caution! highly flammable

Posted: October 7, 2008 in Preaching

Preaching with passion is a quality that the average church congregation desires to see in the sermons their pastor preaches. Nobody likes to sit through a 30 to 45 minute sermon that is screaming BORING. Many times people catch up on naps they missed during their busy work week. Many draw on the bulletins, color pictures, pass notes, text message, blatantly talk, and pass the time by going to the bathroom for 15 minutes with the hopes that the sound system quit working and the dry monotone sermon is cut short. What is wrong with today’s preaching? I’m glad I asked. What is wrong with preaching today is the fact that preachers are not preapproved containers. Allow me to explain.

There are signs at gas stations that read: “Warning! To avoid risk, only pump gas into preapproved containers.” Gas is explosive and flammable, and it should be stored in the proper container. A proper container is one that is designed to hold or transport gas. When it comes to the Holy Spirit and preaching, I believe God puts a similar warning sign on the container that transports the Word and the Spirit: “Warning! To avoid risk, only preach from pure and holy containers that are approved by God.”

Preachers who are saturated in the Scriptures and filled by the Spirit need a new warning label as they preach: “Caution! Highly flammable and theologically combustible. Contents can radically alter your life. Listen carefully and use only as the Spirit convicts you.” Talk about passion. If only preachers could stand up in the pulpit every Sunday morning and preach like Jeremiah when he said in chapter 20 verse 9, “But if I say, ‘I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name, then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it.'” Let us as preachers remember, God ignited our fire when He saved us from our sins, but it is our job through the power of the Holy Spirit to keep that fire burning.

“Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” ~ Charles Wesley

Heisler, Greg. Spirit-Led Preaching: The Holy Spirit’s Role in Sermon Preparation and Delivery (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2007), 67-68.


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