Summary: The first of sermons in a series on Luke 15, based on the parable of the lost sheep.
This is my adaptation of a sermon by Pastor Henry Wright
I am not a theologian. I don’t claim to be, I don’t try to be, and I don’t want to be. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing necessarily against the theologian, I’m just not one. You see, theologians tend to be deep and profound, often speaking a different language than the people. They use big words that are generally not in our vocabulary. They talk about Christology, which is the study of Christ. They talk about eschatology, which is the study of last day events. They talk about hermeneutics, which is a fancy word for Biblical interpretation. They talk about the prolegomena. They talk about the kerygma.
I, on the other hand, like to be simple. I believe that the gospel is simple. I believe that the full Seventh-day Adventist message is simple, and can be given in a simple way that even a child can understand it. I don’t believe it necessary to use high-sounding words to make a point that most people wouldn’t understand anyway. Therefore, I find it unnecessary for me to normally talk about things like the prolegomena and the kerygma.
But there’s an interesting word. Kerygma. I’m sure all of you have spent your lives wondering what the kerygma is. Simply put, the kerygma is the central message of truth in the Bible. It is the essence of the Bible, and it can be given in 6 simple sentences. If someone were to come up to you and ask you to tell them in 6 sentences what the Bible was about, you would share with them the kerygma.
1. God’s promises made to His people in the Old Testament are now fulfilled in Jesus.
2. The long-expected Messiah, born of David’s line, has come, and God has kept His Word.
3. According to the plan of salvation, Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead to pay the price for man’s sin.
4. Since Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension, God’s promise of the Holy Spirit has been fulfilled.
5. Jesus said in His Word that He would come again, and His Word is sure-He will come again.
6. Therefore, because of what Christ has done, is doing, and will do for His people, men ought everywhere to repent, and believe the Gospel.
Turn with me to Luke 1:1-3. “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus.”
As Seventh-day Adventist Christians, we believe that God is the author of the Bible. We believe it to be inspired, but we do not believe in the concept of verbal inspiration. In other words, we don’t accept the theory that God came and stood by each of the Bible writers and dictated to them, word-for-word, what they were to say and write. We believe in the concept of plenary, or thought, inspiration. We believe that the Holy Spirit came upon the writers, giving them convictions and ideas to write, and they in turn wrote them in their own words.
Each of the four gospel writers was unique. Two of them had known Jesus and served as His disciples, but the other two were probably later converts. Mark was a young man who at two different points traveled with the apostle Paul, and Luke was the only Gentile writer in the New Testament.
Luke tells us at the beginning of his Gospel that he actually researched the story of Christ before writing it. He went to the eyewitnesses and questioned them. He talked with those who had talked with Jesus, walked with Jesus, been healed by Jesus, who had seen Jesus, who had heard Jesus preach. Luke wrote about Jesus, and Jesus is the heart of the Bible, and Jesus is the heart of the kerygma.
Luke tells a series of stories in Luke 15, and these stories are what the Gospel is really all about. These stories are the kerygma. “Now all the tax-gatherers and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. And both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’”
I want to stop there for a moment and let those words sink in. That right there is a sermon in itself. “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” In fact, one translation says “This man accepts and receives and welcomes sinners.” Every person in this church should say Praise the Lord when you hear those words, because you are included in that category. If Jesus didn’t receive sinners, then He wouldn’t receive you, and He wouldn’t receive me. I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad today that Jesus receives sinners.