Posted by: Tim | November 3, 2007

High Impact Sermons #1

One sermon that really impacted me is called “Reaching the Back Rows”, by Dr. Paul B. Smith, who was my pastor for many years at The Peoples Church. (It may be that he adapted the sermon from his father Dr. Oswald J. Smith, who founded Peoples. Also, I once heard Tim Philpott, then President of CBMC International, preach a version of the message, giving Dr. Paul credit.)

Dr. Paul would tell the story of the feeding of the 5000, and would get to the point where the disciples start passing out the food. The disciples would start by passing food to the people in the front rows, then they would pass the food to the front row people again, and again, and again. The rest of the people waiting for the food from Jesus would start to complain and say “That’s not fair!” as they were ignored and the people in the front stuffed themselves with the food. This would go on for a while and of course by now everyone knew that Dr. Paul wasn’t telling the story right, for in the Biblical account all the people ate and were satisfied.

Dr. Paul would then explain that this is what goes on in the spread of the gospel. Those in the front rows, such as we who are listening to the message in this privileged part of the world, hear the gospel over and over while the back rows of the world are ignored. The challenge of the message is to reach the back rows of the world with the gospel, the places where people are starving for the Lord, but have never heard the Good News.

This message superbly illustrated Dr. Oswald J. Smith’s famous missionary slogan that was a driving force in his life and the life of Peoples, “Why should anyone hear the gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once?”

It stands out in my mind as one of the great messages I heard growing up and it still challenges me today.


  1. i need to contact you. iam from Angola and i preach the gospel here, in S.Tome and Principe and Gabon. i believe in missions work. i have been impacted by Dr.Oswald Smith books and i need more information on missions, please help me in the name of Jesus

  2. Hi Helder,

    I am sorry I didn’t respond much sooner. I am glad to hear about your interest in missions, and that Dr. Oswald J Smith’s books have impacted you. I have added a “Contact Me” page above where you can send me a note.


  3. The reason that the sermon spoke to you Strickland, is that you were the one sitting in the back row.
    Love you man

  4. That you Wilson?

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