CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SERMON AND A TALK AND A PREACHER AND A TALKER?

It was said of one of the medieval popes, “He might have been a good pope, if he had been just a little bit religious.” And, it might be said of some preachers, “They might have been good Bible preachers if there had been just a little bit of the Bible in their sermons.” The main admonition to, and identifier of, a real preacher is that he, “Preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2a). Here is what might be a startling proposition to some in this untoward generation today who stand behind pulpits and sit in the pews of churches across this country: There’s no such thing as preaching the Word when the Word is not being preached. And, there’s no such thing as a Bible preacher who doesn’t preach the Bible.


Preachers whose sermons consist of mostly stories, rants of one sort or another about everything from politics to how to make good biscuits or whose sermons are laced with snippets about themselves aren't preaching the Word of God. The same can and should be said of preachers who use their time behind the pulpit to sing the praises of other preachers past and present or to wax eloquent about their romantic feelings towards their wives, and on and on and on. The pulpit is not the place, and the time designated for preaching the Word of God isn't the time for this sort of thing. And it was a sad day for New Testament churches and the ministry specifically when this sort of thing became acceptable, commonplace and widely applauded.


The reading of a solitary passage of Scripture after which the preacher heads off to parts unknown doesn’t meet the criteria for preaching either. G. Campbell Morgan rightly wrote that "A text without a context is nothing but a pretext." And, no raising of the voice, pounding of the pulpit or emotional expression throughout can turn what isn't a biblical sermon into one. Another has wisely said, "The preacher is not a chef; he’s a waiter. God doesn’t want you to make the meal; He just wants you to deliver it to the table without messing it up. That’s all."


I once read of a man who was taken to court for false advertising. Ninety-five percent of the 'beef' sausage he advertised turned out to consist of horse meat. When he protested that five percent of the content of his product was indeed beef, the judge explained that that simply wasn't enough to qualify what he was selling as genuine beef sausage.This is the way it is when so-called preaching of the Word has hardly any "Word" in it. It isn't preaching. It's just talking.


An old shaving crème commercial ended with the words, “Give the guy the toe of your boot that tries to give you substitute.” We’re not advocating that physical harm be done to anyone. We are advocating for more spiritual discernment and honesty where preaching is concerned. We are advocating for a return to the standard set in Scripture that identifies what real Bible preaching is and who real Bible preachers are.


“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

—John 8:32

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