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Self-Inflicted Sermon Wounds


I have a preacher friend who likes to read great literature, and he often fills his sermons with literary illustrations. Unfortunately, he has been in churches where people don't read even the newspaper. As a result, he has lost church after church.

Why exclude anyone in the congregation by either your illustrations or manner of speech? You want to make sure that everybody is invited to participate.

Obviously, you cannot speak to all people with every illustration. Neither can you remove your personality from the sermon. It would be wrong for my friend never to use a literary allusion or never to appeal to the educated.

A question we must ask ourselves, though, is For whom am I preaching? Perhaps as my friend prepares a message, he thinks about his Greek professor, imagining his response because he is significant to him. Or he may have in his congregation a handful of people who are well educated, and he seeks their approval.

If he's not careful, though, he can give the ...

From Issue:Fall 1995: Biblical Preaching
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