The Key To A Great Sermon: Boldness

I have read sermons from almost every century across 2000 years of church history and have discovered there is something the best all have in common.

I think that at least one of the secrets to preaching Gospel-centered, memorable, impactful sermons can be seen as a thread running through the church since its beginning.

Basil in the fourth century had once lived in caves to forsake this world of its material trappings. But he had been dragged into the center of commerce to preach to a large wealthy city. And he had one message to his audience: To give up their lifestyles of greed and material trappings.

"You have made death the most charitable member of this congregation. Because only through inheritance does anyone else get your money."

Charles Spurgeon, the pastor over the largest Baptist Church in the largest empire of the world had a way with words. Yet on this particular day, he went after his huge congregation, without a microphone or sound system, directly.

"I don't believe that all of you here are Christians. I read the papers. Look at the crime rates of London. Look at them! How can crime be this high if so many of you are Christians?"

He basically called his congregants CRIMINALS!

Hudson Taylor once stood at a conference of people that had come to hear and learn from speakers. Yet he looked at the crowd and said:

"Some of you come to these conferences and eat and eat.... you are full, you are fat enough already. It's time to exercise. To take some of what you have learned and apply it. You will get indigestion already. Eating three times a day is enough. Some of you come to these and eat and eat and never stop."

Some pastors are poets.

Some pastors were soldiers.

Some preachers were theologians.

Others never finished their schooling.

Some came from wealthy families.

Some were poor their whole lives.

Some were sickly and could barely get out of bed.

Some were robust and full of life right into their final days.

But the one thing that they have in common is this: BOLDNESS

They told the truth. They looked their congregants in the eyes, and with a love for the people in front of them and a fear of God they spoke the Word of God.

Some told jokes, some didn't. Some used anecdotes, some didn't. Some exegeted perfectly, some were more topical. Some went long and some went short.

The type of sermon and method changed.

But the ones worth remembering were always BOLD

They spoke the Word of God without compromise. Without the fear of man.

Without anything but a respect for God's holiness to motivate them.

You do not have to have a silver-tongue like Chrysostom, nor a commanding presence like Alexander Maclaren. You do not have to be a born prodigy like Spurgeon nor an insanely educated scholar like Jonathan Edwards. You don't have to have a hard life like Moody, or a terrible tragedy like J. C. Ryle.

All you need is to join Peter in Acts 4:29 where he prays:

29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness