Points and Purpose of a Sermon


My seminary instructor had an almost blasphemous way of putting it. “Every sermon must answer, ‘so what???'”

I cringed when I heard it. But – he’s right. My old pastor didn’t quite care for how he said it, but… he said it. And he’s right.

I can get up and read Matthew 4:1-11 to all of you. “And blah blah blah.” I can explain all the details of it, how Jesus didn’t even recognize Satan by name until dismissing him. I could even tell you where the wilderness was, and what the sand vs. rock ratio of the soil there was.

Unless I’m making demands on you as a Christian, who cares? You could have sat at home and not read your Bible. Which a third of the congregation usually does. The measure of a committed church is a full house on Superbowl Sunday. The measure of a committed Christian is that he does not allow the words “superbowl”, “Football”, or the names of either sports team to pass his lips the entire day.

Football fan? I’m sure. If you’re not thinking for yourself, someone else is doing the thinking for you!

The purpose of preaching is changed lives. In today’s world, most churches cut back sermons from 45 minutes to 30. Then to 25.

Most churches now are trying to get the Pastor down to ten minutes. On a Sunday.

Sermonettes make Christionettes. Or Marionettes.

The purpose of the sermon is to get the unSaved saved, and to get Christians to increase their sanctification. Forget entire sanctification – it never worked. There was is no spiritual exercise that can cause you to become completely holy, and ready to take the throne next to Jesus Christ. Sorry.

Preaching helps. 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (KJV)

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:14 (KJV)

YOU need preaching. YOU need to be in church.

So. In Matthew 4:1-11, the text we’re dealing with in writing a sermon, what’s the point?

  • Every Christian is tempted/tested.
  • The testing is for proving.
  • You will be tested/tempted
  • If you are not saved, you’ve already failed the test before it began.
  • The Lord provides a way out of the temptation.
  • THe Temptation is not more than you can bear.
  • I will hide thy word within my heart that I may not sin against thee

That took more time to type than to think up. This is the “brainstorm” phase. You’ve saturated your brain in Scripture as a pastor… so now what??? Stop, focus on the text, and let accumulated lessons in the Bible come out. Focusing on “Tempt/Test” these points immediately came to mind. The best way to describe this is “Meditating on thy law”.

100 years ago, it was common for sermons to have six points. Now, they are three. And I’m hoping you looked at my 20 second list and decided to add to that. Pick at least three points.

Now, you have a choice. Subpoint? Or State?

THere’s one school of thought that says, “State, Educate Illustrate”. LIke this…

Point 1 – Every Christian is tempted/tested

* * State

* Educate

* Illustrate

Point 2 – The testing is for proving.

* * State

* Educate

* Illustrate

Point 3 – The Lord provides a way out of the temptation.

* * State

* Educate

* Illustrate

“state” obviously is to show how in the world you got your first point from the text. There’s always some person there whose blood sugar is a little low (who ever thought of putting Church in between breakfast and lunch???”) and they instantly are missing the point. And I guarantee they’ve got a WordPress blog!

“Educate” is not too hard to figure out. You can tell people about Periazo and other Greek words at this point. Be advised, if you are an IFB preacher, thanks to the dead, stinking, rotting albatross of Ruckmanism and Pearlism, mentioning a Greek word in an IFB church can cost you members right off the bat. I’ve found several who disclaim Peter Ruckman, and yet have the doctrine firmly lodged between their ears. My response to them is, “surely you’re aware that the first sermons in Baptist churches were done in Hebrew… and when they began moving to Antioch, they were done in Greek?”

There’s one IFB teacher in Ireland who put the Bible quote “‘Canst thou speak Greek’ Acts 21:37” on the cover of his Greek textbook to forestall the Ruckmanites. THere is NO SIN in digging into the Textus Receptus!

“Illustrate”. I despise sermon illustrations. Very often, your congregation walks away remembering only the sermon illustrations. I watched Joel Osteen when I first got saved, and that’s all I could remember, besides CAncer, getting the compaq center, and his daddy getting tossed out of the Southern Baptists for good reasons. Oh, and “God’s got a bigger plan for your life.”

The idea is you give a sermon illustration at the “illustrate” point. I despise them, but I leave that up to you. I prefer to State, Educate, Educate. My illustration is done by flipping the point backwards and explaining the explain part from the other way.

Here’s the thoughts of the educate illustrate points.

Point 1 – Every Christian is tempted/tested

* * State

* Educate – what is testing

* Illustrate – testing is like a crucible, heating up the metal to remove the impurities. Without it the ore is dull and lifeless. Try not to Osteen here.

Point 2 – The testing is for proving.

* * State

* Educate- why are we tested

* Illustrate – to prove us. some kind of sad story about a kitten learning how to walk or something useless goes here.

Point 3 – The Lord provides a way out of the temptation.

* * State

* Educate – how we can pass the test

* Illustrate thy word have I hidden in my heart

Wow, that was easy, right? Now we have to write the sermon. Once you’ve done this part, everything is easy now.

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Author: philipdean2013

Seminary graduate with a Ba. in Theology/Pastoral Studies, Happily married, Independent Baptist. I can't keep silent about what I see going on in Christianity any longer! Apostasy reigns around us, churches are sliding into worldiness, a whitewashed Gospel is preached everywhere... "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV) So, I'm speaking out. ...Why aren't you???

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