This is getting good! Check Part 1 for an explanation of where I’m going with this. And don’t forget to take the warnings to heart!
Here’s the second one. It’s a long one, so settle in:
What people say
“I just want some deeper teaching.”
“I want the meat.”
Alternate version #2:
“I need to be fed.”
What that usually means
Don’t preach practical stuff to me. I would actually have to do something about it. Instead, tickle my brain with abstract philosophical rhetoric that I can say Amen about, nod my head in agreement with, and go home just as mean and carnal as I came in.
Preach about topics that make me feel smart and elite, rather than preaching the pure, simple, practical Gospel of Jesus in a way that a plumber and a doctor can both understand and relate to at the same time.
Go round and round about the minutia of the 2% of Christianity that churches disagree about rather than finding common purpose in the essentials of our faith and teaching us to make a difference in a lost and hurting world.
When you preach on marriage, for instance, don’t tell me practically how to treat my wife better. Spend 40 minutes talking about the mystical union of Christ and the church as it relates to the rapture and the design of the tabernacle in relation to Levitical dietary laws as understood by the Council of Trent.
That’ll bless me.
And I’ll go home, fat and happy because of the latest cognitive dump, and I’ll continue to treat my wife like crap and my kids like dogs.
And whatever you do… don’t preach messages telling lost people how to meet Jesus. I’ve already heard it, and I’ve already met Him. I want to go deeper.
Everybody else can go to hell. God will save ‘em if He wants to.
First of all, I really am a nice person, I promise!
I know I sound extremely perturbed in this post. But remember, Jesus reserved His most harsh criticism and direct confrontation for the Pharisees, who specialized in making it difficult for people to enter the Kingdom of God, and made a living complicating the simplicity of relationship with God by adding layers and layers of legalism. See Matthew 23 for a refresher.
Secondly, some will think this is an excuse for preachers like me to take shortcuts and preach watered down messages.
Most of the Elevation folk who are reading this are probably laughing right now! Because we do anything but water down the truth at Elevation!
I preach about an hour most weeks (not that length measures depth, but worth pointing out), and I say things every week that would get most pastors fired. We don’t mince words, back away from tough issues, or hesitate to say what Scripture says.
I take each and every Sunday that I stand behind the pulpit, or table, or whatever I’m preaching from that week, more seriously than the College Football National Championship (Go Gators!).
I give myself entirely to preaching the whole counsel of God, even when it hurts.
But I want people to understand it so they can do something about it!
Not scratch their heads and say ooh and ahh because “Wow, that was deep!”
My goal isn’t to be clever, but clear, so that people are impressed with Jesus, not me!
You know Martin Luther? The guy who a lot of “deep” guys quote all the time to try to explain why their preaching is so “deep” that no one can understand it?
He said this on the subject:
“A preacher should have the skill to teach the unlearned simply, roundly and plainly; for teaching is of more importance than exhorting… .When I preach I regard neither doctors nor magistrates, of whom I have above forty in the congregation. I have all my eyes on the servant maids and the children. And if the learned men are not well pleased with what they hear, well, the door is open.”
Thanks for the quote, J.D.!
Jesus said in John 4:34 that meat is doing the will of God, not debating predestination and freewill.
Jesus also said in Matthew 22:36-40 that the true test of spirituality was love for God and love for people, not your eschatological position and your ability to defend it.
And the writer of Hebrews said here that the people who are crying to be fed should be not only feeding themselves, but others by now as well! He also pointed out that maturity is about constantly using the Word of God by applying it, not sitting around pontificating about it.
So let’s keep preaching this message:
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The pure Gospel of Jesus, alive and active, with emphasis on application.
As creatively, compellingly, and often as possible!
What could be deeper than the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ?