I love listening to Francis Chan preach. Years worth of his sermons are online and I often watch/listen to them. It’s not unusual for God to use Francis’ words to help me (or make me) me see my shortcomings in my family life, in my walk with Jesus, and as a pastor. And it’s not a bad thing, but a good thing. That’s why I listen to them. They used to call that “conviction”, but we don’t hear that word much any more. Other times, I’m not so convicted. When he talks about missions, I feel like I’m doing much of what God is calling me to do. When he talks about comfort, I wonder if I live too comfortable a life. When he talks about pride, I wonder if I am too prideful about what people in the community say about me and the church I pastor. And if I’m listening today to a sermon given in 2008, he’s obviously not preaching it with me in mind. It’s obviously not directed at me. What his sermons do is call me to examine my life and my relationship with Jesus. If I feel like my toes are being stepped on, it’s not Francis Chan’s fault. It’s the Word of God. I hope this makes sense.
If a preacher preaches about money, the people in the pews who are tithers probably do not get offended. The people most likely to get upset are the people who know in their hearts that they cheat God when it comes to their giving. And what they fail to realize is that it’s a good thing to be convicted by a sermon, or by reading Scripture. It means God is working on us and there is still hope and time to repent. If you do go to church and you’re never bothered or offended by a sermon, there are two possible explanations: 1.) The Word of God isn’t actually being preached or 2.) Your heart is hard.
What you who are not pastors need to realize is that Orthodox Bible preaching pastors don’t preach a sermon directed to you personally. Pastors preach God’s Word and if the hearer is blessed, God’s Word works its way to our soul and spirit helping to make us more holy after hearing it than we were before we heard it. God’s Word is more than informational, but it’s also transformational. And it’s not the preacher that offends, but it’s the Word of God.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. ~ Hebrews 4:12