To the Work #9. “Bad reception.”

To the Work #9. “Bad reception.”

I once said of a Sunday night sermon, “I think that was probably better described as ‘A fire-side chat.’” At which point my wife said, “All that I could feel was air conditioning.” Acknowledging her wit and wisdom, I said, “I guess that old preacher was right when he said, ‘If there’s no fire in the sermon, then the sermon should go in the fire.’”

If you are a regular churchgoer it doesn’t take long before you have heard a good number of sermons. If your experience has been anything like mine, then you will have enjoyed lessons from preachers and teachers who have worked hard to present the truth in love.

However, not every lesson is going to excite us. One of my Bible lecturers of old once said of his rare ‘off-day-sermons,’ “I have bored people!” Sadly, I know the feeling. But speaking honestly, boredom is not always generated in the pulpit, sometimes we bring it from home.

Isaiah was told to go and preach to Israel. Before he could even think to launch into an exciting introduction to his first sermon, God informed him of the kind of impact his preaching was going to have upon his hearers. God told Isaiah:

Go! Say to these people:

Keep listening, but do not understand;

keep looking, but do not perceive.

Make the minds of these people dull;

deafen their ears and blind their eyes;

otherwise they might see with their eyes

and hear with their ears,

understand with their minds,

turn back, and be healed.

(Isaiah 6:9-10CSB)

They were not going to listen! In fact, because they did not fear God, God’s words were serving to harden their hearts even more.

So why did God send Isaiah to preach to those who were not going to change? Firstly, his preaching left them without excuse, and secondly, Isaiah’s message was for every person to hear – to this day.

It is the Word of God that moves hearts—either toward God, or away from Him. Sometimes when we speak the reception will be very poor. Do not take it personally.

John Staiger


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