My buddy, Kevin Bussey, asked recently if you would ever preach someone else’s sermons. I strive weekly to avoid this lapse in ethical judgment. I listen almost daily to several radio preachers, catch a few minutes from time to time of televised sermons, and also try to read the messages of excellent preachers on occasion. Can I gather any help from these preachers? Sure. Do I preach their sermons? Certainly not.


One of the recent trends among preachers is to surf the Internet and find sermons to preach. When we were in high school, college, and seminary for training and wrote papers for grades, to have reproduced a paper found on the ‘Net or in some obscure library somewhere and apply our name, claiming the work as our own would have been seen as lazy as well as illegal. There’s a big word for this practice—plagiarism. It means to present as your own the work of someone else.


Some of the better-known, more eloquent preachers today are even selling their sermons and outlines on the Internet for anyone who wants to buy them. I enjoy reading and studying the Word with these sermons, but haven’t come to the place that I am comfortable trying to present them from the pulpit. I might quote from them, I might repeat a timely illustration from them, but I just can’t bring myself to preach the sermons in their entirety. Here are the reasons that hold me back from this practice:


  1. It is the habit of a lazy person to let someone else do the study work and present it as their own.
  2. I owe the congregation that I serve more than that—they’ve called me to open the Word for them.
  3. I owe the God who called me to preach the Word diligence if I am to be a leader by example.