Beautiful sermons are recorded in God's word. Studying the content of sermons preached is extremely valuable to our Christian walk. We learn how to perfect the heart in holiness by studying the Sermon on the Mount at Matthew 5-7. We learn the connection between God's grace, forgiveness of sins, and man's obedience by studying Paul's sermon at Acts 13. We learn about the value of Old Testament commandments to our modern day Christian lives by studying Stephen's sermon at Acts 7. The gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to save men's souls from an eternity of hell (Romans 1:16). Those who present the gospel carry with them God's power to transform and save men's lives (see Colossians 1:13-14). Aside from the great doctrinal lessons of salvation learned by studying these sermons we also learn something about man's character. As these sermons were preached there were reactions and responses.
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount Matthew records, "28 and it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were astonished at his teaching: 29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes" (Matthew 7:28-29 see also Matthew 9:2-8 and 13:54). To be "astonished" (Greek ekplesso) means "to drive out of one's senses, to amaze, astound, to be astonished at a thing or to be struck with panic fear of" (LS 243). The multitudes had been taught by the scribes and Pharisees for most of their lives. What they heard Jesus preaching was distinctly different than what they had been hearing (see Titus 2:1). Jesus did not speak his own opinions, traditions of the fathers, or personal convictions. Jesus spoke divine revelation in an authoritative way that left his audience astounded.
Some would later listen to Jesus and say, "No one has ever spoken the way he does" (John 7:46 - Common English Bible). Many of the people could obviously see right through the scribes and Pharisees. The multitudes had witnessed their hypocrisy for years yet accepted them due to their position and representation of the Mosaic Law. There was no corruption or hypocrisy in Christ.
When Jesus preached that salvation is dependant upon man's works and understanding of divine truths many were repulsed and walked no more with Jesus (John 6:). When Jesus preached on vain worship as people teach the doctrines of men the Pharisees were offended (Matthew 15:713). When Stephen exposed sin, bitterness, and rebellion in the lives of his audience they resisted his message and stoned him to death (Acts 7:51-60). When Paul preached about the resurrection of the dead to the people of Athens many of them mocked while others desired to hear more (see Acts 17:32-34). Distinctive gospel preaching exposes sin in people's life and all are left with a decision to take or leave the gospel's remedy.
Those that work their way out of denominational error can relate to such a study. When attending a denominational church that does not bear the name of Christ there is weak preaching that rarely touches the word of God. When a hungry denominational member attends the true body of Christ they are astounded at the difference in teaching. The preaching is directly from the Bible. Distinctive Bible preaching looks at the actual words of Jesus, the prophets, and apostles. Distinctive Gospel preaching will encourage people to want to know more about God and his plan of salvation. Distinctive preaching will motivate people to study the whole council of God rather than certain hobby subjects. Distinctive gospel preaching will save a few people that are not offended by the words of our creator (John 6:44-45).
John c Robertson