"No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier". ( 2 Timothy 2:4)
On Sunday morning, as you attentively listen to that elaborate sermon, what are you hearing from your pulpit ? Is it a true message inspired by God's Holy Spirit ?( 2 Timothy 2:24) Or is it a well articulated " nursery rhyme" explanation ? ( 2 Timothy 2:16-19) You see, "Mary had a little lamb" makes for good childhood comprehension , but it won't saved a single person. Just don't turn the sermon into an Aesop's Fable".
Is the preaching all about the "full gospel" ( 1 Cor 15:1-4) ? Is it all about God's "free grace" ? ( Ephesians 2:8-9) Is it that all men are "born sinners" and in need of a Savior, because of their inbred sin, due to the original fall of man ? ( Psalm 51:5) ( Romans 5:12)
Basically, there are three type sermons- 1)Expository, 2) Textual, 3) Topical.
The "Expository" Sermon explains a certain thought theme, backed up by scripture. This form of sermon is used to teach through any given book of the Bible, which often times makes for a rather lengthy single presentation.
The " Textual" Sermon is usually developed around a single verse of scripture text, backed up my other related scripture verses. This form of sermon is generally good for audiences with a short attention span, such as children or elderly parishioners.
The "Topical Sermon is developed from a certain topic that the preacher chooses such as prayer, holiness, separation, love, Christian priorities, etc. This type sermon requires the preacher to have an overall knowledge of the Bible and an ability to associate related passages from different parts of the Bible.
These three different preaching styles are often times labeled as:1)Topical- Preaching about the Bible. 2) Textural- Preaching from the Bible. 3) Expository- Preaching the Bible.
Regardless of the preaching format used- the main point- did it come from God by way of His Holy Spirit ? ( 2 Cor 3:16-18) If the preacher faithfully considers God's principles and builds his points to match these teachings then he is preaching the Bible.
So what should be preached? The Apostle Paul covered this subject, rather well, in just one verse of scripture ( 2 Timothy 4:2) , preaching the full council of God.
Does your pastor preach the "full council" of God? God's complete revelation should be taught, by leaving nothing out that is primary to the doctrines of God. By preaching the "full council of God", the congregation is better equipped to understand the Bible more intelligently and comprehensively.
A pastor may not be the most elaborate speaker ( 1 Cor 2:1-8), but if he is true to the Word and preaches the true attributes or doctrines of God, he will mightily be used of God. ( 1 Cor 1:27-29) I must admit, some preachers just had the gift of putting me to sleep. May God forgive me for this mind-set.
The scripture is plain in stating that the basic evangelistic message will not be understood by unsaved mankind . ( 1 Cor 1:18) Some pastors seem to have falsely taken this scripture serious by doing away with the modern day approach to the after sermon invitations. "That's why we need more "Billy Graham's" , in our pulpits to explain " God's Plan of Salvation". General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, would never close a service, be it a church service, a wedding or a funeral, without giving an invitation.
So, what has happened to "preaching salvation" and our "church alters" ? Just call me a "dinosaur" but I still hold to that "Old Time religion" preaching. I can't help but ponder those old "brush-arbor" revival meetings where the "Amen's" and the "Hallelujah's" echoed, as the spirit led. Yes, the gospel has always been the gospel
Should "Holiness" be preached? After all, if Jesus counted the Cross joy ( Hebrews 12:2), surely we can endure our own smaller sacrifices for the same reason. That reason being to live a "Holy Life". Church members will practice holiness, only if they have a clear understand of what holiness is all about. So, it should be preached, motivated and put into action, by surrendering to God's will. You see, it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified. ( 1 Thess 5:23)After all, the Church was founded on " Holiness". ( Acts 1:8) ( Acts 2:4)
One sensitive topic, of which preachers often times shy away, is politics. Especially, in this modern day life style, in which we seem to be headed. However, if one preaches "against sin and for holiness", this topic will be well represented, in the positive. ( Romans 12:2) You see, we should resist the ways of the world whenever they contradict gospel standards. In other words, just don't be squeezed into today's evil mold.( Romans 1:28) Instead we should mold our life after the model Of Christ Jesus. ( Philippians 1:21). Yes, there is a way of escape. ( 1 Cor 6:8-11)
From the beginning of the early church, upward until now, certain pastors have always served God out of love, while others have always preached Christ through envy and strife and even out of a selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives. ( Philippians 1:15-17) However, like the Apostle Paul's example, preachers should always serve God with a clear conscience. ( 2 Timothy 1:3)
The pulpit should never be used to "beat up" on any one splinter group or parishioner. You see, the church gets enough of this sort of false gospel from Mr. Satan himself. ( Revelation 12:10) Enough said on the subject.
So, this attitude towards fellow parishioners, is nothing new. This dissertation, given by the Apostle Paul, leads me to ponder if a message given by an ulterior motive or taught by an unbelieving pastor (Jeremiah17:9 ) can meet the mark of changing one's life style for God. I think yes, as long as God's Word is presented in its correct context. ( Hebrews 4:12-16) God has always meant what he says, and what He says goes. His powerful Word is sharp than a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Holy Word.
How long should the pastor stay behind the pulpit ? The short answer, as long as it takes to cover the passage adequately! ( Psalm 25:5) The important thing is to stick to the subject and cover the main point so that people are convinced of its truth and comprehend its requirements. Enter, God's Holy Spirit.( John 16:13)
Back in the 80’s and 90’s, Domino’s Pizza had a guarantee on pizza delivery that stated, " If you don’t get your pizza within thirty minutes, it’s free". Domino’s discontinued the guarantee when drivers were having too many car accidents trying to make the half hour deadline. Sometimes I think churches should have a similar guarantee: If the sermon doesn't measure up to one's fancy, and goes over a half hour, you get your tithe back. I kid, of course Just a little "Holy Levity".
In conclusion, hopefully your pastor is still preaching that "old time religion", the gospel presented pure and simple in a pure and simple setting. In our modern day language, it' s people going to church and putting their watches in their pockets, not being in a hurry to make it home in time for the big game on TV, or to beat it to the restaurant, or stretch out on the couch, and take a good snooze. ( Romans 9:16) .
"may "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all." ( 2 Cor 13:14)
Author' Post Srcipt
Evidently, it must be easy for a person to preach himself instead of Christ. ( 2 Cor 5:15) It seems that the modern pulpit makes this even easier to do. Being a place for public oratory, the pulpit practically demands that those who enter its precincts bring forth a sermon type speech in the style suitable for a public show. The church of today must avoid the " Bully Pulpit" cliché at all cost. ( Hebrews 5:14) The main purpose has been and always will be, to grow the "saints" ( Colossians 1:9-10) ( 2 Peter 3:18) , and get the "unsaved" regenerated to God the Father, through Christ Jesus. ( Isaiah 55:11) ( Romans 1:16)
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