Every time I talk to my father-in-law I am always encouraged to hear about all that God is doing at Woodside Bible Church in Royal Oak, Michigan. Meg’s parents have been members for several years at this church, so we’ve heard a lot of inspiring stories about lives being changed through the power of the good news.
Earlier this year I was given the opportunity to preach at Woodside, Royal Oak. It was truly a joy to worship Jesus with his people there and to be able to open God’s word with them. I am sure that my experience preaching taught me more than it taught them(!), so these folks were very gracious to let me preach.
The text I preached for them was in the middle of a string of sermons they were putting together on Ephesians 4:17-5:2. The portion of this passage that I spoke from was 4:31-32a:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted…”
That’s it! Just one and a half verses! This was the shortest text I’ve ever preached on, and I think it’s the first text I’ve ever preached that was an imperative. Most of the other sermons I’ve preached are from psalms or stories or just plain packed with indicatives. Not this one. This one is all commands. So this sermon stretched me in many ways, and I cannot express all my gratitude to the tenderhearted congregation at Woodside, Royal Oak.
Here’s the outline of my sermon:
- What is the command?
- The context of the command
- The scope of the command
- The specifics of the command
- How do we carry out the command?
- On the basis of God’s grace
- By the power of God
- Through faith in God and his word