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Avoiding Extremes when Preaching

July 14, 2008

I preached this morning, and as usual after preaching I am quick to think back and try to identify what I could have done better. While preachers are often their own toughest critic, I recognized that one mistake that I tend to fall prey to is going to the extreme in order to make my point.

For example, while preaching yesterday in Acts 1 about keeping the main thing the main thing, I discussed that in vv. 7-8 Jesus points out to the disciples that they are not to know about the end times but instead called to be His witnesses. Trying to make the point that the church often gets sidetracked by non-essential issues, I took a few minutes to discuss some of the theological labels that we sometimes give to ourselves to identify who we are in Christ, when really it should be Christ who defines us.

I made a comment that I would take back now when discussing titles like, “Arminian,” “reformed,” “pre-trib,” “post-mil,” etc. I said, “if you don’t know what those titles mean, God bless you.” Thinking back on it, that was really stupid. I went to the extreme there to try and make a point. I think it’s a good thing to know what those titles mean since being theologically literate is never a bad thing. It’s only a bad thing when it becomes more important to us than Jesus and impedes our mission for Him (as seen in Acts 1:8).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Andy Metzger permalink
    July 14, 2008 11:36 am

    God bless you.

  2. Brian R. Mahon permalink
    July 16, 2008 4:33 pm

    The extremity that I often deal with is the extremity of overload, – packing too much into one sermon; to me it’s all great, but the congregation finds it overwhelming, – this of course is the temptation when you have one shot at ’em every few months. Nevertheless, I must learn how to sift for the gold that will be most profitable to the congregation and most glorifying to God in that setting. Thanks for the post as always.

  3. Bryan Barley permalink
    July 16, 2008 4:59 pm


    Thanks for the post. It’s interesting that you say that because I’m in the middle of Bible exposition right now and our professor made a comment this morning that we as seminary students have to realize that a lot of what we find amazing in the sermon preperation process is not interesting to most in the pew. Therefore, as he put it (and as you put it too), we have to sift for the gold so that those truths we do proclaim are not lost in the details that aren’t neccesary in that forum.

    P.S. I checked out Southern when we were in Louisville last week for a wedding and it was beautiful!

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