So I have written about the pastoral burden in preaching, outlining a sermon, and I can’t really remember what now.
But today I want to talk about 2 things in all of this. My last post I pointed out there are about 4 to 6 things you do in each point. Today I want to talk about the first two and this should be quick.
STATE THE POINT
Now I am a firm believer in no surprises or Gotha kind of moments in a sermon. God’s truth does not need our trickery. So I see nothing wrong with telling people the points you plan to cover in the introduction.
When you get to each point you need to state it. It does no good to have points that you never use or state. You wrote those points to help people follow you, and then not stating them is just a waste.
If you find stating the points seems ridiculous, and you feel like your points distract from your sermon and your focus, then you have not refined your points well enough. a refined structure, well written points, will actually feel very natural to you as you state them. If you feel awkward stating your points, try spending more time rewriting your points.
Finally, for those who find this a laborious mess, never fear. The number one best sermon I ever heard was from Dr. Sam Waldron on Romans 4:4-5. He had 3 points and each point was something like: What does this text say about justification? What does this text say about God? What do we need to learn from this passage? (now this was not his structure, but I am showing this, because some people would think this is not a structure, but it is. So long as there is ONE underlying thing that all three of those questions is attempting to answer, support, or demonstrate.
PLACE THE POINT
If you are preaching from Joshua chapter 3, and you have 5 points. All 5 points MUST come from Joshua 3. If you want to be clear, and if you want people to be able to follow you with ease, then never have a point from another place in the Scriptures.
Now this does not mean you won’t go to other passages eventually, it is just you are preaching THIS passage.
If you are preaching from John 3 and one of your points comes from the book of Numbers, then you did something wrong with your structure or your homiletics. If in your points you don’t eventually get to Numbers, then you have done something wrong with your exegesis.
SO once you state your point, you need to show them where in the text in front of you this point is from. This helps them to verify your exegesis. And that is what we want. If they can verify your exegesis, then they can reproduce it.
I want doctrine to be hard. I want the call to repentance to be hard. I don’t want the structure of my sermon to ever be hard. If the structure fits the way the human mind works, then the doctrine can be crystal clear. Once it is clear, then the Spirit can do as he wishes in make this message an aroma of life or death.