Leadership Preaching

The Temptation to Preach Religion

I never get over how strong the temptation is to preach religion instead of preaching that which I am commissioned to preach, Christ!

I Corinthians 1:23, II Corinthians 4:5, Colossians 1:28

Currently I am preaching through a sermon series called Heroes: 8 Stories of Incredible People.  The second sermon was slated as a charter study of the life of Peter.  When I study the life of Peter I see an incredible walking contradiction, a man of incredible strength and epic weakness.  At one moment he is walking on water and the next he’s slipping into the waves.  It seems no apostle is more commended and subsequently corrected than Peter, many times all within the same passage.

In preparing for the sermon I began to outline the great moments of weakness and strengths that all Christians are familiar with.  I then, as is often my tendency, began to write out the many ways we can be strong like Peter.  First, Peter did this and then Peter did that and lastly Peter did another thing.  Therefore, if you are going to be strong, you must do this, do that, and do another thing.  When people leave our church I often accomplish that which we are expressly forbidden to do, increase the burden of the people. Oh how proficient the Pharisees were at this.  Even if you were living by every man-made law and preference, by the time you left their synagogue you would have a brand new shiny yoke that must be bourn.

Jesus was different!  He said in Matthew 11:28-30

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.                                                                                                             29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly inheart:                                                                                                                      and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Oh how I desire to be like Jesus!

I went back and studied the life of Peter and had to rethink my sermon.  It’s not that Peter was strong when Peter decided to be stronger, it’s that Peter was strong when he was in direct communion with our Lord.  It was not Peter who decided to be a strong Christian leader, it was Jesus who decided to make Peter a strong Christian leader.  All Peter did was take advantage of being around Jesus as much as possible.  When Peter thought he was strong enough to handle a particular situation we always see Peter falling flat.  However, when Peter stands with Christ in the Gospels or the Holy Spirit in Acts we see the strong Peter we all admire and love.   Peter could do all things through Christ who strengthened him!

I continue to be convicted that I must lift up Christ to our church!  Instead of setting unrealistic expectations, and unbiblical standards of spiritual excellence perhaps I need to point people to the truth that Christ is enough and that religion will never save, nor satisfy.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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  • Reply
    Jamee
    October 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Pastor love the use of Philippians 4:13. That is my life verse and also the very first verse I learned. Sunday was a great reminder that I am nothing on my on but with him I CAN and WILL!!!

    Thanks!

  • Reply
    Tom
    October 16, 2012 at 11:11 am

    How true it is that the mature Christian falls into religion so easily. As the church grows, so will the tendency to “do this, and do that” and we start to cloud our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Please pray that we do not fall into the temptation of religion and that we get it right with God when we do! …He that doeth the WILL OF GOD abideth for ever!

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      October 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Tom,

      I will pray for you as you have asked! thanks for your openness and candor. God bless and thanks for the comment!

  • Reply
    Alicia
    October 16, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Pastor, I loved this last weeks sermon. I had to laugh as you talked about your dear wife and the strength she has shown in trials and how you said you didn’t think she was that strong. I remember my husband saying the same thing to me, that “he didn’t think I could handle it and that I wasn’t strong enough, when it came to a huge trial in our lives. Praise God for the strength HE gives. I know that the strength I had then was only because I clung to Him. We can aspire to do what is right and good and that is not wrong, but we will only see victory in it, when we sit at his feet, draw close to Him and let him work in us and through us.
    I think we all can relate to Peter, as we can be doing so good and having victory and strength in our lives and it is not long after that we stumble… but that is when we just need to recognize our failing and draw closer to God again and stop trying to do it on our own.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      October 16, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      I’m telling you it’s true! Her strength has been impressive and what has been most impressive is that her strength was all found in her relationship with Jesus!

  • Reply
    Joshua Teis
    October 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks Jamee! I love that verse as well! Over the years it seems to deepen in its truth. ALL THOUGH CHRIST!

  • Reply
    Aaron Carpenter
    October 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Thank God for this post!

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