Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Utilizing Paul's metaphor of the mirror (II Corithians, Chapter 3), this sermon bears witness to the truth that each of us has an immortal soul.

4-15-2012 II Corinthians: 3:12-18

Today, I’m beginning a series of sermons which I am calling, “Sermons You Probably Have Never Before Heard In Church”. This may seem like an odd topic. Odd, because most of what happens in church is related to tradition, and if I’ve never heard the sermon in church before how could it be a part of our Christian tradition?

In answer to that question, let me first affirm the truth of the old adage, there really isn’t anything new under the sun. However, things are forgotten. Actually, a lot there is a lot that has been forgotten, systematically erased from the consciousness of people through the influence of the spiritual wickedness. And by forgotten I mean REALLY forgotten, forgotten by entire by entire church denominations, by entire nations, and by the world in general.

We no longer live in a Christian culture. Today, religion is thought of as an illusion, and Christianity as an oppressive rather than liberating influence in people’s lives. And even among those folk who are friendly rather than hostile to Christianity, even among those who regularly participate in Christian worship, even among these people there are many who consider church to be uplifting in the same way some work of fiction—an inspiring novel, a great play or movie for example--might be uplifting, uplifting and enjoyed even though recognized to be just “make believe”. But the underlying principles of Christianity are not just “wishful thinking”. On the contrary, these principles are the bedrock of the really real. The decline of Christianity is not because humankind has outgrown it. The real problem is that truth is being systematically expunged from the consciousness of entire nations and indeed from the world as a whole. Satan is doing his very best to extinguish the light of Christ through deception, and as result vast multitudes of people living today are living in darkness.

For example. Let us consider the basic question, does man really have an eternal soul? Most philosophers and social scientists and such today would say no. Many theologians and church pastors today say, maybe not. And consequently most people in general, while they may not actively think about the question, unconsciously go through life thinking, behaving, reacting, living as if there is no such thing as an eternal soul.

Think of the implications! If we do not really have an eternal soul, then how can there be a heaven or a hell! How can there really be right and wrong? What difference does it make if I am a Christian or a hedonistic pagan? The concept of each of us having a human soul is fundamental to every aspect of our relationship with God. Ancient philosophers recognized this. When Paul spoke on the Acropolis, it was not necessary to convince people of this. And the recognition of this truth was not a figment of the Philosopher’s imagination, but rather clearness of vision based upon sensitivity to the testimony of one’s own soul. Can anything be more basic than the truth of that which in every way bears testimony in perfect harmony with the General Revelation of the Creator, and how much more so when led to the same truth expanded and explained in the Special Revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

How do we know that we have an eternal soul? Well… I can’t really tell you how you can know. You must decide for yourself. But I CAN tell you how I know. I know that I have an eternal soul because each and every day I am rediscovering things that I early knew in my heart as a child—things that our present day culture has tried to erase from my consciousness. Every time I delve deeper into the scripture and realize that I have always known this I find confirmation that I have an eternal soul, for it is my soul that knows these things. How else would I be rediscovering things I have always known rather than discovering them for the first time! Quite obviously I did not learn these things from the many schools and universities I have attended. Quite obviously because society as a whole does not teach such things. But I know somehow. This is “priori” knowledge. And for there to be “priori” or prior knowledge, there must be an eternal soul.

Do you know that while in the university I was told to get a Ph.D. Then, and only then, I would have the right to express an opinion. Do you realize how incredibly absurd this is. The whole concept denies the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds. It denies that we have a soul. Do you know that when I was in seminary I was told not to too fervently because I must share the stage with all manner of people. Later, of course, I discovered that I had gone from too young to express an opinion to tool old to be taken seriously. Well, just when does one get to speak and express an opinion. Never, if you go by the rules of our secular culture! This is because your opinion as an individual doesn’t matter. Your testimony to the truth carries no weight whatsoever because the underlying assumption is that truth is relative. Truth is created by the culture, or for oneself. And so we are told in many subtle and in many not-so-subtle ways, “Do not be so arrogant as to think you can discern something that the rest cannot—you have no God-given capacity to discern truth, in effect, you have no soul”.

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Andrew Moffatt

commented on Apr 23, 2012

Ta Mate good sermon!

Derrence Smaage

commented on Apr 24, 2012

From a professor of homiletics: (Don''t hold this against me) I appreciate what you were trying to say. However your proposition was not clearly stated. Your structure could have been better and your exegesis of your text came too late in your sermon. I found myself trying to figure out what you wanted to say. I appreciate your effort. You need to go back, re-write the sermon so that it develops and presents your key idea (proposition) more powerfully and more clearly. Thanks for your good effort. This is what I would tell you if you were one of my students. No offense intended. We all know how to preach better sermons than we do. It takes a lot of work. A good sermon. Just needs a little polish and it will be more readily received by your audience.

Byron Perrine

commented on Sep 27, 2014

Interesting... well... as they say, one good turn deserves another (or in this case criticism). I think I hit "academics" a bit hard in the sermon and this is certainly not always justified. The attack came rather early in the message... and might not resonate well with a professor of homiletics...however... you are most certainly correct in asserting that MUCH more work is needed on this text... it is seldom preached and the meaning that the Spirit can help us draw from this text is seldom appreciated (I think). I hope lots of folk will work on this passage and maybe concentrate on that rather than the criticism of culture with which I began my sermon (another important topic... but maybe you are right, not so central to the exegesis of this particular text). The text is so lovely, and so full of importance for our Christian life... I do hope many others will use my message as a "springboard" to additional work following the leading of the Spirit in its interpretation and application. Thanks!

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