Mike’s Musings ….
What a Great Sermon!
This past week, I had the opportunity to hear a young man preach. That in itself is not unusual, but this particular young man is one I’ve known literally from his youth up. When he was barely a toddler, my wife had taught him in bible classes. After he graduated from high school, he worked at the local Wal-Mart and became its manager. One day he told me, “I’m moving to Missouri and am going to preach!” I was thrilled, as his excitement about this opportunity was expressed with contagious enthusiasm! A few years ago, he began sharing some of his work with short videos posted to Facebook. I’ve appreciated watching them and listening to him. His voice is perfect for preaching: distinct and clear, gaited with that perfect pace so you don’t lose attention. What a thrill it was to hear him preach “live and in person.”
But frankly, that isn’t what made his sermon “great.” This personal association with him and his family has nothing whatsoever to do with the greatness of his sermon! Regardless of the personal relationship with any preacher, or even the reputation of the man as a well-known proclaimer of God’s truth, such esteem in and of itself doesn’t make the sermon “great.” What establishes the value of the sermon is its content! And this young man used the perfect content and presented it accurately and effectively!
It was evident he had studied well, organized well, and was determined to present it well. He wasn’t proclaiming himself but was declaring the truth about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, His incarnation that made the Word flesh (John 1:14) and eventually permitted Him to die for us, that Jehovah God would raise Him from the dead and set Him at His right hand, awaiting the day when He will judge the world in righteousness. (Acts 17:31) A great sermon? Indeed! What made it great was its content: the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).
I muse on such preaching. As we older preachers say, “I cut my teeth on that kind of preaching.” Oh, it still exists, and I’m thrilled to know true gospel preachers still declare it boldly! When some try to “soften” this truth, they destroy its forcefulness. When others try to “strengthen” it with their commentary, they in turn weaken it. But when it is preached in its purity and simplicity, there is nothing that can exceed its greatness!
Appreciation of God’s word is just that: appreciating HIS word, and not necessarily the man presenting it. Sure, we appreciate the man and desire to call him “brother” and “friend.” But the truest of GREAT sermons will always be the content, never the presenter! Let’s value that fact and remember most would rather see a sermon than hear one any day! Are YOU preaching GREAT sermons?