. . . keeping it simple is like writing a well-crafted letter—it takes time. It takes time to say things clearly, concisely, cutting to the very core of the lesson. It takes research. Above all it takes prayer.
On the other hand, there is Alan Redpath. During a lecture to students at a seminary, Pastor Redpath gazed deeply into the eyes of the gathered seminarians for what must have seemed a very long time. I’m sure they must have squirmed as his eyes roamed the room piercingly, seeing into hearts. Then he did the most amazing thing. He began to sing, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” And he continued until there were no dry eyes in among those gathered to hear him speak.
I wasn’t there. I read about it. I don’t recall what he preached. Whatever it was, it was overshadowed by the way he captured the hearts of the students, by the way he directed their hearts toward the Lord Y’shuaJesus.
It seems to me that in a church the congregation may hear many sermons and increase their knowledge about G-d greatly. At the same time, I wonder how many come to actually know Him. Evangelist Art Katz spoke about this to a church not too many years ago. He told the congregation that their pre-planned service was a shame. He didn’t mince words. He spoke as a Prophet hoping to elicit some response from the people, to shock them to opening their hearts to G-d. He wasn’t there to please the gathered, but to speak the truth of the Living Holy G-d of Israel.
He spoke, too, of devastation, the type of devastation experienced by Job, and the devastation of six million murdered Jews during World War II—the Holocaust. He said that we can be totally correct in our thinking, but totally unacceptable to G-d. He used the example of Job’s “friends” who spoke to him correctly, and were told they need to make sacrifice for their folly. Job, who was righteous and persecuted, came an astounding conclusion that honored G-d. (Job 42:5,6)
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
but now mine eye seeth thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent
in dust and ashes.
It is good to know about G-d. Preaching can help us know about G-d. Great preaching is simple: through it we become like Job, abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes. We see G-d, not through our intellectual, edited way of thinking, but we experience Him as face to Face. We, like Job, say: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.” (Job 42:2)