Obligatory sermons pile up over the years. We wear people down and send them home feeling terrible about themselves. Soon, they’ll take it out on God. They’ll either give up or fake it. We become legalists when we decouple of duties of the Christian life from the divine power to do them.
Enabling sermons also pile up over the years. We build people up in their confidence in God. I’m not suggesting “positive thinking” sermons. I’m suggesting messages that communicate the good news of all that God has promised to do for us and be within us. Sermons that show off all the sparkly facets of the “I can do all things through Christ” diamond.
Good, theologically rich preaching shouldn’t just inform, it should enable. It should open your eyes to how God, by his Spirit, conforms you to Christ, even when you’re a jerk. How God overcomes your jerkitude to reveal Christ in you. It should make you believe that God hasn’t given up on you, and that this coming week is another chance to tap into his power when you’re weary.
I want people to leave my church trusting God for greater things than when they came in.
Most of the Bible is declarative, and therefore enabling.
How come most sermons are imperative, and therefore obligatory?
Great preaching lays the bulk of obligation on God… and exhorts listeners to turn to him. Isn’t that the Bible in a nutshell?