Phillips Brooks, a great preacher of the truth. Brooks became the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Boston during the Civil War era, and the author of “O little town of Bethlehem”.
Nice Sermon Reverend!
He said, “Nice sermon this morning Reverend,” like someone who says, “Lovely hat, Mrs. Jones.”
The preacher responded, “Did you like this morning’s sermon? Should I really care?”
Jeremiah receives a little advice from the Lord, “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD” [Jeremiah 1:8 NKJV, Hebrew and Septuagint]. St. Peter, who was actually a very sensitive guy, observes, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God” [1 Peter 4:10-11]. Those who are only connoisseurs of preaching may not understand the terror and delight of preaching.
In an hostile environment Jeremiah is commanded, “Thus says the LORD: Stand in the court of the LORD's house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the LORD all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word” [Jeremiah 26:2].
A Sunday morning sermon is not to be judged like a lady’s hat, for it is in danger of being a word of God to you. Ezekiel says, “Moreover, he said to me, "Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,' whether they hear or refuse to hear” [Ezekiel 3:10-11].
Isaiah says, “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward” [Isaiah 50:4-5].
Saint Paul says, with some relief, “I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” [Acts 20:26-27].