This week I have been pondering how to preach with a more developed set of motivational tools than just the pressure of guilt. I’m convinced this is an important issue, and not just a homiletical detail. It gets to the heart of our faith.
Is Christianity really and primarily about our responsibility to function in our own strength? Is Christianity about how, thanks to Christ, I can now become a good person? Is Christianity about creating good independent citizens, or is there the hiss of Genesis 3 in this version of the faith?
What if Christianity is much more about our response to Christ and His work in our lives? What if Christianity is about transformation from the inside out, born of a family relationship that changes our hearts and consequently, our behaviour? What if Christianity is not at all about independence, but dependence and inter-dependence?
The tension of duty versus delight is present in every sermon. Do I pressure people to perform, or do I offer the vision of Him who transforms?
Responsibility preaching throttles the life out of the gospel. Response preaching offers true life. Our preaching subtly reinforces one view of the gospel or the other, every time.