Preaching to please people
Jeremiah 15: Let your words change them. Don’t change your words to suit them.
The Lord called Jeremiah to be his spokesman but Jeremiah’s words aren’t well received. In fact, they get him into a lot of trouble. As a Sunday sermon preacher I like it when people are energized by my words. It hurts when folks can hang out in the foyer chatting while I pour out my heart in a sermon. I have to admit though, that Jeremiah’s situation gives me a whole new perspective on things. Not only did his listeners reject his sermons, they actively tried to silence him. Having folks who are angry with me and out to get me over a sermon would be much worse than their simply wanting to chat about other things while I preach on Sunday! Facing such opposition, Jeremiah’s tempted to adjust his preaching a bit, to downplay the “gloom and doom” and focus on things like God’s love instead. The Lord, though, is having none of that. He looks Jeremiah square in the face and tells him to stand up and take it like a man. If he has to decide between his congregation not liking his sermons or the Lord not liking them, he’d better land on the side of the Lord. The Almighty says to Jeremiah, “Don’t let the congregation craft your sermon. Be faithful to my directions and your words will change lives.” We preachers need passages like this to remind us of the spiritual facts of life. We aren’t preaching to please people. Instead, we’re preaching to change their lives. It isn’t so much what they want as it is what they need. There’s only one in the audience who must be pleased no matter what. I need to spend time with him as I prepare a sermon, lean on him as I deliver it, and then leave the results of it all in his hands.
Take Away: It’s a good thing when the congregation is pleased with the sermon. It’s even better when the Lord is.
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