Saturday, September 21, 2013

Preaching: differences and similarities

As I noted in yesterday's post, the sermon examples of Jesus and the apostles are the examples the Bibles supplies for our learning. If we cannot learn from them, we have no scriptural examples to follow! But the degree to which we may imitate these sermons must be understood in their context. We must understand there are some differences that will not be  When the apostles spoke by immediate inspiration of the Spirit they were speaking infallible Scripture to be handed down through time. When we speak we are mediating their message to our contemporary audiences. We do not speak infallibly, yet that is not cause to abandon spiritual leadership -- which we do have -- for enticing words of man's wisdom.

A favorite story I enjoyed hearing is a dialogue my father had with a young preacher they had called to the church. My Dad said something to him about the leadership of the Spirit. The preacher replied, "The Spirit doesn't have anything to do with my preaching." At this point in the story my Dad would add that the church had figured that out! Too many abandon any idea of spiritual guidance in preaching in favor of academic attainment and scholarly pursuits. For shame. Just because we aren't authoritative apostles with immediate inspiration doesn't mean we should abandon the power and authority we do have -- the Spirit of God and the Word of God.

New Testament preachers
Post-New Testament preachers
They had the Old Testament
We have Old & New Testaments
They were eyewitnesses
We have their eyewitness testimony
They had direct inspiration of the Spirit
We have the leadership of the Spirit
They had the gospel
We have the gospel
They preached to unbelievers & believers
We preach to unbelievers & believers
They preached Christ crucified
We preach Christ crucified
They preached not with enticing words
We do not preach with enticing words
They preached the gospel freely
We should preach the gospel freely
God was at work
God is still at work

We can learn from the differences between New Testament preachers & preaching and us. We can apply that learning to the benefit of our ourselves and our congregations. We can learn of the similarities between New Testament preaching and our preaching, and test whether ours measures up to God's standards.

1 comment:

R. L. Vaughn said...

Scouring through some old posts, I found a comment by Bro. Roger Copeland that I think is applicable here. He noted that one "difference between the sermons we see in the Scriptures and the sermons today is that their sermons were more revelatory and ours is explanatory."