Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 3 Questions to Ask Before Listening to Any Sermon

3 Questions to Ask Before Listening to Any Sermon

2. You will hear a prosperity gospel:

• We are saved by faith that produces health and wealth.

• We are saved from poverty and financial heartache.

• We are saved to enjoy financial abundance.

3. You will hear a brokenness gospel:

• We are saved by releasing ourselves from the memory of old sins.

• We are saved from feeling bad about ourselves.

• We are saved to live whole again.

4. You will hear an attention gospel:

• We are saved by remembering God more mindfully.

• We are saved from ignoring that God exists.

• We are saved to live more conscious of God.

Whether these messages contain hints of the gospel, or fragments of ultimate truth, or complete fabrications of a non-gospel, all of these messages will implicitly or explicitly find their way into Christian books, music and sermons as ultimate messages, and often pass as sufficient presentations of the gospel. They aren’t. In fact, they are far from it. And each of them, in their own way, render Christ secondary or optional.

The Biblical Answers

The true work of ministry is allowing Scripture to answer each of these three questions over and over again until the truth of the gospel works down into our bloodstream.

If we sketch out some of the contours of the biblical gospel, the answers to our questions become quite clear:

• We are saved by grace through faith in the wrath-absorbing death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and justified in his resurrection as a substitute for us, the rebel law-breakers.

• We are saved from a holy God, from his righteous wrath poured out eternally on every sinner who has disgraced his glory.

• We are saved to have peace with God, to be holy, to be gathered among God’s people who live and love, and who magnify God by treasuring Christ and enjoying him above everything in this world and the next.

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Tony Reinke serves as the editorial and research assistant to C.J. Mahaney. He wrote a book called Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (Crossway). It will be published in September 2011. In the book he addresses four main topics: (1) why Christians prioritize book reading in the first place, (2) how to personally select the best books to read, (3) tips and tricks on how to go about reading them, and (4) how to overcome common challenges to book reading.