Read John 7:12-19 here.
John 7 contains a lot of teaching from Jesus that would take quite a bit of time to unpack. For this reason I’m not going to apologise for using the text slightly out of context in my sermon. (My sermon focused on verses 16 & 18, ignoring 17 and 19.) I feel okay doing this because a sermon is different to a Bible class or a commentary.
A sermon doesn’t have to explain every point. When preaching, I try to take a single statement or idea and communicate how that thought relates to our lives today. In doing this we still need to place the single thought within a context, but we also can’t let context overwhelm the single concept.
In John 7:14-19 Jesus addresses his identity. He outlines how to differentiate someone sent from God and someone following his/her own ideas or agenda. In the process he’s comparing his own mission/ministry to those of the relgious leaders opposing him.
From this context, I concentrated on v16, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.” If God-Jesus did not teach His own teaching, how much more careful should we be to only speak for God? This verse seems to support the old Restoration Movement quote, “We speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where the Bible’s silent.” My paraphrase of the verse goes something like this, “I don’t bind my opinions on others. Rather, I boldly proclaim God’s message.”
Obviously, this assumes that we can differentiate between our opinions and God’s message. What are some reasons people often seem to have problem separating opinions from God’s message? What can we do to try and speak God’s words more and our words less?
Songs & Scripture
Just in case preachers and teachers get too high an opinion of ourselves, this verse reminds us that we’re just megaphones for God. He’s the power behind the words. I’m trying to think of songs about God teachings us, can you help me out?
- Lord, Speak to Me
- Teach me Lord to Wait (SFP)
- Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord
- Word of God Speak (MercyMe from the album Spoken For, 2002)