Monday, December 12, 2005

Difficult Sermons

Here in Decatur, I am preaching through the Sermon on the Mount. It's like sitting at the feet of our King as He tells us what He expects of His subjects. The last two weeks have been difficult, as we have heard Jesus' words on sexual sin and divorce. I especially wanted to be sensitive yesterday, because historically we have been so hard on divorced people in the church. Instead of being a place of healing for the divorced, we have often been the source of even greater pain. God forgive us for that!

I'm not sure if I have ever had as much affirmation over two lessons in all my preaching life. This church is so incredible! It is a family who loves each other and cares for one another. And there is such a hunger for the Word! The last time I preached on divorce (before coming here, and I presented it in a very redemptive way), I was scolded by an elder. "Don't you care that you might hurt so-and-so's feelings?" Sure I do! So which pages of the words of Jesus do we begin tearing out? I hope that -- as a preacher -- I never hurt anyone's feelings. But don't you imagine there were people in Jesus' audience who were made uncomfortable by His words? And His words are just as forceful today. Further, as a servant of the Word, I would be dishonest to my calling to gloss over anything Jesus said.

I was especially touched by the couple who came to me last night. They had both undergone divorces over 30 years ago. In fact, they have been married to each other now for 31 years. They both thanked me for the lesson. And they encouraged me to continue to be proactive in attempting to prevent others from going through the pain of divorce. That seems to me to be a more spiritual response to Jesus' words on divorce.

7 comments:

Jeff said...

Rick, you have presented tough lessons well.
I'm too often made uncomfortable by your lessons (as well as others) that deal with sin in my life because too often I have caused and felt the pain of my wrongdoings. I'm uncomfortable as I think about what I've done to others and what I've done to God and uncomfortable because I know I will make other mistakes. Yet, through this uncomfort, I always find the redemptive power of Jesus' blood. Sometimes it takes longer than others to feel it but I get back to it knowing that no matter how others see me, I know my Savior sees me in a very special way.
I hope sin always makes me uncomfortable and I hope that I will grow closer to God and further from sin each day.

Beverly Ross said...

I am so proud of your delivery of the 'difficult sermons'! God did amazing work through you! I

Carmen said...

Rick, thanks so much for the job you are doing. You have a tremendous gift from God and you are using that gift as well as anyone I have ever heard. I appreciate your willingness to take on the "tough sermons" with a loving heart and with powerful words from God.

Phillip

Melissa Taylor said...

Rick, Mark wasn't able to be at worship service Sunday morning because he had to take Jacob home, so he asked about your sermon when I got home. I told him that it was the best sermon I have ever heard on divorce. I really qppreciate the way that you handled the whole lesson. You were not afraid to talk about God's hatred for divorce, but you were very good at explaining our role in dealing with those who are divorced. For them it must be awkward to be in a place where so many people look down on them for their past mistake. Like you said though, NONE of us would want our past mistakes to define us now. Thanks for 2 weeks of excellent sermons on 2 very sensitive subjects! You are truly a blessing to our church family here in Decatur.

Anonymous said...

I am currently going through the toughest time in my marriage of 16yrs. My wife and myself have both been unfaithful in the past. Hers was just recently and I caught her. She did not know about the affair I had almost 8yrs ago. I love her with all my heart, but I don't know if we will get through this. Your sermon almost made me break down into tears, but I do not want to embarass my family. I just wanted to ask you to pray for me and my children and my wife.I need Gods help more than ever and sometimes I think because of the hardness in my heart he does not hear my prayers. so I am pleading to a righteous man to pray for me.

Rick Ross said...

To anonymous,

I will be praying for you and you wife. If you want to visit with me, you can reach me at my email address: rross4@msn.com. I understand if you would rather not, but please know that I am here to help if you want. Blessings on you both. May the Lord bring healing.

Randy said...

One of the things wrong with our culture is that as a people we're entirely too comfortable with sin. We're Christians. We ought to be unconfortable with our sin.