I have a friend who is really into rebuilding old cars. It is an art form to take a rusted out car from the scrap heap or auction lot and restore it to better than new condition.
He once told me that when you rebuild a car, you don’t just add the parts that are missing. That wouldn’t work. Why? Because many of the existing parts are beyond repair. Rust, corrosion, and years of damage have left them unusable.
The car must be broken down piece by piece, cleaned, restored, and reassembled with new parts for a proper restoration.
I think that is a lot like preaching.
Preaching could be described as the act of breaking down existing world views, and then rebuilding them Biblically.
You break it, then build it.
Do you ever do this when preaching?
For example, I were preaching about marriage, I would start by breaking down how most people view marriage.
I would talk about how the idea of marriage is eroding in our culture. I would talk about the rise in unhappy marriages and divorce, because our way isn’t working. I might tell a funny story or two about how my flawed perspective caused problems in my own marriage.
After breaking the average worldview down and highlighting its problems, I would say something like, “But there is still hope for us. This is not what God created marriage to be. There is a better way.”
Then I would point to the passage of scripture I was preaching and rebuild a Biblical understanding of how God defines marriage, why it matters, and why His way is better than our ways.
Break then build.
By the way, this isn’t a ground-breaking new concept.
Paul wrote about this in Romans 12:2
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)
In order to not conform to the pattern of the world, Paul says that we have our minds renewed (or restored). This is what good preaching does, because this is what the Bible does. God’s Word challenges, sharpens, and restores our understanding of the world from God’s perspective.
Before a person’s actions are transformed, their mind must be transformed.
When people begin to think the way Jesus thinks, they will begin to do what Jesus does.
People rarely behave their way into right belief. A change in action always starts with a change of mind.
So, when you preach, break down how most people think. Point out the problems in our thinking. Most of the time it is as simple bringing up the common way of living and asking, “So, how’s that working for you?”
Then allow scripture to do what it does best – renew people’s minds. Plainly show why what the Bible says is so much better.
Break then build.
This may sound like a simple concept, but the practice is more difficult than the principle.
It is easy for me to tell you that you need to break down a car before you rebuild it, but actually knowing how to restore a car is a lot harder.
This simple principle of preaching takes a lifetime to master.
Go break something, and let God use His word and your sermon to rebuild it better than ever.
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