We've released a new version of SermonCentral! Read the release notes here.
Preaching Articles

Warren Stewart, in Interpreting God’s Word in Black Preaching, writes:

He or she who interprets and preaches the Word must identify with the Word in such a way that the Word will both support and challenge those to whom the message is directed.

Note that the word is allowed to “support and challenge.” Again this is a call for a holistic and balanced message. Too often we like one side or the other. There is the preacher who always emphasizes the “unconditional love” of Jesus without ever moving on to the ethical response to that Love.

In contrast, there is the preacher who always emphasizes what the people are not doing but never supports the hurting in the congregation. There is the prophetic preacher who thinks of himself as a “prophetic voice” to clean up all the mess that is in the congregation but never feels the need to pastorally apply the balm of Gilead to the real pains of living in this world.

And then there is the one who is so inwardly focused that there is no message of how to live in the Kingdom of God while still in a fallen world.

In short, the Bible challenges and comforts us. The Bible assures us that God is with us in the pains and hurts of life, but also challenges us to live the life that God has saved us into. The Bible lets us know that weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning, but it also challenges us to live a life of service. The Bible teaches us that God loves us, but it also teaches us to love others.

Great preaching recognizes that God has called the preacher to be both a prophet and a priest. To both speak the oracles of God and apply the hope that God has purchased for us with God’s Son’s blood. Great preaching will not fall into the trap of only challenging, neither only comforting, but to have a full ministry that does both of these and more as we look toward that coming Kingdom.

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Browse All

Related Preaching Articles

Talk about it...

Lafern Cobb

commented on Nov 8, 2013

Another great article. Thank you. You have written so well exactly what we are living out in our ministry! How wonderful to see it described so well in print. My husband and I co-pastor and have now been at our church for 20 years! Between our two styles, our two different backgrounds and of course our different genders we are able to minister to all! Whether it is preaching, teaching, counseling, weddings, funerals, we are able to reach out to men and women in need. The Holy Spirit leads us and it is amazing how we each know when and what to preach. Our Youth Pastors are also a young married couple. They can minister to both the young women and young men. In private counseling I never counsel a man alone and my husband never counsels a woman alone. We counsel couples together. It also helps we have been married for 40 years too! So everyone please read this article and realize that one pastor whether male or female needs others to help balance and minister to the whole congregation, community, etc. Together God has equipped His Church to reach the world! So thankful to be called to be a part of Christ's Church! Blessings to all and thanks again for a great article!

Phyllis Carter-Davis

commented on Nov 8, 2013

Greetings, Your article hits the hammer on the nail. Ministers provide a great service in sharing the word of God, however, giving too much of one side, and not enough of another can cause watered-down truths. It's good to be kind and share the love of God. It's also good to share our accountability as Christians.

Cocouvi Amoussou

commented on Nov 8, 2013

This sis a great revelation from the Holy spirit as truth. But i think this unfatomable truth needs to be modulated in the sense that as leaders in churches , we can sometimes lead people into the awareness of the need to sanctify themselves, and sometimes make them understand that God is a merciful God who forgives our weaknesses . Then again two aspects requirement of holiness and divine mercy can coexist in the same message. God bless you.

Join the discussion