Yesterday I got a promotional packet in the mail from a nationally known Christian publisher. Enclosed was a sample of a new Bible study for students along with a cover letter from the entity’s Director of Students. The first sentence of his letter certainly was a “hook” for me.
“Most of us would struggle if asked to name a few sermons we remember that have significantly impacted our lives.”
When I read this statement, my first thoughts were “Are you kidding me?” “Is this really true?” “Are most believers not able to recall sermons that have impacted their lives?”
His letter went on to endorse the new Bible study by noting the influence of relationships, experience, and community. I agree that discipleship and ministry are dependent upon these three factors, but I question the accuracy of his initial claim. Perhaps the phrasing “most of us” warrants the statement’s reliability. If that be the case, then I know that I am among the few that have been significantly impacted by sermons preached from the Word of God.
I’m not sure if the persuasion of his statement is that 1.) few people have been exposed to sermons; 2.) few sermons have been impacting; or 3.) a combination of the both. Whatever the case may be, I am trusting his assumption is erroneous.
I am so very grateful that God has profoundly and powerfully used Bible preaching in my life for decades. God has placed within my heart a treasured repertoire of sermons that I have heard passionately preached by God’s called messengers. Few days go by that I do not, at some point, find myself reflecting upon the Scriptural nuggets that God has shown me when I have sat beneath the preaching of His Word. To me, there is something supernaturally, Divinely magical about Bible preaching! My life has been significantly impacted by many sermons preached from God’s Word.
I’d like to recall a few of these sermons, relishing the sweetness of the Lord. And since the promotional packet that prompted this reflection was advertising discipleship materials for students, I want to focus upon some life-changing messages that I heard as a teenager (some 25-30 years ago).
Sermon: Isn’t He Wonderful? Preacher: Dr. Johnny Pope Circa: 1988 Passage: Isaiah 9:6 Impact: This graphic, yet beautiful oration of Christ’s redeeming death seared upon my heart God’s love for me. I fell in love with Jesus as this message was preached that night. May I never get over Calvary.
Sermon: Lo, We Have Left All Preacher: Rod Phillips Circa: 1985 Passage: Luke 18:28 Impact: For the first time, I acknowledged the cost of following Jesus. Upon hearing this message as a fourteen-year-old, I surrendered.
Sermon: The Wee Little Man Preacher: John “Bull” Bramlett Circa: 1989 Passage: Luke 19:1-10 Impact: I can’t let the crowd get in my way of seeing Jesus. I have to be like Zacchaeus; I must do whatever I have to do to get to where I can see Jesus.
Sermon: The Manifold Grace of God Preacher: Bro. Jerry Lee Circa: 1986 Passage: I Peter 4:10 Impact: God’s grace is multi-colored (Gk. manifold). If I have a yellow-colored problem, God has a yellow-colored grace for that problem. If I have a blue-colored heartache, God has a blue-colored grace to soothe that heartache. If I have a polka-dotted sin struggle, God has a polka-dotted grace to cover that struggle. I’m so thankful I learned as a teenager that God’s grace would always meet my every need.
Sermon: How to Keep From Being A Could Have Been Preacher: Dr. Tim Lee Circa: 1989 Passage: Numbers 13:17-20 Impact: I never want to be a spiritual dropout.
Yes, the above list constitutes a few messages, but there were many, many more sermons I heard as a teen that still serve as spiritual landmarks for me. I’ll condense the list now, offering less detail:
Dr. R. G. Lee – Pay Day Someday
Dr. Adrian Rogers – Praise Your Way to Victory
Mike Crain – Death in the Pot
Others by Jerry Lee – Jesus the Cornerstone and Daughter, Thy Faith Has Made Thee Whole
Others by John “Bull” Bramlett – How to Be The Child of a Happy Momma and Lies of the Devil
Others by Dr. Johnny Pope – Keep Thyself Pure and This is the Day
Praise God for granting me the opportunity as a student to have heard such dynamic preaching! The above messages are a part of me and have been for over 25 years. I have revisited them time and time again for decades, and their content continues to convict, encourage and challenge me.
My friend, I am not fond of the modern movement in ministry that seeks to minimize the impact of Bible preaching. As a matter of fact, I do not agree in the methodology that tries to replace preaching with videos, role-playing, and the discussion of personal life events. As an educator, I understand the value of utilizing various learning opportunities, but I am convinced there is no sufficient substitute in ministry for the preaching of God’s Holy Word. I can honestly declare – with an overwhelming sense of humility and gratitude – that I do NOT struggle “to name a few sermons (I) remember that have significantly impacted” my life.
Praise you, Almighty God, for letting Bible preaching be a part of my thirty-six-year walk with you!
My brother, my sister in Christ, do you have a sermon that quickly comes to mind that has changed your life forever? Please. Feel free to share. We’d love to see the spiritual landmark messages with which God has blessed you! Please leave as a comment.
Until He returns … “Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” II Timothy 4:2
Note: The posted photo is of John “Bull” Bramlett. God allowed me to hear this man preach many, many times. God used each message mightily in my life. I am so very grateful.