Great sermons take place when flint strikes steel. When the flint of a person’s problem strikes the steel of the Word of God, you get a spark, and the spark with burn. Some sermons are too “flinty”: they’re all problem and not much Scripture. Others are all steel and no flint: they are strong on the Bible but stop short of challenging people’s lives. What we want is some combination of the eternal Word of God striking people where they live. Preachers who can do that have a better chance of reaching the audience today and in years to come. – Haddon Robinson (in Reformed Worship, June 1996, page 17)
Not a little preaching is much more imposition than exposition. – W. Graham Scroggie (#11, Mar. 4, 1957)
My job is not to try to make the Bible relevant; I show them them how relevant it is. That’s not picking at words. Relevance comes from the text itself. In the final analysis, “Thus says the Lord” speaks for itself.
One of my mentors used to say two things that I still remember to this day: You haven’t given the gospel until you’ve given people something to believe, and you haven’t truly preached Christ until you have mentioned by name the cross of Christ. That’s convicting. – Charles Swindoll
O sirs, how plainly, how closely, how earnestly, should we deliver a message of such moment as ours, when the everlasting life or everlasting death of our fellow-men is involved in it! …there [is] nothing more unsuitable to such a business, than to be slight and dull. What! Speak coldly for God, and for men’s salvation? Can we believe that our people must be converted or condemned, and yet speak in a drowsy tone? In the name of God, brethren, labour to awaken your own hearts, before you go to the pulpit, that you may be fit to awaken the hearts of sinners…Oh, speak not one cold or careless word about so great a business as heaven or hell. Whatever you do, let the people see that you are in good earnest…A sermon full of mere words, how neatly soever it be composed, while it wants the light of evidence, and the life of zeal, is but an image or a well-dressed carcass. – Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor (1656); abridged edition (1829).
The foolishness of preaching has been replaced by the fine art of telling funny stories. The compulsion to soul-winning has been replaced by the compulsion to promote denominational programs. Means and methods may stand in direct opposition to God’s will and way. Let us not revert to nonspiritual means to carry out God’s will. – Donald Wilton, evangelist and professor of preaching, New Orleans Seminary
To be always relevant, you have to say things which are eternal. – Simone Weil
Psychologists tell us that all people perceive change as loss. Preachers are asking people to change their attitudes, their lifestyle, and how they spend their money. One of the first questions people ask is, “What will I lose as a result of this change?” – Bruce Larson
It has been said that good expository preaching contains three elements: explanation, illustration, and application. It has also been said that this preaching appeals to three areas: the intellect, emotions, and will. 1 Thessalonians 2:11 sums these elements as follows: “As ye know how we exhorted (intellect) and comforted (emotions) and charged (will) every one of you,…” Does anyone have any further thoughts on these concepts? – Calvin Miller
Each time I go into the pulpit I go as if it were my first time, as if it could be my best time and as if it might be my last time. – Vance Havner
If you don’t have a reference point, there is no use talking. My reference point is the Bible. Be open minded. The Bible doesn’t argue the existence of God, it proves the existence of God. – Billy Graham
I’ve heard a lot of sermons in the past 10 years or so that make me want to get up and walk out. They’re secular, psychological, self-help sermons. Friendly, but of no use. They didn’t make you straighten up. They didn’t give you anything hard…At some point and in some way, a sermon has to direct people toward the death of Christ and the campaign that God has waged over the centuries to get our attention. – Garrison Keillor