Preaching sermons from the Word of God is essential for the spiritual life of every church. It is God’s way of calling people to repentance and salvation. God had only one Son, and He made Him a preacher. He didn’t make Him a blogger; didn’t make Him a dramatist; He didn’t make Him an author. God made Jesus a preacher. After Jesus trained His disciples, He sent them out to preach repentance to the nations. That alone demonstrates how important preaching is to God’s Kingdom.
The Bible demonstrates how God works in the world through preaching. In the Old Testament, the role of the prophets was to preach repentance to the nation. The Book of Acts is a book of sermons: one out of every five verses is a sermon. When you read the Pastoral Epistles—1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus—that is the ongoing instruction for how the church is to function. Just take a pen and underline “preaching,” “teaching,” and “the ministry of the Word of God” and you see that preaching is the lifeline of the church.
Church history also shows how important preaching is for the Church. Without exception, every high-water mark of revival is the result of preaching. The low valleys, the wilderness times in church history, were a result of the Church replacing preaching for tradition. This is why preaching is so important. Yet, we live in a day in which the phrase “Stop preaching at me. Oh, you’re just preaching at me” has become a derision.
Most churches no longer have Sunday night and Wednesday night prayer services. We have shortened the sermon so we can make room for mesmerizing, choreographed praise songs, drama sketches, and dance. Even the shortened sermon is nothing more than a stand-up comedy monologue or a “I’m okay, You’re okay” pep talk. Modern sermons no longer identify what sin is and the need for repentance, lest we offend someone.
Just as God created the universe with the Word, He changes the world with words.
Preaching sermons is that holy time each week when the assembly of the redeemed closes her collective mouth, opens her ear and heart, and listens to the uninterrupted voice of her Husband, through his messenger, fallible though the messenger be.
What is preaching?
Firstly, this verb means “to announce or proclaim aloud.” This proclamation involves passing along a message from an authority figure such as a monarch (secular) or God himself (spiritual) through an assigned herald or messenger.
Secondly, this verb means “to bring or announce good news,” which in the NT often refers to the Christian gospel.
Thirdly, this verb means “to make known in public” and implies broadcasting a message to a large audience.
Finally, the verb means preaching and teaching to an audience in public.
These four verbs words together portray preaching sermons as the practice of communicating God’s message for mankind to a public audience (William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 543-44).
Preaching is the practice of communicating God’s message to a public audience
What Are the Elements of Preaching Sermons?
The classic approach to sermon development can still guide the preacher for today’s sermon challenges.
There are four elements to a sermon: explanation, illustration, argumentation, and application. The better you understand what each kind of material contributes, the better you will be able to prepare a biblically sound sermon.
- Exegesis. Exegesis is drawing out the meaning of the text. Point out significant words and phrases. Explain the historical background. Restate the meaning of the text to help the congregation understand the meaning of the Scripture.
- Illustration. Illustration clarifies the meaning with images that appeal to the imagination. The word illustration is from Latin, lustrare, “to illuminate.” It means “to throw light on an idea, to illuminate it.” A sermon illustration is a word picture that gives the biblical truth a familiar image that the listener can see it in his mind.
- 3. Argumentation. Sermons are designed to persuade. But if you are to be persuasive, you have to make a case for your ideas. You have to demonstrate that your point is reasonable and worthy of belief. Argument reasons for accepting the principles you are presenting.
- Application. Application presents the implications of biblical truth for the contemporary audience. It is a call for action, for putting the principles of Scripture to work in our lives. It deals with attitudes, behavior, speech, lifestyle, and personal identity. It appeals to conscience, to values, to conviction, to commitment to Christ.
Biblical preaching is God’s way of speaking to humanity. Preaching identifies and exposes sin. It proclaims God’s judgment against sin. But it also proclaims God’s gracious offer to forgive us when we repent and trust in Christ.
The Church needs biblical preaching now more than ever. If we are to experience revival, it will be through preaching the Word of God, calling people to repentance. May the resources on this website help the faithful preacher accomplish God’s will through preaching the Word of God.
Author: Alan Holden