Exodus 4:10 - But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since You have spoken to Your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue."
As any Lutheran Hour Speaker can tell you, they regularly receive correspondence from their listeners. In regard to that, a Christian lady summarized my responsibility in one simple sentence: "Speak to our spiritual needs." How very true I thought. This is the necessity of every Christian preacher who is faithful to his calling.
Preaching that does not touch the spiritual needs of those in the pew or those listening over the radio is like a "noisy gong" or a "clanging cymbal" (see 1 Corinthians 13:1). Preaching that is centered on current events and headlines often has little to do with sharing the Gospel. Preaching that is more concerned with ecclesiastical niceties than with the fear, guilt, and doubt that plague our souls is a violation of Christ's command to "proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15b).
"Speak to our spiritual needs," my friend wrote, and then she added: "Be helpful." That is exactly what I intend to do. As a Christian minister and teacher, I know about the spiritual needs of modern society. I have counseled people who were grappling with sins such as thievery and cheating and fraud. I've spoken at length with people who were ruined by alcoholism, sex, drugs, or other corrupt behaviors.
In talking to these people, I have seen tears of repentance and heard words of heartfelt confession. And I have seen joy in the eyes of those who understood—often for the first time—God's full and free forgiveness made possible in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. And I have realized that though I am full of excuses and clever defenses that just like Moses I too can still be used by God to share His Good News message with others.
Scripture's message from God is extensive, touching man's life at every important point. The essence of it is simple. It tells us that we were created by God in His own image—we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but altogether dependent on God. It tells us of God's living orders for man: man must be perfect. It tells us of man disobedience: man sins. And it tells us of God's justice: "the wages of sin is death"—eternal death.
And then it tells us of God's remedy, "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). In this divine gift of love for mankind, God is ready to forgive us all for Jesus' sake—and for Jesus' sake alone.
As the writer of the book of Hebrews says, "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified" (Hebrews 10:12-13).
That's the message from God I have for you today.
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, let us both hear and speak Your message as we ought. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From "A Message from God," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Armin Oldsen, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Have you ever felt incapable of some task God placed before you? How did that go?
2. How can we communicate and interact with others in a way that is godly and helpful?
3. How does God speak to us today?
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