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090426 The Sound Byte Sermon


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A sermon on Matthew 22:34-40 presented by Dale Wells at Palm Desert Church of Christ on April 26, 2009

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090426 The Sound Byte Sermon

  1. 2. George Burns: <ul><li>“ The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning </li></ul><ul><li>And a good ending </li></ul><ul><li>Then having the two as close together as possible” </li></ul>
  2. 3. I preached a short sermon once <ul><li>“ Wow! You were quick today. I barely had time for my nap!” </li></ul>
  3. 4. Another time, I was thinking about my sermon & cut myself shaving <ul><li>“ I wish you’d think about shaving and cut your sermon!” </li></ul>
  4. 5. Remember meetings, revivals, campaigns & lectureships? <ul><li>Two morning lessons </li></ul><ul><li>Two or three after lunch </li></ul><ul><li>Exhausted, but sated – fed in body & soul </li></ul><ul><li>Before television shortened our attention span to seven minutes between commercials </li></ul>
  5. 6. Time flies when listening to some preachers <ul><li>Richard Rogers </li></ul><ul><li>Jim McGuiggan </li></ul><ul><li>Rick Atchley </li></ul><ul><li>Jerry Rushford </li></ul><ul><li>Lynn McMillon </li></ul><ul><li>Rubel Shelly </li></ul><ul><li>45 minutes into the lesson, you wish they’d keep going </li></ul>
  6. 7. Legend says Antony of Padua was that kind of spellbinder <ul><li>No church could hold crowd, so he preached from a tree </li></ul><ul><li>Even fish poked heads out of the water to hear him </li></ul><ul><li>I’m out of my tree and even my dog won’t listen to me </li></ul>
  7. 8. Fred Craddock tells of a short sermon he heard <ul><li>Conference in S.C. </li></ul><ul><li>A young woman was assigned a devotional </li></ul><ul><li>Age 20, soft voice, inexperienced, unimpressive, legal pad in her hand </li></ul><ul><li>Thought, “We’re here for the night.” </li></ul>
  8. 9. She spoke a phrase in an unfamiliar language <ul><li>Over & over, each time in a different language </li></ul><ul><li>One statement, in one tongue after another </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, in English, the sentence she’d said 60 times in 60 languages: “Mommy, I’m hungry!” </li></ul><ul><li>Then she sat down </li></ul><ul><li>She didn’t have to explain it </li></ul>
  9. 10. Craddock saw a sign near home <ul><li>Sermon was in his head again </li></ul><ul><li>Like children all over the world were saying “Mommy, I’m hungry” </li></ul><ul><li>I wish I could preach like that </li></ul>
  10. 11. Jesus was the master of the short sermon <ul><li>Some were one sentence </li></ul><ul><li>“ Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God” </li></ul><ul><li>“ No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Follow me” </li></ul><ul><li>Enough said </li></ul>
  11. 12. Those sermons stand the test of time <ul><li>“ Follow me. Don’t look back. Go, proclaim the kingdom of God.” </li></ul><ul><li>Makes us preachers </li></ul><ul><li>We need to learn how to preach some short sermons, too </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a few in our heads </li></ul>
  12. 13. Jesus could preach a powerful sermon in a few seconds <ul><li>Ironic that preachers take hours expanding on what he could say in seconds </li></ul><ul><li>Maybe we should just read the Bible and sit down </li></ul>
  13. 14. A Simple Answer to a Difficult Question
  14. 15. Matthew 22:34-40 NIV <ul><li>Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. (35) One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: (36) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” </li></ul>
  15. 16. Matthew 22:34-40 NIV <ul><li>(37) Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (40) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” </li></ul>
  16. 17. A popular question among the rabbis in Jesus’ day <ul><li>Tried to get their rabbis to keep it short, too </li></ul><ul><li>Rabbis counted 613 commands in Torah </li></ul><ul><li>Their job: interpret, expound & apply all 613 to daily lives of disciples </li></ul><ul><li>Disciples overwhelmed </li></ul><ul><li>Started asking for a summary – or priorities </li></ul><ul><li>“ Just tell us what we really need to know!” </li></ul>
  17. 18. A Tale of Three Rabbis
  18. 19. Rabbi Shammai and Rabbi Hillel were rivals in their day <ul><li>Hillel (100 BC–20 CE) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sanhedrin President 40 years (20 BC-20 CE) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Shammai (50 BC-30 CE) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sanhedrin Vice-President 40 years (20 BC-20 CE) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Almost certainly present in Temple with Jesus at age 12 (approx. 6 CE) </li></ul>
  19. 20. Gentile skeptic went to Shammai <ul><li>Told him he would convert to Judaism if Shammai could teach him the Torah while he stood on one foot </li></ul><ul><li>Shammai answered by whacking him with a stick </li></ul><ul><li>I like that answer! </li></ul>
  20. 21. Same skeptic went to Hillel <ul><li>Hillel said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow human. This is the entire Torah, all of it. The rest is commentary. Go and study it.” </li></ul><ul><li>Hillel converted the skeptic! </li></ul>
