesus reminds us, don’t be anxious when you face that situation; trust God’s Spirit to guide you and present the gospel without fear of man.
When someone does not receive you, trust God’s sovereign grace and providential guidance (10:23).
There are two issues that make this particular verse difficult. First, to what does “all the towns of Israel” refer? Secondly, to what does “before the Son of Man comes” refer? The difficulty lies in that the most natural reading of the Son of Man coming has been the return of Christ in judgment. As to “all the towns of Israel,” the most natural reading would be the immediate Galilean mission. Yet, we know that Jesus has not returned in judgment. Additionally, we know that Jesus’ mission continued beyond Galilee and that by the end of Matthew’s gospel, there is expectation of a Gentile mission (Matthew 20:19-20).
The various possible interpretations are handled well by D. A. Carson in his commentary on Matthew. I’ll just provide one clue. “Son of Man” does not have to refer to the second coming of Christ. See Matthew 16:28 for a similar promise which is commonly said to refer to the transfiguration. For us, however, the principle is clear. When you, as a missionary or witness to Christ, are not received, trust in God, for he is sovereign and wisely guides us by his providence. God will accomplish all his holy will, and he may even choose persecution to advance his gospel. This is what we see in Acts:
Acts 8:1, 4, ESV: “And Saul approved of [Stephen’s] execution. And there arose on that
day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered
throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. . . . Now those who were
scattered went about preaching the word.”
Acts 11:19, ESV: “Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose
over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no
one except Jews.”
Don’t be surprised by persecution (10:24-25).
Jesus himself was maligned and ultimately crucified. If we are his disciples, we should expect no different treatment (10:25; cf. John 15:18-25). As the apostle Peter reminds us:
1 Peter 4:12-15, ESV: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share in Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.”
So, don’t be surprised when persecution comes; it is to be expected (2 Timothy 3:12). Instead, be surprised we don’t face more persecution! We should ask ourselves why it is that we don’t personally face persecution if we call ourselves followers of Christ. Could it be that we are too comfortable in this world? Could it be that we are too afraid of people, so we remain silent witnesses?
Don’t fear people; fear God (10:26-31)!
If we are afraid of people, we will not witness. Knowing that fear is a natural temptation of his followers, Jesus commands us not to be afraid. Jesus gives us three reasons why we shouldn’t fear people – that is, those who are hostile to the gospel and us and might persecute us:
1. The truth will not be hidden (10:26). So, freely proclaim the good news now (10:27)! In other words, the gospel will be made known, so announce it!
2. The worse thing anyone can do is kill you, but the worse thing God can do is cast you in hell. Therefore, fear God & not man because the only thing they can do is kill you (10:28)!
3. Your heavenly father knows you intimately and cares for you – providence (10:29-31). This promise sustains us in the midst of the most dangerous situations – God loves us, cares for us and our lives are in his hands.
When we fear God, we will be set free from the fear of man which keeps us silent in the face of opposition. Christian, what do you do with 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”? May the Lord grant us the grace to believe his promises.
Listen to the Sermon: Fearless Sheep in the Midst of Wolves (Matthew 10:16-31)
Yesterday I argued that we are to expect persecution because the environment we have been sent into is one of hostility (Matthew 10:16). If we are to expect persecution, then we should prepare ourselves for it. But how? In a day in which some young “radical” Christians are prepared to charge the gates of hell with water pistols or be “dropped” into Al Quaeda camps with nothing but a Bible, Jesus offers some surprising instructions.
Preparing for Persecution
Be wise and full of integrity (Matthew 10:16)! Jesus commands his followers to be “wise as serpents” and “innocent as doves.” Snakes are crafty, cunning, even wise. When a snake coils up and prepares to strike, it is because it senses a threat. A snake’s “instinct is one of self-preservation” (France, Matthew, 390). Yet, this command to be “shrewd” is tempered by the next command to be innocent like doves. Doves were considered pure animals for a variety of reasons. So then, like snakes we are to wisely avoid confrontation, not foolishly seeking death; but like doves, we are to be pure in our mission efforts and deal with our opponents with integrity.
