I know what everyone’s thinking – I have a sermon due on Sunday, and your system seems to take weeks!
Well actually, once you’re used to it, what I’m taking weeks to do in analyzing actually I do in about 45 minutes. I’ve actually sat down and written two or three sermons in one day using this method.
If you continue to use the methods you’ve always used, you’ll get the results you’ve always gotten. I started out this series with the confession that most IFB preachers I’ve heard couldn’t preach their way out of a maze that only had straight lines and no corners.
The whole idea here is to preach as grand as the passage you are preaching. Really. If the thought of a sermon on the one verse “Jesus Wept” doesn’t bring to mind a powerful sermon, you need to gather all the articles in this series and print them out!!!
By now you should have learned enough about analyzing this passage to know you could have preached this three ways. good! You’re learning. You should make some notes on outlines for the next tie you get to this passage. Remember, if you’re preaching Expositorially, you’re going to hit this again in Mark! Preach it another way then. And most of your work will be done already.
If Ihad a seminary, I think that Homiletics would be in the first semester, and every student would be required to preach their way through Matthew by graduation. If not actual preaching, they’d be required to write out the sermon.
Why write your sermons word for word?
When writing, the preacher is confronted with the manner in which to express the ideas, because of the effect of “listening” to the words as they go down onto the page. By revision and by continuous practice, clarity, interest, and force are developed.
H. C. Brown Jr, H. Gordon Clinard, Jesse J. Northcutt, and Al Fasol, Steps to the Sermon: An Eight-Step Plan for Preaching with Confidence, Revised. (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 184.
Many of the great preachers literally wrote out their sermons word for word. That’s the way I’ve always done it, and I’m always reading you NEVER should. I’m glad to read someone saying, it’s a valuable tool to focus your thoughts.
Application is the biggest part. As my Seminary teacher said, “Every sermon boils down to one simple question… so what?”
Answering the ‘so what’ gives us our answer. How do I apply this?
You have to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
because without it, we may well ask ourselves… are we saved? Without a relationship with Jesus Christ, we may well be justified in asking ourselves, “Is there any proof I am saved?” If you cannot answer that question, there’s your answer. Remember, Many will say… “Lord, Lord!” And He will answer… “Away with you. I never knew ye.”
So, make sure you look that passage up and add that to your text collection section. Thought you were done with that, right? Yeah, that always happens when writing sermons. You always end up collecting more material than you can use… and still find something you needed to include!
Here’s where we stand so far…
_X_2. Who,What,Where, When,Why,How
_X_5. Text gathering
_X_16. 14 word summary
You don’t always have to have an explanation section. I’m answering that elsewhere, so it’s not a problem.
What about categorizing and outlining? Categorizing is the part where you cut and paste or drag the research and text collection parts into the body of your sermon. At this point, we’re VERY close to finishing the sermon. Literally, I usually can finish all this in about 45 minutes. One of the reason a Christian should read through the Bibles as many times as possible before going to Seminary is this reason: I spent a year reading through the Bible three times in one year. I wrote articles about it. It’s so soaked some parts of the Bible in my head, that now I can look at a passage, know right away the main point of the passage, and with a little research (as I’ve shown you) can assemble the main theme of the sermon. I’ve resisted the advice of the experts, because as you saw in articles 3-5, I don’t agree that every passage has One Big Message. I showed with this one, I literally had three Big Messages, and simply had to pick one. That’s okay, this comes up again in Mark 7, and I’ll use another of the two leftover themes in that passage.
At this point, you just need to write the point of the sermon, and now you’re done except for… writing the sermon. Which actually is going to be fairly easy, because by the time you cut and paste, all you have to do is link and fill, and write some exposition. If you’ve been writing a Christian blog, trust me… you’ve been training yourself to write exposition anyway!
So, what’s the point of the sermon?
Sooner or later, every Christian reaches a point for one reason or another where they go through the motions , pretending to a holiness they really don’t feel. Sooner or later, every believer settles into comfort zones, and then traditions set in. We assume our traditions are the Scriptural way of doing things. What is not important to God is not our traditions, it is not our demeanor, but rather – our relationship to God, to Jesus Christ.
There you go. Tomorrow, we start filling in, categorizing and outlining.