Sunday Sermon: 6 life-changing sermons


It has been said that the main benefit of preaching is not the remembering of the facts of a sermon afterwards, but rather the spiritual effects of the word of God on the soul during the preaching. In other words, what makes a sermon good is not the ability to recall the details of it later, but rather the feeling that God is rocking your world while you hearing it.

As someone who preaches two different sermons every week, I certainly hope that is true. Sometimes I can’t remember what I preached on the week before, so I can’t imagine other people remembering it either.

However, as I look back at my Christian life, I can think of a few sermons that I do remember. In fact, I don’t just remember them, but I continue to feel their effects years after having heard them for the first time. They exposed truth that reverberates in my heart even today.

Its not that these are the best sermons I’ve ever heard. Or even that they contain truth that isn’t clear and easily accessible simply from reading the Bible. Rather, it is just that sermons are a means of grace that God uses to impact his children through the preached word. Here are six sermons that have impacted my life, and I hope you spend some time listening to them so that they can impact yours as well (all the titles are linked to audio and/or video):

John Piper—“Live to Die,” Colossians 1:24-26.

Piper preached this sermon at The Shepherd’s Conference in 2001, and a friend gave me the tape years later. I used to listen to this sermon with my roommates on our way to our college Bible study (I know what exits are on the freeway next to each sermon point). It has caused me to appreciate that suffering for Jesus requires intentionality, but always comes with divine blessing.

Alex Montoya, “The Man of God Must Not Compromise,” 1 Kings 13.

Professor Montoya preached this sermon in TMS chapel as a warning to students about compromise. His line, “If a pastor forces God to choose between God’s man and God’s word, God’s man will lose every time” has been used by God to ward off compromise and to battle temptation.

John MacArthur, “A Tale of Two Sons,” Luke 15:11-32.

I know this is a contest with many contestants, but this is my favorite John MacArthur sermon. I was at Grace Church when John preached the parable of the prodigal son in a three or four-part series. But a few months later, John condensed the whole series into one sermon for our college ministry. This sermon had a profound effect on me, and solidified my desire to leave secular vocation for pastoral ministry.

HB Charles, “Why we ought to Love the Word of God” (Psalm 119 mem).

My wife gave me this sermon that students at The Master’s University in our college ministry told us about. Preached in 2009 at TMU’s chapel, it is a convicting challenge to devote yourself to learning from God’s word. Some of HB’s illustrations still go through my mind to guard me against apathy in my personal devotional time.

Steve Lawson, “Absolutely Sovereign,” Psalm 93.

Steve preached this sermon at the Resolved Conference, and it served to lay down a marker in my life concerning the sovereignty of God. You can tell this Psalm has had an effect on his own life, and he wants to use it to similarly drive others to a lasting confidence in God’s control of all things. In fact, just last year when Lawson visited the church I pastor, I asked him to re-preach it for my congregation (that’s the one I linked to).

Arturo Azurdia, “The Greatness of our High Priest,” Hebrews 4:14-16.

I first heard Azurdia preach this sermon in seminary chapel, and then again a few years later at The Master’s University Truth and Life Conference. It is a Christ-exalting sermon that cuts through the debate about the peccabiltiy of Christ in a way that makes you appreciate the gospel more because of the humanity of our savior. The Lord uses this sermon to remind me that in any Christological debate, the real question is “how does this make people love the gospel of Jesus Christ more?”

What about you? Are there any sermons that have made a lasting impact in your life? If so, list one below and link to it.

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