What is preaching? In the New Testament the Word Preach means to publicly proclaim. It is not enough to just publicly proclaim. It must be a proclaiming of God’s Word. First Peter 4:11 says, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen”
The most important principle to remember is Romans 10:17 which says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This verse does not say faith comes by hearing man’s words but by hearing God’s words. It does not matter how educated, eloquent, and literate you are or are not, in the end faith comes by hearing and hearing by God’s Words not by man’s words. Man’s words can only help to explain, to expound and to get the listener to think about God’s Words.
A sermon is not a sermon unless it is God’s Word that is spoken. A sermon which uses no scripture at all is not a sermon. Consider these verses on the power of God’s Word. Genesis 1:3, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Psalms 12:6 says, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” Psalms 29:7 says, “The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.” John 1:1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Psalms 138:2 says, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
In the beginning was the Word. In the beginning God said let there be light and there was light. The Word was God. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire. The word was God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the words of God not by man’s words.
Now that we know that preaching is not publicly proclaiming but publicly proclaiming God’s Word, and now that we understand the power of the Word of God how do we preach?
The Bible says in Isaiah 28:10, “For precept must be upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” Another way of saying this is verse by verse. Expository or topical? Three points and a poem or apologetics? How about precept upon precept, line upon line, and verse by verse? Because “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17), and because “The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.”(Psalms 29:7) A verse by verse sermon is a topical sermon because each verse or group of verses will have its topic.
There is nothing wrong with preaching a topical sermon for example a sermon about the birth of Christ on Christmas day or a sermon on the love of God. But who can pick a topic and be an expert on it? Do you know all there is to know about the love of God? If you go verse by verse book by book you will preach the whole council of God. If you preach topically you will be straying into using the Bible to support your own ideas instead of simply preaching and teaching the Bible. If you preach topically and not verse by verse book by book you will not preach the whole counsel of God.
Sometimes preachers try to use the 3 points and a poem method. The problem with this method is that you still tend to stray into preaching your own ideas. You don’t want people to remember your 3 points you want them to remember God’s Word. God’s Word preaches itself very well and sometimes you will even come across verses that will preach like 3 points and a poem. For example Psalms 35:1, “Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.”
In this verse we find the words: plead, strive, and fight. If your points for your sermon are taken directly from God’s Word then they are worth remembering because it is the word of God. Psalms 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Man’s Word can never take the place of God’s Word. Man’s Word should only help to explain and to teach God’s Word.
What are the do’s and do not’s of preaching? A sermon that uses no scripture is not a sermon. A sermon should always magnify the name of Jesus Christ and give the gospel: the death of Christ on the cross for the sins of the world, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
A sermon in which a person speaks about themself or someone else more than they speak about Jesus is not the way to preach. Jesus said in John 7:18, “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.”
There is nothing wrong with giving personal testimony or talking about personal experience. But personal testimony is best saved for personal conversations with people. When a person stands up in front of other people and all attention is put on that person the temptation to be lift up in pride and to seek one’s own glory by talking about oneself instead of talking Christ and what Christ has and will do for men is a big temptation. If you need illustrations and application use the Bible. The details given about Christians in both the Old and New Testament are example enough. That is why they are there, as examples of faith. Is your life and your testimony better than Abraham or Moses, or the Apostle Paul or Jesus himself? Jesus is the faithful witness. He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory but he that speaks Jesus the faithful witness seeks glory to God.
Let the Holy Spirit do His job. The role of the Holy Spirit is to touch the hearts of men and convict them of sins. The role of the Holy Spirit is to draw men unto Christ. The role of the preacher is to preach and teach God’s Word. God will use His Word to touch the hearts and the minds of men to lead them to repent of sin. Jesus said in John 6:65, “Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” The preacher does not need to worry about trying to touch the hearts and minds of men. God’s Word will touch men. God’s Word does not go out void. The preacher should focus on preaching precept by precept, line upon line, line upon line because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the words of God.
To give a good sermon takes preparation and study. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Psalms 25:4-5 says, “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; Teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth.” The word “teach” here is a word that means to train a recruit for war. To preach a preacher must prepare.
Most importantly a preacher needs to be a believer in Christ who has been called and gifted of God. Ephesians 4:7-11 says, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.”
Isaiah 28:10 says, “For precept must be upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” Verse by verse speaking of Christ and not of yourself, rightly dividing the word of God, preaching not your own ideas or agendas but preaching the gospel of Christ and the promises of God and the full council of God. To preach the full council of God there is only one way to do it: precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, and there a little, rightly diving the word of truth.
Jesus said to Peter in John 21:15-17, “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
The Apostle Paul said to Timothy in First Timothy 4:6, ”If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”
Feed the sheep! Feed the lambs! Put them in remembrance precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory but he that speaks of Jesus Christ of Nazareth who died on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world, glorifies God and is led of the Spirit of God. Remember the message of the Bible is a message of redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. There is only one topic in the Bible that cannot be overemphasized the gospel of Jesus Christ. Man is sinner: Jesus came to the earth born of a virgin, died for the sins of the world, was buried, rose again the 3rd day. There is redemption in Christ for all who trust in him. If you love Jesus, feed the lambs. If you love Jesus, feed the sheep. And feed them precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the words of God.
Copyright; 2012 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved