Jesus is eternal, but sermons aren’t supposed to be

I can’t find the idea in Scripture that meetings of the body of Christ, need to be built around a sermon. If Christians spent more time reading the Bible with an open heart, we wouldn’t feel such a need to hear lectures about it.

Christians have been trained to depend on a man’s sermons and have been desensitized from hearing directly from the living Jesus. All sermons and no hands-on training is ineffective for making disciples. Jesus is eternal, but sermons aren’t supposed to be.

When people leave a lecture they tend to leave it behind. When they’ve heard a deeply, heart-felt testimony, it stays with them. I recently heard two men tell how they’ve been changed by the living Jesus. Their stories are still ringing in my soul!

There comes a time for Christians to go beyond listening to lectures about their faith and start doing it daily! Humble, heart-felt conversations about Christ have impacted me far more than sermons have.

Jesus doesn’t live in organizations. He lives in people who surrender their will to follow an d obey Him. Before Christianity turned into church, it was a movement led by the living, resurrected Jesus.

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
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6 Responses to Jesus is eternal, but sermons aren’t supposed to be

  1. Jim says:

    I’ll play the Sermon advocate here…

    You won’t find anywhere in the Bible where meetings of the people of God are built around people sharing their heart-felt testimonies either.

    But obviously, both have their place when the people of God meet.

    How did the church outside the New Testament era, interpret the scriptures. They were so close to the era of living Apostles. How they did things is instructive. And how did they do things?

    Justin tells us in his Apology from 160 AD. It was written just 70 years after John died. In it, he describes the typical church gathering. What leaps out to me is what ISN’T there:

    “On the day called Sunday there is a meeting of all believers who live in the town or the country, and the memoirs of the apostles, or the writings of the prophets, are read for as long as time will permit. When the reader has finished, the president in a sermon urges and invites the people to base their lives on these noble things. Then we all stand up and offer prayers. When our prayer is concluded, bread and wine and water are brought; and the president offers up prayers and thanksgiving to the best of his ability, and the people assent with Amen.

    Then follows the distribution of the things over which thanks have been offered, and the partaking of them by all, and the deacons take them to those who are absent. And those who are prosperous, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succors the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.

    We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day, on which God put to flight darkness and chaos and made the world; and on the same day, Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.” Apology 1.67

    So they read the Scriptures. A lot and for a long time. Then someone got up and challenged the people to live by those scriptures.

    Notice what’s missing?

    • Steve Simms says:

      Thank for the comment Jim. There is one Scripture, 1 Cor. 14:26 that ask what Christians are to do when they meet & then says “everyone of you has” something to share in the meeting. Also, there are more tan 50 one another commands in the NT that would require people to do more than sit and listen to one man. Also, preaching has raised up some mighty preachers, but not so much mighty sermon-hearers. The traditional sermon seems to miss Jesus command to make disciples. God uses and has used sermons mightily in the past, however, in Revelation it says that Christians overcome the devil “by the word of their testimony.” And Jesus, speaking to His disciples tells them to shout it from the house tops. I believe that preaching is for evangelism and reaching nonbelievers and that one anothers are for training disciples in hands-on Christianity. Thanks again for reading my blog!

  2. Jim says:

    Hey Steve!

    You’re right about that. There aren’t any passages that outline what a church gathering looked like. At least we can agree there is no order of worship in the Bible.

    But public teaching and preaching were clearly a part of it. The earliest church documents outside the New Testament attest to its use. And it played a significant role. So did prayer, and communion and the reading of Scripture.

    Then there’s church history. The sermon has been a central part of a church service for 2000 years. That has to mean something, right? I’d be cautious of throwing out something God has used for the entire history of the church.

    I’m not defending the current state of the Evangelical church at all. It’s messed up. Seriously messed up. The sermon as a tool of discipleship has been lost. Now it’s entertainment. But it hasn’t always been that way.

    There’s a way to incorporate a dedicated teaching time with house churches AND the things you mention. It doesn’t have to look or sound like your typical church sermon. But there is a place for that kind of thing.

    How have you seen a dedicated teaching time work in your organic church?

    • Steve Simms says:

      We’ve seen teaching happen organically and flow in amazing order and revelation from several people in order as they are led by the Spirit to speak.

      • Jim says:

        I’m curious how that works in your group. Does somebody prepare a basic topic and introduce it with a short talk? Then discussion follows?

      • Steve Simms says:

        We met for 10 years, but were forced to stop by a new leader Salvation Army leader who was sent to Nashville. We would gather and praise and worship for awhile. Then we would let people listen to the living Jesus and then say and/or do whatever He told them to. People would share Scriptures and short teachings, testimonies, prayer requests, exhortations, etc. as the Spirit led. The remarkable thing is that it was always well ordered and everything came together as though it was planned (because it was planned and directed by the Holy Spirit).

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