As a pastor, I always say that the first person who hears the sermon is me. Through the preparation of a sermon, God speaks, challenges, motivates and convicts. If the sermon doesn’t speak to the preacher, then it’s not going to speak.
As I preached through Matthew 18, God spoke so clearly to me. I had wronged a fellow believer by not following the instructions of Scripture. Here is a brief section of the sermon:
“If your brother sins against you… Brother is pointing to a fellow Christ-follower. So, Jesus is forecasting how relationships are supposed to function within the body of Christ. Within the body of Christ, fellow believers will offend each other. Sin will be committed through words or actions. The word sin is harmartia, the basic word for sin in the New Testament that means missing the mark. One key to strong relationships in our homes and in the church, is understanding that people are not perfect. People sin, your feelings might or most likely will get hurt. When offense is not dealt with then it begins to fester in your heart and mind causing an infection of bitterness and resentment. Let me ask, is it healthier to confront the sin or to allow the offense to poison your heart and mind? We should all agree that it’s healthier to confront the sin. That is the tone of Jesus’ instruction here. Loving confrontation of sin, so that the sinner repents restoring right relationship, brings about or maintains a healthy body. The expectation here is that people sin, relationships are fractured but can be reconciled.”
God convicted me in that moment. The next week I went to the person and offered my apology for not rightly handling the matter in the beginning. God had given me peace and I praise Him for that.
We must never forget that God's Word speaks to our lives. Listen! He is speaking.