Boring Sermons and the Bible

Probably one of the most grievous offenses perpetuated by the sons of men – is a boring sermon in the Name of Jesus Christ … or a boring Bible study, gospel song, free Christian ebook – or Christian article. Why such an offense? Well, our living Creator is a fount of inexhaustible knowledge. But, there is a catch. When speaking of “God’s mystery,” Paul identified that mystery as “Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:2,3). While we still have access to some knowledge in the natural realm, the vast expanse of accurate spiritual knowledge can only be found in Jesus Christ. In Him, one can learn about the true nature of God – His character, agenda, priorities, promises and warnings. Christians have been granted access into this endless realm.

After coming to God on His terms (through the blood of Jesus Christ), it is as though we just crossed a stormy sea, having been tossed “to and fro like drunken men” – where we had “groped in darkness with no light” (Ps 107:27 and Job 12:25). Now anchored at the edge of a vast unexplored continent, we abandon our battered ship (the old man and all his “wisdom”), and, for the first time in our life, find our feet on solid ground. Grateful, relieved and now at peace with God, we gaze upon the horizon-filling continent before us – and instinctively know this expanse flows with milk and honey. The food is substantive and its delights are composed of unsurpassed nutritional sweetness. Behind us we hear, “Come eat of My food, and drink of the wine I have mixed. Forsake your folly and live, and proceed in the way of understanding” (Pro 9:5,6). We know our Creator has prepared this feast … and we are welcome to it. Nothing here looks boring, smells boring, or tastes boring. That is because … nothing is.

All who enter into, and explore this unending expanse, are highly stimulated – and stimulating – individuals. They “speak of the power of Thy awesome acts … and tell of Thy greatness. They eagerly utter … bubble over with … the memory of Thine abundant goodness, and shout joyfully of Thy righteousness” (Ps 145:6,7). So where does a boring sermon fit into this picture? It doesn’t. And where do boring Bible studies, songs, books or articles fit? They don’t. If you are in an environment claiming to represent God – and it is boring … get out. God is not there. He has never been boring, and never will be boring … and He is not boring now.

Emotionalism versus Emotions

On the other hand, one can find churches that are hot beds of activity – far from boring – at least initially. But, after a little while, a person who is wanting to grow in actual Bible information … finds little there. The relationship with “God” arises from an environment of emotionalism and Christian mysticism that is wholly subjective in nature. When concluding The Sermon on the Mount, is it possible Jesus was thinking of these “witnesses”? “Many will say to Me on that Day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name cast out demons, and in Your Name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness'” (Mt 7:22,23). The pronoun, “Your,” is an intensive in Koine Greek. This is a frantic scene. Eternity is in front of these people. And they know exactly Who they are standing before. They are sure they had actively served Jesus Christ in this life – yet, He declares them lawless. They had invented their own “Jesus”. They had been fervent in their witness … but had totally misrepresented the God of the Bible. Of course, no one in this age convinced them otherwise. They exited this life absolutely certain they had served Jesus Christ.

Yet, any environment graced with the presence of God is a truly vibrant place – but substantively electric. The best way I can describe this is by the reaction of my daughter when she first figured out how to play a piano piece she had been laboring over. She began jumping up and down – overwhelmed with emotion springing from content – she could play it! To grow in the genuine knowledge of God causes one to “greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1Pet 1:8). This is fervent emotion – but not emotionalism.

But, For Those Outside of Christ …

… sermons are boring – or foolish – or scandalous … or enraging. And so are Bible studies, any gospel song, or free Christian ebook … or Christian article. These contrary reactions are not due to a lack of intelligence. Some of the worlds most keen intellects, of yesterday and today, totally reject all the Bible’s central claims – and the peripheral ones as well. The information they do grasp … they despise. Thomas Paine probably had more Bible knowledge than most present day pulpiteers … and he found the material repugnant. Today, entire websites are devoted to attacking the Bible point by point. And one thing that enrages these Bible critics is the genuine stupidity of so many believers. Intellectual objections and arguments are met with shallow platitudes and intellectually bankrupt responses. And there is always that “end of discussion” Christian defense: “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” Well, … that does not settle it for the Christian antagonist – and it shouldn’t. While my best efforts may not satisfy the arguments of some well versed Christian antagonist, there is one thing I do know. God Himself is willing to go one-on-one with anyone so willing. He does not quake before anyone’s challenges or logic. “‘Present your case,” the Lord says. ‘Bring forward your strong arguments,’ the King of Jacob says” … “Report to Me; Put Me in remembrance; let us argue our case together; state your cause, that you may be proved right” (Isa 41:21, 43:26). But that must occur now – in this life. And the challenger must be honest – willing to carefully examine His points. His goal, in this present age, is to destroy the arguments of the antagonist – not the antagonist. In fact, in His power and wisdom, He doesn’t just dismantle contrary positions. He takes the whole confrontation one step further. He turns the contrarian … into an advocate for Him … philosophically, morally, theologically, scientifically – and every other way you can think of. So, upon what grounds can I make such assertions? Well, that is not a difficult inquiry for me to answer. I fought and argued and then fought some more … issue by issue and point by point. Now, … I am writing this … and have been His willing advocate for thirty years and counting.

It is my hope He will continue to allow me this honor. Quite often, I am a very poor advocate, and it is a great mystery that he would allow me to be a part of such an enterprise. But, amazingly, “He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11) … and I am included in “them” … a converted antagonist. So, to my fellow Christian I confidently say – if any of my Christian presentation is truly boring to you, know … that isn’t God.