Being a Pastor 20 – Finishing the sermon


Technically, a sermon is not finished until Monday morning. It’s not until the congregation puts it into practice. I think it is important to emphasize that Christianity is not a spectator sport – that the congregation actually must put into practice what the pastor preaches. And of course, the Pastor has to do it first.

So, what do I have to do to outline? In reality, you can check that off, because that’s the first thing I did, even before I put everything in the sermon body. The usual method is this:

  1. point one
  2. point two
  3. point three

really easy to outline that.

yet, recently, I saw a website where someone had done the “How to use Logos to write sermons”, back in version 4 or 5. He advocated an addition.

  1. point one
  2. state
  3. educate
  4. illustrate
  5. point two
  6. state
  7. educate
  8. illustrate
  9. point three
  10. state
  11. educate
  12. illustrate

In the sermon outliner, I indent these. But in HTML format, that’s hard to do, In other words, the state educate illustrate part is indented as sub points.

So, that transforms this from a semi-inductive to (i think?) a deductive? I can’t remember the name of the sermon type that tells you what the points are, gives you the points, and then reminds you what the three points are.

I don’t like those. I don’t like them because… I just prefer semi-inductive. “Who?” “what?” “Why?” I think is for my way of thinking the natural, ordered way to approach a Bible passage. And I’m pretty sure that you attract to your church people who follow your way of thought. Otherwise, a deductive person would hear my sermon, and be unsatisfied with semi-inductive. And go elsewhere.

We even at the beginning of this series wrote out our sesrmon point questions, and I’m not really seeing a reason to vary them. The focus has changed slightly from being a housecleaning to being that of a “Why do we do this?” kind of sermon. But the questions still work well.

What I write now is the exposition. If I tell you point A is New York, Point B is Chicago and Point C is Big Fork, you could draw a route map. So, at this point, I’m drawing a route map, but in words and ideas. My big tools are the interrogatives… you remember those from 7th grade English, right? Who what when where why how. And… we already did THOSE, right

This long and complicated (not really) template we’ve followed has given you all the tools in front of you to build this sermon.

Why do we allow traditions to violate the word of God?

The Lord desires Relationship, not ritual

Relationship, not ritual.

Why do we abandon the Bible in favor of Tradition?

We do things at our house, at our job, in our prayer life, in our Bible reading… and we do them because it’s our habit! It’s our tradition! And if it violates or makes the word of God of none effect, then it is no less hypocrisy in our dining room than it was that day in Galilee.

Relationship, not ritual.

Why do we not see this as hypocrisy?

The Lord despises Hypocrisy

Speak the Truth in Truth

final point

Today, we can rest assured that Jesus Christ wants relationship, not ritual with His redeemed.

Who: Jesus, the Pharisees

What: Arguing about ritual cleanliness

Where: Galilee

When: This comes just before the Lord ministers to a Gentile for the first time, the Syro-phonician woman.

Why: What is commanded?

How: Jesus Christ ultimately points to the heart, and not to the letter. The Pharisees ultimately point to the letter, and the heart is up to you.

Okay, I can tell you by experience, that wwwwwH usually ends up in that order throughout the sermon, but not always. your WHO entry will need to be in point one.

What and Where will probably be in point one. Now when will probably end up in point two, and why will be in pont three. How is ultimately tied to the point of the sermon, and so both must be in point three. “Show them, tell them, make them” should be the command of the ministry.

Now that I’ve essentially completed the checklist at the top, let’s delete that.

Now, do your outlining. The parts we’ve just talked about that, drag them or cut-paste them into the points we’ve discussed. I actually did a little re-arranging as I did this, as I felt my points were good, but one sub-point is out of place now. So, I fixed that. Tomorrow, you’ll have the sermon, so you can see that.

Now READ. One thing I sometimes do is change color of words in parallel passages to highlight the differences. I won’t do that here, because I’m now getting ready to write this sermon. I’ve got my mindset – WRITE THE SERMON. All the work is done. Drag, drop,, cut. So, read, note your essential points in the texts you’ve collected, CAREFULLY look at the clippings from commentaries and decide if it truly educates or not, decide if any scriptural points are… indeed scriptural (JFB is my commentary of choice right now, and they tended towards modernism, and add to the Bible on an infrequent basis – something you have to watch for).

