The Sermonette Evil

By Elan B. Morkendall

Someone has said that sermonettes are preached by preacherettes and produce Christianettes. If that be true there is real danger that the church will be filled with Christianettes in the near future.

That this trend is contrary to the examples found in the New Testament no one can successfully deny. At Troas, “Paul preached unto them . . . and continued his speech until midnight . . . . And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep. and as Paul was long preaching, he sank down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.” After Paul restored him to life he “talked a long while, even till break of day” (Acts 20:7-11). This was certainly not a sermonette.

It might be said, however, that the sermon Peter preached on Pentecost was short. Certainly the time required to read this sermon as recorded in Acts 2 would not be very great. But verse 40 says, “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” We have no way of knowing just how long Peter actually preached. Certainly the above Scripture tells us plainly that his was not a modern 15-minute sermonette.

No one would contend that a preacher should make his sermons long merely for sake of length. A fifteen minute sermon stretched to an hour and a half certainly gets too thin. But if he has the spiritual food in his sermons that they should contain to make and develop strong Christians, it will take some time to present each one to the audience. Certainly by careful preparation many sermons can be presented in much less time than is sometimes used. But to condense too much is to take away the beauty and personal touch until it is no longer appealing. Who wants to replace his delicious meals with concentrated vitamin tablets and dehydrated foods?

David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psm. 122:1). If a person is thus interested in worshiping God, he will not complain if the sermon is a little long. Those who complain at a sermon of reasonable length are not really interested in worshiping God at all. They merely want to salve their consciences or they would not attend the services at all.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1,2). The person who obeys this command will enjoy worshiping God. If you do not enjoy it, you should “set your affections on things above. ” This is as much a command as any other command God has given. The fact that God commands it shows clearly that it is possible for man to obey it. You can learn to enjoy worshiping God. Suppose you fail to learn this lesson while in this life. What would be your plight if you were to go to heaven but could not enjoy a long period of worship? In that celestial city there will be no continuous period of worship throughout eternity. Those who tire of worship quickly would be entirely out of place in that eternal city. The fact is they will never go there. “Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation ” (Heb. 9:28). Those who do not anxiously await His return will not be received up by Him. Those who anxiously await His return will be glad to spend time in studying His Word and worshiping Him.

Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 16, pp. 501-502
August 16, 1984