We Ought Not Be Surprised

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How should a preacher evaluate his sermon? More importantly, how should he evaluate his preaching ministry? Hershel York, professor of preaching at a Louisville seminary has published a guideline to address those questions. One of his tools is this question: Does the sermon divide the audience? Solid preaching leads to some amens and some criticisms. When “toes are stepped on,” the heart will determine how fast they heal.

Hopefully negative reactions do not come from a speaker’s insensitivity or arrogance or caustic judgments. However, the truth spoken in love will result in some enemies. Jesus warned His disciples in Luke 6:26, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets the same way.”

l believe this principle is true in the arena of life as much as it is in the Sunday pulpit. As we live our Christian lives, letting our light shine may rankle a few folks. Taking a moral stand might cost a job, and Christian values may create some hostile family tension. Again Jesus warned, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. A man’s enemies will be the members of his household” (Matt. 10:34,36).

Just like you, I want to have friends and be liked by the folks in my life. l want those who hear my sermons and observe my actions to think positively about my efforts. However, watering down the truth reduces us to hypocrites and poisons those who need the truth.

Don Loftis
via Calvert City church of Christ
Calvert City, KY

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