Good Preaching

“That guy can really preach” he told me as he recounted last Sunday’s service at a local church. “It was powerful to see how everyone responded at the end.” I interrupted him after a few minutes and asked “What was the sermon about and what Scripture did he preach from?” “Oh” he said “he used a whole bunch of Bible verses, you couldn’t narrow it down to just one passage. That’s what I like, a preacher that uses lots of Bible.” So I asked again “What was the title of his message?”"Uh, I don’t guess he ever gave us a title” he said with a smile “he just preached what God put on his heart. And boy, it was a good one.”
This is a typical conversation here in the “Bible Belt” about how successful last Sunday’s sermon was. The preaching was really good and the alters were full but nobody really remembers what was said during the message. Except for a few jokes or a funny story. Sadly, it could very well be true that jokes and stories are all that’s worth repeating from many worship services. “That guy can really preach” can mean just about anything around here. He’s loud, he’s animated, he’s funny, he’s simple, he draws a crowd, he’s short, he’s educated, or he may simply fill the alters at the end.
You see, most people don’t have any biblical concept of what preaching is. We just have our own preferences that we have been conditioned to look for in a preacher. David Clark always said “In the South, we’ve been trained to watch preaching instead of listening to sermons.” I’ll never forget a song leader telling me his job was “to light a fire in the church and fan the flames till he could pass the torch on to the pastor. Good preaching starts with the flow of the Spirit.” What does the “flow of the Spirit” even mean? Sigh…
Biblical preaching is reading the Word, explaining the Word, and teaching the hearers how the Word applies to their lives today. 2 Tim 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” Not Shouting and spouting random verses, old cliches, or telling us what God put on you heart. Good preaching lays the Bible before the hearers and explains their responsibility to it. If you can’t remember the content on Monday, how good was it?