Dying In Leviticus

While I generally like expositional sermons, I find myself turned off by long series. I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I remember one church member who said that his pastor had preached for a year and a half on Philippians. When it was over, most people still loved the pastor, but everyone hated the Book of Philippians.

A kind of marathon presumption in some Bible preachers leads them to believe that while others do not have the substance to preach 23 sermons on “Jesus wept” (John 11:35), they indeed do. But such sermons seem to get more “iso” than “exe” into their “gesis.”

Ever and anon, one hears of a pastor who, in preaching his way through the Bible, died in his fortieth year of ministry still in the table of contents. I know of a pastor who spent 18 years preaching through the entire Bible. His members testified of their joy at his excellence in handling the books. Some rejoiced that they had joined the church in Joshua; the newer members said that they had come to Christ in the seventh chapter of I Corinthians. One man was married when the pastor was preaching on Zechariah, his first child was born in Matthew 25, and he became president of the board of his company in Jude 3.

It’s all a way of reckoning, I suppose.

But most people do not handle an 18-year series all that well. Instead of rejoicing that they joined the church in the Passion of Saint Mark, they are more likely to admit disconsolately that they went to bifocals in the begat passages of Genesis and died in Leviticus.

Overall, I think it is better to preach shorter series. If we do not, I think the pastor will meet the little old lady at the front door who honestly testifies, “Oh, Dr. Smith, I just love your sermons. Every one is ...

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