Preaching the Truth | Devotional
Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” . . . From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
John 6:60, 66
Sermons featuring straight biblical exposition, precise doctrine, difficult truths, or negative-sounding topics are strongly discouraged by virtually all the leading gurus of cultural relevance. Teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16) are out.
Catering to itchy ears is in (cf. 4:3). No truly clued-in preacher nowadays would think to fill his message with reproof, rebuke, or exhortation (cf. 4:2). Instead, he does his best to suit the felt needs, preoccupations, and passions of the audience.
The contemporary craving for shallow sermons that please and entertain is at least partly rooted in the popular myth that Jesus Himself was always likable, agreeable, winsome, and at the cutting edge of His culture’s fashions.
Even a cursory look at Jesus’ preaching ministry reveals a totally different picture. Jesus’ sermons usually featured hard truths, harsh words, and high-octane controversy. His own disciples complained that His preaching was too hard to hear!
That’s why Jesus’ preaching heads the list of things that make Him impossible to ignore. No preacher has ever been more bold, prophetic, or provocative.
Jesus made it impossible for any hearer to walk away indifferent. Some left angry; some were deeply troubled by what He had to say; many had their eyes opened; and many more hardened their hearts against His message.
Some became His disciples, and others became His adversaries. But no one who listened to Him preach for very long could possibly remain unchanged or apathetic.