“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”—–Jude 1:3-4
After my last blog on, “Topical Preaching And Sermon Series’”, I had a lot of good conversations and feedback. If you missed reading the last blog, you can find it here. It has been amazing to hear how rampant these “styles” of preaching have become in churches. Therefore it is necessary to continue to make bold stands as the focus of these man-centered perversions continue to increase at an alarming rate.
As a follow-up and to answer some of the discussions that I have been having, I wanted to write about some preaching outside of what should be a normal book-by-book, chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse preaching. Two of which I would call, “Theological Preaching” and “Sin Issue Preaching”. Both of these continue to focus solely on the Lord Himself as well as contending for all us to be walking according to righteousness and holiness before Him.
Theological Preaching differs greatly from Topical Preaching/Sermon Series’ in that it is a study of God, who He is, and His character rather than a focus on people and what they want to hear. Theological Preaching begins and ends with what the Bible tells us about the Lord and His commands for us while Topical Preaching focuses on man-centered objectives starting outside the Bible and working backward by peppering in verses to support the overall agenda. Examples of Theological Preaching may be: the Trinity, characteristics of the Holy Spirit, Salvation (Sin/Repentance/Faith), and others. Theological Preaching often takes much more work on behalf of the pastor and teacher in that it is easy to get off track and end up falling into the ditch of focusing on people rather than God as well as other people’s views about God rather than the Bible being the source itself. Therefore it is critical to do much more exhaustive work from the Bible when preparing for Theological Preaching for Biblical clarity rather than just a popcorn message jumping from verse to verse seeking to proof-text about God. So Theological Preaching must be approached with great concern and care.
Often times Topical Preaching/Sermon Series’ can be mistaken as Theological Preaching because it may appear that the Bible is being preached and the Truth about God is being proclaimed. A good litmus test can be if the speaker spends more time diving into the Bible or on tangents telling illustrations, stories, and the like leading the listeners through their rabbit trails touching on the Bible here or there rather than carefully unpacking the Word alone. With careful discernment and paying close attention to the context of Scripture, it is easier to understand if the sermon focuses on God and our relationship with Him or if it is just another pop-psychology, live a better life sermon.
Sin Issues are another area that may be necessary to preach on from time to time. Sin Issue Preaching also greatly differs from Topical Preaching/Sermon Series’ because it addresses corporate sins that affect the church as a whole rather than chasing after issues that may only impact a few individuals. Paul also addressed major sin issues that affected the churches when he wrote in the New Testament. The main focus was to call attention to the sin(s) that had crept into a church, usually unnoticed, and was becoming embraced and practiced by the church. It was critical that Paul dealt with the sin(s) being overlooked and point them in the way of righteousness.
Sin Issue Preaching may need to happen when a pastor, elders, deacons, or those part of a church recognize a growing sin taking hold within those in a church. All sin needs to be taken serious among a church, and therefore when sin creeps in among the whole, it needs to be addressed as a whole. Much of the time as individuals when we face sin issues they can be dealt with by individuals or those close to the individuals. But when sin issues arise with many in a church, they need to be addressed as a church. My personal take is that if the majority of the time we are preaching and teaching through all of God’s Word, we are more likely as a whole to gain better understanding of truth vs. sin and living out the truth in our lives without having to constantly need to always be preaching from one sin issue to the next.
Both Theological Preaching and Sin Issue Preaching are areas which point us to a greater understanding of God and what it means to follow Him. They can also be greatly abused and easily turn into Topical Preaching/Sermon Series’ if they become the normal preaching within the church. I find that with great care and preparation Theological Preaching and Sin Issue Preaching can greatly benefit a church as a whole and lead to greater sanctification and living out what it means to be a follower of the Lord if used in the proper context and not as a replacement for going through all of Scripture. I also find that it is with great caution and accountability that churches use Theological Preaching and Sin Issue Preaching to guard against falling into a pattern that takes our attention from going through all of God’s Word by picking and choosing what appeals to the masses and ultimately our focus off of the Lord.
If as the Church we would spend the proper time reading, studying, and applying all of the Bible, we would do far better in living out what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Many errors of churches today stem from their lack of respect, focus, authority, and reverence for God’s Word being at the center of the Church. With such clever sermon preparation, illustrations, and charisma that many church pastors and leaders have today, much of what is being preached is cloaked to sound biblical. However, if people were more willing to check out the content of what is actually said with what the Bible truly says, then most, if not all, of these pastors and leaders would be run out of the Church. Let us all continue to strive for the Truth and hold those accountable over us as our pastors and leaders to properly be preaching and teaching all of God’s Word. If they refuse and compromise for the way of the world, let us make bold steps to separate from them and surround ourselves with pastors, leaders, and other believers that desire to hold to the Truth.