Sermon update

The sermon I wrote about a couple of Sundays ago has been posted to the church website. I added the link to my earlier post, but here it is, too. And also a quote from D’s sermon:

So what I want you to reflect on this morning is that temptation is not just about the things we should very obviously not do – tell lies, hurt others and so on. It also takes much more insidious forms, for it comes equally to those of you who are good, holy and devout. It is there when for perfectly good reasons you get your priorities wrong, as in Jesus’ first temptation. It is there too, when, as in the second temptation, you are not content to rest in the love of God and of those human beings who especially care for you, but instead constantly require that love to be demonstrated, wanting the show and not just the reality, as it were. Finally, it is there too when we come to prefer the good but grand gesture to the humbler responsibilities of the specific context to which God has called us, as in Jesus’ third temptation.

Jesus fasted – went into training – to defeat those temptations, because even he found them difficult to defeat. So will we, unless we also accept that Lent is a call to discipline ourselves, a summons to think clearly and carefully about where our values and motives really lie. Only once we get beyond the view of goodness as an easy conformity to rules will we escape the full power of temptation to corrupt the good. Jesus leads the way not by being totally different from us but by showing that, even as we get closer to God, the temptations get not easier, but more challenging still.

The best sermons, I think, are the ones that challenge us, make us squirm a bit uncomfortably in our seats…

2 thoughts on “Sermon update

  1. Danielle says:

    That sounds like a really great sermon. It reminds me of a quote from seminary, “The Gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable”. Wish more pastors would preach squirmy sermons.


  2. Chera says:

    That’s one of the reasons I chose the church I go to: the challenging sermons. We have an excellent rota of preachers. Though to be honest, I was particularly surprised by this one, because it was given by an academic theologian who normally I am not always able to follow. I’m glad I could keep up!


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