John Nolland in his commentary on Matthew captures this well (pg. 423-24): “The wisdom called for from the disciples will involve anticipating danger and avoiding it whenever possible, but not in such a way as to undercut their mission priorities. The innocence called for will involve a consistent integrity that is prepared to suffer rather than compromise and which is careful to give no grounds for legitimate legal objection to the action of the disciples.” In other words, to be wise and full of integrity is a call to anticipate danger but avoid it whenever possible without compromising the mission.
The best example I have witnessed of such shrewdness that is full of integrity has been among our Cuban brothers. Those brothers whom I have had the privilege to know are humble men who navigate through the territory of a government that is hostile to the gospel. Sure, the government wants to put on a face of religious freedom to the world, but the reality is that local governing officials can make it difficult for local church leaders and churches. Our Cuban brothers are faithful to King Jesus, while also submitting to the governing authorities as appropriate. One example of the shrewdness that Jesus calls us to was when the government demanded that there be no new building of churches. The brothers submitted to that government demand. Yet, rather than complain about this circumstance, pastors continued the mission by spreading the gospel through house churches. Thus, a wide-spread house church movement has taken place on the island nation because our Cuban brothers were as shrewed as snakes and as innocent as doves.
I have learned much from our Cuban brothers. Whenever we travel there, they help us obtain religious visas from their government so that our visit is recorded and legal. Additionally, we also make sure that our government knows of our visits. We want to be above reproach, submitting to both governments as appropriate, so as to provide a faithful and consistent witness to the governing authorities there and here. Unfortunately, I’ve run into Christian groups from the United States seeking to minister on the island while violating the laws of both the Cuban government and ours. I don’t think that is either wise or innocent. It provides a terrible witness and compromises the mission.
Be on the lookout for hostile people (10:17-18, 21-22)
Even when we submit to governing authorities, however, it doesn’t meant that it will always work out as we had hoped. Jesus reminds his followers that we are continually to be on the lookout for those who would want to do us harm. It is possible that some of us will be handed over to “religious” authorities, should such exist (10:17). In Cuba, for example, the Communist government has a religious affairs office through which all religious visas must be approved. Technically, they are governing authorities with oversight of religious activity.
It is possible that some of us will be brought before governing authorities (10:18). Once, while on one of my early visits to Cuba, I was given a citation to appear before officials at the department of immigration. Much to my surprise, it was a department run by the military. I first appeared before an enlisted official before finally ending up in a Lieutenant Colonel’s office with our entire team. Never once did I have to face fear of imprisonment or life. The conversations were cordial and calm without any threats; it was merely a meeting to intimidate our team by informing us as to what we were permitted to do and not do. However, I have to confess that I failed in that instance to take advantage of the opportunity to give testimony to our Lord.
Sadly, there may be instances when even those closest to us may turn against us and turn us over to officials for punishment (10:21). The reality is that because we declare allegiance to King Jesus, all will hate us (10:22; cf. John 15:18-26). Nevertheless, we have the assurance that those who endure to the end will be saved (10:22).
When we understand our mission and the hostility of the environment into which we are sent, we will not only expect persecution, we will prepare for it. As we prepare to face hostility in this world because of our allegiance to King Jesus, may we continually walk in wisdom and integrity so that we may know how to respond when the time comes.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
(Matthew 28:19-20, ESV).
On Sunday morning, we began an important three sermon series on the mission of the church from Matthew 10. If you missed the first message, you can listen to it here: What is the Mission of the Church? (Matthew 9:35-10:15) In this message I argued, among other things, that while all Christians are called to witness, some are called to go to other cultures where Jesus Christ has not been named and where there is little gospel presence – those called to go and sent by the church are called missionaries.
