on an unsatisfactory sermon

I am sure the other preachers out there know what I am talking about. The sermon that looks golden in the study and tastes like sawdust in the mouth. Wednesday night was one of those.

The topic was excellent, the material superb (it is the Word of God!), the content was orthodox and the delivery was dry. Ashes, ashes, ashes… Perhaps this comes of depending too much on the intellect and not enough on the Spirit.

At any rate, our through the New Testament series took us to the last three chapters of the book of James for a summary type message. I chose the text Jas 3.13-18, the passage on ‘the wisdom from above‘ to summarize the whole. The main concept of the message was that James (and the Lord) wants us to really live our testimony of wisdom and understanding – ‘Who is wise and understanding among you?’ Show your wisdom! The message is that the disciple of long standing ought to be wise. He ought to be understanding (a word that implies expertise as the result of long experience.) So why the trouble with the tongue? (3.1-12) Why the trouble with quarrels and strife? (4.1-12) Why the boastfulness? (4.13-17) Why the greed? (5.1-6) Replace it with the wisdom from above, patient endurance, fervent prayer, concern for others (5.7-20). Live your wisdom, just as James urges us to live your faith in ch. 1-2.

I don’t know why excellent material sometimes seems like such dry technical sawdust in the mouth. In the dead of the rainy winter here, I frequently feel this way, though I don’t often preach this way. May God help us depend only on his Spirit for power in the pulpit! Get self out of the way and let our dear Lord be seen.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3