Summary: Are you ankle deep or in a bathyscaph?
Can Preaching Ever Be Too Deep?
When I was a young preacher, I worked with a lad that loved to insult expository preachers. He would praise the bombastic style and thank God that it wasn’t a dry expositor preaching the night that he was saved. He often accused me of being too deep in the Word. In fact, I heard that a lot from the churches where I would candidate as pastor to the point that I thought that it might be so. I determined that the next church that I preached at I would lighten up and be more bombastic. The result? The people loved me and wanted me to come back, but the pulpit committee felt that I was too shallow. Go figure. Come to think of it, most congregations have loved me but not the pulpit committees. I never understood why Duke University used the name Demon Deacons until I started candidating. C];-)}|>
I have no problem with bombastic preaching but even bombastic preaching should be expository. If you are not preaching what the passage is saying than what are you preaching? More than once I have heard a bombastic preacher start with a verse or passage and then go off to the opposite end of the world. Though what he said might be biblical I had no clue why he used the verse he did as his starting point. There was no correlation between the message and the passage. He was giving a nice and enthusiastic Bible talk but I don’t believe he was preaching.
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. (KJV)
This is a perfect description of what preaching is all about. If you are going to be effective in a preaching ministry you need to be sure that the people understand the Word. God said that His word would not return unto Him void not your motivational speech with a scriptural twist. (Isa 55:11) Being excited about God’s Word is fine but rightly dividing it is equally important. Zeal without knowledge is destructive. (Rom 10:2,3)
After all these years, I finally decided to respond to the question, “Can preaching ever be too deep?” Daniel thanked and praised God for revealing the deep and secret things to him.
19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. (KJV)
The word deep here is an Aramaic word for profound and even unsearchable. God is so high above us in His thoughts and ways that only by Him revealing His inner or deep thoughts can we even begin to understand Him and by that understand man. (Isa 55:9)
“The truth about God is the truth about man and the truth about man is the truth about God.” - Ian Thomas
Since our heart is wicked and deceitful, the only way we can know the truth about God or man is for Him to reveal it to us. (Jer 17:9) In our sinful flesh we can only achieve a shallow understanding of God. Depth of wisdom comes from Him and Him alone.
Ps 36:6 Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. (KJV)
We are called to know the judgments of God and His judgments are called a great deep. Man has succeeded in going extremely deep into the ocean, but there are depths we still cannot reach because the pressure is so strong that we will implode. What we have seen has been marvelous, but one wonders what may lie at those greater depths.
God’s judgments are the same. Trying to go into them and understand them requires the help of the Holy Spirit and the preservation of God or our puny minds would implode from the vastness of holiness and wisdom we would encounter. The holiest of us have only dove into the shallows of God’s judgments. There are depths that we will never reach until we get to Glory. Considering the beauty and the wonder of what we have seen it is unimaginable what still lies in His deep. D. L. Moody once had to ask God to pull back on the illumination and presence that God was blessing him with lest he died.