Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 26, 1959

Sermon Sources

Gordon Wilson, North Sacramento, California

A preacher could get a lot of ideas to copy from those signs that some of the churches have in front of their buildings; you know, the kind that announce the sermon titles for the following Sunday. Looking over a few of them in this community, I noticed that one pastor is going to speak on the subject, 'Make Your Dreams Come True," which sounds pretty good, though I am not sure what his text is to be. Another called his sermon "The Old-fashioned Tithe and The New-fashioned Tip." That one is no doubt about money, but the preacher does not make it clear whether he is for tithes and against tips, or for tips and against tithes! Both are money, and either is usually ten per cent. (Maybe some of you tip more and tithe less.) Then on one sign the sermon title read, "Spiritual Doodles." I drove around the block an extra time so I could read that one again. All kinds of things are considered spiritual these days, but what on earth are Doodles? And how do Spiritual Doodles differ from the ordinary brands? Yes sir, a preacher can get a lot of sermon ideas from reading signs.

I hope this does not shock too many folks, but some of the outline books that a few of our preachers uses contain examples almost as silly as the ones cited above, such as "Bible Like A Yo-Yo," (Brother, do you have that one? I'll sell mine cheap.), Or, "From Dan to Beersheba" which I am sure is a typographical error. Looking the sermon over, I am certain it was some kind of error to include it in the book! I have one book entitled "Object Lessons In Outline." Among the "objects" needed to preach one of the Lessons is, of all things, a TEN FOOT LADDER. Now can't you just picture the minister striding into the pulpit with a Bible under one arm and a ten foot ladder under the other arm? I do not recommend that preachers throw away their outline books, but we ought to be very selective if we are going to use sermons from them.

You may think that I am old-fashioned in the extreme, but may I call attention to the most prolific sermon source of all? It is the Bible, God's word. If a sermon is needed to call attention to the Providence of God, the experiences of Joseph furnish ample text and illustration. A sermon on the relationship between Christ and the church can be taken from the 5th chapter of Ephesians, where Paul speaks of the relation between husband and wife. To preach on baptism, a few comments on Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, and I Pet. 3:21 will more than occupy the allotted time. I am just trying to say that it is not enough for our sermons to be based on ideas from the Bible. To be effective in converting the lost we must preach the Bible itself. Men may be able to help us, and it is all right to "borrow" one another's sermons, but first of all let us get acquainted with the Great Source Book. That way we shall never grow stale or dry.