PLANNING A SERMON
Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:
C Summarize basic steps for planning a sermon.
C Define topical preaching.
C Define textual preaching.
C Define expository preaching.
C Plan a sermon to preach.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (II Timothy 4:2)
In this lesson you will learn how to preach a Biblical sermon. You will learn basic
principles of preaching by studying some of the sermons in the Bible and some of the
most effective sermons of great preachers throughout church history. You will discover that preaching and teaching are similar in many ways but differ in methods of
presentation and style of delivery .
PREACHING AND TEACHING: HOW THEY DIFFER
Preaching and teaching usually differ in the following ways:
Methods which call for audience participation are not commonly used in preaching. For example, there is usually no discussion or question and answer period when you preach. The reason is that preaching usually involves a larger audience. Because of this, the method of presentation is more formal.
THE STYLE OF DELIVERY:
In teaching, people are often divided by age groups. The class is all adults, young people, or children. Preaching usually involves a group of people of various ages. The audience is not divided by age groups as they often are in Sunday school or church study groups.
For this reason, you must adjust your preaching style to a common level. Do not make the sermon so difficult that children and teenagers cannot understand. At the same time, do not make it so simple that adults lose interest.
Sunday schools and church schools often have curriculum guides which give you the
subject and a discussion of the lesson you will teach. This is usually not true for
preaching. With the direction of the Lord, you must determine the type and content of your message.
PREPARING A SERMON
The basic steps in preparing a sermon are similar to those you learned in planning a lesson to teach. You should:
-Prepare yourself spiritually .
-Analyze the audience.
The basic structure of a sermon follows that of teaching a lesson . Your sermon should include:
-A title .
(Review Chapter Ten, "Lesson Planning").
Just as you do in teaching, you must gain and hold the attention of the audience. You
must present the lesson in an orderly way. You must make life and ministry applications in the sermon and you must call for response to the revelation of God’s Word .
TYPES OF SERMONS
From the study of Biblical sermons and the sermons of great preachers throughout Church
history , three basic types of sermons have been identified:
TYPE ONE – TOPICAL SERMONS:
Topical sermons focus on specific topics such as spiritual fruit, spiritual warfare, spiritual gifts , etc .
How To Plan A Topical Sermon:
1. Determine the general topic of the sermon. For example, "prayer" may be the
topic you select.
2. Determine the specific theme: On what theme of prayer will you preach? Here
are some possibilities:
-The Necessity of Prayer -Intercessory Prayer
-The Value of Prayer -Family Prayer
-The Times for Prayer -Hindrances to Prayer
-The Power of Prayer -Bible Prayers
-The Purpose of Prayer -Practical Prayer
-The Method of Prayer -Attitudes in Prayer
-The Results of Prayer -Places to Pray
-The Conditions of Prayer -Worship through Prayer
-The Problems of Prayer -Posture in Prayer
-Praying in the Spirit -The Privilege of Prayer
-Perseverance in Prayer -Faith and Prayer
-The Preeminence of Prayer -The Scope of Prayer
-Answers to Prayer
You must determine a specific theme for your sermon. You cannot cover every aspect of a topic because, as you see in this example, there are many themes to most Biblical topics. The theme you select will become the title of your sermon. For example, you may choose to speak on "Hindrances To Prayer".
3. Research everything the Bible has to say on the theme you have selected. If you
have access to Bible research materials such as concordances, commentaries, and
word study books, use these in your study also.
4. Develop the outline following the simple four -section structure you learned in
Chapter Ten on lesson planning:
An Example Of A Topical Sermon:
Using the example theme "Hindrances To Prayer", your rough outline might look like the following:
Title: HINDRANCES TO PRAYER
Introduction: Focus on a problem most people have: Unanswered prayer and the
question as to why prayers are unanswered. This will gain attention as most everyone has experienced this problem .
Body: Discuss the hindrances to prayer identified in God’s Word:
-Wrong motives and requests: James 4:2-3
-Sin of any kind: Isaiah 59 :1-2
-Idols in the heart: Ezekiel 14:1-3
-An unforgiving spirit: Mark 11:25
-Selfishness: Proverbs 21:13
-Wrong treatment of marriage partner: I Peter 3 :7 -Self-righteousness: Luke 18:10-14
-Unbelief: James 1:6-7
-Not abiding in Christ and His Word: John 1 5:7
I. Explain how unanswered prayer hinders:
A. Family life.
B. Our personal spiritual development.
C. Our ministry.
II. Ask the audience to apply these truths individually:
A. Which hindrances are blocking my prayers?
I . Summarize the hindrances of prayer discussed.
