The preacher's topic: "The Conversion of Saul." But why that topic? Aren't most of us familiar with that? Shouldn't the preacher choose something new and more challenging? Why preach what is familiar?
1. It confirms convictions we have formed through the years. Most of us have strong beliefs concerning what a sinner needs to do to be saved, what constitutes the pattern set by the apostles for each local church, what the Lord wants of us on a daily basis, and on many other issues. When we hear sermons confirming these convictions, it builds our confidence that we are indeed doing the Lord's will and strengthens our hope of eternal life.
2. It conforms our teaching to the example of the apostles. Peter wrote that he was reminding his readers of certain things, that he would continue to do so, and that he would see to it that they would continue to "have a reminder of these things after my decease" (2 Peter 1: 12-15). Peter knew that Christians need to hear the truth - familiar truth - again and again.
3. It builds convictions in those who are young and those who are new in the faith. There are reasons why we who have been Christians for many years are familiar with these scriptures. It is because of the preaching we have heard since our youth. Today's young people and newer converts need this same opportunity.
4. It thrills listeners to hear again that which has brought joy to them in the past. A sports fan views a rerun of an exciting game his team has won. He knows exactly the moment when the running back scoots through the defense and scores a touchdown. He knows when that moment is near, and he can't wait to see it again. It never gets old to him. So it is when we love the scriptures. We rejoice to hear the message. It never grows old. We anticipate certain scriptures and points that are about to be presented. We never tire of the old, old story.
Catherine Hankey said it this way:
I love to tell the story,
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest;
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.
Our purpose is not "to tell or to hear some new thing," as seems to be the trend. Our purpose is to preach truth. If we are bored with that message, something is wrong with us spiritually. If we need to apologize anytime we preach it, something is wrong with our audience. The ring of truth! The familiar ring of truth! Preach it, Brother! We thank God for the joy of hearing it again and again.
- by Bill Hall
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