extracted portion by Dan Crabtree
Earnest sermons aren’t pushy or unkind. An earnest pulpit doesn’t berate the pew. To be earnest, the tone must fit the situation. Shepherds love and feed their sheep; the sermon is an occasion for a meal, not a slaughter. There is joy in earnest preaching, not dour solemnities.
Earnestness in preaching doesn’t look like a stony scowl but an open chest. It’s the heart of heaven poured through the preacher into the people. There’s an intensity to an earnest preacher because he’ll say what needs to be said about life, death, and eternity. He will call out sins by name, apply balm to the open wound, and lay bare with clarity what everyone is thinking. He’s not there to impress. He’s not lighthearted, casual, or glib. He never says, “Take it or leave it.” An earnest preacher is a man in whom there is no guile, no pretension, and no airs, but whose every word is laced with a love that pleads with souls for Christ.