Our Attitude Toward Preaching

The success of gospel preaching does not depend solely upon the ability of the preacher. To the contrary, such success depends primarily upon the attitude, attention and response of the hearer. 

This is not to suggest that preachers should not study hard, and do the very best they can to present a "good" lesson. However, defining a "good" sermon is, in itself, a subjective thing. What sounds "good" to one, many not always be so adjudged by another hearer. Personality, appearance, mannerisms, vocal tone, volume, accent, vocabulary, and many other personal factors bear on how a preacher "comes across" to different people. 

Unfortunately, we too often judge a preacher and his sermon on the basis of "how he sounds" or "how he looks" rather than "what he said." It is interesting to note that when Paul wrote his two epistles to the young evangelist, Timothy, he instructed him in purity of conduct, soundness of content, and frankness of the preaching rather than in all the physical and emotional methodology that occupies so much time and space in modern preacher training classes and manuals. The goal of preaching should never be a personal quest for compliments; rather, it should provoke profound change in lives. It is right at this point that preaching can become so frustrating: A preacher prepares and presents a lesson from the word; people appear to listen, file by and express commendations, and yet few changes take place. Even in the days of the prophet Ezekiel this appears to have been a prevalent problem. Read Ezekiel 33:30-32:

But as for you, son of man, your fellow citizens who talk about you by the walls and in the doorways of the houses, speak to one another, each to his brother, saying, `Come now, and hear what the message is which comes forth from the LORD'. And they come to you as people come, and sit before you {as} My people, and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires {expressed} by their mouth, {and} their heart goes after their gain. And behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not practice them.

Here's the "bottom line:" By all means listen to the preaching of the word. But not just because you like the preacher or "how he sounds." Listen to learn; and learn in order to obey!