Summary: A story that telss the big story. A very unusual type sermon but one that my congregation responded to very well

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Easter Preach-Off

The message that I will preach today is likely one of the most unusual you will ever hear me preach. I generally am the kind of preacher that uses a title and an outline and I usually try to stay somewhere near a homiletical style of preaching. You know 3 or 4 points and poem, stand and be dismissed, etc. Well today I’m going to tell you a story that tells the story. If we were going to give it a title it would have to be “Easter Preach-Off”, so let’s get started.

It was Good Friday at a little-known preacher training college. In celebration of and in conjunction with Passion Week and Easter they decided to have a “preach-off”. Now this is to preachers what a “Battle of the Bands” is to musicians. It was an opportunity to hone their preaching skills. It was to be kind of an all-day affair. Each preacher was allotted a certain amount of time to preach and each one would, no doubt, preach his very best sermon on the life or death or burial or resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

The first one got up. He was a little bit nervous at first, but very soon he settled down and proceeded to preach about the intense love of God that motivated Him to send His only begotten Son to Earth to become a sacrifice for all the sins of humanity. He started with I John 4:8-10 he read:

. . . . God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

He talked about the sacrifice motivated by Love and he talked about the characteristics of God’s kind of love. He stopped by 1 Corinthians 13 and reviewed for the audience the attributes of this Agape Love.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

As he expounded on each of these attributes he then quickly got back on the subject as he went to John 3:16:

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[f] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

He explained in some great detail this best-known and most-loved verse of the entire New Testament. With power and conviction he brought the truth of this great verse down to the level that even the smallest child in the audience could fully understand. As he preached, his fellow preachers were held spell bound and you could hear them shouting, “Amen” and “Glory to God” and “Hallelujah” and “yes” and “alright” and from one side you could hear somebody yelling “Preach!” and just about anything you ever heard in church you could have heard there that day.

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