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  1. Very good article, Greg. However, I find it very necessary to also say what we must do in order to receive salvation. Jesus did everything for us, but we still have to accept what He’s done. I understand where you’re coming from, and I agree that the gospel is about what Jesus has done for us rather than what we have to do to accept it, etc. But if we just finish a sermon by saying what Jesus has done for us and not offering the audience a way to accept it, then I feel like we are doing them a disservice. It is basically just like telling them only about salvation, rather than telling them how to obtain it. If we ensure them that ALL can receive salvation and the love of Christ regardless of their sins and that it does not matter how good they are, then I don’t think that we could really run into the problem of the audience “wondering if they’ll ever be good enough.”
    Also, in my own experience with people through ministry, (which is very, very, small compared to you (I’m 19, pre-seminary)) I have found that people tend to be so extraordinarily complacent with lukewarm Christianity and continuing to live in a sinful lifestyle void of trying to actively pursue Christ on a daily basis. I have witnessed the effectiveness of a pastor encouraging his congregation, Christians and non, to change their lifestyle and to repent for what they have done. Speaking of what God has done for us should encourage us to do good works for Him, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always work.
    While the Gospel is truly about the actions God has done for us, we must encourage our audience to pursue God with their actions as well, starting with salvation for those who have not accepted Him, and good works, prayer, etc. for those who have. If through sermons we keep on pressing and pressing and pressing only how much God loves us, then I fear we risk putting our audience in a state of complacency where they are not too encouraged to change. But of course that depends on the individual person, their personality, their insight, and what they actually get out of the message.
    Faith without works is dead, and, in the long run, works without faith are worthless. As such, I think there should be a perfect balance of speaking of what God has done for us and what we can do for Him in either one sermon, or a series of them. Because, after all, in a relationship, even with God, one person cannot do all the work. Just some thoughts.

    Sorry if I took this where you might not have intended it to go or if I misinterpreted it and this comment is just a giant Strawman.
    I’ve been loving reading your stuff, and it’s been such a blessing to glean this knowledge from you on Christianity and leadership. Loving what you do, man.