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Devotional Talk : Rev. Fr. Dr. O Thomas

(20-7-2016)

Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Brothers in Christ,

For today’s thought I choose 1 Corinthians 2:1-5” And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

The epistle I Corinthians is believed to be written at Ephesus during St.Paul’s second missionary journey at about A.D.53-54.Corinth was a town of immorality. There was a even a saying ‘being a Corinthian which shows the immorality or the worldliness of the people of the Corinthians. During that time, he had stayed there about 18 months, preached the gospel and had established a church. But as time went on worldliness has got into the church as well which made Paul sad. It is in this situation that he writes the epistle. He answers many of their questions through this epistle. But I would like to speak on preaching methodology that Paul has used in Corinth.

Now-a-days the number of preacher’s and preaching has increased in our church. But there was time when preaching was not entertained or encouraged in the ministry of our Church. Sermons where delivered only on important days like Easter, Good Friday etc. The trend of preaching has come in our church is with evolution of the new churches like Marthoma,CSI etc. But the subjects for those preaching where, the defense of faith against the reformation. For my experience, I think the Christ centered preaching has started at the times of Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthathios and Fr. T.J.Joshua. And now preaching is the common element of all fellowships like Sunday school, Youth Movement etc. People usually judge all these preaching based on the Manner, Matter and Language. But Paul was not literic in preaching as the preachers do today. From versus 1-5 Paul points out two Christianic aspect of the preaching.

1. Christ centered Preaching

Paul was wise, had knowledge, was educated but he did not used it for preaching. He says he knows only the crucified Christ. This should be the center of all our sermon services - The Christ. Currently the stress of the sermons has changed which is not orthodox. For instance sermons on the feast days of saints project the life of the particular saint which is not appreciable. The Christian perspective should be Christ oriented analysis of the life of saints such as who was Christ for them as well as who should be Christ for us?

One day Francis of Assisi called his friend Leo, who is interested in preaching, to come along with him to preach. Leo was happy and agreed it and went along with Francis. The whole day Francis went around the houses of the poor and patients asking there well being. When they returned back at night Leo in anger told Francis, “No preaching was done today”. Francis replied “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking should be our preaching”. Our walking should be our preaching. Preaching has now become a competition which made it lose the meditational side. D.L. Moody says “I would rather be able to pray than to be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught his disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.”  So we should see in deep the Jesus who taught us to pray rather than to preach.

2. Spirit Inspired preaching

Our preaching should be both Christ oriented and spirit inspired. John MacArthur says”The preacher is not a chef; he’s a waiter. God doesn’t want you to make the meal; He just wants you to deliver it to the table without messing it up”. We should be able to preach the gospel in its transparency in full spirit. We shouldn’t be conscious about pleasing the audience by saying stories or comedies rather should be conscious in giving Christ in them. The sad thing is that peoples perceiving taste has changed. They prefer the entertainment part of it. This demand has descended for the orthodox style of preaching and the preachers are forced to do so to make people attentive.  J.I. Packer says, “We complain today that ministers do not know how to preach; but is it not equally true that our congregations do not know how to hear?”  .A spiritually inspired preaching creates repentance in the hearts of the audience which means Holy Spirit has hovered in their hearts which should be the orthodox preaching style.

 

So the two things to be remembered while preaching are our sermons should be both Christ centered and spiritually inspired and should create repentance in the hearts of the audience. Let the Holy Spirit helps to attain this grace. Amen

 

Devotional Talk : Rev. Fr. Dr. Jose John

(27-7-2016)

 

Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Brothers in Christ,

We are all called for the God’s service. So we should lead a life worthy of the calling we have received. But sometimes there arises confusions about our calling, may be because we are not trust worthy about the one who have called us or maybe because we are not aware of the conviction. Today we shall talk about a person who has been called by Jesus and that is Levi also known as Mathew. St. Mark 2:14 “And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alpheus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him”.

We will now discuss the two qualities that we should follow from Levi’s calling:

1. The conviction that Christ has called him.

            Levi was a tax collector, who held a good position in the society. But as soon as Jesus called him, he followed Him. This was probably because he recognized, it was Christ who called him. Christ has not offered him money, power or not even a secure life but then he followed Jesus without a second thought. This is something contrary with our context where people follow Him for material needs. This is why feel that our prayers are not answered. This attitude needs to change. The thought that the one who has called us is trust worthy to provide our needs, has to be embedded in us. Even if we are not trustworthy to him, he is always trustworthy. Hebrew 11:12 says Sarah’s view of the God “she considered him faithful who had made the promise”. Let our convictions not be disturbed. As St. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it’.

2. The value and respect for Christ he possessed.

            Hebrews 11:8 says “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going”. Without knowing about the consequences he might have to face, Abraham obeyed God who had called him. Levi too might have had the same perspective. He left behind his position and security, his old life and pleasures.  When we are in the service of God we have to leave behind old life and the things that hinder our ways to God. St. Paul counts everything he had as worthless. This should be the mind of one who desires to be God’s servant.

 

Let the conviction that Christ has called us be firm and the value for Christ we give be high to attain success in our ministry.