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Sermons should not always be "the shortest path to Jesus"

By Scott Tibbs, January 12, 2017

I cannot understand how anyone can read the book of Proverbs and think every single sermon should be "the quickest path to Jesus," with the primary message that we are sinners and Jesus Christ offers forgiveness. Obviously this is the heart of the Christian faith, because we are all wicked degenerates who are on our way to eternal damnation in Hell Fire without the blood of Christ to wash away our sin. Evangelism should always be a top priority for churches, including in sermons.

But what about the rest of the Bible?

When Christians are saved, our lives do not become flowery beds of ease as we wait for death to transport us to paradise. We have sickness, financial hardship, persecution, marriage troubles, fights with family, discipline of children and so much more. And yes - Christians do continue to sin and sometimes we sin very seriously. Accepting Jesus Christ is only the first step in a Christian's life. After justification comes sanctification, as we work to obey the God who saved us out of our gratitude for that salvation. In all of life's hardships, God gives us guidelines and wisdom in His Word to deal with it.

Read the letters the Apostle Paul wrote to churches, and how he deals with a variety of issues from family life to running a church and, yes, dealing with very serious sin within a church. The most obvious example is the man who was committing adultery with his stepmother. The book of Proverbs, mentioned above, gives Christians an incredible treasure trove of wisdom for our daily lives and how to live godly lives. There are all kinds of accounts through the entire Bible that serve as examples to us.

Yes, churches must save souls and sermons must incorporate that. But believers should not be sitting in church and getting no help on how to defeat their own sin, despair and faithlessness. Believers should not be sitting in church and getting no guidance on how to live as God would have us to live. Sermons should evangelize, but they should also be practical and helpful, which includes calls to repentance for Christians who sin. We should not abandon sanctification as we (rightly) pursue justification for those who lack salvation.