Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sermon preview--Counterfeit Salvation

Last week, we talked about how Jesus wasn't the bland nice guy that so many of us picture when we think of Him. He was bold, provocative, and didn't let political correctness stand in the way of speaking the truth. This week, as we continue our study of the parables of Jesus, we're reminded of another interesting characteristic of His teaching: Sometimes He said things that absolutely baffled His listeners. That's certainly the case with the Parable of the Eight Spirits in Matthew 12:43-45. The only time I've ever heard a sermon on this parable was when I preached it myself, more than ten years ago. I showed up to the service and a church member approached me. He had seen the text in the bulletin and had read it ahead of time--a practice I heartily endorse. He said, "How in the heck are you going to make a sermon out of that? What does that even mean?" He looked at me like I had some sort of homiletical death wish; that I was convinced I would preach successfully on an impossible text or die trying.

But it's not impossible. Jesus wasn't being deliberately vague or intentionally enigmatic when He told this story. His point was inflammatory and inspiring back then, and it is just as much so today. This Sunday, we'll take a close look at this parable. We'll examine its context and drill down into the meaning. Then we'll see how it applies to us corporately (as a church body), interpersonally (in our relationships with others), and personally--in our daily decisions and priorities. The parable may be mysterious, but the message is too important for us to miss. I hope you can be there.

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