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Have you ever stopped to think about the different types of messages that are preached from pulpits? Certainly, all messages are not the same. I suppose there would be dozens of different ways to classify and categorize different kinds of sermons, but I want to look at two specific kinds in this letter. To put it simply, there are messages that pertain to what the believer receives from God, and there are messages that pertain to the believer’s responsibilities before God. Both of these are deeply rooted in biblical truth, both are essential for the spiritual maturity and development of believers, and both are interdependent on the other so that the overall message believers receive is thorough and balanced.

Let’s first address the type of message that focuses on what a person needs to receive from God. This focus is really foundational and primary in that which we minister. After all, we didn’t choose Jesus, He chose us (John 15:16). God is the great initiator and we are responders. John said it is “not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10, NLT). So it is only fitting that our foremost emphasis should be on teaching people how much God loves them, what God has provided for them, and what God wants to do in their lives.

None of this has to do with the performance, efforts, or works of a believer. All that God has done for us in Christ is based on His grace and is received by faith—by trusting God and taking Him at His word. So what are some of the Scriptures that would form the basis for this type of message? There are many. For example:

  • Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32)
  • But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).
  • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
  • I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
  • He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32).
  • Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Each of these verses, and hundreds more like them, are powerful and penetrating expressions of God’s love and what He has provided for us. It is essential that believers be solidly convinced and fully established in their realization of God’s great love and provisions for them.

Having said that, it is also important for believers to understand the fruitfulness and productivity that God wants coming from their lives. The virtues that are to come from us, such as obedience, good works, consecration, etc. are never to be seen as a means of attempting to earn the love of God. Rather, they are an avenue of expressing the love of God that has been freely given to us through Christ Jesus.

Second Type of Messages
Having looked at what we receive from God, now let’s consider the responsibilities we have toward God. This represents the second type of message we will hear from pulpits today. If you are a preacher, you realize that it is always easier (humanly speaking) and more popular to preach on the free gifts and the blessings that God wants to bestow upon His people than it is to preach about what God expects and requires from believers. However, it is essential, if full maturity and development is to occur, that believers understand, receive, and walk in both of these perspectives.

Here are some Scriptures that represent the responsibility side of the equation.

  • Freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8).
  • Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).
  • For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:48).
  • For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another (Galatians 5:13).
  • That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).
  • Since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28).
  • That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).

Copyright © Tony Cooke Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tony Cooke
Web site: Tony Cooke Ministries
 
Since 2002, Tony and Lisa have traveled full-time with an assignment of “Strengthening Churches and Leaders.” Tony’s passion for teaching the Bible has taken him to forty-six states and twenty-six nations. Tony, and Lisa reside in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and are the parents of two adult children, Laura and Andrew.
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