Improve your sermon prep with our brand new study tools! Learn all about them here.
Preaching Articles

Is it just me, or was there an ultimate weapon used in cartoons that isn’t used quite so much in real life?  Whether it was a cat chasing a mouse or a bird fleet of foot, sooner or not much later the arch nemesis would bring them into collision with a great heavy anvil.  Ouch.

I suppose in real life the anvil has its disadvantages as a weapon.  It is probably fairly heavy.  Somewhat cumbersome.  And it is probably fairly avoidable.  What it gains in gravitas it loses in penetrative impact.  To put it another way, I’d rather fight a foe with an anvil than an enemy with a blade.

Which brings me to preaching.  Some sermons feel like the preacher is trying to reproduce the cartoon impact of an anvil.  A massive amount of weighty content delivered as quickly as possible.  Much better to sharpen that sermon and preach a single point, rather than trying to deliver the whole container load of exegetical insights.  The blade may feel lighter to carry, but it will have a great impact in listeners’ lives.

I need to ponder this afresh before tomorrow.  It is so tempting to try to give ‘em everything right between the eyes.  In my cartoon-like prayers they will all be stunned and transformed.  In reality they will both see it coming and feel annoyingly pushed by it, but without the message penetrating.  How can I sharpen my main idea?  What can I cut out to make the message do its work in a streamlined way?

The Word of God is sharper than any double-edge anvil.  Obviously.  May our preaching of His Word have the massive weight of the text behind it, but the sharpness of a deft blade in terms of its focus.



Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at BiblicalPreaching.net and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014). Follow him on Twitter

Browse All

Related Preaching Articles

Talk about it...

David Buffaloe

commented on Jul 9, 2012

His Word never returns void, but does all that He wants it to do. (Isaiah 55:11) The Word of man dies, but the Word of the Lord endures (Matthew 24:35)

Bill Bishop Iii

commented on Jul 9, 2012

So many times we try to convey too much information, and so doing we lose many of the listeners. I remember that old but so often true statement; just keep it simple and doing so become more effective to the general congregation

Keith B

commented on Jul 9, 2012

Good point to make. Sometimes it seems easier to just do a brain dump on a text. It's almost easier to just do some research and get up and recite what the commentaries say. The challenge is to tie it all together into a coherent point to take away.

John E Miller

commented on Jul 11, 2012

Good thoughts!

Join the discussion