Summary: If you hear something in the sermon that you aren’t quite sure is true, how do you get a second opinion? Cross Reference your pastor with God’s Word.
5th Sunday of Easter – A
April 24, 2005
Acts 17:1-12 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. 5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus." 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go. 10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
Cross Reference Your Pastor
I. Question preachers
II. God has the answers
Peace to all of you who are in Christ (I Peter 5:14b). Amen.
When I was in college in Watertown, I worked at Bethesda Lutheran Home, a home for the ‘developmentally disabled.’ I worked the night shift and went to school during the day. One winter morning when I got off from work, I hopped in the car, turned the key and… click… nothing. It wouldn’t turn over or anything. I had a local mechanic tow the car to his shop. Later in the afternoon he called me and told me that the engine block had cracked on me. He said that it would be an expensive repair, or if I was willing, he would buy the car off of me for a couple hundred dollars. I didn’t know what to do. I told him that I would call him back. I called my dad and asked his opinion. Well, Dad asked me, “Was there oil on the ground around the car?” Since it was winter and there had been snow on the ground, I would have noticed if there had been oil. “No,” I said. Right away my dad thought something was fishy. If the engine block really had cracked, there should have been oil on the ground. We had the car towed to a garage that my father trusted and asked for a second opinion. You know what the problem was? Just the starter was broken. I don’t even know if the repair cost a hundred dollars, as compared to putting in a whole new engine or selling the car.
It’s good to get a second opinion, when the stakes are high. How about getting a second opinion when it comes to your soul? This church has only one pastor. What if you don’t agree with something in the sermon? There’s no second pastor who stands up after the service to offer rebuttals. I suppose you could ask Pastor Koepsell. If not him, who else? Do you go ask the Missouri Synod pastor? Do you go online and leave a question for the WELS Q & A? Have you ever thought of asking the President of the Council or another member of the Church Council?
I highly appreciate your trust, if you don’t question anything in my sermons. I do put a lot of time in preparing them, praying that I am faithfully presenting God’s Word for your growth as Christians. But I don’t want to become your pope. What I want to say is this: I make no claims to be infallible, that is, unable to make a mistake. Am I trying to plant doubts in your minds? In a sense – yes. I want to plant doubt, so that I might produce confidence. Because if I can get you searching for a second opinion on each and every one of my sermons, and I can get you to look in the right place for your ‘second opinion,’ you will be as confident in what is said from this pulpit, as I am.