Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Good sermon

The question on many people's minds is if the sermon on Sunday was a good one or not.

Was there enough shouting? Enough examples? Appropriate examples? Did it help me practically today? Was I bored? Did it get me excited? There are many more questions people would ask about the sermons they hear.

However, I would like to point out two very important aspects of a good sermon and our response to it.

First of all passion. A sermon without passion is like kissing a watermelon. Cold and sticky! It is simply impossible to be passionate about kissing a fruit! When there is no passion in preaching, it would seem that the preacher has no faith in the message either. Yet, what a South African or an American sees as passionate might seem completely over the top in England. So, passion could be relative. However, that should not excuse the preacher to be passionate about the message he preaches.

Now believe me, I do not believe that passion alone is good enough for the sustenance of the flock. Yet if there is no passion, it would be like stuffing your face with the driest of foods and yet not being able to swallow since there would not be anything to wash the dry stuff down with. Have you ever had food so dry in your mouth that your mouth could not generate enough saliva for you to safely swallow your food? It is then that you grab your drink to help the food do
wn. Now that is a sermon without passion.

However, on the other hand it doesn't matter if you have all the passion in the world but the content of the sermon has falsehoods, errors or heresy in it. It is here that we have to look at the truth factor.

It is no use providing food to the flock with enough to drink (passion), but the food is laced with poison! The fact is that too many sermons out there are very passionate, yet they contain all manners of errors and heresies. There are preachers out there that are very passionate, but they are preaching a whole lot of heresies that the people in the pews do not even recognize! These are people like T.D. Jakes, Tommy Tenny, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, T.B. Joshua and a host of people like them!

The problem with today's Christian is that he has been influenced by the world and how it operates. The fact that the church is trying to operate like the world does not help either! Communication, and even the validation of truth, is tied up in sound bytes and who wins the argument at the end of the day. And how is the argument won? Basically, the one who can throw around the wittiest sound bytes, whether they are true or not, and who can interrupt the others the most and can get the most "airtime!"

This has been transferred into the church. Those in the pew no longer want the
Scriptures to be explained to them through proper exegetical expositional preaching. No, they simply want to be told what to do with a couple of funny examples and then sent home!

In the end, these people want to be entertained. What they want is what I call preachetainment. They don't want the truth, because they "can't handle the truth."

Members of churches are no longer taught to search for the truth and to be like the Bereans who did not simply accept what Paul told them. The biggest problem here is that churches no longer equip their people to study the Bible correctly. This leads to haphazard Bible study that many times lead to error itself.

So, where truth is concerned, preachers can end up saying almost anything and the pew will simply say "amen!"

In the end a good sermon must have truth and passion. Truth to provide the spiritual nutrients and passion to make sure that the nutrients are edible.

The best way to package this truth is to put it in its proper theological setting. Many people are not good at systematizing information and therefore cannot see how different parts of Scripture fit together. It is for this very reason that exegetical expositional preaching would be best. The preacher can then show how the current passage fits in with the rest of Scripture and how we get to the theology we believe. It is here where the foundation for good theological preaching can be laid. If a pastor cannot do this, or he thinks that it is not necessary, he has no business being in the pulpit or the ministry! (Tit 1:9; 1 Tim 3:2).

Ok, I digressed a bit, but the point is, a good sermon will be the truth contained in the Scriptures and it will be preached with a holy passion for the things of God!

1 comment:

Jonathan Moorhead said...

William, this is an excellent post. Great job!

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