Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
I have heard thousands of sermons over my lifetime. I have even preached some of them myself. I am convinced that Jesus Christ should be mentioned in every sermon. Otherwise, what is delivered is not purposeful preaching. It is just a speech with perhaps good advice. Congregants deserve more.
During the pandemics, I have watched many churches virtually. Unfortunately, some of them did not include Jesus Christ at all. Therefore, they were just motivational speeches with perhaps good advice, but surely they were void of the gospel of the good news of the saving power of Jesus Christ.
Purposeful preaching is simply preaching with a purpose. Preachers should establish what that purpose is before they stand behind the pulpit attempting to deliver a sermon. The purpose of every sermon should be to share the gospel with the congregation. Therefore, every sermon should include the gospel. The gospel is defined as "the good news of the saving power of Jesus Christ." So, how can a preacher tell people about the "good news" without mentioning Jesus Christ?
Unfortunately, I have heard deliveries from the pulpit during many worship services that can be described as motivational speeches instead of sermons. Personal advice from the preacher is good. However, it is not the good news that people want and deserve to hear.
Personal advice has no power during the midnight hour when people cry into their pillows because of their pain and suffering. Purposeful preaching is preaching based on the word of God with Jesus taking center stage. That type of sermon provides information and power that linger long after the church doors are closed.
There is absolutely nothing wrong when a sermon includes good advice. However, there is something very wrong when that is all it includes. That type of preaching should go beyond far generic good advice to purposeful preaching that tells the good news of the saving power of Jesus Christ.
Good advice can be given by any psychiatrist or psychologist. Ministers, preachers, pastors, and members of the clergy are called to preach the gospel. Motivational speaking should be left up to those who have a calling for that particular assignment. Motivational speaking with good advice should not masquerade as a powerful and purposeful sermon. They are quite different.
I recently heard a virtual sermon where the preacher did a good job telling the story about Moses leading two million people through the Red Sea after it was parted and they walked through it on dry land. I waited and waited for the "Christologolical Move" where Jesus was brought into the sermon. However, it never happened. I was left very disappointed, empty, and saddened.
I have heard other sermons without there being a mentioning of Jesus Christ. They, too, left me void and empty inside. If that happens to me, surely it must be happening to others as well.
A Christological Move is the transition, or moment over from what has been said to bring Jesus Christ into the sermon. Surely, it is much easier to focus on Jesus when preaching from the Gospels, but it can still happen when delivering a message from the Old Testament, the birth of the church, Pauline epistles, general epistles, and the eschatological book of Revelation.
The Christological Move should be an intricate part of every sermon. No matter what is attempted to be preached, the saving power comes from Jesus Christ and from nothing else. As Jesus told Thomas, one of His disciples: "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Since Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, it stands to reason that preachers should want to relay that information to congregants during a sermon.
Every single day during the week and late into the night, there are tons of talk shows on television with hosts giving good advice to viewers. People who attend worship services on Sundays need something more powerful than just good advice. They need to hear the word of God. They need what the Bible says. How can preachers preach what the Bible says without mentioning God's only Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross to atone for and to redeem people from their sins? People need that so much more than the preacher's personal advice. They need purposeful preaching, and they won't get it unless there is a "Christological Move."
Good advice can be sprinkled within every sermon. However, it should not dominate the sermon.
If a presentation does not include a Christological Move where Jesus takes center stage, it is not a sermon at all. It is just a speech.
It is the responsibility of every member of the clergy to proclaim Jesus Christ every chance he or she gets. When it is not done, the preacher fails to live up to the purposeful preaching or purposeful teaching.