As I prepared for preaching last week, I was reminded of the following passage from E.M. Bounds.
Too much care may be given to sermons as a literary or intellectual product. The strength of the cross may be dissolved and its point blunted by our wisdom of words. John Wesley said he dared not preach a fine sermon. In these times we need directness, simplicity, conscience-reaching, and conscience-hurting words. We need strong words and weighty words, which give the gospel a personal and convicting force; words, which will drive sin out of the person or the sinner out of the church; words, which search and sift and separate; words, which attract and repel; words, which will press sin into close quarters and then show it no quarter.
Many sermons fail not through brilliance or from folly but from being smooth bores. A sailor, fresh from a whaling expedition, on his return from church was queried, “You do not seem to have liked the sermon?” “Not much,” he replied. “It was like a ship leaving for the whale-fishing, everything shipshape – anchor, cordage, sails all right – but there were no harpoons on board!”
I pray that we will all have our harpoons on board at every opportunity to teach the Word.
(from Powerful and Prayerful Pulpits: Forty Days of Readings by E.M. Bounds, pages 130-132)