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Spelling Out Preaching #11



Although preaching is an art, a gift, and a science, sermon illustrations probably fall into the category of art and science.

What do I mean?

Our sermons are like works of art in a gallery, and the illustrations within them are like the carefully placed lighting which illuminate the artworks, and help people grasp their message.

The tradesperson responsible for these illuminations needs to understand both art and lighting, because if the lighting is poor, the artworks are obscured.

As Bryan Chappell says, “…expository preaching sheds some ordinary light on the path that leads to understanding a text…”

This ordinary light could be a simple explanation, a story, or a quote, and it could prove the difference between an effective or an ineffective message. Good sermon illustrations are therefore vital.

But they can also be dangerous, because they can be so memorable that they detract from the message instead of illuminating it. People leaving an art gallery shouldn’t be commenting on the light fittings.

Do people remember our illustrations but not what they illustrate?

Do people see what we want them to see?


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