How do you preach sermons that work? What is involved in preparing a good sermon? You might be surprised! I have preached more sermons in my life than I ever thought possible and in all honesty probably more than was ever necessary! LOL However I see a need in today’s world to share with people some of the insights I have learned over the last 32 years of my life. The art of delivering a good sermon and the work involved to prepare sermons that work seems to be dying. In our age of internet sermons and clones of TV preachers, the amount of pastors that actually spend time before the Lord, spend time in the study of His word, and spend time crafting their own sermons seems to be dwindling. This is one time I hope I am wrong.
How do you prepare a sermon that works?
You must prepare the Messenger before you prepare the Message.
You must remember that giving a sermon is more than just passing along information. You, at the time you are delivering the message, are in actuality the oracle of God. 1 Peter 4:11 That means that you are both being viewed, and being used as someone who has heard from God. Whether you like it or not, you are God’s mouthpiece during the time that you are delivering your sermon. If you have not prepared yourself to be used in that way then the effectiveness of your sermon will be drastically effected. A wise professor of mine in Bible college once said “God cannot do through you what He has not done in you”. If you want God to use your sermon and have it be effective in touching the hearts of people then He must first touch your heart with that self-same message. It must be something He has worked in you first.
You must hear the Message that God wants to speak to His people.
The presentation of a sermon is not just about giving facts and information. If you want to give sermons that work, then you must first hear the message that God wants to speak. God confirms His word with signs following. Mark 16:20 One of the reasons we do not have many people preaching sermons that work is because they are not preaching what He wants to say. They may be teaching Bible facts and information. They may be emotional about those facts and information but if they have not gone to the throne room of God and heard directly from Him what He wants to say to His people for that day, then there will not be effectiveness in the sermon. God will not confirm His word with signs following because even though what was said may be Bible truth, it will not be His personal word for His people for that day. Instead of asking God to bless your message, try asking God to give you His message.
Let your sermon flow out of who God has made you.
Instead of trying to put together the perfect 3 point or 4 point sermon, with the proper introduction and conclusion, let your sermon flow out of who God has created you to be. Do not imitate the latest and greatest preacher on the scene at the moment. The world does not need another Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, or Chuck Smith clone. Your church or bible study does not need one either. They need who God has made you to be. You were the one called to give this sermon to these people, not these other guys. So if you are an analytical person, the don’t try to preach with emotion, and if you are emotional, don’t try to be a Greek scholar. Be who God created you to be! I have found in my own preaching that when I just speak to people how I normally speak to people, I get results. I am not a greek scholar, and I am not a fiery boisterous person, I am a laid back conversationalist. So my sermons reflect that and I just have a conversation with my people. I share with them what God has laid on my heart and has been working on in my life. It has great effect.
Know what God wants to do with His message to His people.
One of the biggest reasons that sermons do not work is because they do not have a purpose other than to impart knowledge. If you want sermons that work then you need to know what it is intended to do. Now again that goes back to hearing God and knowing what He wants to do. I do not believe in imparting knowledge for knowledge’s sake. When we do that then we produce a bunch of believers that have both faith and pride in their knowledge of the scriptures rather than a vibrant and healthy relationship with Jesus Himself. You need to know what God wants to accomplish with His message. Sometimes it might be to just make them think. Other times He may want them to repent, or make a deeper comittment to Him or to a biblical principle. Or He may just want to throw out the net and gather more people for His kingdom. Whatever His purpose is, get inline with that! In this, let me just add a word of caution. Make sure you are not trying to play God. Make sure that it is not what you think God wants to do, but what God wants to do. Make sure you give your people some type of call to action.
Finally remember that ultimately it is God’s job to do the work
Our call to be the oracle of God when we give a sermon is to be obedient to present what God has said. It is not our job to make things happen or to make people respond. That is God’s job. He is the one that draws them to Him. You and I are just the messenger boys, not “God’s man of power for the hour.” He has the power not us. Do not be disheartened if you do not see immediate results right away at the moment you deliver the message. Many times you will, but there will also be times when you do not see the results for days or weeks later. Just this last week I gave a message about how Jesus ate and drank with sinners. It was not a message that was geared towards evangelism but was geared towards encouraging the church to get out into the world and engage in friendship evangelism. However I got an email the next day from a lady that ended up re-dedicating her life to Jesus because of the message. It is God’s job to do the work in the hearts of the people. He knew what she needed to hear and He knew how to do His work in her. He is more than capable of doing it!
I hope this article has helped you in developing sermons that work and how to prepare them. I know I did not give you a step by step method, nor did I provide you with a list of sermons that are guaranteed to work. If I did, they would surely fail. What works for me will not work for you. You have apply the principles that make sermons work in your own life.