|On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoke to you are spirit and they are life…”This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” –John 6:60-65
Have you ever listened to a sermon that convicted and ministered to you so much that you felt revived afterwards? Have you ever heard a sermon that made you shake in your boots? Have you ever heard a sermon that made you cry?
This is the kind of sermon that Jesus preached to the Jews as well as his disciples. He spoke directly to their hearts and challenged their thinking and some of their practices. He lovingly rebuked and corrected them. Jesus referred to the words he preached as spirit and life. On hearing this, some of his disciples and many others deserted him because the sermon was too hard for them to swallow. I thought this was pretty funny, because the same people that deserted him were the ones that were excited about his miracle of feeding the 5,000 and tried to make him king.
Many pastors and ministers have stopped preaching like Jesus did. Many of you are so worried about stepping on people toes and keeping people in the Church that you have become people pleasers. (FYI: anyone who considers him or herself a Christian is called to be a minister, so this applies to you as well.) We need to buckle down and stop preaching cheap grace. There are too many new believers that are not being fed! There are too many Christians that are zealous without knowledge. What are you doing to affect change?
Paul sums up very well in 2 Corinthians 7:8-13 the point I am trying to make: “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it…yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret…”
Pastors, ministers, preachers, Christians; I urge you to stop preaching cheap grace! Stop allowing your hearers to sink further into sin! Stop walking on egg shells for your hearers! Stop sugar coating the message of deliverance that God has put on your lips to speak! God wants disciples that would worship him in spirit and in truth, and Jesus says that no one can come to him unless the Father has enabled him. Graft your hearers into the tree of life as living branches so that they may not fall off. When you preach cheap grace, your hearers develop “surface deep faith”, and these will be the people that desert Christ.
Preach the word; be prepared in and out of season; CORRECT; REBUKE; and ENCOURAGE-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. -2 Timothy 4:2-3
Are you preaching the words that God has put on your lips or are you preaching what people’s itching ears want to hear? Who are you serving; God or man? God’s words may be too hard for some to swallow, but only those who have faith and can find the strength to swallow them will be given everlasting life.
Stay blessed and spread the word.