Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

An Exemplary Sermon by Tray Earnhart

A good sermon is one that carefully and clearly explains the meaning of a text or texts of Scripture in light of the good news of Jesus Christ, and then gives application of that text or texts- application that is specific to the particular audience that is being addressed. (Due to universal features of human existence, specific application will also include general truths beneficial to other audiences who may hear or read the sermon.)

The above, simplified explanation of what constitutes a good sermon is based upon the sermons and letters that we see in the New Testament.

Throughout church history, faithful Christian preachers have struggled in giving application- in instructing their hearers concerning appropriate actions that should be taken based upon the Scripture- without falling into legalism. What makes the Christian message distinctive from all other world religions is that whereas other systems of belief are focused on works that people must do to merit God's favor, Christianity focuses on the work that God has done in Christ to rescue sinners who cannot merit His favor. And so, in giving application during a sermon, the faithful Christian preacher can never lose sight of the good news of Jesus Christ; the actions that we take in response to what is taught can never be presented as if those actions constitute our hope for salvation.

Two weeks ago last Sunday at Kosmosdale Baptist Church Tray Earnhart gave what I believe to be an exemplary sermon. (FYI: Tray has been out-of-town for the two Sundays after he preached this sermon, and so this is not meant as a comment on his more recent preaching.) I was out of the country when this sermon was preached, but people were still talking about the sermon when I returned, so I've listened to it on Tray's sermon on July 12 was titled "When Is It A Sacrifice? (Part 2);" the text of the sermon was Luke 21:1-4. Having explained the text in Part 1 of this sermon, Tray returned to the text for additional explanation and to demonstrate what the widow's sacrificial giving in this text teaches us about true sacrifice. When impressing upon the church our need to imitate the spirit of this widow's sacrifice, Tray never lost sight of the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf and that any sacrifice we make for Him is simply and expression of our gratitude for what He has done for us.

The most insightful and challenging part of the sermon, in my opinion, was near the end, as Tray spoke about how the church is to have right doctrine and right practice (and I've heard this 'right doctrine and right practice' discussion before in other contexts), but he added that we are also to have right affections (Tray cross-referenced Revelation 2:1-7). He then spoke passionately about how our church, which has pursued right doctrine and right practice, needs a renewal in our affections.

This sermon was a challenge and a blessing to me and to many at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. I commend it to anyone reading this post. The sermon can be heard by following the link HERE.

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