Each week I have the joy of sitting down and writing a sermon. I love it. I enjoy getting to grips with a passage, crafting a sermon, and then getting to preach to the good people of Ammanford Evangelical Church. It is a true privilege and blessing.
Here is the process I go through in writing my sermons – my 7 ingredients of a good sermon:
1. Desperate dependence
Each sermon must start with prayer and an acknowledgement that without God I am nothing. It is easy to write an accurate and mechanical sermon – but that is not preaching. Each sermon must have a prophetic edge – a Holy Spirit empowered application to the hearts and minds of the people…that only comes from God.
2. Exegetical excellence
I have to make sure that the Bible is in the driving seat. That I am saying what both the author (human, in time) and Author (Divine, out of time) is saying, I have to do the hard work of understanding the text in context. This involves a good 4 hours of commentary time.
3. Christ Centred-ness
Having done the initial exegesis of the passage I must see Christ there. I firmly believe that all the Bible points to Jesus and the gospel – and not just in a 5 minute tag on at the end. This can be very hard work, and must be inspired. I never want Jesus to be missing or present but boring. The gospel must excite and warm the heart each time.
A friend sent my this quote:
‘If we’re not going to proclaim some aspect of the riches of Christ in every sermon, we shouldn’t be in the pulpit‘ Goldsworthy.
4. Doctrinal depth
As we are preaching through the Bible we need to be teaching and explaining doctrines as we see them. For example, I want to showing the sovereignty of God, the role of women, the nature of conversion, the work of the Spirit, the doctrine of the Church, etc. I believe we need to stretch our people.
5. Real relevance
In all of this we must remember to whom we are preaching. The people we visit, laugh with, cry with, counsel…these are the people we are preaching too. I need to craft my sermon for them. This week I am looking at Titus 2….I understand that young men, especially those who teach, must have a seriousness and soundness of speech. As I know my people, I know that this is a particular problem on facebook and twitter…thus I can make the sermon really relevant by applying the passage to social media (even though there were no computers in Paul’s time!).
6. Simple structure
By now I have a lot of ‘stuf’f’ to say. I need to make sure that it is not all lost in a mass of words. Two things need to happen:
-Put everything into a structure (maybe 3 points….). Make sure yon can remember your main points. If you cant, they can’t!
-Put your babies to bed. That it, get rid of anything that is not necessary or has been written out of anger/ frustration. So, going back to point 5, I need to make sure that my sermon does not become 45 minutes of picking on the guys who say stupid things on facebook (like I am now ;)).
In order to do this I try and have my sermon finished in first draft form by Thursday, so that I can look at it with fresh eyes on the Friday. It is amazing how many ‘stupid’ comments you see the next day. Better to see them on Friday than Monday!
7. Passionate preaching
When we get up to preach, let us, having prayed, be completely sold out on the sermon. I used to laugh at how often Lloyd Jones started with ‘this is the most important passage’….how can every passage be the most important? Well, if God has given us a message for that day, then that is the most important message! Do you believe that?
Last Sunday I felt like I would burst if I did not preach….in the middle of the sermon I could have cried. Oh, for that to be every time!
Well, that is how I (try) to write a sermon. hope it helps!