  21. 22. It’s the negative version of Jesus’ “golden rule” <ul><li>Matthew 7:12 NIV So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. </li></ul><ul><li>Another sound byte sermon classic! </li></ul>
  22. 23. The lawyer knew the rabbis had already answered this question <ul><li>He was testing Jesus </li></ul><ul><li>Rabbis: Two commands stood above the rest </li></ul><ul><li>The rest were actually applications of the two: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leviticus 19:18 NIV Love your neighbor as yourself. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. Rabbi Jesus was agreeing with the other rabbis when he said: <ul><li>Matthew 22:37-40 NIV “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” </li></ul>
  24. 25. That’s the sound byte sermon Paul quotes in Galatians <ul><li>Written to a church where people kept fussing & fighting </li></ul><ul><li>He quotes Jesus quoting the Torah: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Galatians 5:14 NIV The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” </li></ul></ul>
  25. 26. Can you imagine? <ul><li>Torah, Bible, Christian faith, distilled to five words? </li></ul><ul><li>Two seconds to say it. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” </li></ul><ul><li>Say it with me, will you? </li></ul>
  26. 27. Need I Say More?
  27. 28. Do I need to take time to explain <ul><li>That love is more than a feeling, that it is active engagement for the benefit of another person? </li></ul><ul><li>What Jesus means by the word “neighbor” when his parable of the Good Samaritan explains that our neighbor is anyone we encounter who has a need, of any race, of any nation, of any creed? </li></ul><ul><li>The verse assumes it is right to love self, but you should love your neighbor at least as much? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I need to take time explaining, or do you already know all that? </li></ul>
  28. 29. “ Love your neighbor as yourself” <ul><li>Not hard to grasp, but hard to do </li></ul><ul><li>Jesus said it, Paul repeated it & the world knows about it, so by God, we ought to do it! </li></ul><ul><li>By God – that’s the only way we can </li></ul>
  29. 30. Sermon is a unique kind of speech <ul><li>Teachers classify as “persuasive speech” </li></ul>
  30. 31. But a sermon should do more than get us to change our minds <ul><li>Change our hearts & wills </li></ul><ul><li>Push us beyond the words into the arms of God </li></ul><ul><li>The measure of an effective sermon is not how it makes us feel or think, but how it makes us live, how it changes our behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Only, it’s not the sermon that ever does that </li></ul><ul><li>It’s the God who meets you in the sermon, the God you hear speaking to you over and beyond the words of the preacher </li></ul>
  31. 32. Our worship isn’t complete until we respond to God’s word <ul><li>God speaks, we listen & obey </li></ul><ul><li>Not with our thoughts & feelings, but with our feet & hands, with our words & deeds </li></ul>
  32. 33. God calls us in a manner to which we can respond in measurable ways <ul><li>Not “I ought to be a better person,” but “This week I’m going to be kinder to my co-workers” </li></ul><ul><li>Not “Maybe I should be more spiritual,” but “This week I’m going to take time to pray every day” </li></ul><ul><li>Not “I wonder if I should volunteer for some kind of regular service,” but “this week I’m going to volunteer at the homeless shelter” </li></ul><ul><li>Then it’s a matter of doing it, with God’s help </li></ul>
  33. 34. I leave you with this sound byte sermon <ul><li>Wish I’d come up with it – it’s a good one </li></ul><ul><li>What a difference if more people lived by it </li></ul><ul><li>What a difference if we were to practice it until it became wired into our character </li></ul><ul><li>What a witness if the world saw Christians actually shaped by our obedience to it </li></ul>
  34. 35. “ Love your neighbor as yourself” <ul><li>Can you remember it? </li></ul><ul><li>Will it stick in your head and heart? </li></ul><ul><li>Will you apply it to your life this week? </li></ul>
  35. 36. What are you going to say to yourself this week when … <ul><li>That driver cuts in front of you? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Love your neighbor as yourself” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A co-worker wants to share a problem with you? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Love your neighbor as yourself” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A friend you haven’t seen for months has a prayer request? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Love your neighbor as yourself” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You read stories in the papers about people who are hungry or hurting in this world? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Love your neighbor as yourself” </li></ul></ul>
  36. 37. While on the subject, how about the other sound byte sermon? <ul><li>Matthew 22:37-38 NIV “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. </li></ul><ul><li>Can you claim to love God unreservedly, if you will not commit to obeying his other commands? </li></ul>
  37. 38. Commands like the one given the day Christianity came into being <ul><li>Acts 2:38 NIV &quot;Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. </li></ul>