Charles Spurgeon, arguably the greatest preacher of the past 300 years, famously said, “It is a long time since I preached a sermon that I was satisfied with. I scarcely recollect ever having done so.” And this guy was called “The Prince Of Preachers”! If Spurgeon found himself unsatisfied with his sermons, it’s safe to say that mere mortals like you and I will find ourselves in that same position.
The conclusion of a sermon is a dangerous moment for the preacher. He has just spent 30-45 minutes in an expository deluge, dumping his study and zeal upon his congregation. The 10-20 hours of sermon preparation are now ancient history and he’s climbed in his car for the drive home. Most likely, he is exhausted – emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
If you’re called to preach, you leave it all in the pulpit.
I’ve been there. And over the last 30 years, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about what I should do and what I shouldn’t do following a sermon. Here are three key lessons:
Preaching picks a fight with the Enemy each week. Paul told the Corinthians, “…it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe”(1 Cor. 1:21). This means they are snatched from, “…the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). My point is that God uses preaching as a means to change people – to spring them from the Enemy’s dominion.
The dark side has an opinion about that activity. It must be stopped. Don’t be naive in thinking that the delivery of the message means your removal from his crosshairs. Message preparation – with its Scripture study, meditation, and prayer – has protective benefits. After the sermon, you are typically spent and empty. Just another way to say you are vulnerable to an air strike.
The flesh is hard at work also. Preaching stirs temptation. On one side is pride over how God is using you, the other side supplies condemnation over how God is not using you. Then there’s the issue of the actual message, where you’ve spoken many words knowing, “…when words are many, transgression is not lacking” (Prov. 10:19).
Where men preach, flaws abound.
If you’ve preached for any amount of time, you now know every message has some deficiencies. Well, those weakness get real friendly on Sunday afternoon by knocking on your door to visit. Don’t open the door! They will invade your house, disturb your peace and color the entire message in your eyes. You’ll feel stupid. Condemned. Like the entire sermon was ruined.
There is a time and place for everything under the sun. Evaluating your sermon immediately after your sermon makes you hate your sermon.
After preaching, you must prepare yourself for attacks by the Enemy and the flesh. Just as soldiers prepare for the onslaught of the enemy, so you must prepare to be attacked.