Page 3 - August 2023 - Truth & Tidings
P. 3

he rolled her eyes, shook her head,  ing! The prophet Micah had to deal with a
              and proceeded to give the reason  similar situation and declared, “If a lying
        Sfor her disapproval: “It was a shame  windbag should come and say, ‘I’ll promise
        sermon.” Apparently, the preacher had  you blessings of wine and beer,’ he would
        crossed a line and dared to make his listen-  be just the right preacher for these people!”
        ers (yes, Christian listeners) uncomfortable  (Mic 2:11 NET). They would be happy to
        and feeling ashamed. And for that, he   hear those who spoke about God’s bless-
        would never be forgotten nor invited to   ings but had no stomach to listen to mes-
        return. Only shame-less preaching was   sages about His commands. Apparently,
        welcome there.                       prosperity gospel preachers are not just a
          Shame sermons. I didn’t know they had a  20 - or 21 -century phenomenon.
                                                     st
                                               th
        label. But a shame sermon can certainly be   Now I’m not accusing us of going this
        a scriptural one. After all, the apostle John   far. But the tendency of our day is to
        spoke about the possibility of a believer’s   avoid certain subjects that make us feel
        being  ashamed  at  Christ’s  coming  (1Jn   like we’re not living the way we should.
        2:28), and Paul instructed the Thessalo-  We act as if there’s no behavior in need of
        nians to have no company with a believer   rebuking, no course correction called for.
        who refused to obey the content of his letter   We want to hear about the love of God,
        and to “have nothing to do with him, that   the grace of God, the promises of God
        he may be ashamed” (2Th 3:14 ESV). Ap-
        peals to amend our behavior to align with   and, especially, the blessings of God. But
        Scripture and avoid experiencing shame   what about the holiness of God, and the
        are clearly within the preacher’s purview.   holiness He demands of His people? Sinful
        But it may be that much of our preaching   acts and attitudes need to be addressed in
        is becoming more and more shame-less.   our preaching and even (horror of horrors)
        We want to leave church meetings feel-  rebuked! If this causes us to feel shame,
        ing encouraged, comforted, renewed or   praise the Lord if such shame motivates us
        inspired. We want to leave feeling better   to holy living. And if we leave a missionary
        about ourselves, not down on ourselves.   report meeting resolving to devote more
        And so the temptation for those who teach   time to the things of God because we feel
        is to give people what they want.    ashamed of how much time we waste, to
          Such a temptation is not new but is as old   God be the glory!
        as the Bible itself. The people of Judah in   Admittedly, shame sermons can be taken
        Isaiah’s day claimed they wanted to hear  too far, becoming even unbiblical. And
        from the prophets, but on their terms, not  some have only shame sermons in their
        the Lord’s. They exclaimed, “Don’t relate  repertoire. But surely we can do with more
        messages to us about what is right! Tell  preaching on holiness, commitment and
        us nice things …” (Isa 30:10 NET). They  devotion to our Savior. And if this makes
        wanted preaching, but shame-less preach-  us feel ashamed, shame on us.

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