Powerless and Pointless Preaching
I work in many countries and listen to sermons in a number of languages and I have to admit that the preaching is very often boring. Recently I have sat through several teachings from very well seasoned men of God and, I hate to admit it, but they were boring, irrelevant, and wandered all over the place. It was like they were ill-prepared but they had notes and outlines in front of them. They are not just beginning to preach … they are seasoned, well recognized leaders.
The Bible is relevant to every aspect of life. God is always speaking to His people about what is taking place in society, the various cultural communities, the world, and the Kingdom. There is a lot of biblical culture and history that can be explained that would give an interesting foundation to the message of the messenger. The Good News (the Gospel) of the Kingdom and Scripture in general is never boring – never! It is always relevant and applicable if explained and presented in a reasonably interesting manner. But the teaching has to have substance and be presented in a way that it is understood and received into the hearts of the listeners.
I shake my head in disbelief when I listen to what passes for “God speaking to His people” or, “the Lord is saying.” Sad! The Holy Spirit is the best communicator on the planet and if we are listening to Him in our preparation time then those of us who are honoured to teach God’s Word will also communicate well. If, and it is a big if, we are listening to and hearing the Spirit and following His lead in our preparation time. If, and it is a big if, we are taking the time to prepare properly. There is simply no excuse for boring, pointless, rambling teachings. It is a ‘current day sin’ in the Church.
The Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit is the Teacher of the Church. The Holy Spirit lives in us and teaches and guides us … and so, as we follow His lead, sermons and teachings should be dynamic, full of spiritual meat, and well presented and understandable. God’s people need this feeding to remain strong and effective in life and as labourers in the now ripe harvest fields.
The prophet Amos wrote: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.'” (Amos 8:11). Well, in many places I go there is famine in the land. I don’t believe God sent it. I believe it is a famine manufactured by man. Man has placed his thoughts and opinions higher than God’s thoughts and God’s direction. Man seems to believe that his opinion is more important than what God is thinking. Man is not taking the time to adequately prepare the meal God desires to serve His people week by week.
And, it is very apparent that there is a serious lack of hard work – leaders, pastors, teachers are simply not taking quality time to study and accurately understand God’s Word. There are, according to them, so many pressing needs of the people that they need to meet. Yes, of course there are, because they are not hearing God’s Word from the pulpits and classrooms of the Church and so are not armed or strengthened to face life and handle issues with godly wisdom.
So, we have powerless and pointless preaching that is not transformational … lives remain the same and God’s Word is not given the opportunity to impact and influence people’s lives. The Word is not being preached or taught in the majority of places. But, we go through the motions, talk for the allotted time, and think everything is okay. The people come up afterwards and tell the preacher how much they appreciated his teaching (mostly the stories) and the game continues week after week and month after month. And, in general, the Church remains powerless.
It is time to get honest. It is time to go up to the preacher and admit that you got nothing personally beneficial out of the teaching and, in many cases, simply didn’t’t even know what he was trying to say. Then, just maybe, some of these men will get the message and make some changes in their life – preparing good food from God’s Word for God’s people … presented in an edible way.
We have a famine in the lands … a famine for God’s Word. But it was not sent by God. It is a man-made disaster in the making that will have dire consequences for many decades and generations to come. It is time to come back to the basic foundational truths of God’s Word.