Editor’s Note: This resource supports preachers and congregations in the use of the book 42 Seconds: The Jesus Model for Everyday Interactions by Carl Medearis. You can visit the 42 Seconds Resource page at justinrossow.com to see more.
The Big Idea
“It’s basically impossible to introduce people to Jesus if we’re not kind to them” (page 2).
That the hearers engage others in open, authentic, curious, gracious conversation.
The Big Problem
By nature we are self-centered, self-interested, self-important people who value answers not questions. We are defensive, insecure, turned inward (incurvatus in se), always seeking self-justification.
The Big Promise
In Jesus, we have no need to be right or to defend ourselves, our positions, or even Jesus. We are free to adopt others’ values (as far as possible) and to humbly place other people above our need to feel right. Jesus goes with us, and the story isn’t over yet.
Readings for Worship
Proverbs 16:18-24, especially verse 24: “Gracious words are… sweet to the soul.”
Philippians 2:1-11 “In humility value others above yourself…”
Luke 8:40-50 Jesus takes time with a woman while an important and influential leader is waiting.
Sermon: Relational Structure
The Relational Structure seems like a good way to start off a sermon series that hinges on authentic relationships. This way of preaching asks the preacher to be open and vulnerable in a way that allows the congregation to be open and vulnerable, too. In this way, the sermon itself embodies one of the key teachings/experiences of the sermon series: your genuine openness invites openness from others.
For a more detailed look at this structure, read Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones (2006). For a brief overview, check out https://concordiatheology.org/sermon-structs/dynamic/relational/.
My personal interaction with being kind (or not) to others.
Our state as sinners: incurvatus in se, a circle turned in on itself, mixed with moments of real joy.
Jesus breaks the circle, seeks the good of others before himself.
In Jesus, you have no need for self-justification. You are free to be open to others and value them. Don’t be afraid. Jesus goes with you. And the story isn’t over yet.
What if we were, more often than not, a community of people who value others above themselves?
Prayer for the Week
Father, I know that all people in this fallen creation are by nature self-centered, self-interested, and self-important people. But it’s hard to admit that I am self-centered; I am self-interested; I am self-important.
Like a circle turned in on itself, I want to protect my self-esteem; I hide my faults, even from myself.
Set me free, Lord: free from the need to defend or justify my failures.
Give me confidence in the forgiveness won for me by Jesus on the cross.
Give me the courage to live as a true sinner who has received true pardon.
Then shape in me the humility of my Lord Christ. Give me the freedom to value others above my need to be right. Amen
Read the full manuscript, or watch the sermon, below.