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Brothers, Interrupted

Jesus called us to his kingdom so we may do good for the world.

The story behind the sermon (from Bryan Wilkerson):

This sermon was preached early in September to launch our ministry focus for the year, which we're calling "The Year of Doing Good: Becoming the Hands and Feet of Jesus." This will be a unifying theme we drive throughout the year. We'll touch on other themes, but we will devote three series of six or so weeks each to some aspect of doing good in Jesus' name.

The sermon needed to have a visionary impact by creating enthusiasm and momentum for an outward thrust of ministry. With that in mind, the sermon needed strong visual, narrative, and emotive elements. The logo for the series, "Life Is Doing Good," was a knock-off of the familiar Life is good clothing line. I chose a narrative text to create a sense of energy, and closed with a contemporary illustration that has inspirational impact. The mood of the sermon was upbeat, with a bit of edginess to drive home the point that we were venturing into less familiar and less comfortable territory for some evangelicals.

But there was also some instructing to do as we helped the congregation understand and appreciate the social dimension of the gospel, which evangelicals have tended to overlook, minimize, or cede to liberal churches. I wanted to ground the concept in a familiar and solid text, and the call of the disciples worked well. To lend credibility to the message, I cited Richard Stearns's recent book, The Hole in Our Gospel, knowing that Stearns and World Vision have a high credibility factor with our globally engaged congregation.

This was one of my first sermons after two months of sabbatical, in which I had read extensively on the themes of social justice and the outward-focused church. I wouldn't typically quote from three ...

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Bryan Wilkerson is pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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Sermon Outline:


A tale of two brothers

I. A kingdom life

II. Lives interrupted

III. But wait—there's more.

IV. Your life is too small.

V. A hole in our gospel?

VI. The reasons for doing good