Understanding Our Level of Certainty When Preaching

Movie Critics, you either love them or hate them. If someone is a Movie Critic and always gives Comic Book movies a five-star rating, his/her movie reviews won’t feel authentic. This is because every movie is not five stars. In the same way, as believers we have to also be real with people when we talk about the Bible. There are some things we will not know.

This doesn’t mean, “God is mysterious or strange.” It means that there are things we don’t understand. In these cases, explain to your listener that you don’t know the answer. When we don’t know something let’s say, “I don’t know.” As we are honest with people, we will gain more respect.

There are many levels of certainty. I have a high level of certainty that two plus two equals four. I have a low level of certainty in when Jesus is returning. Still there are many people who will debate this subject with a dogmatic stance. We cannot be dogmatic about topics we have a low level of certainty. Each time we talk about a subject, we have to know our confidence level. Yet even Jesus said He did not know. Except for God, “no one knows” (Mark 13:32).

Being assertive about a subject that you have a low level of certainty can hurt people’s respect for you. I honestly don’t know who wrote the book of Hebrews. Because I’m not sure, I cannot be assertive when I teach this subject. I can’t say, “The author of Hebrews is Peter.” I must explain that, “I believe it could be Peter based upon these facts.”

On the reverse, we know for a hundred percent who wrote the book of Ephesians. It was Paul because in the beginning he writes, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus…” (Ephesians 1:1).

Jesus once said that, “…He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9). The last thing that comes to my mind when I think about Jesus is, “Mysterious.” He was very transparent when He walked this Earth. He healed the sick, fed the poor, and loved everyone. Now in the same way, God is just like Christ. His heart is very visible; God loves people.

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