Preaching a familiar text

Hello, and welcome to Christ the Shepherd Church, and to this blog post!  My name is Pastor Hutch and it has been my privilege to have been the pastor at CtS since the beginning, nearly fifteen years ago.

The sermon portion of our Sunday morning worship services finds us in Ephesians.  We will finish in November and then have a series of Advent sermons.

I used to wonder if it is easier to preach an obscure passage or one of the more famous texts, such as Ephesians 2:8-9, where we are this week.  The obscure is easier for me.  There’s a sense of wonder — some new Biblical turf — almost like having a metal detector and knowing there is rich treasure to be unearthed.

But what is familiar to me is likely familiar to some in my congregation.  I tend to forget that it is not familiar to ALL in the congregation and that’s where I can get into trouble.  Making assumptions.  Thinking that the congregation has heard the text preached many times before, by the very best, and assuming that they are going to be bored.

This Sunday:  “For by grace you have been saved, through faith.  And not of yourselves.  It is the gift of God.  Not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

That is so wonderful, so profound, and so— familiar.  Lord, help me to rediscover the wonder of the truth that You communicated in this passage.  Help me to communicate clearly.  By your Holy Spirit, energize your people as they interact with your Word.


And remind me of that sad truth:  “we may never pass this way again.” I might not have the privilege of preaching in Ephesians for several years if at all in my lifetime.  Let me do justice to Your Text.  Help me, as I’ve heard John MacArthur put it many times over the years, to see myself as a waiter serving this meal prepared by You.  And let me get it to the table without messing it up!

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