The harvest is plentiful . . . According to the Joshua Project, there are presently 6,909 unreached people groups in the world. A people group is a particular group of people who share ethnicity and language (ethno-linguistic). Unreached means that less than 2% of a people group are gospel Christians. In our world of 7.13 billion people, 3.96 billion are part of unreached people groups. That means that approximately 56% of the world population is within the unreached category. Additionally, 3,010 people groups are not only unreached, they are also unengaged, meaning that there is no Christian witness among them. The unreached, unengaged total a population of just over 195 million people; that’s roughly two thirds of the population of the United States. Yes! The harvest is plentiful!
But the laborers are few . . . While in 2010 the United States sent out over 127,000 missionaries, the fact is that according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, “the ten countries with the most non-Christians in 2010 were home to 73% of all non-Christians globally. Because many of them deny or restrict missionary access, however, they received only 9% of all international missionaries.” On the flip side, would you like to know what country received the most missionaries in 2012? According to a Christianity Today article, it was “the United States, with 32,400 sent from other nations.” There may seem to be a lot of laborers generally speaking, but where it counts, the laborers truly are few!
Let us ask God for more laborers in strategic places . . . Jesus asked his disciples to pray for more laborers. We should do the same. Let us ask our Father to send more laborers to take the message of king Jesus to places where He has not been named and where there is very little gospel presence. And let us send and support these missionaries with prayer and finances so that they may be free to focus on the mission to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded.
What do missionaries do? To help our thinking as to what missionaries are called to do on the mission field, I want to recommend you read Kevin DeYoung’s great blog post on that subject. You can read it here: The Goal of Missions and the Work of Missionaries. May the Lord grant us much grace and favor as we seek to proclaim Jesus and call all peoples to repent and believe in Him and live a life worthy of this gospel in the midst of local, healthy congregations.
Spurgeon on Contextualization, from The Soul-Winner, chapter 13, “Soul Saving Our One Business”:
Paul went to his work always with an intense sympathy for those he dealt with, a sympathy which made him adapt himself to each ease. If he talked to a Jew, he did not begin at once blurting out that he was the apostle of the Gentiles, but he said he was a Jew, as Jew he was. He raised no questions about nationalities or ceremonies. He wanted to tell the Jew of Him of whom Isaiah said, “He is despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” in order that he might believe in Jesus and so be saved. If he met a Gentile, the apostle of the Gentiles never showed any of the squeamishness which might have been expected to cling to him on account of his Jewish education. He ate as the Gentiles ate, and drank as he did, sat with him, and talked with him; was, as it were, a Gentile with him; never raising any question about circumcision or uncircumcision, but solely wishing to tell him of Christ, who came into the world to save both Jew and Gentile, and to make them one. If Paul met with a Scythian, he spoke to him in the Barbarian tongue, and not in classic Greek. If he met a Greek, he spoke to him as he did at the Areopagus, with language that was fitted for a polished Athenian. He was all things to all men, that he might by all means save some.
So let it be with you, Christian people; your one business in life is to lead men to believe in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, and every other thing should be made subservient to this one object; if you can but get them saved, everything else will come right in due time. Mr. Hudson Taylor, a dear man of God, who has laboured much in Inland China, finds it helpful to dress as a Chinaman, and wear a pigtail. He always mingles with the people, and as far as possible lives as they do. This seems to me to be a truly wise policy. I can understand that we shall win upon a congregation of Chinese by becoming as Chinese as possible; and if this be the case, we are bound to be Chinese to the Chinese to save the Chinese. It would not be amiss to become a Zulu to save the Zulus, thought we must mind that we do it in another sense than Colenso did. If we can put ourselves on a level with those whose good we seek, we shall be more likely to effect our purpose than if we remain aliens and foreigners, and then talk of love and unity. To sink myself to save others is the idea of the apostle. To throw overboard all peculiarities, and yield a thousand indifferent points, in order to bring men to Jesus, is our wisdom if we would extend our Master’s kingdom. Never may any whim or conventionality of ours keep a soul from considering the gospel, -that were horrible indeed. Better far to be personally inconvenienced by compliance with things indifferent, than to retard a sinner’s coming by quarreling about trifles.
