The third thing in a sermon that is likely to win souls to Christ is, it must be instructive. If people are to be saved by a discourse, it must contain at least some measure of knowledge. There must be light as well as fire. Some preachers are all light and no fire, and others are all fire and no light; what we want is both fire and light. I do not judge those brethren who are all fire and fury, but I wish they had a little more knowledge of what they talk about, and I think it would be well if they did not begin quite so soon to preach what they hardly understand themselves. It is a fine thing to stand up in the street, and cry, “Believe! Believe! Believe! Believe! Believe! Believe!” Yes, my dear soul, but what have we to believe? What is all this noise about? Preachers of this sort are like a little boy who had been crying, and some¬thing happened that stopped him in the middle of his cry, and presently he said, “Ma, please what was I crying about?” Emotion, doubtless, is a very proper thing in the pulpit, and the feeling, the pathos, the power of heart, are good and grand things in the right place; but do also use your brains a little, do tell us something when you stand up to preach the everlasting gospel.
The sermons that are most likely to convert people seem to me to be those that are full of truth, truth about the fall, truth about the law, truth about human nature, and its alienation from God, truth about Jesus Christ, truth about the Holy Spirit, truth about the Everlasting Father, truth about the new birth, truth about obedience to God, and how we learn it, and all such great verities. Tell your hearers something, dear brethren, whenever you preach, tell them something, tell them something!
Of course, some good may come, even if your hearers do not understand you. I suppose it might be so, for there was a very esteemed lady speaking to the Friends gathered at the Devonshire House meeting. She was a most gracious woman, and was addressing the English Friends in Dutch, and she asked one of the brethren to translate for her, but the hearers said there was so much power and spirit about her speaking, though it was in Dutch, that they did not want it translated, for they were getting as much good out of it as was possible. Now, these hearers were Friends, and they are men of different mould from me, for I do not mind how good a woman the esteemed lady was, I should have liked to know what she was talking about, and I am sure I should not have been in the least degree profited unless it had been translated; and I like ministers always to know what they are talking about, and to be sure that there is something in it worth saying. Do try, therefore, dear brethren, to give your hearers something beside a string of pathetic anecdotes that will set them crying. Tell the people some¬thing; you are to teach them, to preach the gospel to your hearers, to make them understand as far as you can things which should make for their peace. We cannot expect people to be saved by our sermons, unless we try really to instruct them by what we say to them.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834–1892AD) – “How to lead Sinner to the Savior”
( from the pulpit of the Metropolitan Tabernacle,London)