See for Yourself

The first week of summer break is upon us, and I just have to say (as I shared in a recent Facebook post) that even though I’m glad for the slower schedule, I miss the high-fives, hugs, and loving interaction with the students. It’s always a strange and alien thing to see the hallways of the school empty and then also to experience the silence of that emptiness.

Still, I’m not going to wish away the summer. Heck, even add a month to it, I say.

Anyway…

I’m thinking on the appointed texts for this Sunday, and as with every other sermon—for me, at least—there’s usually one particular phrase that stands out at any given moment. Right now, it’s the following sentence from the Epistle reading from 1 John 4: “We love because He first loved us” (v. 19).

That sentence is incredibly packed. And for some, it might sound (at first) as though it is describing what we do. You need to know that it isn’t. Its drive is the love of God for us. That’s the Gospel.

I’m sure that once I sit down to start tapping away at the computer, by God’s grace, the Holy Spirit will do the appropriate unpacking, especially since the whole point of that statement, again, is the Gospel of our rescue in Jesus, and also because the whole point of preaching is to make sure that you, the listener, hears the wonderful proclamation of salvation through the person and work of Jesus.

That, of course, leads to the cross, and the proclamation of the cross is in that sentence from 1 John. The Gospel proclamation always leads to the cross. In fact, I’ve heard it said to preachers that if Jesus didn’t die in your sermon, you didn’t preach the Gospel. That’s a pretty solid maxim to which I subscribe.

So, whatever happens this week in the preparations, this Sunday, listen for the death of Jesus for your sins. It’ll be there.

And now, on to the news… which I intend to keep brief.

“Sure you do, Pastor,” you say.

See for yourself.