What is good preaching? Ask twenty different people and you will probably get twenty different answers. It’s a sermon that makes you feel this way or that way. It’s a sermon that you can relate to. It’s a sermon that tells it like it is, and so on.
Most of us have some sort of idea of what a good sermon should be like, either through knowledge or experience. “Boy, he sure did preach a good sermon,” and other statements like, “did you hear so and so the other week,” suggest that we know what’s good, when we hear it, but do we really know what counts?
I want you to look at it from God’s perspective using the Word of God as the judge. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God and with God (John 1:1), and then the Word became Jesus Christ (John 1:14). You don’t have to understand all of that right now, but you need to believe it.
The Word itself is also Spirit and a giver of life (John 6:63). That’s right!
63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. NKJV
God the Word is just as much a part of the Godhead as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Check the verses. That’s why you don’t see the man-made word trinity in the Bible with the exception of some of the newer Bibles which have changed to suit the demands of the ungodly. The word trinity leaves the Word of God out.
The Word itself planted in us can “save” us (James 1:21), and make us “born-again” (1 Peter 1:22-25). Check the verses before you speak against them.
The Word itself can set us free from sin (John 8:31-37, Romans 1:28-32). The Word itself can sanctify us and give us an inheritance (John 17:17, Ephesians 5:26, Acts 20:32). The Word itself can fill us spiritually (Ephesians 5:17-19, John 6:63). The Word itself can give us the things that God has already provided for this life and godliness through our use of the promises written in the Word (2 Peter 1:3-4).
How can the Word do all these things? The Word itself, just like the other parts of the Godhead, is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), and works on the inside of those who believe it (1 Thessalonians 4:9). That’s why the Word is addressed as “He” in John 1:2, below.
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. NKJV
1 Thessalonians 2:13-14
13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. NKJV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. NKJV
The Word itself can change who we are to the point of being transformed into a different person (Romans 12:1-2, Matthew 12:33-37). It or I should now say “He,” can make us into a “good tree” to where our fruit (deeds) would work for good and not to suit our own desires. In other words, the Word of God living inside of a believer will enable him to serve in the Spirit, rather than in the flesh; make the tree good, and the fruit will be good (Matthew 12:33-37).
The Word can change our heart to the point of changing what we say, and in doing so, that will change our days for the better (James 3:2-12, 1 Peter 3:10-12). You see our words, the words we speak, have the power to bring life or death (Proverbs 18:21, 12:18). So the Word of God living on the inside of us can change our life all by itself, if we believe it.
Once you realize these things, then you will know just how important the Word of God is and why the Apostle Paul would say that he considered everything a loss compared to the knowledge of Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:8). Nothing you do or could ever do for the Lord is more important than putting the Word of God in your heart. The Word of God is God, and Jesus, and Spirit, and if you allow it (Him) to live in your heart, He will change you from the inside out assuming you are a believer (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
You cannot serve in the right Spirit until you renew your mind to the point of being transformed, because a bad tree cannot produce good fruit (Matthew 12:33-37). You may volunteer all over town, but your own desires for recognition, money, fame, and whatever else will control you. This is why many Christians and especially new recruits burn out in serving; they started before they were able to do it in the strength God’s provides, and therefore they serve in the flesh (1 Peter 4:11).
You might hear a sermon filled with cute sayings that make you feel good, and I don’t have a problem with having a good time, but let me tell you this. Worldly wisdom takes away from the power already contained in the Word of God (1 Corinthians 1:17-18). Not only do you not need any human wisdom mixed in with the Word, but it also takes away the power. We have enough powerless churches already.
The Apostle Paul said that he wasn’t ashamed of the Gospel because “it” (the Word itself) is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes it (Romans 1:16). The power is already in the Word that we are supposed to preach. Imagine that. All God needs is for someone to speak it.
In fact, those whom the Lord has sent to preach, are speaking His Words (John 3:34). Listen to what the Lord says in Jeremiah 23:22 below.
