I know a preacher is in trouble whenever he or she says, “Webster’s defines ___________ as __________________.”
Why is a dictionary reference a sure-fire sermon killer?
Because in preaching you should never define a word with more words.
You define a word by painting a picture. Or doing a demonstration. Or performing an experiment.
You take the literary and make it visual.
After all, isn’t that just what Jesus did?
When he wanted to define the Kingdom of God, he said, “A farmer went out to sow his seed.”
When he wanted to define the character of God, he said, “There was a man who had two sons.”
When he wanted to define the nature of love, he said, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers.”
Not words for the sake of words, but pictures for the sake of truth.
Leading to neither sermon killers nor sermons that kill.
Leading instead to preaching — and pictures — that bring life.