Some sermons are better than others. Some seem delivered just for you. Some contain a sneaky 2x4. You can just be sitting there minding your own business—even, well, daydreaming—when bam! some little something jerks you out of your inattention.
Sometimes that something steps on your toes, convicting of sin. Sometimes it touches a deep hurt, ministering in a way the preacher could not have anticipated. But I had a different kind of Wow! moment the other day. It gave me an insight I needed. Not an insight as a sinner or as someone with a deep hurt, but an insight as a writer.
Something I had long searched for was dumped in my lap, gratis.
You see, as a Christian writer, I had long searched for biblical principles of writing. Oh sure, I had figured out a few: Words are powerful. God uses words; and when we use words, we imitate Him. In other words, I had identified a few profound truths about communication, but nothing that helps with craft!
But then, in the midst of a sermon on the prodigal son, my pastor noted in passing that Jesus was addressing two audiences simultaneously: the tax collectors and “sinners” and the Pharisees.
Wow! How did Jesus pull that off?
To the tax collectors and “sinners,” Jesus offers an incredible picture of the depth of God’s love for them. As the pastor pointed out, in Luke’s Gospel, the parable of prodigal son is the third parable in a series. Tax collectors and sinners are like that one sheep that the Shepard leaves all the other sheep for. They are like the lost coins; God will search every nook and cranny for them. They are like the prodigal son. God longs for their redemption, for their return. And when the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son is found—when they the tax collectors and sinners are found—there is great rejoicing in Heaven. Wow! What a message!
Yet to the Pharisees, Jesus says “You are wrong!” It’s as if He were saying all over again, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”*
Wow! One story, two audiences, two very different messages.
Can I do that? Well, I can try; and with His help, I believe I can.
My two audiences may be different than Jesus’ two audiences. In fact, they may be different from article to article, from book to book. Maybe two kinds of believers—those who are strong and those who are weak or those who are worn out from ministry and those who wrestle with secret sin. Maybe believers and unbelievers—those who need hope and those who know Hope or those who stood firm and those who shipwrecked their faith. Maybe two different kinds of unbelievers—mockers and seekers or atheists and Muslims or black sheep and unsaved church goers.
I’m just starting to chew on this. But . . . I believe with God’s help, I can do this. As a Christain writer, I can offer hope, encourage the downtrodden, speak God’s truth, and say something relevant to the world. Wow!
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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