Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Pressure on a Sermon Is Always Downward

And UA has quotes from a Spurgeon biography to prove it. See here.

It really doesn't matter how long a pastor preaches, there will be some element in the listening audience that wants it shorter. Preach an hour... how about 40 minutes? Preach 40 minutes... how about 30? Preach 30... can't we do with 15? It's one measure of our depravity and dullness to want to leave off attention to the word of God. Now, I don't mean that every preacher should preach an hour, or that I like the fact that I'm more often than I like preaching longer than I'd like. Just observing something that I think is true; most people don't want to give extended attention to the word of God.

And yet in Nehemiah 8, the word was read, explained, and applied from sun-up until noon! Seems that biblically every time revival breaks out among God's people it follows rediscovery and recommitment to hearing the word of God. If we want revival among God's people, we must take seriously reading, preaching, and hearing the word of God. And, guess what? It takes time to do that well.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

And the problem isn't limited to listening to sermons. I just received my new ESV Study Bible and I decided to make Psalm 119 my first reading from it. As I read, I found myself getting distracted and wanting a break. I was reading about love of God's word and found myself wishing it was shorter. Oh the power of our depravity and dullness.

Christopher Lake said...

Thabiti,

If you knew a man who believed in preaching shorter sermons (25-35 minutes), due to pragmatic concerns about the general "visual" (as opposed to Word-centered) drift of American culture, what would you say to him and/or direct him to, as far as resources? Would you say nothing? Would you say the sermon length itself is an issue, or the motivation behind it? I'd appreciate your counsel, brother.

David Reimer said...

I just left this comment over on the UW's blog. Let us pray for the hunger that Newton evidenced ... as well as the response.