Have you ever heard of Edgar Guest?
Guest was an early 20th century poet so popular he was called, “The People’s Poet.” And whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ve probably quoted one of his most famous lines. In his poem, “Sermons We See” Guest writes,
“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.”
While I’ve seen a lot of sermons lived out in people’s lives, I have also heard thousands of sermons in the 50 years I’ve been in church. And over the last 25 years as a pastor, I’ve preached a lot of sermons. And of all those sermons, I have probably preached about Jesus’ temptation more than any passage of Scripture. From a very early age I have been captivated by Matthew’s account of Jesus and Satan’s encounter in the wilderness and have spent years studying Matthew 4:1-11.
So at our last Men’s Breakfast, when Chris opened up Matthew 4 and told us we were going to be sharing insights from Jesus’ temptation, my interest was immediately peaked. And what happened for the next 30 minutes or so, as I listened to my brothers share their thoughts about Jesus’ temptation, reinforced an important truth: We learn best in community. I walked away from that time thinking about Jesus’ temptation and its implications for my Christian walk in ways I had never thought of before.
While I love studying God’s Word in solitude, there is nothing quite like coming together with other believers who have studied a passage of Scripture and enjoying hearing what God is teaching them. I have discovered that a focused discussion with others who have been processing a particular passage of Scripture can be a rich experience. Together, believers who are indwelt by the Spirit of Truth generate a kind of synergism in which ideas and wisdom can be produced far beyond what any one person could create. Each of us is limited by our own horizons and perceptions. But together we can see a wider and farther horizon as we sharpen, challenge and confirm one another.
At CITYLIGHTS, we desire our CITYgroups to be environments where people help each other process and respond to God’s Word. Our goal is for each CITYgroup to spend part of their time together each week discussing the previous Sunday’s message and sharing how God is calling them to go deeper in their understanding, application of and obedience to His Word.
Processing truth in community allows us to listen and learn from each other and be encouraged to take steps to obey what we have learned. As I hear how God’s Spirit is applying truth to another person’s life, I am challenged to ask the question: “What am I going to do with what I’ve learned?”
The book of James tells us to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). So while it’s important to know God’s Word, it’s even more important to live out what we know. For as we live the truth we know, we can be used by God’s Spirit to be the sermon that someone needs to see.
We hope you'll join a CITYgroup this fall; click here to learn how.
-- Mike Thomas, Community Life Pastor at CITYLIGHTS
| Photo by davide ragusa CC0 |