When A Sermon Is From The Bible . . . But Not Biblical

It is quite possible to preach a sermon that appears to be from the bible … but is not at all biblical.

How do you do that? By taking interesting, provocative, preachable verses, yanking them out of their immediate surroundings in the text, and preaching them that way.

Psalm 46:10 is case in point: “Be still and know that I am God.”

Sounds easy right? Put together a nice, comforting sermon on stillness, waiting, patience, and listening and how through those disciplines you will discover God.

The problem is, if you read the rest of Psalm 46, it has very little do with any of those things. The Psalm is much richer and deeper than than this single sentence.

So will a sermon that takes the whole Psalm into consideration rather than focusing solely on verse 10.

These thoughts are certainly nothing new. One of the first mantras I learned in seminary — only to graduate and discover that all kinds of people in all kinds of places use the same phrase — was C.I.E. Context Is Everything.

This phenomenon of sermons from the bible that are not truly biblical is on my mind because I almost prepared just such a sermon for delivery this coming Sunday. I thought that I had completely figured out what the sermon would be about BEFORE I even opened up the Scripture.

Once I did that, it turned my world and my sermon upside down.

But the end result, I believe, is far better, far richer, and far more biblical than my simplified version ever would have been.

To see what I’m talking about — and to see if you can figure out the mistake I almost made and the solution God gave — read Colossians 3:1-12. All of it.