Read Matthew 7:15-28.
Every preacher has stories of sermons gone wrong or heard wrong. I have my share. “Ooh, didn’t mean it to come out that way” or “I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that” or the occasional sermon that just bombs. But as far as I know, I’ve only had someone walk out on me once, and that was when I was preaching from today’s text.
It’s a hard passage. Jesus says three really hard things. 1) Some people will be thrown into the fire. 2) Some people who think they deserve heaven will get locked out, and 3) Some people will find their whole lives come crashing down around them.
Three years ago, on Easter Sunday, I was going to preach from this text, and I introduced myself to a new person during the greeting time. I reached out my hand to her and she held up the sermon copy and said, “Haven’t you ever read the verse: ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’?!”
I said, “Umm ... yes ... actually I preached on that text last week.”
She had angry tears in her eyes, and she said, “Well that is certainly not reflected in this sermon!”
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, but I do remember that I got out my pen and made some quick edits to the sermon during the song time. I also remember that this lady was gone before it was time for me to speak.
Obviously, I’ve thought a lot about this experience this week. Why didn’t I ask Matt to preach this one? So in honor of Ms. Walker-outer, I want to make sure we all see the connections between the beginning of chapter 7 “Do not judge others and you will not be judged” and the end of chapter 7 with burning branches, closing doors, and collapsing houses.
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