I wrote this awhile back when I was super busy with sermon preparation for a church camp that I was pastoring:
I am super busy with camp and trying to prepare the “perfect” sermons to proclaim that Jesus is Enough.
I have four sermons to preach (as well as write short devotions, team-time devotions, and put a little together for the morning worship services). I have spent a good deal of time on sermon number one. It keeps going through revision. I get it all together and then decide to cut something. Then I add something else. Then I cut something else. The process keeps continuing. I have even considered scrapping the whole thing and starting over.
My problem is that I am trying to come up with the perfect sermon. I want to be biblically faithful, doctrinally pure, and Christ-exalting. All of those are noble. The problem is you cannot preach a good sermon about the sufficiency of Christ while denying it in your sermon prep. I can put together a sermon that is biblically faithful, doctrinally pure, and Christ-exalting but if it is not accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit then my “perfect sermon” is a “perfect” speech and not a sermon.
I must remember what Spurgeon said:
“The gospel is preached in the ears of all; it only comes with power to some. The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher; otherwise men would be converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning; otherwise it would consist in the wisdom of men. We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were mysterious power going with it—the Holy Ghost changing the will of man. O Sirs! we might well preach to stone walls as to preach to humanity unless the Holy Ghost be with the word, to give it power to convert the soul.” (Quoted from Arturo Azurdia, Spirit Empowered Preaching, p128)
The power of the Spirit and the work of Christ is sufficient to take this jar of clay and house glory therein. Jesus preached the perfect sermon with every breath he took. What can I learn from the life of Christ in my preaching.
- He was radically God-centered
- He poured into others
- He spilled his blood for others
- He was disturbingly real
- He touched broken people in their brokenness
- He comforted the broken and broke the comfortable
- He passionately preached against “religion”
- He relied upon the Spirit
- He was Christ-centered
- He was biblically-saturated
- He was engaging
- He was never afraid to stoop
- He preached among the people
- He lived with those he taught
- He preached with authority
- He was Jesus and I’m not
Jesus is sufficient for preachers too. May I never forget this.