I wonder what Martin Luther would think if he were alive today? With the simple click of a button, believers can access virtually every translation of the Bible. With a few more clicks, we can fill our iPhone with the teachings of the most gifted theologians and preachers in the world. The same broadband cable that delivers a godless worldview to our TVs and laptops also carries a goldmine of powerful, life-changing biblical teaching.
My smartphone is full of pastor podcasts and bible training sessions. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve probably listened to at least 2,000 sermons and lectures over the past 10 years. It helps that I have a 45-minute commute to work every day.
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It’s from my digital library of sermons and seminars that I’ve chosen to share with you the five sermons that have most impacted my life. Each of these five sermons has profoundly influenced how I think about the world around me and respond to the Spirit inside me. I hope you’ll find them just as valuable.
Five Sermons That Changed My Life:
I have listened to this message at least a dozen times. I often go back to it when I’m feeling mired in temptation and sin. Pastor Sam Storms breaks down the practical implications of the creed made famous by John Piper, termed Christian Hedonism. Simply put, Christian Hedonism is the unrelenting pursuit of pleasure in God. Storms demonstrates how our pleasure in God is at the root of our ability to say no to tomorrow’s temptations.
I was sitting in the audience with my Methodist friend at a Baptist church. Listening to a Presbyterian pastor deliver a message using quotes from the founder of Lutheranism. This wasn’t an interdenominational Kumbaya session. The 2012 Jax Pastors Conference, where Tullian Tchividjian (Billy Graham’s grandson) delivered the most powerful and penetrating massage on the scandalous nature of the gospel of grace that I have ever heard.
There isn’t a day that goes by that my thoughts of God are not affected by this one sermon delivered by John Piper at a Passion Conference in 1998. Piper puts his young listeners in the vulnerable position of examining whether their view of the world is man-centered or God-centered, secular or biblical. His message concludes at the cross, where Piper unveils the central purpose of God’s Son’s death. One interesting note: Sitting in the audience that day was a young man named Matt Chandler who attributed his calling into ministry, in part, to this one sermon.
I first heard this sermon while lying on a hospital bed next to my 4-year old son after being diagnosed with high-risk leukemia. For obvious reasons, I could not attend the church that Sunday, so I downloaded my pastor’s message the following evening. I was moved to tears by the wisdom and compassion that my pastor displayed to our family and all other members of our church family who were struggling through dark clouds. I’ve benefited greatly from so-called celebrity pastors. But no one is as influential in my life as my local pastor, David Tarkington.
Sometimes, a sermon lands so powerfully on its listeners’ ears that the ripple effects are felt throughout evangelicalism. This message from Voddie Baucham was one of those messages. His sermon was so eye-opening that Focus on the Family decided to air Baucham’s entire message in lieu of their scheduled programming. You’ll have to listen to it to understand why it was so impactful.