Saturday, August 18, 2007


I want to make a few points about the state of preaching today, because it is in sad shape. Now, I am not saying it is worse than it has ever been. I am sure that during the dark ages, some homileticians were probably as poor as those passing as preachers today. However, we are alive now, so I must address our current situation.

It amazes me that so many of our preachers today fail to get it. I sat through a homiletics class at an Arminian school where the professor made us make a preaching calendar for an entire year, and we had to have a topic for every sermon for 52 weeks. He was not impressed when I turned in a calendar with the same topic for each of the 52 weeks, "Christ and Him crucified". It's not rocket science guys. When Paul tells the Corinthians he determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified(1 Cor. 2:2), what makes us think we know better?

Another problem is pastors today trying to appeal to as many people as they can. In order to do this, they water down their messages and fail to deliver the bad news (Law), before they deliver the good news (Gospel). As the subtitle for this blog clearly states, the good news is not that good unless the bad news is that bad. In an effort to be less offensive, they offer a different gospel, one in which God loves everyone. I have news for you: unless the Holy Spirit regenerates you, you are an enemy of God, and to tell unregenerate people God loves them is to outright lie to them. I am sure the intentions of many of these preachers are good, but that does not change the fact that our pulpits are straying from the only power unto salvation—the preaching of the gospel. (Can you say, "Tie a millstone around their necks?)

I want to give you a short, three-part diagnostic to help you determine if you are listening to a good Christ-centered sermon. I am indebted to Pastor Todd Wilken and his radio show (Issues etc.) for this diagnostic.

Part 1:
Is Jesus mentioned? Don't laugh! You could listen to Joel Osteen for nigh on a month and never hear the name of Jesus.

If He is mentioned, how many times?

Part 2:
Is He the subject of the verbs?

Is He doing the action or is He being acted upon?

Part 3:
If He is mentioned and He is the subject of the verbs, what are those verbs?

Is He making you happy, healthy, wealthy?

Or is He living a righteous life that is imputed to us, suffering and dying on the cross where our sins are imputed to Him, and rising again on the third day assuring us of eternal life.

It's really very simple: if your pastor's sermons do not pass this test, find a church with a pastor whose sermons do.

Another excellent test is to ask yourself, "Could this sermon be preached in a synagogue or a mosque without offending anyone?" If so, it's time to find a new church.

Historical-redemptive preaching of Christ and Him crucified is the model we are given in scripture. The gospel is for sinners, saved and unsaved alike. If you think, "We all know the gospel, so we can move on to others things," you are sadly mistaken. We learn things by repetition, and we continue to sin. That's why we need the power of God's gospel every Sunday, from every preacher, in every pulpit.

In Christ,

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