It’s July 4th, and many people are extolling the greatness of our nation and rightly so. We should remember how close this nation came in 1780 to becoming a permanent satellite of England.
Because it’s Independence Day, preachers are trying to find clever sermons to preach that straddle the line between the Bible and the government of the U.S. I must admit early in my preaching I fell into the same kind of thing. I thought it was necessary for me to have some creative lesson theme that highlighted holidays.
Then I thought what am I trying to do? I have a responsibility to preach the gospel. Why would I compromise that duty by using my time to praise a government that has mostly walked away from the gospel? I realized how foolish I had become.
So, I don’t usually plan my lessons to highlight a holiday. I don’t preach about Christmas, Memorial Day, Independence Day, etc. I have always been impressed by the apostle Paul who wrote, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified,” (1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV). A.T. Robertson wrote of this verse, “Paul means that he did not think it fit or his business to know anything for his message beyond this ‘mystery of God.'”
I think preachers sometimes forget just how much Paul loved the “mystery” of the gospel and little else. He was emphatic in this love of the gospel when he wrote to the Ephesians, “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit,” (Ephesians 3:4-5 ESV).
But, it’s difficult to find preachers focused on the gospel. Instead, many of them are too focused on the world and how many compliments will be paid for their inventive speaking. I see vacation Bible schools where preachers dress up as cowboys and try to entertain rather than teach. I’ve attended gospel meetings where the focus was placed on how to help people through their financial problems. I wonder what Paul would have said.