I recently posted what I trust will be a series which will be about sermons that have changed my life. It is way too early for me to claim that this past Sunday’s talk by my pastor and dear friend, Tope Koleoso, will be one of those. But I could do a lot worse than allow myself to be shaped by a talk like this. I have previously shared a list of talks Tope has given that are available online, but much as I loved those talks, I believe this may be the best sermon I have ever heard him preach.
I don’t want to give too much away because I want to encourage you to listen to this talk. He weaved such well-remembered verses as “Go into all the world …”, “I am not ashamed of the gospel …” “How will they hear …” and “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few …” into a compelling tapestry that felt fresh and deeply impacting without condemning. He acknowledged that it IS easier to mix with people who are in your own “tribe”— your Judea as it were.
He challenged us that if we are not going beyond that, if all our friends are still very similar to us, we haven’t yet allowed the gospel to have its full impact on us. He laid down the challenge that the gospel has two calls to it. There is a call to come, to receive from God. But then there is a call to go. In that going we are called to worship God and to be a witness. He spoke of our mission to reach the world one person at a time. He also spoke of our message. He explained that our message was nothing more complicated than a person—Jesus. We are to teach his cross, his resurrection, the call to repentance, and a promise of forgiveness. Still, today some demand signs and wonders, and others clever reasoning and wisdom, but we preach Jesus and him crucified. Tope also spoke of our methods and our motivation of love. My favorite line in the whole talk was, “If you want Jesus to go with you, go and make disciples.”
I was profoundly moved by this talk. What was also exciting is that, once again this Sunday, a number of people made a response to the gospel. We are in the middle of a prolonged season where we have been seeing such responses on a weekly basis. Please pray for us that such things continue, and that as a church this sermon may indeed help to turn our focus outward and that we will see many more genuinely saved. The message is available to download or listen to here: