My all-time favorite book on preaching is Between Two Worlds by John R.W. Stott. In fact, I have had every student in my homiletics classes read it. The basic premise is that we live and preach between the divine and the human. Specifically, God’s word is the bridge between heaven and hell.
Feedback from a recent sermon I preached sparked my thinking about this place where a follower or messenger of Jesus lives. Regardless of our titles or how big our sacred desk may be, we are all in a place to introduce every person we interact with to the goodness of Jesus. We don’t stand between them but should look for ways to connect the two often very different places. When there, what are we dealing with? Knowing the Holy Spirit is already present, what is it about these two worlds we should be prepared to graciously confront? What is the real difference of being in the world, yet not of the world?
Consider a few things as you represent Christ in a fallen world today. Whose side are you on, anyway?
- Good or evil
- Light or darkness
- Hope or despair
- Holiness or wickedness
- Purity or sin
- Courage or fear
- Faith or disillusionment
- Delight or discouragement
- Love or hatred
- Peace or chaos
The list could go on and on, I’m sure. That’s not the point. The point is, whether you are preaching this weekend, or not, there doesn’t need to be a gap between God and anyone, including you. While you are standing with one foot in the presence of God and the other in the town you live in, represent the eternal, magnificent grace and truth of Jesus Christ. And always, always, speak his truth in love.
Dr. Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.