Slideshow image

             There are several ways if interpreting the title of this brief article. One way of interpreting the title to this article is simply to say that any sermon at any given time will never be able to say all that might need to be said on that particular subject. Another way of interpreting my title is to say that a preacher will never be satisfied that he know enough about the subject matter he is discussing. There is always more to learn. A third way of interpreting this title is to simply suggest that no sermon will ever be able to answer all the questions that might come up about the matter being proclaimed. Somebody might walk away from a sermon feeling that the preacher did not address the particular to their satisfaction. The real criterion is whether or not the preacher meets with God’s satisfaction of his feeble efforts.

            The thought occurs to me each time I preach that it always remains a continuing study. Never am I satisfied that I have learned all that there is to know of any subject, regardless of how familiar the material. Usually, time and opportunity will not permit me to read all that I would like to read on any given subject. Hopefully, future efforts will provide the time for wider reading and deeper study.

            Sermons will rarely succeed in covering all the particulars that someone might think should be included. For example, some years ago, I preached a sermon entitled, “Do You Believe in God?” It embodied four points calling attention to what God is. Afterward a good brother asked me if I had forgotten something in that lesson. I confessed, “Well, I never say that I might not have forgotten in a sermon.” He said, “You didn’t mention that God is love.” To which I responded, “I didn’t forget it. It just wasn’t in this lesson. I have other lessons on that, but this lesson wasn’t designed to cover that point.” As a sidelight to that brother’s suggestion I could have added, “God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29); “…a merciful God” (Deut. 4:31); “…a jealous God” (Deut. 6:15); “…God of gods” (Deut. 10:17); “…holy” (Psa. 99:9); “…faithful” (1 Cor. 10:13); “…one” (Gal. 3:20); “Spirit” (Jn. 4:24); and “…light” (1 Jn. 1:5). It wasn’t that I forgot those thoughts either, but such was not the direction or intent of the sermon.

            The apostles of Jesus were promised all truth. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13, ESV). There would be nothing for them to add to, nor take away. In fact, they would dare not do so (Rev. 22:19). They learned and proclaimed all truth! Unlike them, however, the longer I live the more I realize I do not know!

            Every preacher should approach his task fully persuaded that the sacred writings offer the final word on any subject. The same cannot be said for any sermon he might ever preach. Further study is always needed!