Not long ago my wife and I visited a particular church for the first time. I don’t want to tell you where it was or who did the preaching because what I’m about to write is not flattering. And should I tell you where we went, you might think what we experienced was the norm, when it might have not been.
Believe me, I know what it is like to be judged by one poorly delivered sermon. Heck, I’ve even been misjudged by an expertly delivered and totally biblical sermon! Therefore, I don’t want to disparage a pastor after hearing him only once.
However, what I expect from a preacher is rarely delivered these days. Honestly, it’s like every time a new preacher steps up to the pulpit, the voice of the Dread Pirate Roberts whispers in my ear, “Get used to disappointment.”
What I typically receive is a topical sermon based on a topical series that starts with a text and only comes back to it when mentioning the sermon title.
Sadly, what I have grown accustomed to are “how to” sermons loosely based on biblical principles but often drawn from Scripture verses taken out of context.
But what is it that I expect? Not much, just five simple things.
- WHAT I EXPECT… are sermons that exegete the Holy Word of God, even without artistic and often unnecessary alliterations.
- WHAT I EXPECT… is a preacher who will take the Bible, read it, explain it, then make application, not the other way around.
- WHAT I EXPECT… is to be wowed and amazed by the wonderous, Holy Spirit-inspired, inerrant Word of God, not the delivery of the one tasked to preach it.
- WHAT I EXPECT… is a sermon that treats passages from the Bible as revealed Scripture, not just supporting references.
- WHAT I EXPECT… is nothing more and nothing less than what we read of in the book of Nehemiah. There we read of when Ezra built a “pulpit” of wood (a raised place from which to be heard) and, along with a few others, opened up the long-forgotten Law of God and read it to an attentive, standing crowd.
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.Nehemiah 8:8 KJV
If the above verse isn’t clear enough, the CSB renders it, “They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read.”
When you add application to the above formula, that’s when you get good preaching.
That’s what I expect.