Monday, November 10, 2014

An example of a transformative preaching

Yung Suk Kim



Over the past few years, I have heard two very different types of sermons about Acts 3. In the text, Peter and John go up to the Temple to pray and meet a beggar who is asking for alms. One type of the sermon emphasizes God's power, the Spirit, or Jesus' name. Peter and John are equipped with the power of the Spirit and they could help the beggar to rise against the crippling conditions. This kind of religion or spirituality looks like Shamanism. In fact, this type of preaching is so popular in the church that we hear something like this: Jesus is the solution; there is no other name than Jesus. But this kind of preaching is very superficial and misses out transformative faith shown by Peter and the beggar.

But today I heard a very different sermon full of transformative points in that the preacher talked about Peter's former dysfunctional life and his experience of transformation. He was ready to serve others because he had been there, seeing the same dysfunction in other's life; therefore he challenged the beggar to see beyond his meager conditions. Peter did not give him what the beggar wanted but what he needed. Thus he challenged the beggar to expect more, that is to live as a normal person as God wants him to be, a person who can walk freely without begging anymore.

We also need to see how the beggar is transformed through faith. He listened to Peter and followed what he was told. He tried to stand up by moving his legs and feet through faith. He saw a miracle for himself. Even though the sun is available in the world, a person cannot benefit from it unless he or she comes out to it. Transformation is possible through faith.