Preaching scares me and rightfully so!
So many times when preparing for a sermon, the few and far between, I have to stop and study my own notes. I have to check the spelling and pronunciation of certain words. I need to make sure that the message is relevant to this day and age while revealing the truth, the Gospel, the Almighty Word of God. I need to take the context from when it was written and when it happened. I have to make sure that Bill doesn’t try to slip in his own beliefs and understandings because I am fallen. Before giving a sermon, I have to pray over the message because at any minute He may want to change what I wrote.
To have the honor of sharing the Word of God is a huge and totally scary proposition.
When we are preaching, Carter, et al, (2005) advise, we are presenting the Gospel and helping others on a path. We are to weave the fabric of the Bible into a foundational presentation of the same. (p. 23). My father who was also a Pastor back in the 40’s and 50’s used to tell me; Bill, are you paying attention? (while holding up his index finger in the air) He would follow up by saying: “Bill, all you need to do is make them laugh, make them cry, and give them something to think about.”
First, we must study the culture in which we are speaking. This is where we set up of the historical settings (p. 73) in order to provide context to our message. This is where I believe our first big mistake can happen. Forgetting to provide an appropriate context sets up a theater of confusion. Some may be mature enough to already know the context of a story but many are hearing this for the first time.
Theological context comes next as exemplified with the preaching of Job, if we don’t set up the story by stating the theological belief system of that day and age, we lose valuable understanding why his intrusive friends were so sure he was cursed. (p. 75) This I believe is sometimes missed as well.
I think the literary context is another important bullet point of what can cause trouble in a sermon. If forgotten to be brought out words like “crucified” which in today’s terms reflects “being in big trouble” or as defined by google search, (2017): “criticize (someone) severely and unrelentingly.” and as many of us know from the historical and literary context means, “put (someone) to death by nailing or binding them to a cross, especially as an ancient punishment.” (google.com, 2017, web) So, if a person that does not already know of the definition from back then and hears it as undescribed, they may assume the Jesus was criticized severely and left at that.
My biggest pet peeve is a boring sermon that puts people to sleep. While it can happen to the best of us, our goal should be to keep the story relevant to today and relevant to the local area while keeping their attention as best as possible. This is a common mistake that happens in many churches across the land. We must keep the message especially the application relevant to this time.
Which brings me to my final mistake “application”. How many sermons have we heard where we walk out of a sermon thinking how are we supposed to apply this to our life? What is the point of sitting in a stuffy room next to the same person every week if we can not apply what we have just heard. We don’t come simply for a history lesson. (p.83)
The reason I believe that it scares me so is because I don’t want the message that I share to be anything other than the truth and to keep them on the path to Jesus.
Carter, Terry G.; Duvall, Scott J. & Hays, Daniel J. (2005). Preaching God’s Word: A hands on approach to preparing, developing, and delivering the sermon. GrandRapids: Zondervan.
Crucified. Defined. Google Search. https://www.google.com/search?q=crucified&rlz=1CAHPZT_enUS756US759&oq=crucified&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.4624j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8