II. Call for confession and repentance of those things which have hindered prayer.
TYPE TWO – TEXTUAL SERMONS:
In textual preaching, a key Biblical passage forms the central truth or text of the lesson . The remainder of the message is built on this one central truth.
How To Plan A Textual Sermon:
1. Select the text.
2. Develop a sermon title from the text.
3. Study the text in detail. Then study other Scriptural passages that relate to the text
you have selected. If you have access to Bible research materials such as
concordances, commentaries, and word study books, use these to further research
4. Develop the outline following the simple four -section structure you learned in
Chapter Ten on lesson planning:
An Example Of A Textual Sermon:
Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-36 is a good example of this. If Peter had a title for the sermon , it may have been .. .THIS IS THAT
Introduction : Peter opened the message with reference to a Scripture text:
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my
Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit and they shall prophesy… (Acts 2:16-18)
This introduction gained the attention of the audience because they were watching the fulfillment of this passage right before their eyes!
Body: The body of Peter’s sermon focused on the text.
I. He presented the historical background of the passage which was that day being
II. He showed how it related to Israel’s history and to Jesus Christ .
Application : He made personal application…
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:39)
Conclusion : He called for response…
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
And the audience responded…
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)
TYPE THREE – EXPOSITORY SERMONS:
"Expository" is the title given to a method of preaching which focuses on a Scriptural passage and explains it in detail, verse by verse. The word "expository" means "to take apart and examine the parts of a whole."
Expository is a more detailed type of preaching than topical or textual. It can focus on a specific subject or passage of Scripture, explaining it in detail, verse by verse and word by word. It can also focus on a book of the Bible, studying the book in detail, chapter by chapter , then verse by verse, and even discussing in depth the meaning of key words. Expository preaching can focus on a biography, studying verse by verse all that is
recorded regarding a selected Biblical character.
Because expository preaching is so detailed , it often results in a series of messages. It is
not possible to discuss in detail everything about a Bible passage, book , or personality in
one sermon. Each sermon in the series should relate to the others. When you begin each sermon you should show how it relates to those which have preceded it. You can do this by briefly summarizing the previous messages and explaining how they relate to the one
you are presenting.
Although each sermon in a series should relate to the others, each sermon should also be
complete in itself. Everyone in the audience may not be present for every sermon in the series. They should be able to understand each sermon without having heard the others.
How To Plan An Expository Sermon:
1. Select the text , subject, Bible character , or book on which you plan to focus your
message or series of messages.
2. Study in detail everything the Bible teaches on the text, subject, Bible character or
book. If you have access to Bible research materials such as concordances,
commentaries, and word study books , use these for further research .
3. Determine if your subject can be covered in a single expository sermon or if it will
require a series of sermons .
4. Develop a title and text for each message in the series.
5. Develop an outline for each message in the series. Follow the simple four-section
structure for each message:
An Example Of An Expository Sermon:
Here is an example of an outline for an expository sermon:
Title: CHARACTERISTICS OF FALSE TEACHERS Text: Jude chapter 1
Introduction: Jude 1:3-4
I. Their background:
A. Before of old ordained to this condemnation (verse 4 ).
II. Their walk:
A. Crept in unawares (verse 4).
B. Walking after their own lusts (verse 16).
C. Walking after their own ungodly lusts (verse 18).
III. Their talk:
A. Speak evil of dignities (verses 8-1 0).
B. Speak evil of things they know not (verses 8-10 ).
C. Murmurers (verse 16 ).
D. Complainers (verse 16 ).
E. Mouths speak great swelling words (verse 16 ).
F. Mockers (verse 18 ).
IV. Their doctrine:
A. Turn the grace of God into lasciviousness (verse 4 ).
B. Deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 4).
C. Have not the Spirit (verse 19 ).
V. Their conduct:
A. Ungodly (verse 4).
B. Filthy dreamers (verse 8).
C. Defile the flesh (verse 8).
D. Despise dominion (verses 8-10 ).
E. Corrupt what they naturally know (verses 8-10 ).
F. Admire people because of the benefit they receive (verse 16 ).
G. Separate themselves (verse 19) .
H. Live sensually (verse 19 ).
Application: What should you do in response to these types: Jude 1:20-23 Conclusion: Summary, call for response.
