Stunning Statements (of Paul): Introducing Our New Sermon Series

Peter Swann

For the past two years at Hope Church, we have been on a mission – a mission against typical, traditional Western Christianity and toward Normal Christianity. We’ve suggested that our standard brand of Christianity tends to be rather boring and lame compared to a biblical one. It’s far too internal and not enough externally-focused. And most important, in many cases it’s simply not biblical. We want to recover Christianity that the Scriptures would say would be normal.

Until we move toward normal, though, we have to first realize that what we presently have is not normal. In some cases, it’s not even close. And we have to become so unsettled with where we are that we refuse to stay there. Only then will we honestly and assertively move toward Normal Christianity.

Our new sermon series is an attempt to help us move that way. As we consider stunning statements of Paul in Scripture, we are intentionally looking at statements that unsettle us – since those are the statements that best reflect areas where we are walking in traditional Christianity rather than biblical Christianity.

For example, how about 1 Timothy 5:8? “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Talk about a stunning statement.

As we consider these stunning statements, we mean both the verbal statements of Paul and those lived out by his life. We are considering both the commands and models found in his life. Both are instructive, and both are to be normal for us.

A concern of this series is that it will appear to be flashy, or trendy – but that would completely miss the point. We’ll have a ton of fun examining these Scriptures, but there’s so much more meat than that. This is about honesty in our approach to Scripture, and about life change.

In the end, there are at least five reasons why we are engaging our “Stunning Statements” series. We want to:

  1. Stir up an affection for Scripture
  2. Grow an honesty in approaching Scripture
  3. Move us toward Normal Christianity
  4. Teach us to exegete challenging texts
  5. Study overarching truths about various topics 

As we consider multiple stunning statements each week, we’ll group them around certain topics. In weeks to come, we’ll consider stunning statements of Paul on diversity and missions and relationships and a host of other issues. We’ll be stunned, we’ll be changed, and by God’s grace, we’ll be made increasingly normal… bring on Normal Christianity in all of us for the glory of our King.