Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You Are The Light of The World

A member of the congregation recently displayed some curiosity about how I put sermons together. Thinking that others might have the same question, I thought I might submit this for your consideration.

I'm sure that every minister has his own way of going about it. I find what works best for me is prayer, more prayer and still more prayer. Through clearing the mind and focusing on the Lord, I submit myself to His influence and do all I can to be obedient.

It also requires a lot of study. Studying includes quite a bit more than what one does for the specific sermon. The influence from the Lord that one must be open to is enhanced by exposure to and study of the word (John 14:26). In fact, I believe it is absolutely necessary according to Hebrews 1:1,2. How else shall we learn of Him than through His Son who is the Word (John 1:1).

Along with the importance of study is the importance of awareness. A minister must be aware of the needs of the congregation. Those needs are most often uncovered through general conversations, counseling, home visits or questions asked by the members. Ultimately however, it is usually a combination of things that determine the subject of a given sermon, or as in the case of what is typical for me, a sermon series.

Since we have spent the majority of our year thus far sharing about each one teaching one and each one reaching one, it seemed best (through prayer, study and awareness) to pursue what Jesus Himself had/has to say to all of us: The sermon on the mount. For the next couple of months, we will explore themes contained in this pivotal discourse regarding the relationship between God and man.

Last week, we began this series with a sermon entitled "You Are The Light of the World."
To give you a bit more insight into how I put thoughts together for a sermon, I've included the text of my study and that which was preached from this past Lord's day. Except for a few last minute notes scribbled in margins, this is what I actually use. It is interesting that my sermons have gone from being 13 page manuscripts to 10, to 5, to 3 to this half page. Even this is sometimes reduced to notes in the margins of my bible and a few carefully placed post it notes.
I hope you enjoy this "minister's meditation."

You Are The Light
Matt 5:14-16

"We blind ourselves, impeding our own vision, we put on spiritual shades."

Light: to give light" expressing "light as seen by the eye," and, "reaching the mind," "Primarily light is a luminous emanation, which enables the eye to discern form and color. Light requires an organ adapted for its reception Matt 6:22. Where the eye is absent, or where it has become impaired from any cause, physical light is useless (23). One must also be equipped to receive spiritual light. “The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit for it is foolishness to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually apprised…” 1 Cor 2:14.

· God as light-James 1:17, 1 Tim 6:16
· Jesus as light-John 8:12, 12:35,36
· You & I-Eph 5:8

Scope of the light-vs 14, 15b
· Illuminate the world
o The gospel for all nations-Acts 2:7-11
o Our mission field-Matt 28:19
· The world begins at our doorstep
o Like you can’t hide a city, you shouldn’t be able to hide
§ Gospel msg, love for one another, activity in the community, this building, ourselves. It should be obvious and if it isn’t something isn’t being done right. Share with friends, community etc. That’s what EOBO was about.
· Is your family safe? Share the gospel at home
o Matt 13:57-prophet not w/honor except at home

Sense of the light-vs 15

"Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 "But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." John 11:9-10

When the lights were last out at your house, what did you do?
Stay in darkness?
o Illuminate with light-where did you put it?
§ Provide it so that it is beneficial to all
§ Effects of stumbling around in the darkness
· Physical and spiritual
§ You are meant to shine with the love of God
· Even as Moses, identified as having been with him did

Salvation of the light-vs 16
· Letting your light shine is not about calling attention to yourself but to God-Acts 16:22-30
· Light shines on your good work, don’t let it be a spotlight on an empty stage.