Tuesday, February 19, 2008

One of the worst things a preacher can hear after a sermon is a mere "that was the best message you've ever preached" because after a few weeks of saying that same familiar line, the preacher doesn't believe you anymore. On the other hand, one of the best compliments a preacher can receive is one where the person comes up and says, "I now understand God's Word clearer now because you have told me what the text means."

This happened to me last night. I went to a local rehabilitation center where I often go to preach (yes, only to preach, not to enroll for rehabilitation!) and preached last night on Mark 15:42-16:8. This was the same text I preached from Sunday night at church. I told them I had the joy of preaching through the whole book of Mark and wanted to give them the climactic event of the life of Christ.

At any rate, at the end of the hour-long sermon, one guy raced up to me and, after introducing himself, said "I have never heard the Bible taught that way before." I responded by saying, "What do you mean?" He replied, "You taught the Bible and made it very clear and understandable to me. You took each section and broke it down so I understand why God had that text there and what He requires of me as a result of that." I thought to myself, "that is the best comment I could ever receive."

How cool it is when we as preachers give God's Word in such a way that His Holy Spirit takes our frail words and makes them understandable to the listeners. Isn't that the duty of the preacher after all? It was a great reminder to me so that next time I hear a good sermon and am tempted to simply tell the preacher in passing, "Great sermon," that I would tell him that God's Word has been made clear to me and my responsibility to act upon what God requires of me is clearly imprinted upon my heart and mind. That is a memorable compliment for a preacher.

Nehemiah 8:8 They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.
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