Summary: When the sermon is hot it talks about one’s sin, it makes known one’s need, and it builds up one’s hope.
Title: “When the Sermon is Hot”
Text: Psalms 39:3
Focus: “…then spake I with my tongue…”
When the sermon is hot it talks about one’s sin, it makes known one’s need, and it builds up one’s hope.
No one is exempt from having to deal with issues in life. I really don’t have a definition for issues, but I believe you know what I mean. I remember hearing a person calling in to work for time off. When asked the reason why? Are you sick, are you taking a vacation, the person said no, put down that I’m having issues. Have you every felt like taking time off because of issues. Issues appear to be interwoven into life’s journey. Regardless the stage that you are in life journey you will have issues: children have issues, teenagers have issues, adults have issues, and seniors have issues. It don’t matter the race, the status, or your religious affiliation – in life you will have issues.
The net effect of having issues is that they create tension. Tension is worry, anxiety, stress, pressure, or apprehension. Tension is damaging. Tension is detrimental. Tension is destructive.
No one is exempt from having issues and issues create tension. In my analysis of this text, the writer uncovers three fundamental issues that every human being faces: the effects of sin, the reality of death, and the awesome power of God.
Sin is what we do against others, sin is what we do against ourselves, and sin is what we do against God. In this life there appears to be no escape from sin. Sin abounds it everywhere. If the writer had known Paul, he would have known that Paul calls it a “thorn in the flesh.” In Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, he discusses this thorn in a particular context. He says it acts as an antidote to vanity. NIV says it this way, “to keep me from becoming conceited…there was given to me a thorn in my flesh; a messenger of Satan to torment me.”
In other words the effects of sin should keep everyone from getting the big-head. Vanity is the idea that you are better than someone else.
Last Friday, the Churches in the community conducted an evangelistic service on the corner of Lafayette and Pennsylvania Avenue. Bethel AME, Pennsylvania Ave AMEZ, Sharp Street UMC, and Union Baptist. Dr. Proctor preached and I gave the call to salvation. Dr. Proctor preached from the idea of one’s need for an extreme makeover - being made brand new. Over thirty people responded to the call to salvation - they where young, old, male and female.
What I realized was those person had thrown off all pretension, vanity, and had responded to there need to be release from the bondage of sin. They needed an extreme makeover by the renewing of their minds, hearts, and spirits. This need to be released from the bondage of sin is everyone’s need.
The second tension that this text discloses is the reality of death. Paul helps us in this same letter when he says, “therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
The Psalmist says, “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am.”
Frailty is strength. Paul says when I am weak, God is made strong.
If people are dealing with these two basic tensions, I need you to understand that people need sermons to be heard not only in the church place, but also in the work place, the marketplace, and the community place. Therefore, effect sermons can be preached not only from pulpits, but also from pews.
Collectively we come in contact with people everyday who are wrestling with these two tensions: sin and death. They are trying to make sense out of life. They are losing their grip and need a firm foundation, an anchor in the midst of their storm. People need to hear a word right where they are. They are dealing with issues. They are dealing with tension. They are dealing with stress. They are dealing with anxiety. They need a word; they need to know that there is hope.
I look at this grand piano. Inside the grand piano is a hart and connected to the hart is 230 strings under 30 thousand tons of pressure. The pressure is so great that at any moment the piano could literally explode. But, in the midst of the tension that is inherent to the piano, Mike sits there are plays beautiful music that stirs our hearts and soothes our spirits.