why do so many sermons sound like campaign speeches?

Why Do So Many Sermons Sound Like Campaign Speeches?

A Worldly Faith

In the world of politics, the past month has been one full of great intensity. With no shortage of candidates, there are droves of people who desire to be the next president of the United States. Amidst the pomp and circumstance each candidate delivers a speech full of promises that build up to that climax–their declaration of candidacy. Yet, if you reflect on the rhetoric briefly, what does it sound similar to? Unfortunately, it sounds like a lot of the preaching that comes from the pulpits today.

Pastors and politicians are preaching the same message: the gospel of prosperity. With promises of a better life,  their meaning is clear: a better life comes from more wealth. They’ve all adopted the Walmart slogan (Save money. Live better.). To pastors and politicians alike this alone is the premise for all of God’s promises. What does this tell us? That there is no distinction between culture and church.

With a wide influence, the message has a wide impact. Self-righteous people proclaim a gospel of self-fulfillment. The God of the Bible has been dethroned and the God of self now reigns because faith is not grounded in the cross and Christ, but in celebrity and carnality.

This kind of message does little for the glory of God and everything for the glory of self. It makes true gospel proclamation difficult for those of us who have a genuine concern for the eternal souls of the people we come in contact with. The damage done by this false ideology has eternal consequences and our people are being hit with it from those who claim no faith in God and those who claim all the faith in God. What does this mean for the genuine, faithful followers of Christ then?

A Heavenly Faith

It means that we must have a faith that is rightly grounded, so that we may not be swayed by the world and we may be an example to the world. It is a faith that finds both its premises and promises in the one, true God. Rightly fixated on the God above, Psalm 123 offers us demonstration of what legitimate faith looks like.

The psalmist writes:

To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of the servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of the maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.

From these verses we see three principles about legitimate faith:

  • Faith is Sensible (Psalm 123:1): Enthroned in the heavens sits the God who hears our praises and pleas. This awesome creator and sustainer is the object of faith. Because He is a God who has proven Himself time and time again through the verification of His Word and His Story (history), faith in Him alone is rational. Placing your faith in God alone simply makes sense. It is sensible.
  • Faith is Sustainable (Psalm 123:2): The life of a slave or maid was wrapped up in his or her master. They had expectation and trust that their master would take care of their needs. They had no need to look elsewhere because their master sustained them. And so it is also with our Lord. We have no need to place our faith anywhere else because He alone is all we need to sustain. Having complete trust in who He is and His promises given, we can rest comfortably in knowing that He is a God who will meet our needs.
  • Faith is Stable (Psalm 123:3-4): Like those crying out to God, we live in the midst of a world who often hates us. This was not unexpected (see Matthew 10:22; John 15:18). The world will lash out in vile and sometimes violent ways against the servants of God. However, because our faith is in Him, there is no fear, there is no pain, and there is no anxiety. Instead there is comfort and joy. Because the object of our faith, God, does not change, neither does our faith. Our faith endures in the good and bad circumstances; Our faith maintains in the easy and in the difficult circumstances.

A Godly Faith

Faith in God is sensible, sustainable, and stable. Faith always looks up towards God. Faith looks beyond the world that is and to the world that is to come. As the candidates promise prosperity, we can be thankful that our faith is not in men, but in God. While the world watches men and women vie for the presidency, wrestling in torment because of the uncertainty of the future, we can be examples to them, resting in peace because of the certainty of it.

The Glory of God changes everything


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