Shiloh church pastor-teacher contributes to an ongoing series

What is biblical preaching? This is an important question, make no mistake. But maybe a better one is: What is driving the sermon?

When I listen to a sermon, this is the question I’m most concerned with. I care about how a preacher exposits the text, but I’m not listening for that as much as I am listening to see what is at the heart of the message—the driving force behind it.

I’ve heard some messages in which it sometimes seems like an illustration is driving the sermon and it just happens to bump into scripture along the way. Or maybe an idea is driving the message, one that just needs the right text to support it. Or there’s something that’s clearly on the preacher’s heart. Something he “needs” to say to the people.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

We’ve all heard sermons that would fit into this list. Perhaps some of us have even preached them. Now, all of them are important: our illustrations help our hearers connect. Our ideas can be helpful, especially as we seek to apply a text. And anytime we preach, of course it should be something that is on our hearts. But none of these should be driving the sermon. Only Scripture can do that.

In 2 Timothy 3, it says that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness.” “All Scripture,” Paul wrote. Not “some”—all. There is nothing more profitable for us than to hear from the Word of God. So, as preachers, we are to “preach the Word,” as Paul charged Timothy (2 Tim. 4:2).

This brings us back to the question: What should be driving a sermon? I believe that whatever you want to call …

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