I used to be in the Michigan Army National Guard. I served as a Chaplain’s Assistance for two years with a Military Police Battalion out of Taylor, MI. I was assigned to a Chaplain from the Upper Peninsula and we only saw each other twice a year at Annual Training in Grayling, MI. The first summer we met, Chaplain K told me a funny but potentially discouraging story. He was once cleaning up the pews in a church he had preached in when he found a note that presumably someone had written to the person sitting next to them and then accidentally forgotten to take with them. The note read,
“Didn’t he say this last week?!”
Now. I remember thinking back then, “Wow, what a bummer. That poor person didn’t even have enough respect to listen and instead took the time to basically slam his Pastor to someone else, while he was still preaching!”
But today my response to this story is different. Think about it – this is exactly what you want your people saying about you; that you basically say the same thing week after week. Consider the words of the apostle Paul:
“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.” – 1 Corinthians fifteen:1-2
Paul had received something. Paul had preached something. Paul was reminding them of something. The Corinthians had heard something. The Corinthians had received something. The Corinthians were now being reminded of something, they had to hold firmly to the same thing if they were to be saved. What was this ‘thing’? The GOSPEL! The Gospel was received, preached, received, believed and then later its recipients were reminded of it. Paul received, preached and then reminded the Corinthians of the same thing; The GOSPEL. Paul was repetitious. Paul simply said the same thing someone had said to him. Once people believed it, he simply told them the same thing again and told them not to forget it. In one sense, Paul said the same thing, week after week.
Consider Peter’s words:
“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.” – 2 Peter one: 12 through 15
What was Peter reminding his readers of? It was something so important that he thought it was necessary to remind them as often as he could while he was still alive. His heart’s desire was that his readers would remember ‘these things’ long after he was gone. What were they? They were the things he had just written about in 1 Peter one:1 through 11! The GOSPEL. Peter made up nothing new when he wrote his readers. He wasn’t clever or creative. He only repeated to his readers the message he had received from Jesus and had preached since Pentecost. Peter was repetitious. Peter said the same thing, week after week.
Pastor, preacher, elder, deacon, father, mother – Say the same thing. Repeat the Gospel daily. Keep telling your congregations, church staffs, wives, children, friends, family members, co-workers the same thing: Jesus Christ, the lamb of God, slain from the foundations of the world, is the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. I pray that the Lord will write a note about us and hand it to his Son as we try to minister in the grace He gives us. Even with all of our failings, may that note read: “Didn’t he say this last week?!”