22 But if they had stood in My counsel, And had caused My people to hear My words, Then they would have turned them from their evil way And from the evil of their doings. NKJV
The Lord says that “if” they were in His counsel, they would cause His people to hear His Words, and then they would turn from evil. Imagine that. So if I am in fellowship with the Lord, I will do whatever I have to do in order to cause you to hear the Word of God without any human wisdom from me so that the Word retains its power.
Now what does that tell you? If my desire is for you to be better off after listening to me, then I will make sure you hear the Word, and the more the better. With that said, you should be able to see who is sent by God and who isn’t. It’s very obvious to me who is and who isn’t, but I have settled in my heart that many, among those who seek to enter, will not be able to enter the Kingdom of God (Luke 13:23-28). Why is that going to happen? It is written in Luke 13:23-28 that it will happen, and that is why it will happen.
Therefore, find any church where the Word of God is not the main thing and the Word of God is not the judge and you have simply found a man-based membership organization; a club. What happened? Let’s look at a few things you need to know.
First of all, when we speak against the faith, we can fall away from the faith (1 Timothy 6:20-21 below). Therefore, what happens when we are taught to say something that sounds spiritual, but it is actually against the Word of God?
1 Timothy 6:20-21
20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge — 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. NKJV
We have to guard the faith we have. Therefore, imagine what happens if we do not know what is written in the Bible for ourself, and then we quote something that is against what is written. We can fall away from the faith just like it is written above. Therefore, we have to avoid things that are “falsely called knowledge.” Just because it sounds good and seems spiritual, it doesn’t mean that it is written in the Bible. I’m a “show me” type of person when it comes to the faith.
You might be thinking that your pastor would never teach anything that is against God, but let me tell you this. False teachers don’t realize they are false teachers. That’s what being blind means. They can’t see. On top of that, most of them are very spiritual sounding people because they are following a spirit, but the wrong spirit (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
1 Timothy 4:1-2
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, NKJV
So yes they sound spiritual and they have all the worldly means to prove their position, since the people of this world only give to support the doctrine of demons (1 Corinthians 10:20). However, it is not by those things that we are to recognize the ungodly. Close your eyes and live by faith. Then ask yourself are they teaching you to “obey” Jesus Christ in accordance with the Doctrine of Jesus (John 14:21-23)? Are they teaching you to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 1:18-19)? Are they preaching the Kingdom of God, which is found in the New Testament (Luke 16:16)?
We recognize false teachers by their fruits, and not by what we can see, or worldly standards (Matthew 7:15-20, Luke 16:15). If he isn’t bringing the doctrine of Jesus Christ, or Kingdom teaching, then something is wrong (2 John 1:8-11).
Most people don’t know that because church has changed. It has turned from a place where we go to learn how to “remain” in the faith (Colossians 1:21-23, 1 Corinthians 15:1-2), and “fight the good fight” of faith in order to take hold of eternal life (1 Timothy 1:18-19), to a place where we go to socialize and maybe experience something that isn’t written in the Bible.
The devil, the prince of the power of air controls the world system through the spirit of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-3, 1 John 5:17). What happens when the oxygen level falls below a certain point? People will pass out. What happens when the oxygen level is too high? People will laugh uncontrollably. Listen, if you do not hear the doctrine of Jesus, and the apostle’s doctrine being preached every week, run because it ain’t church! People falling in the floor and returning the next week in the same condition is not what I call a miracle. I call it 2 Thessalonians 2:9 in full swing.
We need to get back to living by faith. The whole Christian life is lived by faith (Romans 1:17). In fact, the end result of our faith is the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9). God’s protection unto salvation is by faith (1 Peter 1:5). So guess what happens when we fall away from the faith?
36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 37 “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. NKJV
First of all, notice that it’s only after we have done the will of God that we will receive what is promised (verse 36 above). Also notice that the just or the righteous, live by faith, but we can draw back (stops living by faith) to perdition (the destruction of the soul). Therefore, we all need to know that it is required of us to continue in the faith in order to remain holy in God’s sight (Colossians 1:21-23). That one passage alone should tell you that the “once saved aways saved” doctrine is not true. No faith means no salvation.
