Preaching Upward, Inward, and Outward
Our sermons should encourage our hearers to love God, love themselves, and love others.
I have a confession: preaching freaks me out. A lot. I think when any pastor is honest with themselves about it, it freaks them out as well.
Think about it. You have a fixed amount of time to explain a text—a text that, in reality, is inexhaustible. So what do you say? What do you leave out?
This totally freaks me out every time.
But when I think about it, I realize life in general can be like that as well. Every day is your only chance to live that day. In a lot of ways, this freaks me out even more than preaching. What should you pursue each day? What do you neglect?
But Jesus, when asked to sum up all of God's Word in the Greatest Commandment, told us how to live our lives. He made it clear for us. He replied quite simply: "Love God, love yourself, and love others." (Now, that's my paraphrase of Jesus's answer, as he quoted both Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18).
So in order to alleviate our fears and anxieties, Jesus asked us to live and love in three directions: ...