All tagged Preaching

A Note on the Seriousness of Preaching

[Our] stories are decidedly unserious when viewed through the lens of the seriousness of God’s affairs. Jesus put the matter succinctly: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Human affairs are not serious in and of themselves. Rather, they are consequential because they garner meaning and significance within the overarching story of God and man.

Using Easter

Easter is not confined to a single day. Each Sunday in the Great Fifty Days of Easter brings into focus how the gifts of Easter are put to use. Evangelical preaching of the Lord’s Resurrection is not merely an apologetic proposal to believe; that the tomb was empty, and Jesus’ was really raised from the dead. Rather, the preaching of the Resurrection is from the reality of a vacated grave and Jesus appearing bodily to His disciples and others.  

First Principles of Preaching: The Verb Itself (Part 2)

The Christian sermon is Gospel preaching. We only preach the Gospel. Only the Gospel is the sermon, notwithstanding necessary admonishments of law and requisite exhortations toward sanctification. The verb has content - Gospel - or else the verb preach does not apply and, for that matter, neither does the noun “sermon”. Something else is happening, call it what you may, but it is not a sermon and one has not preached.

Johann Gerhard's Homiletics

Gerhard recognized the benefits of each of his “ways of proclaiming,” but also warned against the pitfalls inherent to most of them.  His categories ring true as descriptions of the ways in which we attempt to communicate the Gospel in the twenty-first century.  His words of advice deserve our attention too. 

Preaching to C and E Christians

No doubt a few preachers cringe at the thought of “C and E” (Christmas and Easter) Christians showing up for Christmas Eve Services.  For many, these fair-weather parishioners come across like neighbors who want to borrow a hedge-trimmer, but never intend to return it. They are akin to free-riders who donate nothing to the community. I must confess, when I preach on Christmas or Easter I do not share this sentiment held by some of my peers.

Challenging Consumerism

Preachers are called to proclaim Christ as King over-and-against the sovereignty of the consumer (or even the sovereign voter). And just like a naval ship in which there cannot be two captains, so too for the Christian there cannot be but one Sovereign Lord, and that Lord is Jesus.

Epistle: Hebrews 9:24-28 (Proper 27, Series B)

Two major themes seem to be running through the readings for the 25th Sunday after Pentecost. The first weaves together the widow who gave of her poverty in Mark 12 and the story of the widow of Zarephath from 1 Kings 17, who also gave to the prophet everything that she had… However, the other theme comes by way of the Epistle from Hebrews 9:24-28, which is about the temple made without hands.

Preaching Perfection

It is painful to listen to a pastor try to find some Good News in Jesus’ words about the camel and the eye of the needle (John 15:24) or the perfection of your heavenly Father (Matthew 5:48). Worse is when a brother gives up searching and just preaches a life of perfect love and goes back to his chancel bench since, “…that’s what the text says.” Whenever I hear the first I give thanks, despite the pain, for Law-and-Gospel homiletics classes because I know what it is like to hear the second and those scare me.

Preaching on Fear

Preachers who lay claim to the legacy of Martin Luther address their own hearers when they preach the law of God and its revelation of their need to turn from that which offends God to the restoring and re-creative Word that comes from Christ’s cross and empty tomb.