That leads me to a real life example. If I can get you to believe “once saved always saved,” which isn’t written in any Bible yet, then you will fall away from the Word I have covered in the last few paragraphs about faith. In fact, keeping the faith, remaining in the faith, and fighting the good fight of faith in order to take hold of eternal life, will not fit into what you have come to believe, if you believe the “once saved always saved” doctrine. If you believe “once saved always saved,” why would you concern yourself with living by faith? You wouldn’t, and so it is today with millions and millions.
That’s why the things I have covered so far are not even mentioned in some organizations today. Sure they have good sounding excuses as to why they avoid this verse or that verse, and if they continue in what they are doing, then soon the actual Word of God will not be accepted there either. That is exactly what is happening today because the Word itself says that it will happen (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. NKJV
It may be a shock, but right now today, there is hardly a church left where Jesus Christ could stand up in front of the people and preach His doctrine. If you don’t think that is true, then just simply ask your pastor if John 14:21-23, concerning when Jesus will make His home on the inside of us, is true? If he says that it is, then ask him why he would rather tell people to just “go have a personal relationship with Jesus,” rather than preaching it like it is written so that Jesus would live in the hearts of the people?
That’s because if John 14:21-23 was preached like it is written then the people would know that they would have to obey the doctrine of Jesus before Jesus would make His home in their hearts. If Jesus stood up to preach today, do you think He would preach a different doctrine?
Why doesn’t every preacher preach that? People don’t want to hear it. The “once saved always saved” man-made doctrine sounds so much better and brings in more money. However, your Bible says that we have to obey the Gospel in order to make it (Hebrews 5:9, 1 Peter 4:17-19, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). You might want to check those verses because millions, even among church going people, have already claimed their seat in hell because they follow a man rather than following God through His Word. My hope is to save some among those who have been tricked by a man’s doctrine.
Ask your preacher how we abide in Jesus, because those who do not abide in Jesus will be cut down thrown into the fire and burned according to Jesus Christ in John 15:6? We have to bear the fruit (John 15:2), and no one can bear the right kind of fruit unless he abides (remains) in Jesus according to John 15:4-5. So shouldn’t everyone who is planning on making it to Heaven know how to abide in Jesus, or is there some other teaching about what Daniel did, or what Moses did that is more important?
How do we abide in Jesus? Read John 15:10 from your own Bible and know that if you have been in church for years, but do not know the answer to that question, then you have certainly wasted your time. If you do not abide in Jesus you will be cut off (John 15:1-17, Romans 11:22)! Whoever avoids bringing you this teaching (the doctrine of Jesus Christ) is not concerned about where you will spend eternity. They are only interested in the numbers. More people equals more money, and more of the apperance that God agrees with the message, but God may be he very one behind the delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:11. Check the verses below before you run away mad.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. NKJV
All will be condemned who do not believe the truth, but continue in unrighteousness. Do you believe the truth? The Bible says that the Word of God itself is truth (John 17:17). After reading that verse, do you think it would be foolish to take a stand against the Word of God in order to accept and believe the word of man? However, what if you have no knowledge of the verses I have covered so far? Do you see how easy it would be for unsuspecting people to accept and believe a false teacher who doesn’t even know that he is a false teacher?
Let me tell you something that needs to stick with you. Only disciples of Jesus, make disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20). The rest are sent to fulfill a different purpose; fill the building with people, bring in more money, etc.
The only reason why men would want to distort (twist, change) the message, is to draw disciples after themselves (Acts 20:29-32). Listen to what the Apostle Paul told the Ephesians.
29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. 32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. NKJV
Preachers distort the truth because they want more people to follow them (verse 30 above). They preach to fulfill their desire for more people, which means more money. The love of money is usually the root. That’s the same reason why Jesus Christ wouldn’t even be welcomed to preach unless He was recognized ahead of time. If the doctrine of Jesus was preached, then the supporters of the doctrine of demons (1 Timothy 4:1-2) would leave, since they only support the wrong message (1 Corinthians 10:20).
