Tuesday, 24 January 2012
In spite of my sin
Earlier this evening I had the great privilege of speaking on Ephesians 2:1-10, twice!!!
But this story really begins earlier today. My wife had earlier asked my how my preparation was going for speaking at Teesside CU. I replied and told her that I was using a talk I had given previously on the same text and would re-read it and make the application more specific to their context. In my sinfulness I think I was relying on having a talk up my sleeve and partly in the fact that it is almost impossible to preach a bad sermon on Ephesians 2:1-10 because it is such a wonderfully clear passage! My wife rightfully rebuked me, in love, and told me that what I needed to do was pray and ask God what it was He wanted me to say, from the text, to the students.
Not having a lot of time to start writing a talk from scratch, I prayed and asked God to speak through by His Spirit and that all the glory would go to Jesus. I was in the car at the time, heading to Middlesbrough to meet some students.
I spoke at Teesside and although my lack of preparation was evident to me, God graciously used me in my weakness and sin to speak to the students. I hope that there is real fruit as a result.
But God's grace did not end there...
I headed over to the Queen's Campus CU in Stockton to catch up with the students and arrange some meetings. When I arrived I found out that my colleague, who was due to be speaking from Hebrews 11 on a hero of the faith, had broken down on the A19 and was awaiting the AA to come and sort his car out.
To cut a long story short, I spoke on Ephesians 2:1-10 again and God graciously used it. There was a real sense of His presence.
So, I learnt a good lesson, once again, that I need to prepare well and yet totally rely on the Holy Spirit to take the Word and bring it to life in people. On top of that I was reminded, that in spite of my sin, God graciously uses feeble jars of clay, like me, for His glory. I got what I didn't deserve because God is good, gracious and loving and His plan is far greater than I can know.
How great is this God who brings spiritually dead people to life (one major point of the passage) and who works in spite of our failings to bring about His purposes?!