Spurgeon on Over-Contextualization, from The Soul Winner, chapter 14, “Instruction in Soul Winning”:
[The fishermen whom Jesus called to follow him] were to leave their pursuits, they were to leave their companions; they were, in fact, to quit the world, that their one business might be, in their Master’s name, to be fishers of men. We are not called to leave our daily business, or to quit our families. . . . We are called most distinctly to come out from among the ungodly, and to be separate, and not to touch the unclean thing. We cannot be fishers of men if we remain among men in the same element with them. Fish will not be fishers. The sinner will not convert the sinner. The ungodly man will not convert the ungodly man; and, what is more to the point, the worldly Christian will not convert the world. If you are of the world, no doubt the world will love its own; but you cannot save the world. If you are dark, and belong to the kingdom of darkness, you cannot remove the darkness. If you march with the armies of the wicked one, you cannot defeat them. I believe that one reason why the Church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the Church. Nowadays, we hear Noncomformists pleading that they may do this, and they may do that, -things which their Puritan forefathers would rather have died at the stake than have tolerated. They plead that they may live like worldlings, and my sad answer to them, when they crave for this liberty, is, “Do it if you dare. It may not do you much hurt, for you are so bad already. Your cravings show how rotten your hearts are. If you have a hungering after such dog’s meat, go, dogs, and eat the garbage! Worldly amusements are fit food for mere pretenders and hypocrites. If you were God’s children, you would loathe the very thought of the world’s evil joys, and your question would not be, “How far may we be like the world?’ but your one cry would be, “How far can we get away from the world? How much can we come out of it?” Your temptation would be rather to become sternly severe, and ultra-Puritanical in your separation from sin, in such a time as this, than to ask, “How can I make myself like other men, and act as they do?”
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
(James 3:17-18, ESV)
The gospel is a gospel of peace. It declares that since the time of Adam’s sin we have been born into this world as God’s enemy: hostile in mind and engaged in evil deeds (Colossians 1:21) against God (Romans 8:7). The most holy God had every right to declare the differences between Him and us irreconcilable. Yet, in His wisdom and love God chose to reconcile us to Himself through Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). By judging our sin at the cross of Christ, Holy God is able to reconcile to Himself us who receive Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf by faith.
Through Christ, we who have been reconciled to God have also been given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). As ministers of reconciliation, we proclaim this gospel of reconciliation to the world in order that all peoples may be reconciled to God through the death of Christ. But our ministry of reconciliation does not end there, for we must continue living in the light of the reconciling work of Christ. Consequently, we must live our lives reconciled to one another.
Even though we Christians have been reconciled to God through Christ, far too many professing Christians still live in conflict with others. Such conflict is manifested in marriages, homes, workplaces, even church relationships. Unfortunately, many of us address such conflicts according to worldly wisdom rather than heavenly wisdom. This is why Christians have as many divorces as non-Christians, why they stop talking to fellow Christians, why they leave churches over conflict, and why churches even split over conflict.
What kind of Christian testimony do we offer this world if we are reconciled to God through Christ but fail to be reconciled to one another? One of the most powerful witnesses we can provide our community is the witness of reconciled relationships that flow from being reconciled to God. If we are to live in such an atmosphere, then we must cultivate a culture of peace. According to Ken Sande, author of The Peacemaker, a culture of peace is a culture where “people are eager and able to resolve conflict and reconcile relationships in a way that clearly reflects the love and power of Jesus Christ” (291). If we are to cultivate such a culture of peace, then we must have a biblical strategy for resolving conflict. Sande offers the following counsel (the four “G’s”):
Glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Our entire lives must be motivated by a desire to glorify God. Get the log out of your eye (Matthew 7:5). We must first look at our own hearts in order to discern our contributions to conflicts. Gently restore (Galatians 6:1). The Bible gives us clear instruction in approaching those with whom we have conflict. Go and be reconciled (Matthew 5:24). Once we have addressed conflict, we must be willing to restore relationships.