I moved my statistic into it’s spot, and it occurred to me to choose that as a fill-in on the handout. By highlighting infant baptism and protestants and selecting “fill-in”, Logos places it on the handout section of the sermon file, with blank lines in place of those words.

In one sense, all the men in the congregation love fill ins, but you now run the risk of them ignoring every part of the sermon that does not get to the fill-in!

While writing it, I suddenly thought of an old chassidic joke I knew. Chassidic stories tend to fall into one or two types – teaching stories, and Chelm stories. Chelm stories usually involve the wise men of chelm who basically can’t figure out how to tie their shoes. Nudniks, every last one of them. So I tossed in the story of the Maggid (a travelling Chassid teacher) and his coach driver. The coach driver is from Chelm, but I don’t get into that. It’s a good way to explain WHY the Rabbi’s are asking Jesus Christ these questions in the beginning, and later on, why they ask him question traps, to try to prove to everyone that He’s not the Messiah, or get Him to say something the Romans can arrest Him for.

As I wrote this, I realize that I summed up the second quote by Barclay, so I can delete that now. It takes a minute off my sermon time. This is something you’ll realize, if experience hasn’t taught you this already. you’ll basically assemble the Encyclopedia Britannica in al 47 volumes, and cut away at it until you have a Reader’s Digest article.

Most of what the commentators say, you can explain in a quarter of the words. I try to attribute what I learn from where. It’s honest, and the congregation knows you did your homework, and they appreciate it. They don’t care, but… if you DON’T attribute it, and someone gets the JFB and reads what you just quoted on Sunday, they’ll think you stole the entire sermon from somewhere, even if all you did was provide a quote without attribution. Remenber, quoting without attribution is considered plagiarism. And it was the biggest controversy two years ago among pastors, plagiarism in sermons. Remember, a great many of the commentaries that Wordsearch, Logos, and Accordance charge money for are public domain, and you can get them for E-Sword for free. So sooner or later, someone’s going to read that quote from JFB or the Expositor’s commentary.

By the way, I didn’t do as thorough a job in this one as I normally do. Few of you have Quickverse any more, and usually I stop and read all my commentaries in Quickverse as well. And then, i STILL don’t use any of it. I’d say personally, get the Evanggelical commentary by Elwell, and whatever he says, if your stuff agrees, you KNOW it’s wrong!!!

Seriously, Elwell’s commentary is so bad, if I’d bought it hardcover, I’d have returned it in some anger. And you better believe I’d be leaving a review on Amazon or CBD.

But hey, I studied. And that gives me confidence when I step into the pulpit next, to preach with authority that what I’ve learned is correct, that I’m preaching the correct interpretation. And literally, ten percent of preaching a quality sermon, one that changes lives is… preaching with CONFIDENCE. Quiet confidence. Not bragging kind of confidence, like Jason Cooley, but “this is the truth” confidence like Marc Monte and Dan Botterbrodt.

Or you could drink 22 cups of coffee and just go all Danny Castle on the congregation.

This article’s taking 90 minutes to write, because I’m writing my sermon as I do it.

All right… once you have enough in to knw the structure of your sermon, forget your template for a minute. cut and paste or drag (depending on your software) the Bible texts you’ve collected. THESE are your go-to commentaries. Not JFB, not BKC, not Matthew HEnry or Poole, but the KING JAMES BIBLE. You CANNOT go wrong by using more Bible than commentary.

You’ve got several passages saved in your sermon document… Deut. 6:5-9, Psa 78:36-39, Isa. 29:13-14, Mal. 2:2, Col. 2:8, Isa. 8:20, Rom. 3:31, Matt. 7:21-23, and you still have to compare Matt. 15:1-9 with Mark 7:1-13.

And trust me, next Sunday’s sermon is going to build off of what you teach today, because next week you’re dealing with what comes out of a man is what defiles him. You have essentially the same thing, but too much to teach in one sermon. Many people say a sermon should be 25 minutes, and guess what? I’ve barely started writing the sermon, and i’m at 28 minutes. I’ll chop about 2 minites out of that by omitting Mark 7, but you have to compare, and explain what the differences are. You’ll go over that again in about a year, and only a few people in the congregation will remember the point you raised by introducing the differences.

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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???