Summary: This sermon relies heavily on a visual illustration. It is based on the passage in 2 Cor. 3 which says we are letters from God. It calls for serious dedication to living for Christ.
This sermon relies heavily upon a visual illustration. It’s based on Paul’s statement that we are a ’letter from Christ’.
Here is a description of the visual I made for this lesson:
Before the sermon, I prepared a manilla envelope, addressed, "To the local community" and put "heaven" in the return address section.
Enclosed in the envelope are several things:
1. a Letter that is supposedly what God might say to the community. Here is the text of my letter:
’To Every Non-Christian in Rose Bud,
First of all, I love you. Since before you were born, I fashioned you in your mother’s womb, and I have desired for you to love me like I love you.
But as of right now, we have a problem. A sin problem. Because I am a good and just God, I cannot tolerate sin in my presence, and no matter how badly I want to, I just can’t let you inherit eternal life unless we do something about the sins in your life that keep you apart from me. There has to be justice.
I’m so serious about dealing with this problem, I sent my own Son to die and suffer everything on your behalf. He paid the full penalty for your sins, and if you cloth yourself with his righteousness, your sins can be forgiven.
I’m providing you with an important book. It’s called the Bible. Everything that built up to Jesus’ time on the earth, is described in the first section. In the second section, you’ll find four different accounts that describe what my Son taught, and what he did on this earth. You’ll also find great teachings that will show you how I want my people to live with and relate to one another. In short, this book will teach you how to be eternally saved.
I realize that this is a pretty large claim to make about ANY book. You’re not going to just take this book and accept it as truth unless there are some credentials to go with it. So, also enclosed, you will find evidence of this book’s credentials. I am giving you the Bible’s letter of recommendation. Please see the enclosed attachment.
2. Insert Yourself. I created a basic page with a generic large smiley face on it and it says in big letters "Insert Yourself here".
3. Phone Calls. I copied a phone bill and pasted large letters on top of it "Your Phone Calls".
4. Bank Transactions. Ditto.
5. Time Chart. I made a colorful pie chart that is titled, "How you spent your time last week". It doesn’t matter how many sections you include, as long as some pieces of the pie are larger than others.
6. Conversations. A page titled ’Your Conversations’ that includes a sections that appear to have detailed conversations beside them. I included some like, "What you said to your family; To the people at cash registers; to your co-workers; what you taught your children; Jokes you told".
All of the above items are attached to the Letter with a paper clip.
During the sermon, you will utilize these. But start out with having all of them sealed in the envelope.
(Open your Bible to 2 Corinthians 3)
As we begin, I wonder if you’ve noticed the way a lot of churches of all different denominations use the Bible.
-“Sola Scriptura…we believe in the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing BUT the Bible!”
-“If you want to know what our church believes, just open the Bible and you’ll find it.”
-“God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”
-“We believe the BIBLE”
I’ve begun to notice more frequently that some denominations are starting to incorporate the Bible into their names.
-Now you see churches called things like, “Fellowship BIBLE church” or “First BIBLE church”
In some ways, I think a lot of Christians have started to use the Bible in the same way that a lot of us would use a letter of recommendation.
-“Well if you want to know about what my church believes, we follow the Bible.” --I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a church that WOULDN’T tell you something like that.
And let’s be clear…I’m a big fan of more and better Bible study for ALL Christians. And we should always strive to be a BIBLE-based Church.
But I found something in our reading for this week that really challenged the way I think about how I might want to use God or the Bible as MY CREDENTIALS.
ILLUS: Imagine a scenario. We know that God wants people to become Christians. That he wants to save the lost.
-But what if tomorrow, God decided to send out letters to all the non-Christians in Rose Bud to encourage them to become Christians.