The Sermon Must Suffer!

Martin Luther once said, ‘Prayer, meditation and temptation make a preacher.’ We have little difficulty with prayer and meditation but the ‘temptation’ part we’d rather escape.

One reason why God allows preachers to suffer is that they might have the opportunity to grow spiritually and therefore to preach better. Even Jesus had to go through suffering to prepare him for his heavenly ministry (Heb 2:14-18), so why should we escape?

For a sermon to be good, the sermoniser must suffer. I wish there was some other way but apparently there isn’t. Trust me, I’ve been looking and I haven’t found one yet.

James 1:2-4 ‘Count it all joy brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.’

Jame’s wisdom is paradoxical and yet profound. I’ve been a first hand witness to this promise of this verse being played out in my own life and ministry and I’m expectant of the fruit to come as a result of the testing of my faith in God.

The true preacher is known as one whom deals out to the people his life passed through the fire of thought. Phillips Brookes once said, ‘Truth through personality is our description of real preaching.’ If the truth of the word bypasses the personality of the preacher, then the sermon may become a lecture, and the preacher may become a hypocrite. If the text isn’t real to you, then you will find it hard to make it real to anyone else.

For the text to become real to you and others it must pass through the fire of a test. Don’t run from your test. Run to it, see it for what it is and embrace the spiritual growth that God wants to squeeze out of it, into you.

The Oracle!

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