Today I am preaching to my class on Romans 9:1-3. It is a challenging text as Paul laments over the lost of Israel. Today the sermon is tailored to a group of 10 seminarians pursuing ministry. Later this summer I will preach from the text again to a congregation bringing hope to their part of the city in what should be a much different sermon.
But on thing I have learned well from my preaching class is to respond to scripture throughout the preparation. For so long I would look for how God wanted to challenge those I was preaching to. And while this is still vital – I have learned to first answer how God is challenging me through the text and then respond to that.
On this text I am challenge to be truly sorrowful over those rejecting Christ. It is far to easy to become comfortable in our Christian bubbles (and I know that believers need to constantly hear the gospel) but how often do we have compassion for those outside of Christ? Our neighbors, those punk kids on the street, the dying old man in the hospital, our own family.
I have determined to live my life proclaim the gospel because it has been transforming who I am and now I recognize that I long for others to experience that transformation as well, more than ever.
Whether my sermon is a flop or success today I know that the text has challenged me to live differently in light of it. And I pray that others might be challenged too.