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!

Jesus the Bread of Life

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[a]

32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Discussion source:

Who do you say I am?

During a discussion with his disciples, Jesus asked them, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15, NIV). The answer to this important question is related to a critical area of theology known as Christology. As its name indicates, Christology is about the study of Christ – His nature, his purpose, and more.

Theology lays the foundation for God, His nature, and His plan involving redemption for human beings and restoration of a fallen creation. It also tells us some important things about God such as that He is personal, loving, transcendent, active in His creation, all-powerful, ever-present, and all-knowing. But without Christology, there is no Christianity. Jesus is at the center of the Christian faith. As a result, knowing about Christ is essential, as well as personal. Our relationship to Christ, for instance, is tied to our human condition, redemption, and salvation.

Discussion source: