GIVING BLOOD BY LEONARD SWEET
Study Helps Chapter 4: “Blood Stream: Scriptures”
1. One of my concerns for quite some time is that I strive to preach real “Christian” sermons. This may seem like an odd statement but I have found that it is easy to preach from the text and not mention Jesus. For example, a sermon on courage during difficult times might focus on an Old Testament text and fail to mention the name of Jesus. If my sermon can be preached by an optimistic atheist I have a real problem! It’s no surprise I applaud the following quote from Sweet:
“PIERCE A BODY AT ANY PLACE. The same thing comes out: blood. The same should be true for a sermon. Every sermon needs to bleed the same thing — the love of Jesus.” (p.63)
-Are you preaching sermons that are really Christian?!
2. Here’s another reminder regarding our role in preaching:
“Preaching is not voicing thoughts from ancient texts. Preaching is giving voice to God — the sound of whose voice can break cedars, heal broken hearts, repair relationships, transform commitments, alter lifestyles, overturn philosophies.” (p.63)
3. “…the blood of Jesus needs to be in the veins of every sermon.” (p.64)
-Does the blood of Jesus flow in your sermons?
4. Do you agree or disagree with Spurgeon’s comment which Sweet quotes below?
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who has 3,500 sermons in print (sixty-three volumes), looked for Christ in every passage of Scripture. When criticized for his exegetical liberties, he retorted: “I would rather see Him where He isn’t than to miss Him where He is!” (p.64)
-Are there any hermeneutical dangers in this approach?
5. “We need to preach to our zip code. We need to give people what they didn’t know they needed until that moment when Christ’s story begins to resonate within their own life story and they recognize truth. We need to dispel the delusion that people come and sit there wanting to know what the church or the preacher think about a subject.” (p.65)
-Can you use this quote to write a good definition of preaching?
6. “It is up to us to make the connections between a Sunday faith and a Monday world.” (p. 65)
-If Sunday preaching fails to connect with Monday living it is a failed sermon. This highlights the responsibility of the preacher to give careful attention to APPLICATION.
7. “The buzzing of old saws, the rattling of moldering bones, is all too often heard in sermons.” (p.66)
-One of the major criticisms of one of a pastoral predecessor was that he obviously recycled his sermons from long ago. When he used illustrations about Tang and putting a man on the moon it was obvious. I guess if you are going to repackage the goods you should at least use fresh illustrations?!
8. “Preaching is nothing less than the craft of making the familiar strange.” (p.66)
-This quote reminds me of a book I read a long time ago by Fred Craddock entitled “Overhearing the Gospel.” Indeed, how many sermons can someone hear about the Good Samaritan before he or she starts to snooze?
-The answer, as Sweet would no doubt argue, would be to read his book! I delight in finding a new prism angle through which to view an old truth. Just last Sunday I preached on the subject of unity. Immediately I thought of the New Testament metaphor of the body. But, in an attempt to help people see the subject from a new angle I stumbled upon Ps. 133 which uses the anointing of the Aaron the High Priest as a metaphor for unity. Viola!
9. “We don’t preach the Scriptures; we let the Scriptures preach through us as they point to Christ.” (p.68)