What Would Jesus Preach?: Telling the Truth in Church

If Jesus walked into your church this Sunday and preached, what would he say? That's a question pastor Jim Martin has asked on his blog, A Place for the God-Hungry. Jim is pastor of Crestview Church of Christ in Waco, Texas, and below he shares his thoughts about what Jesus might say to the "mature" in his congregation.

I am thinking about my teaching/preaching. I am thinking about my words, my sermons, and the over all message these people hear.

I am thinking even more about my own life. At times, I feel like I have gotten lost in a system that has eaten me alive. At other times, I think that I am simply coming back to what really matters most to me. This is why I am thinking about the following two questions:

What if Jesus were the guest speaker at our church this Sunday? What would he say?

Oh I would like to say that it would be a wonderful day. I suspect our numbers would go up. Adult children would call their parents to come visit. Children of our members would drive in from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to hear Jesus speak and then have lunch together afterward. I suspect our members would be a bit more eager to invite friends in our community.

The question is: "What kind of day would this be?" You say, "Why Jim, it would be a great day! Jesus loves us. Why wouldn't it be a wonderful day to hear him speak?" OK, you've got a point. Yes, I do know he loves us. I have no doubt that Jesus would be tender with the broken, the poor in spirit, and those who are genuinely seeking him.

Let me be real honest. I am afraid of the remarks that he might direct toward me. You've read the Gospels. You know how he could be very candid with religious leaders.

In fact, anyone who is a church leader of any kind might want to think about this. What will he say to those of us who have been a part of the church for a long time and who see ourselves as "mature?" Let me be even more specific. What if he preaches the material in the Gospels?

What would he say? I wonder if he would evaluate things differently than we do? He might say something like the following:

You do not evaluate your lives the way I do. I am more concerned about whether or not these people love God and people than anything else.

You do not evaluate your church the way I do. I am more concerned about you being my presence in this community rather than whether or not you may be happy with the way things are going.

You do not evaluate spiritual maturity the way I do. Some of you have been Christians for a very long time. You need to be more mindful of the younger and less mature. Some of you have been Christians for a lesser amount of time. You need to be grateful that your forefathers pointed you to me. All of you need to remember that the bottom line is loving God and loving the people who you interact with.

February 28, 2006

Displaying 1–10 of 26 comments

Lut;heran Layman

March 29, 2006  4:40am

Didn't Jesus preach to 7 churches acording to John the Revelator?

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Kent

March 28, 2006  10:15pm

He'd tell some stories that would infuriate some, encourage others, and confuse the rest of us.

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myron

March 27, 2006  3:01pm

he might do what he did. condemn the religious leaders for placing heavy weights on the shoulders of the people, and then look at the downtrodden and say, (probably with eyes full of compassion and maybe even a tear or two) "go and sin no more."

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kvallinga

March 22, 2006  2:28pm

I do not believe His message would change. His is unchangeable. I would hope, however, that WE would respond as Isaiah did, "Woe to me for I am a man of unclean lips" and then say "Here I am Lord, send me!" Pastor Jim, I believe your congregation must be very blessed if you agonize over your sermons in this way. I hope that they recognize it.

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Sammy Jones, Sr.

March 22, 2006  10:11am

Thanks for the questions pastor Jim. Its amazing the number of persons who have responded because your questions hit either a positive or negative sensitive spot. What would Jesus say, or what would He preach? To be true to Himself and His word irrespective of what He would find in our churches He would have to preach the word, the Gospel of Christ as He did the first time around. This is especially so since neither He or we have changed. PS I am glad that His Spirit is with us all day and everyday when we are assembled and when we are alone.

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G.Anbalagan

March 20, 2006  10:02pm

He would do what he did when he was here on earth 2000 years ago. Heal the sick,raise the dead and send people out to the ends of the earth to preach the good news and complete the unfinished work. For the church his sermon would be taken from Rev 3: 14-22. The church in Laodicea. I think that is the condition of the church today.

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Pastor Ozzie

March 09, 2006  1:05pm

Pastor Jim: I thought your comments were thought provoking and reminded me of the poem "If Jesus Came To Your House." I have spent 40 of my 62 years as ateaching evangelist and lately within the last 2 years to be exact been asked to be an Associate Pastor of a new church plant. Leading Small groups in God's Word and in Discipleship as layed out in His Word the Bible. I pondered accepting this position and sought the Lord in prayer. The answer I got was not only to me but to the Church as a whole. Ist: I was to get out of the box ..... the comfort zone of not offending those in the pews. I grew up in the camp meetings of Billy Graham when he started out in the Billy Sunday Tabernacle in Warsaw Indiana and with Oral Roberts, Rex Humbard. I was told to preach that there is a Heaven and a Hell and that there was a Lake of Fire. It was brought home to me very clearly that the souls of those God had given to me would be held to my account if I misled them in any way. 2nd: I was led to the passage where Ezekial was brought to the Valley of Dry Bones and I was told that I was to start preaching so that those who wer content with their walk and the way they had become and I was to begin to disturb them ... I was to stir up the spirit within them through the not white washed Word ..... BUT ..... the Blood washed Word. The church is dying ..... I mean us our congregations not the buildings but the Believers themselves we need to seek a fresh anointing we need the fire up in our bones ..... we need the fire so hot within us that God gets a smell of our stinking pride and arrogance being consumed by the Fire of His Spirit that He comes to each one of us and asks: "What do you want?" we need to reply "More of You!!!!!!!!!!

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Gregg

March 07, 2006  2:47pm

Somebody said that Jesus came to comfort the afflicted – and to afflict the comfortable!

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Doug

March 03, 2006  11:09pm

I doubt that Jesus' message and actions would be any different than it was the first time He was physically here, because He Is, and His nature is unchanging. There would be many attracted to His care and healing. Some would sidle up to Him for status. Many would feel lifted by his attention to the "unworthy". Many would be following the "show". Many would test Him for various reasons. Many would leave Him because the truth He spoke was too harsh. Some would be profoundly changed for the better. Some would find themselves and their positions threatened by Him. And eventually some, perhaps many would try to kill Him yet again. Thankfully, Jesus hasn't changed. He still pursues each one of us for His purpose, even though we are very much the same variety of rabble that He dealt with in the Scriptural record. Hopefully we will take advantage of their experiences and avoid many of the pitfalls of those who have gone before us.

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Jon

March 03, 2006  10:20am

"You do not evaluate truth the way I do. Sermon messages are not good if they seem to pass the popularity contest. There were times when I spoke and people walked away, wanting nothing more to do with me." So true. I think Jesus would have harsh words for most Christians who are relatively rich and do not care about the dying in the third world or in our own backyard. Of course, preaching such a message about us needing to do more to help the needy, the poor, the widows, fatherless, those who need a drink and the naked - all this would just offend. But then, Jesus would probably do that... Many would walk away. And that would probably be closer to the bible.

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