Fanning the Flames | Pastor Dwight Mikesell

2013-10-27 19.00.57-1Dwight Mikesell, pastor of Calvary Wesleyan Church in Bethlehem, PA, recently presented this sermon on holiness at The Missional Holiness Conference.

In it he suggests that it is possible that we could see a resurgence of the holiness message in a way that connects with a new generation.

Birthed from the book of Titus, this sermon powerfully presents the holiness message in fresh ways.

Download MP3 here.

1. Pastor Mikesell sets the stage.

It can sometimes be difficult to introduce a certain text without giving a drawn out history lesson that takes up 15 minutes that could otherwise be spent preaching. Dwight does an excellent job in setting the stage for us. By making it fun and contextualized, he is able to hit on the important aspects of the introduction. Pay attention to the anachronistic humor that surround the initial setting of his treating of Titus.

2. He addresses the Spiritual not the Behavioral.

As theologians, we know that sin is much more than a behavioral problem. We know that our problem is much deeper than our actions, or even our stated intentions. It’s about the heart that is deceitful above all things. Yet, when we preach and/or teach we focus so much on the behavior. We spend our time trying to manage the sin that is being committed as opposed to nipping it in the bud. Dwight shows us the root of our problem. He targets the spiritual problem that persists in our hearts.

3. He speaks to a Purpose Driven People.

As preachers, we need to be asking ourselves who exactly we are preaching to. Who are we talking to? Who is our audience? Not only does this help us develop a sermon that fits our context, but it also helps us develop a sermon that fits our lives. Rather than speaking to a general Christian audience, Dwight reminds us of how holiness and its pursuit is a call to every single one of us. It’s a call that we have received not just as a universal church, but as individual Christians. By doing this, he is empowering us to live out this calling.

4. He Explains the Centrality of Sanctification

Holy, holy, holy is the unending refrain surrounding God’s throne. Yet, it’s an unfortunate truth that many Christians view sanctification as an extra-curricular pursuit, or an over-achievement. It abuses Paul’s words to the Romans, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” As Wesleyan pastors, this view must be combated. Dwight does a great job in teaching sanctification in a way that shows it as an essential to Christianity rather than an addition to it.

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 9.31.32 AMQuestion for Wesleyan Preachers:

1. Reflect on the sermon you most recently preached. Did you spend more time on targeting the spiritual, or heart level issues or behavioral issues highlighted by the scriptures?

2. Still reflecting on the same sermon, would it seem to the casual observer that you were concerned with managing sin or purging sin even to the level of the heart’s desires?

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