The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching. — Charles Spurgeon (Sermon # 2899)
With varying degrees of regularity, I have been preaching for most of my adult life. Over that time I have grown in my conviction of what Mr. Spurgeon is alluding to here and in several other of his sermons.
As I consider my pursuit of formal theological instruction, I began with questions:
- How do I see Jesus on every page?
- How do I preach Jesus in every sermon?
While these questions remain, I would say studying at Grace Theological College has thus far given me basic tools to answer them. It’s these basic tools that I suspect will form the foundation of all and any ministry.
While I would be a fool to suggest one particular hermeneutic is as infallible as the text it seeks to exegete. However, I anticipate professional development taking the shape of mastering that hermeneutic. But this doesn’t mean I’ll never explore or glean from a differing one.
A Sermon Without Christ In It Is Like A Loaf Of Bread Without Any Flour In It.
Since my conversion in 2002, I have been exposed to at least 700 sermons. This exposure has represented a broad spectrum of Christian expressions. My assessment of these expressions has stood or fell on one criterion: Is Christ being preaching?
TaleSpin was a cartoon I watched regularly as a child. While its sagas were many a few standout. Most noteworthy was a saga that involved what could only be a caricature of the Soviets. Much as those who experienced life in Soviet camps, the characters of TaleSpin, imprisoned in these camps were subject to a similar diet.
Especially relevant to this comparison was the regular serving of steam soup. No meat. And no vegetables. And no broth. Rather, just steam scooped from a larger reservoir of steam.
Compared to the hearty Sunday Roast of English tradition, Christ-less sermons don’t even begin to compare to a sandwich. Rather, Christless sermons aren’t even sandwiches without filling. Instead “a sermon without Christ is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it”.
I consider this a grave injustice. Consequently, I have made enemies within the so-called Christian church on account of my unwillingness to concede group on this issue. It has lead to much anger, and need for repentance and reconciliation because many times, though the cause was noble, I was not.
As a result of conflict and the assessment of my own reactionary conduct, I realise that I can do little to change the menu in a church in which I have little if any influence.
Rather, the best thing I can do is to resolve, like Paul, to know nothing amongst the church but Christ and Him crucified. That is my ambition in ministry.