The morning was new; a man strolls alongside the Sea of Galilee and comes upon some fishermen tending to their nets after a long
night on the sea. One of those fishermen hears the words, “Follow me.” He steps from his boat and moves into a new life. Peter
was a successful businessman. His life work had been fishing and prior to this encounter with this itinerant preacher, he had never
given thought to changing his vocation. But in an instant his life was changed. This sea-hardened fisherman was transformed into a
minister of the gospel. Two seemingly simple words completely turned Peter’s world upside down! He was never the same after
that. Peter is a good example of what Jesus does to anyone He encounters; He changes him.
The same thing can be said of each of us who has heard those two words from our Lord and responded to them. In the instant we
responded, we were transformed from death to life; we moved out of darkness into the glorious light of Jesus the Anointed One of
God. Our status changed from sinner to child of God. That which was stained and ugly from the effects of sin, was raised into
newness of life in Christ Jesus. Formerly we were separated from God because of sin, now we are righteous in His sight and
standing in covenant with Him! We are changed. Actually, the Gospel is a message about change.
If you were to follow Jesus around on any typical day in His ministry, you would see a trail of changed people left behind. Those
void of hope now had a glorious new expectancy. The lame were leaping and running. Dishonest tax collectors repented. Those
condemned under the Law were free to go in peace. A mother wracked with pain over the death of her child now shouted with joy
that her son was alive and well! The depressed were enlivened because they had met the Man from Galilee. Change, change,
change; everywhere He went came change.
Allow me to ask you man or woman of God: when you stand behind the sacred desk to deliver the message of God to His people,
does your sermon produce change in those who hear it? Do those in attendance at your worship service leave differently than they
came? These questions must be asked by each of us who stands in the sacred ministry offices. Our ministries should emulate that
of Jesus’ ministry, which was to create change whenever He spoke. Sadly, we often judge the veracity of our sermon by the verbal
accolades like “Good sermon today Reverend!” They were impressed with our Greek and Hebrew renderings of certain difficult
words, and they sat in awe of the seminarian insights into ancient history we gave them. Our homiletics was precise, and each point
drove another profound truth home. We did everything we were taught to do, yet each of us still must ask, “Was anyone’s life
changed because I preached today?” Are there new family members in God’s household? Are the sick or diseased now well? Did
that man who came depressed and hopeless leave leaping with joy and newly found hope that Jesus gives? Was someone set free
today from the bondage to demonic powers? Was a truth uncovered from Holy Writ that propels the lady on the fifth pew center isle
into God’s design for her Kingdom greatness? True preaching and teaching does these things – always.
I was once asked by a young man enrolled in our MIT (Ministers In Training) program, “Pastor, did I stand right when I preached
today? Was my voice at the proper inflection? Did my sermon points have the necessary continuity to them? Midway through the
questions, it occurred to me he was concerned about all the wrong things! He should have been asking questions like: Did my
sermon points prick the hearts of the people? Can the Holy Spirit use what I said to bring some to salvation? Should I have given
the opportunity to the people to receive healing and deliverance? What can I say to move God’s people out of complacency into a
dynamic fervor for the lost?
This young man was sincere in his questions. We had just finished a homiletics study in which he was instructed on how to deliver
the Word of God. In homiletics we do address such things as posture, voice inflection, gestures, etc., because these are tools
necessary to effectively deliver the message. But in his effort to be homiletically correct, he missed the very reason he was there,
which was to effect change in the lives of those precious people.
I encourage you to strongly consider your own level of expectation about next Sunday’s sermon. It is appropriate to remind yourself
that God does not work above what you expect. Your faith level (your expectancy) dictates to Him what He can do in your church
service. He has delegated to you the spiritual authority over that service, and so He therefore will submit to you. He wants to set
the captive free and see the blind eyes opened, but He graciously steps back to allow you to officiate the service. With this being
said, it probably answers the question you have placed to Him about why the miraculous is not happening in your church as it is in
other places around the world. It goes without saying:
RAISE YOUR LEVEL OF EXPECTANCY AND SEE WHAT GOD WILL DO!
Every time the saints of God gather, it should be a powerful experience where everyone present is radically transformed. You are
the decider of what happens in that sanctuary. Choose to move in faith, and then you’ll see the God move.
|“For the kingdom of God is not in
I Corinthians 4:20