March 15, 2023
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Colossians 3:12-16 NLT
I keep a mental folder of evaluative remarks I hear about sermons/messages that I or others have delivered. I try very diligently to grow from what I hear, but to be honest, sometimes I just laugh. For instance, one of the comments I have heard most frequently is about the perceived “depth” of a message. Someone will say, “Whew! That was deep!” or “He/she is not one of my favorites. The messages aren’t very deep.”
Occasionally, when I’ve been told that a message was deep, I respond, “That’s great! What was the main point and how are you thinking you should apply it?” The blank stares or stammering that most often follows tells me the operative definition of “deep” is either new knowledge, hard to understand, or so far removed from what the person is dealing with in life that they feel no responsibility for growth or to do anything in response.
Jesus was a very simple preacher. Only some parables that were intended to hide meanings until a later date were not easily grasped. That’s why He got into so much trouble. They couldn’t misunderstand the simple but challenging words He spoke. “Love one another as I have loved you.” That’s simple, but deep; worth pondering for a very long time.
Peter said about Paul, “This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Peter was uneducated in classical ways and thus dictated his letters to others, while Paul was highly educated and eloquent. But even with Paul, whose words could be difficult to understand and occasionally easy to twist, his instructions on relationships were simultaneously simple (easy to understand), deep (as in worth pondering for a very long time), and challenging (it will take a lifetime to complete your growth).
- Read Jesus’ words and Paul’s about your relationships again. Deep preaching there!