Keep Drums Out of the Introduction

The first few minutes of a sermon are important. They provide the opportunity to get the attention of the listeners, surface a need for what is to follow and move them into the passage and message. During this relatively brief movement there is a temptation that we probably all face to one degree or another. There is the temptation to lay unnecessary foundational blocks (and thereby promote a personal theological agenda).

Recently I was not preaching and so had the opportunity to listen to a visiting speaker. I was not the only one to notice the significant theological agenda being pushed in the extended introduction. Our task as preacher is to bring the message of our preaching text, not to use the text to bang on our favorite doctrinal drum.

Next sermon, let’s be careful to evaluate the background we give. Do we give enough? Do we give too much? Is what we give relevant to the understanding and application of the passage? As I suggested yesterday, in one sermon we cannot achieve everything. Over time people should get the whole canon, but it’s not our task to achieve that in one message on one text. Perhaps you decide to preach the whole Bible’s message in one sermon – great, but be honest about that and don’t give the impression it all comes from one particular text.

Our responsibility is to faithfully preach the specific text before us. Give whatever background is necessary for the communication, explanation and application of that passage. But don’t abuse the introduction by banging your favorite theological drum.

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