Is CHRIST In Your SERMON?
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Charles Spurgeon asked: “Is Christ in your sermon?”
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is the hinge upon which every sermon is to be measured, and every preacher deemed worthy of the name Bible Preacher. Charles Spurgeon, who, in a lecture, Sermons Likely to Win Souls, advised preachers to find Christ in every sermon.
You remember the story of the old minister who heard a sermon by a young man, and when he was asked by the preacher what he thought of it he was rather slow to answer, but at last he said, “If I must tell you, I did not like it at all; there was no Christ in your sermon.” “No,” answered the young man, “because I did not see that Christ was in the text.” “Oh!” said the old minister, ‘but do you not know that from every little town and village and tiny hamlet in England there is a road leading to London? Whenever I get hold of a text, I say to myself, ‘There is a road from here to Jesus Christ, and I mean to keep on His track till I get to Him.’” “Well,” said the young man, “but suppose you are preaching from a text that says nothing about Christ?” “Then I will go over hedge and ditch but what [sic] I will get at Him.” So must we do, brethren; we must have Christ in all our discourses, whatever else is in or not in them.”
Abiding in Spurgeon’s advice is the three pillars of Christological homiletics. First, Christ must occupy the center of every sermon; second, every text, even that which makes no explicit mention of Christ, possesses a “road” to Christ; third, every sermon presupposes a biblical text, as is borne out in his Lectures to My Students, where he stated explicitly: “With regard to the sermon, we shall be anxious, first of all, respecting the selection of the text.”
Spurgeon’s Christo-centric proclamation is that which makes preaching true preaching. Not the literal meaning of a passage, but Christ to which the text points is the ultimate objective of the interpreter, and preacher.
"The efficacy of preaching rests entirely on the proclamation of Jesus Christ, who must loom so large that he himself will draw people unto himself."
It matters little at what hour Spurgeon preached in any part of the Great Britain, there would always assemble a large crowd. This explains why he was named “the prince of preachers” for Christ the King was exalted in his sermons. Revival preachers would do good to their sermon preparations if they measure themselves against the old minister’s critique of a young preacher, “there was no Christ in your sermon.” The primary call of biblical preacher is to hold out Jesus, the Word of life, who works through the instrumentality of a human preacher to effect conversion in the hearts of the hearers. It is to this end that preachers must aim at, his sermon preparations and delivery.
By Dennis Ngien (PhD),
Professor of Systematic Theology, Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, Ont., and founder, Centre for Mentorship & Theological Reflection, Toronto.
1 Charles H. Spurgeon, The Soul Winner (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1895; reprint ed., Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1963), 106-7.
2 Charles H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, 3 series (New York: American Tract Society, n. D.; reprint ed., Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977), 1st series, 84