Preaching to Offend no one is an article about frankness in preaching and preaching on things that need to be addressed, but many preachers shy away from these.
This is an article which I have spoken to our people about over the years, but I just read an article, Preaching in Neutral by Brandon Cox (no relation to me, and I do not endorse Rick Warren, Brandon sat under him) and it reminded me of the topic.
Comments on Brandon Cox’s Article
In Brandon Cox’s article, he states that “clarity is kind” and “a lack of clarity is unkind”. I agree with these statements. You should not beat around the bush when preaching. You need to state clearly the thesis of the sermon from the very being, and every part, verse, illustration, etc. should directly be related to that thesis and support it. Furthermore, you should not overwhelm the listener by a dozen verses on a subpoint. You should not use verses that may be good for whatever topic, but do not relate to the thesis and the subpoint where you have placed them.
Brandon follows with this quote
On the one hand, our clarity will call people to commitment, and people are hard-wired by their Creator to respond to bold, courageous leadership. And on the other hand, our clarity will also push some people away. It will repel those who cannot come to terms of agreement with what we’ve proclaimed.
What is the real problem?
The real problem is that somehow a man has entered the pastorate or is a preacher, but he does not believe it is his job to effect moral change through his sermon. He doesn’t “want to offend anyone”. Well, that is great. Now be a man and get out of the business of preaching because preaching is exactly that, telling people the truth. Some will totally accept what you say, and others will totally cross you off their list and walk away, never to return.
Preaching is like going to your doctor. A superb doctor examines you, does tests on you, and then he has a summary visit with you where he tells you all the things wrong with you, and how you need to 1) lose weight, 2) stop eating red meat, 3) get more exercise (or begin to exercise because you don’t look like you have worked up a sweat since a cop pulled you over for speeding), etc. He tells you the truth, no matter how “offensive” it is.
A Profile of a Professional Man of God Preacher
A good professional will do his job, however it inconveniences the people he touches. This is how a preacher who is a man of God will work. He tells his people the truth. Explaining the truth, so everybody understands it, he then motivates them to change their lives.
A good preacher obeys God explicitly as much as he understands what God wants.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Cowards are not going to make it to heaven.
Cowards are not going to make it to heaven. The reason they won’t be saved is that they have a low view of the authority behind God’s Word, and they do not believe God’s Word is powerful, or they believe that Satan will cause them more harm if they obey God than God will do to them if they disobey God. Their fear of Satan is greater than their fear of God. Such preachers should be pariahs for Christians. They should run from these people.
The problem with cowards is that they do not believe. They do not really believe in God, in the power of God and His Word (with a few words God created the universe. Wow!), they do not believe that what God says, He will follow through on every last bit of it. God is irate all the time with sinners, but the coward plays with the matter instead of frankly speaking the truth of God.
Greed is the Tail that Wags the Dog
Along with this fear is greed. These preachers who preach pretty sermons that never challenge and exhort the hearer to change their lives in line with God’s will are just scoundrels. But they are people who highly “know which side their bread is buttered”. In other words, they do not take any chances in offending the people who pay their salary. This is a hireling, as Jesus noted. They are a placeholder for a real man of God. They are really no good.
As a preacher, we need to be courteous and kind to everybody. We never just offend people for the fun of it. We serve people, and therefore we serve them as we would others to serve us.
But at the same time, there is a professionalism that enters into the ministry, and that professionalism obligates us to tell the truth. We deal with difficult and sensitive matters many times, and we need to never shy away from dealing with these issues, but to do it tactfully, and tell people the truth.
Preaching to Offend no one
More Articles from Improving Preaching Category
- Improving your Preaching: Detecting poor preaching and mediocrity
- What should we Preach?
- Why I use a Manuscript (notes-outline)?
- How many points should a good sermon have?
- What is the purpose of a Sermon? Part 2
- What is the purpose of a Sermon? Part 3
- What is the purpose of a Sermon? Part 4 Curious or life change
- How to give a great Sermon
- Working your Sermon Library
- Setting your Sermon Length