Like almost all pastors, I am enamored with the whole idea of preaching.
Preaching is God’s plan. Paul laid out the conundrum for us. It is by the foolishness of preaching that God works among us. “Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).
Therefore, preaching matters and should be looked at seriously by the person given the responsibility of proclaiming the Word of God.
Here are four essentials I see for every sermon.
First, the intersection of the needs of the people and the Word of God. Because of this, the preacher needs to know his church and the congregation to whom he preaches. In other words, the preacher must preach to meet needs. Whether their needs are known or unknown, people want preaching that counts. When we deal with the needs of the people, our preaching will count and it will be effective.
The good news is that everyone has the same basic needs. Good preaching will address these needs.
Second, preaching must be biblically based. Rarely do I preach a topical sermon. More and more, I want to go to God’s Word to let it bring me to the issues of life that affect people’s lives.
It’s always amazing how many times people people say (half humorously) that I’ve tapped their lives. They feel this way because the Spirit of God speaking through the Word of God touches lives. “For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Third, sermons need application. I see this as vitally important. Many–maybe most–believers don’t seem able to cross over between the meaning of the word and how it applies to them. For this reason, the preacher must show how this applies to everyday life.
Finally, every sermon needs the Spirit of God to touch the heart of the hearer. The preacher needs to pray, and he needs his hearers to pray. I often tell people that better sermons come from better praying–by the pastor and the people.
“How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).
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