I’ve been following Bill Giovannetti for a while now after reading his book, “Grace Intervention” – a book recommended by my lead pastor, Scott Treadway of Rancho. Recently he wrote an article, “Why I Preach Grace-Filled Sermons
Your congregation needs rest, not a “to-do” list“. for Christianity Today and it’s so worth the time. I recommend it to anyone who is leading or teaching in any capacity in the church-world (teaching pastors, youth pastors, children’s pastors/teachers, small group leaders, Christian school-teachers, etc.)
Below I’ve summarized my favorite quotes from the article – but you really need to read through the entire article.
You cannot expect broken people to live holy lives just because you tell them to. Fill up their impoverished spirits with the “unsearchable riches of Christ” and watch grace work its transforming magic.
Any preaching that decouples the Christian’s duties from the power of Christ will always make Christianity feel like running through quicksand. Be holy. Serve God. Get involved. Love your neighbor. Give. Give some more. Take a missions trip. Be a better person. Read your Bible. Pray. Join a small group. Be radical. Conquer your lusts. Beat your addictions. Obey. Do. Go. Serve. Harder. Faster. Better. Never enough!
So many times, your listeners come to church worn out by life. Many feel deep failure. The weight of adversity presses hard. Guilt and shame lurk at the door. The cross of Christ is what they need. Paint on the corridors of their imagination an indelible picture of all their failures and troubles being swept away in the tidal wave of Calvary’s love. If you don’t run to the cross in your messages, your people won’t run to the cross in their trials.
When Jesus forgave the woman taken in adultery, he left two messages ringing in her ears: “Neither do I condemn you” and “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). These are important, not only for their content, but for their order too. Until “neither do I condemn you” gets hard-wired into your listeners’ souls, “go and sin no more” remains impossible.
Someone had to say, “Yes, it sounds too good to be true, but it is true, because Christ is that good.” Why not become the church in your city that unburdens, unshackles, and de-stresses people? Keep shifting the burden to God. Build a bigger trust in a God more gracious than your people ever dared dream. Buy your Inner Taskmaster a one-way ticket to a permanent vacation.
We often wrestle through these types of statements as we put together message themes at our church – and more and more are realizing the value of highlighting the amazing, lavish, forgiving, burden-lifting, freeing, relentless grace of God. And how as we highlight that, we at the same time magnify how great God is and just how great the price paid at the cross by Christ and the incredible victory of the resurrection. We are free from sin and free to live a full and meaningful life by the grace of God. It’s a beautiful picture of just how good the “Good News” is!