Getting back to biblical preaching
“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” - 2 Timothy 4:2
Throughout the quarantine and coronavirus pandemic I have gotten the opportunity to watch more church services than usual.
Typically, I’d just sit in on the church‘s service that I work at. But, without that option for a few months, I tuned into some other popular churches’ live streams.
I watched a handful of different preachers through the weeks and noticed some similar and, quite honestly, disheartening things.
When viewing them initially, I felt the message was compelling and solid. I often closed my laptop feeling encouraged and excited to do the work of God. Fancy Phrases and Funny Stories
But, after the 2nd or 3rd time, I noticed that the messages were filled with the same mantras, stories and phrases. It sounded nice, but I’m not sure how edifying it could be to the listener.
Clean and punchy statements like:
“Your purpose is in the process.”
“God is less worried about your ability than your availability.”
“You can’t promise your way past preparation” and so on.
There was tons of alliterations and illustrations, but not much biblical interpretation.
Hear me right: I’m not against clean, punchy sentences (I just used one). But, when they take precedence over the actual meaning of the text - That’s a significant problem.
It’s a problem because instead of the congregation leaving the message being equipped with the powerful knowledge of the Word of God, they’re only armed with the power of the pastors eloquent speech and vocabulary.
Guess what doesn’t hold up when life gets hard and trusting God is difficult?
Fancy mantras, rhyming sentences, illustrations and cool alliterations.
How does this happen? Why would pastors totally skip over the true meaning of a biblical text?
Because it’s a massive temptation for pastors to bring their own preconceived ideas, points and theories to the text they are intending to preach (I’m a pastor, I get it.)
So, instead of taking the passage for what it actually means they twist and contort the text so that it fits nicely into their nice sentence or illustration they already had in mind. It’s easier and people tend to compliment pastors more on their sermon when they have good sentences and illustrations.
Thus the problem remains: the congregation leaves the message armed with some nice sounding sentences, not the knowledge of the Word of God.
As a Church, we have to begin moving back to biblical preaching.
Instead of copying other “successful” pastors on Youtube, we must labor and spend time reading the text. Actually knowing the Word for ourselves - reading it dozens if not a hundred times to fully grasp the concepts the Author is trying to convey.
If we don’t, we will lose an entire generation of people. Because as soon as they bump up against something difficult, they will not have the spiritual firepower to battle with that trial.
And as a result, they will leave the Faith - it’s already happening.
Knowing this, let’s put the work in and leave our fancy/unrelated sentences in the journal.
Approach the pulpit with a conviction to preach the Word faithfully - knowing at the end of your days you won’t have to provide an account of your preaching to your pals in the audience, but instead to Almighty God.