Six Things That Should Be in Every Sermon You Preach Every Time You PreachMay 15, 2014
The assignment of proclamation is a persistent and pressing predicament. I say predicament because it is work; sometimes laborious, intensive, vein-popping work. Yes, our labor in the Scriptures is enjoyable and beneficial; but it is work, nonetheless.
If you are like me, you are constantly working/preparing for the next sermon(s). Within the confines of every message, we must include certain elements that are desperately needed in the preaching hour. I have discovered six things that should be in every message:
Yes, you need to be in the message. I do not mean in content or substance. As a matter of fact, my aim in the preaching hour follows the mantra of John: Christ must increase, I must decrease. If the congregation only sees and hears me, I have radically missed the mark and they will radically be disappointed. What I mean to say is this: My heart, soul, and mind must be engaged in the sermon; I must be in the message. I must be convinced and convicted of the sermon I preach. If my message hasn’t moved me, it certainly will not move anyone else. If you half-heartedly approach the stand with a half-hearted message delivered in a half-hearted tone, sit down until the other half is ready.
E.M. Bounds said that a preacher who is locked in his prayer closet will be loose in his pulpit. If our message has not been presented to God, it is not ready for others. Saturate every area of your message in prayer. Pray over the introduction, the main points, the transitions, the illustrations, the applications, the invitations, and conclusions. More importantly, pray that your heart is spiritually in tune to proclaim His truth. Pray for the congregation to have ready and open hearts.
3. An Understanding of the Passage in its Biblical Context
We are all guilty of “running rabbits” from time to time; but the truth is, most of them need to be shot before they wear out the dogs. Be sure to interpret the passage in its historical, grammatical context. We have not been called to read something into the text; we have been commissioned to simply read out of the text and preach the Word.
4. Christ and the Gospel
Not all the Bible is the Gospel, but all the Bible points to the Gospel…so should the preacher. As Spurgeon so poignantly stated, “Take a text and make a beeline to Calvary.” Christ is in every book, every chapter, every paragraph, every sentence, every word, every letter, and every iota of the Word…He is the Word. Regardless of the subject or content, the message of Christ is your message.
5. The Power of the Holy Spirit
When writing to the Thessalonians, Paul declared that his preaching was not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. We are living in a day when the mighty trumpeters of God have traded their instruments for a silent and soft whisper. Without the power of the Spirit, our messages, no matter how articulate and well-prepared will fail to penetrate the heart.
6. An Invitation to Respond
I am not just speaking of an altar call. What I mean is that every sermon should bring the congregation to an apex. As they look out from that Biblical height, they should be forced to see themselves in light of God’s Word. Decisions should be made, challenges should be issued, hearts should be changed. This never happens when we fail to lead men to the zenith. Present your sermon in such a way that people are forced to respond.