Preaching/teaching is God’s idea. ‘How are they to hear without someone preaching?” God has Paul ask, in Romans 10:14. We believe we chose this because He wants us to do this!
…about God and His Word.
“Preach the Word,” is clear. And approaches and styles will differ, the result should be that people learn the truth of God. Exposition of the Scriptures. Much more important than what I can come up with.
The Bible and its exposition are meant to change hearts and actions. So from the outset of a sermon, not just in the last few minutes, we should be asking people if this is true of them. “Do you do this?” And talking about our own struggle with obedience. They should know the whole way through that this is for our daily living.
Nothing worse than a sermon has people saying, “That was okay. Probably true. “And shall we yawn?” ‘Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God,” is Peter’s clear call. Mean it! Allow it to change your heart and know that people really do need it. This is not about yelling or theatrics, but about a heart that obviously believes it and wants this to be true.
…with a start and a finish.
Most who teach homiletics emphasize how important are the strong introduction that raises a tension or gets people thinking and a conclusion that sums it up and wraps it together. It’s great when those two can be bookends for the sermon. A very common weakness is “landing the airplane”! We all know what that feels like. Both and start and the end should we very well planned, and at about the same time each week!
Attention span is smaller today than ever! I say, attention span….. :-). It really is. People are used to 15 second sound bites, or action videos of Lebron or the guy named “Mayhem,” and we are supposed to keep their attention for the whole sermon.
Variety in loud and soft speech……
Variety in cadence and speed of delivery….
Variety in genre of language — exhortation, illustration, personal joy or
| emotion, a quote…
Variety in our position or placement….
(So we e grab people back from daydream when we pause and/or walk to the side a few steps and in a very conversational and sincere way tell a short story or stand as a person rather than a preacher and say how we struggle with that command or truth.
We have all heard sermons or given sermons when there was an elephant in the room that was not even mentioned! Or a pandemic. Or a tragedy. Every text can give help for any situation, but it must be noticed and addressed.
To glorify God….to proclaim the cross and its gospel (run to the cross with at least a brief part of every sermon — so many are not sure of grace or could not explain it to a friend!)… to change beliefs or actions or feelings… to show what this text would look like if obeyed by us.
We easily sense when someone is talking (or preaching) to us to show skills and draw attention or because he really loves us and cares. Some of this relates to how we have treated them in the halls or in a board meeting or when we saw them downtown or what we said in the Friday email sharing joy about the Sunday ahead!
We ask for the “strength that God supplies” (I Peter 4:11) and the effect that He likes. The last is first.
Is there a higher privilege than sharing the truth and love of God with the call to a “combination life” with Christ for now and forever? I think not. A wonderful way to spend a life!