Sunday, May 27, 2007

Proverbs 31 sermon ending...

Well, I preached a sermon on this text a few weeks back, but my ending was bad.
I've re-written it to be preached again before another congregation.
The former ending went basically like this:

This passage is telling you to do X, but you can't do X because you are a sinner, so thank God we have Jesus...

While this statement is true, it wipes out the previous 30 minutes of exhortation, and kind of lets the hearers "off the hook", so to speak, as to their responsibility as those who have been saved by Christ. What I wanted to do to fix it, was instead of saying "You can't do it" - I wanted to positively promote Christ, while not letting the hearers off the hook.

Below is what I came up with, and what I will be preaching tomorrow evening. If it is totally wrong and I'm going to be laughed out of the pulpit, please call me before 6pm and let me know! (hehe j/k)[no really. call me!] {haha, joking...}

After expositing Proverbs 31:10-31, I close this way:

And so the message of this passage would seem to be – “here is the example, now go out and live it!” And to a large part, that is the message of this passage... It is important to recognize that this wise, strong, heroic woman is the example of all the wisdom that is seen in the book of Proverbs. But the debate is whether or not this woman is real... Is this an account of a real woman? Or is it just an ideal? Is it a historical person? Or just another impossible standard to measure myself against and see how far off I am?

I would submit to you this evening, that there is a person who fits this description perfectly. There is a person who diligently meets all the needs of her family; there is a person who cares for her husband so that He trusts in her as in the Lord, a person who adorns her Husband with all that she does, and is His crown – a person who glorifies and fears the Lord, reflecting all her glory back to Him… That person is the bride of Christ – His very own wife to be – the Church.

What? The Church? Yes, indeed! Not because we have done all these things, and certainly not because we have done them perfectly. Not because of anything in us – no charm or beauty that we possess. But this excellent wife is embodied and fulfilled in the Church, the bride of Christ, because that is who Jesus Christ paid for us to be. That is who our Lord and Savior laid down His life for us to be. He gave us His righteousness, His perfection, His perfect life and work, so that we could live the life and be the bride that He wants and that He deserves.

Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Christ, the husband and head of the Church has made you, as individuals and as a congregation, into an excellent wife… He has done the work, and it is finished by His blood – and therefore, because he has called you to be His excellent wife – an excellent wife is what you must now become, by His grace and by the power of His Spirit working in you.

An excellent wife cannot be found. She must be made. She is the one who fears the Lord and knows the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ – she is excellent, and she is to be praised. If you are part of the Church, the bride of Christ, then you are called to be an excellent wife.

Well, there ya have it. Now let me know what you think....


Anonymous said...

Wow, that is an awsome ending! Wow! Praise God! It was not what I was expecting the first time I heard it, because I never applied it that way. But it certainly makes perfect sense! I'm sure the Westfield congregation was glad to have you!(as was I!)

Joel Pearce said...

I've never heard it that way either, but I like it. Because we live in a sinful world, the church isn't perfect either, but our reunion with Christ will be glorious indeed.

Molly said...

Greg - I love that! I've never heard anything like it, but it resonated with me the whole way through reading it.

I came across your blog through your comment on "See Life Differently" -- so glad I did!

Greg said...

Thanks for the encouraging responses!

By God's grace, the congregation at Westfield had similar responses and no one laughed at my biblical theological connections.


Luke said...

Who is Westfield?

Greg said...

Westfield is a place, not a who. Silly Monkey.

Westfield, NJ.... where they tear down Million Dollar homes to build 3 million dollar homes...

Greg said...

This is now the most often visited page on my blog. I get about 30 hits a week for this page - for this sermon. Lots of people out there either preaching on Proverbs 31, or wanting to hear it preached.

Who knew?