It’s a money trap! Whoever pleases the people gets the crowd, but those who speak to please men cannot be servants of the Lord (Galatians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:4). In their attempt to please men, they reject the doctrine of Jesus and therefore the doctrine has been taken from them (Mark 4:24-25). They can’t remember it and in some cases, they wouldn’t even recognize it if they were reading it, but they can remember Moses and so that is what they preach; out of the Old Testament. If you identified preachers by these standards, how many of them would you listen to?
When Jesus was visiting with Martha and Mary, it was obvious to Martha what needed to be done, but she didn’t realize that the Word of Jesus, Who always said what the Father told Him to say (John 12:49), was more important than doing the things that “needed to be done.” Imagine that. Listening to the Word of God is more important than eating!
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” NKJV
Notice in verse 42 that only “one” thing is needed, and it would not be taken away from Mary who was listening to Jesus. This is a spiritual principle that we can use today. First of all, those who belong to God, hear God’s Words point, blank, period (John 8:47). If the doctrine of Jesus cannot be mentioned in the place where you are meeting then know for sure that Jesus isn’t there (2 John 1:9-11). Check the verses below.
Second, not only do we need to hear the Word of God, but we need to be careful to listen and hold on to the teachings (Mark 4:24-25, 1 Corinthians 15:1-2).
24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” NKJV
1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain. NKJV
2 John 9-11
9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. NKJV
47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” NKJV
Notice in 2 John 1:9 above that whoever transgresses (runs ahead) and does not continue in the doctrine of Jesus Christ does not have God. Let that sink in because it is happening everywhere today. Notice in the next verse, He says that if anyone comes to you and does not “bring this doctrine (teaching), do not even welcome him.
So now how important is the doctrine of Jesus and did the last preacher you went to see tell you this? Right, that’s my point. We would rather fit in with the world around us instead of obeying God. Imagine this. If God spoke to us today, would He not speak in accordance with His Word? So if we asked God what we needed to do right now and He answered us, would He not instruct us with the same verses I have shown you if that were our problem?
Can you not see that the things I have covered are a problem even in the biggest church today? Are you going to do something about it? Pick up your cross and die to “self” daily (Matthew 16:24-25, 2 Corinthians 5:15). Go and help somebody understand what is happening today right inside of the church before it is too late.
Can you see just how important the Word of God is, and just how important it is for those who know the truth to “cause” people to hear the Word? Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), and not necessarily by listening to someone like me. It’s the Word that contains the power to change people. Sometimes people tell me that I don’t have to put the verses in my writings. No, I need more verses and less of me.
My pastor, Pastor Alan Ruff, said it best today; “I would rather hear a four-year old read a chapter out of the book of Mark than to listen to someone’s opinion.” Praise God! Let me tell you this. There isn’t a church in Spartanburg County that you will hear more Kingdom teaching than Covenant Worship Center, in Boiling Springs South Carolina. There isn’t one that even comes close. If you think differently then let me know and I will visit to see.
So what is a good sermon? Any sermon that is full of the Word of God, including Kingdom teaching and the doctrine of Jesus, straight out of the Bible, without any violations against the Word of God is a good sermon. I have said it before many years ago and I will say it again. The best sermon I have ever heard was at a revival one night where a visiting pastor read the book of First Peter, word for word, and without adding a single sentence of his own to it. He simply said Amen at the end.
I’m Alan Ballou; a servant. If I may be of service to you please contact me. If you find a mistake in what I have said, write it in the comments below, and please include the verse with it if you know it.
My desire in writing this letter is to help you see just how important the Word of God is, and to realize that just because an organization is successful in the world’s eyes, it doesn’t mean that they are anywhere close to the right path.
I’ve written letters to huge organizations even here in my area, but they won’t give people like me the time of day. Their value system is based on who you are, rather than what you have to say even though their Bible says the same thing. They are waiting on God to send someone of worldly significance to speak to them. According to 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, that could be a very long wait.
It’s a mistake to use the world’s philosophy to determine what is good, because what is highly valued among the people of this world is an abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15). Therefore, if you follow the ways of this world, it will most certainly lead you in the wrong direction (Ephesians 2:1-3). That’s my two cents. Leave yours below.