SERMON TITLE: “A Good Word Glorifies God”
SERMON TEXT: Matthew 5:13-20
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: August 13, 2017, at First UMC
The United Methodist denomination isn’t a creedal church. By that, I mean, to become a United Methodist member, you don’t have to memorize the words of a particular creed or swear that you believe a specific long list of doctrines. Our way of believing is more about using our United Methodist method—the Wesleyan Quadrilateral—to determine what we believe by carefully considering the four authorities of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. That isn’t to say that doctrines and creeds don’t have value. They certainly do! They are part of the religious tradition that informs our United Methodist method.
One of those traditional Christian statements of faith developed by the Church of England in the 1600s is called the Westminster Confession. From that confession developed the Westminster Catechism, versions of which are still taught in Presbyterian and various Reformed churches today. I like how the Westminster Catechism begins. The first of 106 questions asks, “What is the chief end of man?” And the answer given is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” The second question of the Westminster Catechism asks how we may glorify and enjoy God. And the catechism’s answer proclaims that the word of God is our best guidance on how to glorify God.
I’m telling you this because during this month of August we’re dwelling on the subject of “a good word.” As we study Jesus’ words in his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, we’re looking for his guidance about what a good word is and does. Last Sunday, we read the Beatitudes and saw that a good word begins with a blessing. Today, as we move on to verses 13-20, I invite you to consider with me how a good word glorifies God.