Not Every single Sermon Is Worth Hearing

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By Lucas O’Neill, author of Preaching to Be Heard

A lot of sermons are like meals from common quickly-meals chains—flavor at the expense of nutrition. It is straightforward, quickly, low-cost, and tastes addictively superior. Your

We start with the text and we surrender the sermon to its dictates.

preaching may possibly be drawing a lot of persons, but are they becoming fed effectively?

It is straightforward to master the art of drawing an audience. If we give them one thing pleasantly palatable we can fill empty seats. But if we do not provide nutritious meals it is the persons that are left empty.

Sermons that nourish souls

I think sermons that really nourish souls are sermons that clarify what a portion of Scripture signifies. This is named expository preaching. In Mark Dever’s words, it is basically “the preaching which requires for the point of a sermon the point of a unique passage of Scripture. That is it.” In it, preachers start with a text and appear for the point rather than start with a point and appear for a text to help it.

This signifies we do not start our preparation with the finish in thoughts. We start with the text and we surrender the sermon to its dictates.

But we need to say extra. Expository preachers do not only communicate the point of the text, but they stick to the passage all through the complete sermon. All the things in the sermon serves to shed light on the passage and what it communicates. This is preaching in its most best type.

If we are not clear about the will need for sound exposition, we are handing our churches more than to a generation of pastors who have a much better understanding of ailers and seating dynamics than they do of God’s Word. We are starving our churches to death.

It is wrongheaded to start the sermon approach by asking, “What do I want to say?” The query need to be, “What does this Scripture passage say?” The expository preacher desires to obtain the intent of a unique passage in the Bible and preach that.

This is not to say expositors should really turn a blind eye to what persons are feeling. Certainly, even the most anchored expositor need to certainly consider of the listeners’ requirements when deciding which text to peach or which book of the Bible to start functioning via. It is superior for the preacher to issue the particularities of any audience into the sermon preparing approach.

This is why Paul’s sermon to the Areopagus (Acts 17) showed a unique method than his sermon to his audience in Pisidia Antioch (Acts 13). But becoming mindful of requirements is altogether unique that producing these requirements the beginning point. The text, inspired by the Holy Spirit, need to stay in the driver’s seat. Not the requirements perceived by the audience.

A generation of quickly-meals preachers

I met a young man who had not too long ago completed a degree in ministry at a renowned evangelical theological college. Till his conversation with me, he had under no circumstances heard of “expository preaching.” Students pour into seminaries, a lot of of them getting discovered what they know about preaching from their

Sermons need to be engaging—we want to support audiences lend their consideration to Scripture. But consideration does not matter if what they are attending to is not a cautious examination of Scripture.

felt-requirements pastors back household. If we are not clear about the will need for sound exposition, we are handing our churches more than to a generation of pastors who have a much better understanding of ailers and seating dynamics than they do of God’s Word. We are starving our churches to death.

When I have taught introductory courses in preaching, I have ordinarily begun with a definition of expository preaching and then a host of causes why preaching need to be performed in this way. If students can grasp how considerably is genuinely at stake, it could be that extra of them will carry a commitment to exposition with them into their ministries. Sermons need to be engaging—we want to support audiences lend their consideration to Scripture. But consideration does not matter if what they are attending to is not a cautious examination of Scripture.

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This post is adapted from the preface of Preaching to Be Heard by Lucas O’Neill (Lexham Press, 2019).

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