Have you ever listened to a sermon and heard something that made you think to yourself “I’m not sure about that.” I have had this thought numerous time. There are probably instances where people have thought the same about something I have said in a sermon. I believe though that this is a good thing. In a time period where there are more resources for Christians than ever before there needs to be some amount of discernment of what we take in and use to mold our walk’s with Christ. In writing this I am not writing to specifically tell you who to listen to or not listen to. My hope in writing this is to encourage followers of Jesus to examine who they listen to and how that person interprets God’s words.
Over the last 5-7 years I have seen a shift in preaching that seems to be very self focused. Ive heard many styles of sermons that create the main focus of Scripture as something that is about us, our problems, and how God can fix them. While there are passages of Scripture that certainly apply to our lives not all of them do. When a Pastor preaches He is doing something that should be always honoring to God and out of love for those who He is speaking to. In saying all of this I want to give you three reason as to why what Pastors preach matters and why it’s ok for you to discern everything they say.
It can either honor or dishonor the Bible
When a Pastor preaches the Bible he should be illuminating it to people. Bringing light to the meaning of scripture and explaining the application it has for our lives. When a Pastor preaches and does not concern his sermon with the context of a passage then this is where a dishonoring of Scripture can occur. There is always a context to a passage or verse in the Bible. Context meaning the historical and cultural background of that passage. When someone preaches this should be understood first so that the original meaning of the passage can be communicated. When we apply our own context and background upon Scripture it very easily can become twisted and mean something it was never meant to mean.
It can make our Faith very self centered
If someone preaches a message that is continually about us and you then maybe the message is not a message that is fully exalting Christ. So often I have heard sermons that continually are focused on the present day issues of human life. I’ve heard sermons that give Satan much credit for taking away from us and our lives. When I hear these sermons it makes me worry that if we take too much of it to heart it can easily make our walk with Jesus all about us. What if though following Jesus really isn’t about our well being? What if following Jesus is a faith of love of God and sacrifice for God. Jesus Himself says this is Matthew 16:24: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” What is preached matters because the hope of our faith is a life that selflessly exalts Jesus with all that we are and have.
It can create a culture of confused Christians
While this last point sounds harsh I say this out of love. I want every follower of Jesus to be bold in their faith but bold in correct knowledge of what following Jesus looks like. Pastors have a huge influence on masses of people. If what they say does not give people the truth of what following Jesus is, then a culture of confused Christians are created. The enemy loves this because it creates much confusion and division within the body of Christ. We are the messengers of the Gospel! We need to be people who have clarity on what that means and people who live that out daily! Yet there are many that are confused because of preaching that is not honoring to what following Jesus really looks like.
In closing these are just a few reasons why what a pastor preaches matters. Again I write this not to tell you who to listen to. I write this to emphasize the importance of why a pastor’s role in preaching is so important. There are many implications to what can occur when we are not discerning and do not seek out Jesus and His word on our own.