On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt – on that very day – they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.

3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, ‘This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel:

I note also, at the end of verse 6: These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.’

Sadly, it has been known for a preacher to lift someone else’s sermons wholesale, from the internet, and pass them off as their own. It’s called ‘plagiarism’, and only in the last month or two, I have heard of people being fired for it. The approach obviously lacks integrity. It is a form of dishonesty, and it will also fall short on power. You can’t borrow someone else’s anointing.

I want to say, though, that I sympathise. I understand the temptation. You’re trying to do 101 things and the time for sermon prep gets squeezed out. Or maybe you’re just feeling ‘dry.’ There may be all manner of reasons/excuses a man or woman brings into play to justify their sermonic pilfering. Once, when I was new into the ministry, I heard a sermon I thought was so good, I felt I had to preach it to my congregation. So I took notes from the cassette tape I was listening to, and pretty much gave it the next Sunday, apart from the odd tweak. I have lived with the regret of that for 40 odd years, and I try to be conscientious about attributing material I may incorporate into sermons from other sources. But I can’t condemn plagiarism without confessing my own sin. The truth is, I didn’t see it as a sin at the time, although I know my conscience was not 100% happy.

Therefore, I want to say, ‘Preacher, get up that mountain and hear from God for yourself!” Your congregation would rather listen to ten simple, authentic words you heard in the presence of God, than several thousand from another preacher (who may or may not have heard from the Lord). Let God speak to your heart and the words you speak from Him are likely to move the hearts of the people.

Remember to go and talk to God about men before you talk to men about God. Bring something fresh from being with the Lord.

And churches/congregations…pitch your tent “in front of the mountain” (2). Position yourselves to meet with God.Never lose sight of how you can affect the power of the preaching in your church just by your prayers. ‘Don’t just stand there, pray something!’ (Ronald Dunn).