Here are some general guidelines that will help you plan any type of sermon.
SELECTING A TEXT:
The word "text" came from a Greek word which means "woven or spun". The text should be that from which the message is woven or from which it "spins off". It should be the basis of the sermon.
Using a text from God’s Word as the basis of a sermon gives the preacher authority in his message. He is saying "Thus saith the Lord" because he is speaking God’s Word. He can do so with boldness and authority. The text keeps a message Biblical and it gains the
confidence of the audience by assuring them that the preacher is proclaiming God’s Word and not his own opinions.
Here are some guidelines for selecting a text from God’s Word:
1. Pray for guidance from the Lord.
2. Study God’s Word regularly. Texts and subjects for ministry will result from your
study. Keep a notebook of texts and subject ideas as you discover them in your
personal study. Use these later for planning sermons.
3. Consider the spiritual needs of the audience to which you plan to minister. For
example, an audience of ministers do not normally need a text and sermon on
salvation. (Remember what you learned about audience analysis in Chapter
4. Before you preach on a text, be certain you understand it so you will not create
confusion in the minds of your listeners.
5. Consider the entire revelation of God’s truth. Do not preach only on your favorite
texts or subjects people enjoy hearing. "ALL" Scripture is given by inspiration of
God and profitable.
INTERPRETING THE TEXT:
After you have selected a text, study all the Bible teaches about it. If you have various translations of the Bible, study these for further understanding. If you have Bible
commentaries, read what others have said about the text. These study methods will help you understand or "interpret" the text properly.
Here are some basic rules of interpreting God’s Word which should be used as you study the text:
The Rule Of Divine Authority: The Bible is the final authority. Every portion of the Scripture is inspired by God.
The Rule Of Literal Interpretation: The Bible means exactly what it says and should be interpreted literally unless the context indicates otherwise. Sometimes there are symbols and parables used in the Bible to illustrate truths, but these are clearly indicated in the
context of Scripture.
The Rule Of Contextual Consideration: Every verse should be studied in relation to its context. Study what precedes and follows the text. Many false doctrines have been created by taking verses out of context. To study a passage in its context ask yourself:
-Who is speaking or writing?
-What is being said?
-To whom is it being said?
-Why is it said?
-When was it said?
The Rule Of First Mention: The first time a word, phrase, object, or incident is mentioned in the Bible, it often gives a key to its meaning anywhere else in the Bible.
For example, in Genesis 3 there is the first mention of "fig leaves". Here, Adam used fig leaves to try to cover his own sin and nakedness by his own efforts. Fig leaves speak of self-righteousness, rejection of God, and an attempt to justify ones self before God.
This is why Jesus cursed the tree with leaves but no fruit in Matthew 21 and Mark 11 and
13. To understand this act, we recall the law of first mention and go back to Genesis 3. Fig leaves represented the self-righteous nation of Israel who had rejected Jesus and not brought forth the true fruits of repentance.
The Rule Of Repetition: When something is repeated in Scripture it is for the purpose of emphasis. It means that this truth is of such special importance that it needs to be
The Rule Of Cumulative Revelation: The full truth of God’s Word on any subject must not be gathered from an isolated passage. The cumulative [total] revelation of all the Bible says regarding a truth must be considered. This means you must accumulate all the Bible teaches on a certain subject. This is why the rule is called the rule of "cumulative" revelation. You cannot base a doctrine on a few isolated verses about a subject.
GATHERING SERMON MATERIAL:
Once you have selected a text, you must gather material for the sermon. Asking these questions will help you do this:
1. What does the Bible teach about this subject? The most important objective is to
communicate what God has revealed in His Word concerning the subject. This
should compose the major part of your message.
2. What have I observed in life and ministry that concerns this subject? What
examples in life and ministry relate to the subject? How have you seen the truths
of the Word demonstrated in real life? You can use these examples for illustration and application in the message.
3. What have I read concerning this subject? If you have access to Bible reference
materials, reading and research of the works of Bible scholars will assist you in
gathering material for the sermon.
4. Who do I know that has knowledge on this subject? Is there someone who has had
an experience which relates to this text? Is there someone you know who has
studied extensively on the subject? Consult them as part of your preparation for
preaching on this subject.
THE FINAL OBJECTIVE
This chapter concludes this course on "Teaching Tactics". But in reality, you have only begun because you must keep on preaching and teaching until the final objective is met:
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying Know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the
greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)