Most ministers with preaching responsibilities love to preach–the word, Christ and him crucified, the gospel, etc. Their styles are different, of course, but they are serious about the work they do.
I sometimes marvel at what preachers are called upon to do, just in terms of preaching. I don’t know how many sermons a typical preacher is called upon to preach per year, but it’s a lot. I have a thought that might help with possibilities for sermons.
Use scripture. Not as the basis for a sermon but as the sermon itself.
On this blog, I once suggested that the Sermon on the Mount should still be preached just as Jesus preached it. It’s chock full of some of Jesus’s most important teachings. It’s about the same length of a regular sermon. I’ve heard it done before, and it’s amazing how it expands one’s understanding and appreciation of the Sermon.
But there is other scripture that could readily be converted into a sermon, instead of just being made part of a sermon. Take Philippians 4:4-7. It starts strong, stays strong, and ends that way. It’s a familiar passage of scripture, and sometimes familiar passages of scripture go in one ear and out the other. But if it’s the sermon, people in the pews just might listen to it and hear it in a different, discerning manner.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7, NIV)
Can a preacher get away with preaching such a short sermon? Surely once in a while. Surely if it’s directly from Holy Scripture. The sermons I remember most vividly are the short ones. They’re always packed with substance. There’s no needless repetition. They’re not preached to fill up a period of time, but to make an important point.
Well, now I’ve started preaching. A sure sign that this blog post is beginning to run long.