I've been preaching through Ephesians and I am almost at the end. Being an impatient sort of fellow, I've been itching to get on with a new series and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel on this one. What a strange thing it is for me to want to be done with Ephesians!
This coming Sunday (the 22nd), I was going to preach on Prayer and Perseverence as a wrap-up to 6:10-20, but after Sunday's message, I had a nagging thought that I really haven't done this passage justice. It is safe to generalize, and that is just what I've done. Maybe I should do one more week and get more pointed in the application of these crucial concepts of spiritual warfare.
During my first message, I made the point that spiritual warfare is a topic as big as the Bible. I can't get to everything, so I might as well move on.
On Monday morning, I listened to a podcast from the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation by Dr. Ed Welch on Shame. This message tweaked my conscience. Talk about a practical aspect of spiritual warfare! Since then, I've been thinking about extending my Ephesians series by one week and revisiting the key issues of guilt, shame, forgiveness and justification. There is both illegitimate and legitimate shame in Scripture, and it is a key battlefront where we need to apply the Gospel.
I like to outline my sermons ahead of time, but I do need to be flexible from time-to-time.
So, what's the purpose of this post? Call it confession. I have been more conscious lately about my "safe" preaching - at least it's pretty safe within the walls of my own church. I need to think and pray and visit with people and find out where the battle is really raging in my own congregation and in my own life. I must listen to where God's Word - even in passages that I've "handled" - speaks to these issues and be brave enough to preach boldly.