The top seven sermons from my life in the pews.
Writing this blog has made me think about the sermons I've heard through my lifetime. As I've been a Christian for 45 years, I've listened to a few. I appreciate the layers of truth that have been laid down in my heart and mind from preaching.
Sometimes the heavens open, and it feels as if the Father is speaking only to me.
Top Seven Sermons
I've put my top seven talks, messages, teaching, addresses and sermons in chronological order, rather than ranking them. All of them have been personally encouraging and significant. (The titles are my own, not necessarily the preachers.)
1. Barry Kissel - Lent Address
Six things that keep you from God
This was the first time I understood the gospel and it changed the course of my life.
A 20-minute Lenten Address that was of eternal significance for me.
2. David Pawson - gathering of different churches in Exeter, called All Saints
The Kingdom of Heaven
The first time that I realised that God was extending his kingdom in the world, not just in the church - that the world was important to God and that we have a part to play in extending his Kingdom to every place we go.
Recently the world lost a man of God as David Pawson passed away.
My condolences to his family and friends.
3. Bryn Jones - bible week
The Cup of Suffering
Linking the cup of suffering that Jesus looked into in the garden of Gethsemane, with the suffering in the world, giving us a deeper appreciation of the choices that Jesus made and the depths of his love.
In the tradition of great Welsh oration. I can still hear the echoes of his voice.
4. Jeremy Simpkins - teaching
Linking the events at the Passover, when Jesus Christ said 'Come to me and drink', and the prophecies of Ezekiel about river flowing from the steps of the temple. This teaching led us naturally to a time of ministry of the Holy Spirit.
You can hear a summary of this talk in one of our guest blogs.
5. Raj Saha - sermon
Why does God allow suffering?
From a place of family tragedy and suffering, Raj gave a deeply personal sermon about this difficult topic. Including quotes from various sources, this was a considered, balanced, gentle message, to help those in pain.
6. Andy Ball - sermon and play
Touch the hem of his garment
Considering the topic of uncleanliness and how Christ not only heals but also purifies.
Unforgettable, as I was the woman in the play
An excellent message, enhanced by audience participation
7. Richard James - seminar at a conference
Arabic Patronage as a picture of the gospel
An fascinating lesson in Arabic culture and one way of explaining the gospel in this culture Born out of life experience and study of the scriptures
Contextualisation in action
The Importance of Preaching
The apostle Paul clearly explains how we are saved in Romans 10 v 8 - 13
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Then Paul uses logic to explain the importance of preaching, verses 14, 15.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?
And finally, Paul gives us the reason to preach, in verse 17.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
It isn't preaching that increases faith. It is hearing the message.
I think many sermons in Protestant churches are just too long.
What is the point of preaching if the congregation is asleep?
My profession is teaching and in my experience many children and teenagers have an attention span of less than 5 minutes. According to Wikipedia, common estimates of the attention span for adults ranged from 10 to 20 minutes, although it does depend on what people are doing and how interested they are in it.
During the present lock down more preachers are turning to short videos and podcasts.
I think these are an excellent way to get a message across.
My heart sinks when a preacher starts by saying he has three points. As you can see the most significant message I ever heard had 6 points, but I still think there are so many other styles of preaching.
Consider the teaching of Christ Jesus.
He said pithy, memorable, enigmatic sayings.
He told stories or parables and
he commented on life and how people responded to it.
Just as there are different ways to read the Bible, there are different ways to get a message across. As we come to the end of this series on The Word Of God, I want to remind you of the previous articles
The Word of God - an introduction
Telling a Story - stories are for adults too
The Holy Spirit - using pictures can enhance most talks
Meditation - mediating on a verse, like dropping stones in a pond
Imagination - use of imagination will engage the congregation
Middle Eastern Eyes - we can miss the point, if the culture is misunderstood
3-point Sermons - themes and 3 points are not the only styles available
Next week there are 2 blogs on Christian music and we have a guest speaker,
See you soon.
Learn Your Lessons Well - Godspell
Godspell is a quirky 1970's musical which explores the serious subjects of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in a light-hearted, fun way. The playwright was John-Michael Tebelak and the composer, Stephen Schwartz.