Delivering a sermon that’s filled with “do more (whatever), try harder (in whatever area), be more (whatever)” is not the gospel. The Gospel is “Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest.”
Our job as ministers of this gospel of Grace is not to dangle grace to others only clobber them with Law when they come out of hiding.
Grace is the rest we give to the weary.
Grace is the drink we give to the thirsty.
Grace is the bread we give to the hungry.
Grace is the embrace we give to the lonely.
Grace is the soap we give to the dirty.
We must hold true to the message that Jesus offered. The message of rest for the weary. The message of backs free of burdens. The message of shoulders un-ladened.
Jesus has some pretty harsh words for those who don’t hold true to His message of relief.
Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’
Matthew 23:4-7 Message
Well, now that you mention it, watch out, all you religious scholars! Judgment will come on you too! You load other people down with unbearable burdens of rules and regulations, but you don’t lift a finger to help others.
Luke 11:46 Voice
The message we must deliver is the message of grace, truth, and love. This is the message the Christ has finished the work that we weren’t capable of completing. That is what we must proclaim to everyone!
We must be very careful not to lay burdens on the backs of anyone. We must pay careful attention to not wrap a “works-righteousness” brick in guilt, condemnation, or passive-aggressive expectations. We must wrap grace in the trappings of love, joy, and acceptance.