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Internet Sermons

I am having a little disagreement with a couple of people, and I am hoping you can settle it. Is it ok for a pastor to use a sermon that he found off the internet? Some people think it is stealing, and makes the pastor look lazy. I think it is NOT stealing because a sermon is about God's word. God's word is not copyrighted, nor is the King James Bible. It was given to us freely, and a man's sermon is worthless without God's word. The people who were disagreed treat God as business. I just think that if the pastor had someone dear to him passed away, I think it is ok for him to get a sermon off the internet as long as he tells his members he found a sermon off the internet that he wanted to share to them and tell them where he got it from, or repeat some of his old sermons. What is your opinion on this?

A man of God who does not study the Bible on his own is lazy. But, more than that, he is not approved of God and should be ashamed. 2Timothy 2:15 states, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Therefore, if a man uses canned sermons as a way to avoid studying the Bible for himself, he needs to stir up the gift that is in him and study God's holy word.

However, we are expected to make use of human teachers in our learning. 2Timothy 2:2 states, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." We learn from others and that learning includes the Bible and its applications. We will not learn some things except some man should guide us (Acts 8:31). We learn from others in many ways: preaching, teaching, personal counsel, recordings, and writings. There is nothing wrong in getting help from others. This is the way we learn. It is the way God has established that we should learn.

In conclusion, we can learn much from the studies and even the outlines of others. There is nothing wrong with using the outline and ideas of another preacher. However, if the using of another's outline becomes a way for us to avoid studying God's word, then we are wrong. Though the outlines may be used, there is always the danger of leaning on them too heavily. When this happens, the use of the outlines becomes a hindrance.

My approach is to be continually learning from others and to use those things God's teaches me through these men. However, when I sit down to prepare an outline I avoid copying another man's outline verbatim lest I hinder God in His working in me. That does not mean that I never use part of another man's outline. I just never consciously reuse it by copying it directly. That way I have to work to develop my own approach to the passage or subject. The preacher is like the householder in Christ's parables concerning the kingdom of heaven. He "bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old" (Matthew 13:52). We continually pull from the thoughts and ideas of others and incorporate them into our preaching and teaching (these are the old things). However, if we do not at the same time find some new things from God (something God has shown us personally from His word), our preaching will dry up and will accomplish nothing.