Let us cultivate a culture of peace in our home and in our church. May we be about God’s glory, and address conflict biblically by first looking at our own hearts, then approaching one another with the goal of reconciled relationships that give evidence to the fact that we are a people reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together. . .”
(Acts 20:7, ESV)
If the Lord’s Day (Sunday) is the day chosen by the early church for distinctly Christian corporate worship, how should we approach the Lord’s Day as 21st Century believers? I want to offer four simple exhortations that will help us as we consider gathering together each Lord’s Day.
SET ASIDE the Lord’s day for distinctly Christian worship gatherings! If you are free and able, you should gather with the Lord’s people on Sundays. If you are free and able, then set aside the entire day for Christian worship. I say this not as a command (It wasn’t REQUIRED until Constantine), but for concern for your welfare. Use this day to gather with God’s people both formally as we assemble together and informally to eat meals together, pray together, read together, sing together. When you set aside the Lord’s Day and don’t let other things crowd out your schedule, you will find that this day will become much more meaningful as you share it with your family or other brothers and sisters in Christ. If you are not a faithful part of a local assembly, then commit yourself to a gospel-centered, Word-saturared, Christ-exalting church.
PREPARE yourself for gathering with God’s people on the Lord’s Day – on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning. Too many times we come to the Christian assembly consumed by the cares of this world. Also, we often arrive distracted by tiredness due to the activities we choose to participate in the previous evening. Consider using Saturday evenings to prepare your hearts and minds for the Sunday gathering. Consider the texts that will be preached on Sunday. At High Pointe, we offer meditation passages related to the preaching texts via our weekly email. Read through these passages on Saturday night; share them with your family. And be sure to get a good night’s rest.
When you arrive to assemble greet the brethren, then consider the passages that will be read publicly. At High Pointe, they are written in the bulletin for your convenience. Finally, when you hear the music begin, join in as we sing praises to our Lord and prepare your minds and hearts for what is about to happen.
DECLARE the Lordship of Christ with God’s people as you gather on the Lord’s Day!
1. SING – In singing, we are jointly declaring the Lordship of Christ over all things. Declare with your lips that Jesus is Lord and worthy to receive all glory and honor and praise!
2. PRAY – In praying, we jointly declare our dependence upon Jesus, the Lord who provides for the needs of His people. Therefore, cast all your anxieties upon the Lord.
3. GIVE – In giving, we are declaring the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all our wealth and possessions. Since Jesus is the sovereign Lord who provides everything we need, He is the Lord of everything we have.
4. READ/LISTEN TO THE WORD – In preaching the Word, we are declaring the Lordship of Christ and urging those who do not presently submit to Jesus’ Lordship to repent, bow down or be consumed in His wrath. Be careful how we listen; pray for the preacher; obey the Word!
In all things REST in Christ! Do not rest in what you do: i.e., Lord’s Day attendance/participation, membership, giving, etc. Rest in Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
We want to remind our High Pointe family that this Sunday, January 13, we will begin gathering at new times. As noted above, we will gather at 10:00 on Sunday mornings and 5:00 on Sunday evenings. We pray this schedule will bless our church family.
If you are in town this Christmas, be sure to join us for our Christmas eve service. This is a great opportunity to bring unchurched family and friends.
May you have a blessed Christmas and new year!
“Preaching s compelling to young secular adults not if preachers use video clips from their favorite movies and dress informally and sound sophisticated, but if the preachers understand their hearts and culture so well that listeners feel the force of the sermon’s reasoning, even if in the end they don’t agree it. This is not a matter of style or program.”
Center Church, Introduction