Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

On Sermons and Do-Overs

Down below you will find the video of this last Sunday's sermon at Calvary Community Church. Immediately following the preaching, the entire team involved in the service gathered for our weekly service review meeting, during which we go over every aspect of our gathered worship for mutual encouragement and critique, in the hope we will grow in our ability to lead our church family in worshiping God.

At one point in the meeting, I was asked for feedback on my own preaching. What follows is what I said, to the best of my recollection. And as the sermon is now posted, I thought it might be good to share it with those considering listening (or listening again):

"If I had it to do over again, I would have ended the sermon differently. I just misread, again (sigh), how much I could get done in one sermon. 

You see, as I was dealing with the issue of Sabbath, which is to say - as I was dealing with the issue of God's rest given to us in salvation - I knew I had to spend ample time unpacking that from what the writer of Hebrews says in chapters three and four. For he is essentially giving us a Biblical theology of rest: beginning in Genesis, continuing in the Psalms, and culminating in his description of the New Covenant in Jesus. And it was really important to the flow of the sermon to establish that foundation before I could enter into a discussion of the Sabbath, which I am inclined to believe is a marker of the now-and-not-yet rest of God in both the Old and New Covenants.

The problem? That took longer than I thought it would. I kind of preached myself into a corner, and then, as I was just about to answer the question I essentially posed at the end of the sermon on June 29th, I realized I was out of time.

What I should have done in that moment was said,

'You know, my hope in this sermon was to try and explain why I think we should still honor the Sabbath (in some form or fashion) as a marker of the gift of the now-and-not-yet rest of God. But I had to establish a foundation - a Biblical Theology of rest -  before I could do that, which has ended up taking all our time. Furthermore, I still have some unanswered questions myself about all this. But that is OK. Come back next week, and we'll dig in further on the blessing and celebration of Sabbath-rest.'

Or something like that.

Instead, I tried to jam in what should be at least one whole sermon into five minutes. I rambled, stumbled, and was unclear. And it's that five minutes I wish I could do over.

I'm sorry about that for my Calvary family, and you, as you potentially listen. I pray it didn't take away from the beauty of rest promised to us, and displayed for us, in Hebrews 3:7 - 4:16.

And here is what we are going to do: we are going to come back and further study the now-and-not-yet Sabbath rest of God. For I have been encouraged by the many who talked to me after the service, throughout Sunday, and during this week who were intrigued by the idea of Sabbath, helped by God's salvation message of rest, and expressed the desire to understand and explore "rest" and "Sabbath-rest" more fully. 

Therefore, over the next couple of weeks I will continue to study and prepare. And on Sunday, August 3rd, God willing, we will ponder Sabbath further as Jesus finds himself in another Sabbath conflict. The text will be Luke 14:1-6, and the message will be "Jesus and the Sabbath."

If you have questions about the Sabbath-rest of God, or particular areas you would like me to explore, please message me on The City, or send me an email at matthew@calvarystcloud.org.

I am excited and eager for this chance to teach and preach again on the Sabbath-rest of God.

Your grateful servant, 

Pastor Matthew


Outside the Banquet Hall

Glory to God Alone

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