Getting Sermons “From God”

If you’ve ever listened to a preacher claim that after hours of fruitless sermon preparation he was supernaturally given three alliterated points and an amusing story about a chinchilla during the final verse of the last hymn before the message…you might have been a fundamentalist.

Although fundamentalists will all claim that the the completion of the Bible ended direct revelation from God, they don’t bat an eye at a pastor who claims that God has divinely inspired his choice of text, interpretation of said text, and all associated illustrations, pontifications, magnifications, and ululations. Evidently, direct revelation isn’t as over as all that.

The job of any preacher undoubtedly to proclaim “thus saith the Lord.”  A preacher who claims to be a cessationist while proclaiming “thus saith the Lord to me right before I got up here this morning” is worth a second glance.  And that’s all the Lord has laid on my heart to say on the matter.

21 thoughts on “Getting Sermons “From God””

  1. This post reminds me of those who say that they “put out a fleece.” Do Baptists put out fleeces (or flice – not sure what the plural form is)?

  2. Awesome post. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that exact phrase used. Darrell must have gone to my high school, my church, and my college. LOL

  3. Well said. Loved the last sentence. BIG laugh.

    While in the fundy church, I didn’t mind the instant “supernatural” insight and chinchilla stories, and still don’t. I did and still have serious issues with the “thus saith the Lord” attitude that came from some fundy speakers. One night my wife and I were listening to Jeremiah 23 on CD. We were stunned with the similarities between the “fundy prophets” and the prophets in Jeremiah 23. It is one of the things that got us out of FundyWorld.

  4. Jim, somewhat of an impulse buyer, came home with a new Corvette. It was the envy of his friends for a few weeks, but then, one day, Jim had to trade it in for a less expensive, more fuel-efficient vehicle.

    His wife wanted to know why. “Honey,” said Jim, “I realized that car was a gas guzzler, and we couldn’t really afford it. I guess I just came to my senses.”

    Later that evening, Jim’s neighbor came over. “Hey old pal,” said the neighbor, “I’m glad to see you got rid of that Corvette. With the way you drove that souped-up sports car, I was afraid you might lose control on a curve, and make your wife a widow.”

    Jim’s wife was upstairs vacuuming, so Jim said grudgingly, “It was people like you that caused me to give up on my dream car. You spoke a spirit of fear into my life, and I panicked.”

    Sunday morning Jim brought the family to church in their station wagon, only to be greeted by his pastor in the parking lot. “Good morning, Brother Jim,” said the Pastor. “What happened to your Corvette?”

    Jim dawdled until his family was out of earshot, then confided piously, “Oh, Pastor, the Lord spoke to my heart. He told me it was time to stop being so prideful, and to get a less-showy automobile, so I could better witness to my less-wealthy neighbors on their level.”

    A once-familiar hymn proclaims, as evidence for the resurrection of Christ, the fact that He must be alive if He speaks to men today: “He lives. He lives. Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.” (He Lives, Alfred H. Ackley)

    Certainly Christ Jesus does speak to His people today. But what does He say? The answer may be different for each and every person, but we must beware of the temptation to justify our own actions by rashly claiming out loud that the Spirit of the Lord gave us a special private instruction.

    This was a big problem in the Jeremiah’s day. Jeremiah was a true prophet, and he was faithful to repeat exactly what God told him. The false prophets spoke lies and then attempted to give them credence by claiming they came from God. However, God put an end to their party when He proclaimed: “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD. And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.” (Jeremiah 23:30-34)

  5. I received ululations at my ordination. There was a specific rubric in the liturgy calling for them. Seeing that word makes me happy.

  6. My former IFB pastor always said he “got all his messages from God”. So when his messages didn’t end with the response he had hoped for (ie. the altar flooded with repentant souls), who does he blame then – himself or God? If the message was a flop, it usually went something like this – “We’ll just tarry here until there is a response to the Spirit” (Modern day translation – We’re not leaving here until enough people come forward so I don’t look like an idiot! All the while, “Just As I Am” is playing for the 20th time).

  7. One in our church claims to be The One that God speaks to. Once telling a member that they should keep quiet about food allergies as it would ruin their ministry. God said that? Really? Then who , indeed, would allow a food allergy!!
    Ah fundies, gotta love them.

  8. Ha, this is so true! It always amazed me though as a kid that God would step up at the last minute to help my pastor out with his sermon, but then basically let people die, natural disasters occur, etc. I guess our little hour on Sunday was the most important thing for God to focus on at the time, right?

    Actually, it always reminded me of the movie “Pollyana” (hey, it was G rated, LOL!). The pastor basically is inspired by the little girl and God to come up with a new sermon at the last minute.

  9. I hear this all the time. Someone in a class says during prayer request time, “I’m giving a sermon at the nursing home in two weeks, and I don’t know what God wants me to speak about.”
    Professor Fundizzle then prays, “Lord, give Joey the words to speak. Speak through him, Lord.”
    Apparently the Gospel ain’t what it used to be. Isn’t there a verse about Scripture not being of any private interpretation?

  10. This is a paraphrase, but it goes something like this: “The Lord told me to tell you…”

    I’ve always been just a little skeptical of the words that follow that intro because:
    1. It presupposes that the speaker is a special channel of God.
    2. it assumes that the speaker is living closer to God than the hearer and
    3. If God really wants to tell me something He’ll figure out a way to do it directly.

  11. How many time I have heard that very phrasing used from the pulpit… in fact it became a weekly precurser to the message at times. You usually knew that you were in for a hell-hot sermon “again’ sum turrible sin” when the sermon was introduced with the “wrassled with god until he gave me this message” or “I just couldn’t get it settled in my heart what to preach until Sister Beula sang that last song, isn’t it amazing how god works?” (used the little g on purpose)

  12. Here ya go Mark Thomas!
    2Peter 1: 19And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

  13. Say what ya will about Ruckman and his crowd…. they NEVER say that stuff!

    They might basically say “you need to hear this cuz I know more than you” but they never do the “god spoke to me about this” stuff…

    I just like to give credit for honesty where I can find it, I reckon. LOL

  14. How about this, at the end of the Sunday AM service, Be sure and come back tonight God has given me something very special for you tonight. My thought was, well if its that special and God wants me to have it, give it to me now, I’m already here!

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