Hard Stuff

One of the things I love about teaching through a passage of the Bible rather than just preaching topically is that it forces you to deal with the hard stuff. 

Yesterday, my message was from Ephesians 5:1-7. The first couple of verses are pretty easy - "Imitate God as beloved children, and walk in love just as Jesus Christ loved us and gave himself for us..." That's warm, fuzzy, and makes the Gospel fairly clear. 

If I had my choice, I would have preached 5:1-2 and been done with it.  We would have sung an upbeat song and beat the Methodists to lunch. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I didn't have my choice. So we went on. 

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people..." 

It's not very fun to talk about sexual immorality in today's culture. It's uncomfortable, and a lot of people have been beat up by pastors who rant and rave about "you fornicators," only to find out at some point in the future that their pastor was guilty of similar abominable acts.  After that, we talked about profanity, stupid words, and coarse jesting. 

That's what she said. 

It was hard stuff to talk about, but we did it. 

Here's something I think is pretty important about preaching or teaching the Bible: If the Bible says it directly and you can't, you have a problem. 

Yesterday, I tried to be direct and tactful. But I tried to be clear. Because Paul only had a limited number of words to write, and he wrote those. If he felt like they were so important to our spiritual maturity that he listed them without listing everything else, there must be a reason for that.