Sermons Should Change Lives

We are to be pitied if we fail to understand that this particular sermon should change lives in some specific way.  A. W. Tozer speaks a perceptive word to all of us:

There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake.  Truth divorced from life is not truth in its Biblical sense, but something else and something less. . . . No man is better for knowing that God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth.  The devil knows that, and so did Ahab and Judas Iscariot.  No man is better for knowing that God so loved the world of men that He gave His only begotten Son to die for their redemption.  In hell there are millions who know that.  Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed.  The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action (I would go with ‘heart and life change’).

-Haddon W. Robinson, Biblical Preaching, p. 107, quoted A. W. Tozer, Of God and Men, pp. 26-27.


No matter how many times you say, “The Problem, The Process, The Promise” or “The Cause, The Condition, The Conclusion,” all you do is point out the structure of the passage and perhaps its meaning in its original context.  You still fail to build a bridge to your listeners.  You are preaching a sermon that even the devil can agree with.  He can be in complete agreement with your analysis of the text.  The most backslidden member of your church can nod in sympathy with your description of the new covenant – or of any other biblical truth.  Applicational points in which you show the mandate of the text and its claim on our lives awaken people to their own need for conformity to the image of Christ.  When you preach applicational points, the devil can’t agree and the backslidden (or lost) can’t stay comfortable.

(Admittedly, I do not prefer the term “backslidden” nor do I affirm wholeheartedly that every point must be applicational – but you get the point).

-Hershael W. York, Preaching With Bold Assurance, p. 142.


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