by Wil Pounds
One young pastor related that after he preached his first sermon a dear lady in the church compared him to Billy Graham. She said, “Remember Dear, when Billy Graham first started preaching he probably wasn’t that good either.”
God has called us to do biblical preaching. The sermon that God uses to His glory is one that is rich with biblical context. Why preach if we don’t declare what God has spoken in His self-revelation to sinful men and women?
It deals with human experiences in their concreteness and existential truth. Therefore, the Bible-centered sermon is always relevant. It searches the deep things in man and women alike.
The Bible searches out the deep things of the human spirit. It understands the greatness and misery of the human soul. The biblical sermon communicates what God has done to redeem the tragic human situations in life. It speaks our language in simple, concrete, vivid, and earthly languages. It reflects our daily life with its ups and downs, frustrations and joys, and failures and successes. It deals with our most basic problem: sin and salvation.
What are Biblical sermons?
“Preaching is truth given through personality,” wrote Phillip Brooks.
Our job as preachers is not to give a religious sermon, but to deliver a message from God’s Word to His people. It is more than giving a talk by a clergyman. Many sermons use very little of the Bible; it is referred to in passing or used to introduce the topic and “spring board” off to a contemporary theme. Some even promote the world’s view of success and preach a false gospel of health, wealth and material prosperity. Self-help psychology is not the good news from God for sinners. To tell people what they want to hear and make them feel good is far from confronting the spiritual problems of our day.
What is desperately needed is a biblical message that originates from God’s Word. The preacher is simply the instrument through which God’s message is delivered to His people. It is our task to allow the text to determine both the content and structure of the message. As the text is unfolded the preacher and the people get a clear understanding of what God is saying to them. The message is built around the main idea of the passage of Scripture.
The preacher who saturates himself with the biblical truth in sermon preparations will in turn grip the congregation because of his own increased conviction. The sermons will then be a bold proclamation of the gospel truth. The Word of God will work its harvest when faithfully proclaimed.
Biblical sermons keep the adventure of sermon preparation growing. It keeps the preacher fresh and relevant. Therefore, the new treasures freshly discovered are shared with the congregation with an increased desire to return to the pulpit and speak of the wonder of new discovery of God’s revelation. The pastor who stays close to the Word delivers sermons with fresh renewed enthusiasm each week.
Expository sermons keep the pastor and the listeners close to the Word. Therefore, it keeps the preacher and the people under the integrity of God’s Word. J. A. Bengel said, “Apply yourself to the whole text, and apply the whole text to yourself.”
Biblical sermons keep the listeners close to the Word because of the lofty elevated emphasis on the Bible in the worship service. Sermons saturated with Bible content keeps the preacher under the integrity of God’s Word.
In the biblical sermon, the great themes of the Bible become our themes. They become alive in us, and the fresh and living Word of God confronts the congregation. When you experience the grace of God in Jesus Christ, you become alive with evangelical fire, and people know you have been with God!
God speaks His Word through the biblical sermon. He has spoken the Word of God. It is His self-revelation to man. It is the preacher’s responsibility to discover it and proclaim it again. When you preach, the people in your congregation will sense that God is speaking to them with fresh boldness.
How do you prepare and preach biblical sermons?
The biblical sermon is the exposition of the Bible. The preacher must know the Bible. He must spend time in it in disciplined study. It must become a lifetime adventure and discipline.
God wants us to use our minds. We must make the time, expend the energy, and give ourselves to study allowing the Holy Spirit to direct us in our thoughts.
We need all the scholarship we can get so that we can have an accurate understanding of God’s Word. We should welcome anything that will help us to obtain a thorough and accurate interpretation of the Scriptures.
A. W. Tozer said, “There is, unfortunately, a feeling in some quarters today that there is something innately wrong about learning, and that to be spiritual one must be stupid.” There is a “cult of ignorance. This is reflected in a wretchedly inferior religious literature, a slap-happy type of religious meeting, and a grade of Christian song so low as to be positively embarrassing.”
It is essential that we exegete and interpret Scripture within the context of the whole Bible. Never lift a word, a verse, a chapter or book from its context. Be careful not to distort the meaning of the text. Preach the Scripture within its context. This why preaching through a book in the Bible is the best kind of biblical sermons. Select a book and preach through it week after week until you have completed the book.
We do biblical sermons when we develop the great themes of the Bible in exposition of the great passages. Preach from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and you will not only experience God’s view of the church but the great doctrines of sovereign grace, election, depravity of man, redemption, freedom in Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer, spiritual warfare, prayer, world mission, etc. You cannot fail when you preach God as our Redeemer, Saviour, His greatness, His majesty, His transcendence, His nearness, His purity, grace and love.
We preach on the great truths that occur again and again like the movements in a great symphony.
Why does God bless Biblical sermons?
God has promised to bless His Word and use it for His glory. “The rain and snow fall from the sky and do not return, but instead water the earth and make it produce and yield crops, and provide seed for the planter and food for those who must eat. In the same way, the promise that I make does not return to me, having accomplished nothing. No, it is realized as I desire and is fulfilled as I intend” (Isaiah 55:10-11, NET).
W. A. Criswell took 18 years to preach through the Bible. He began with the first verse in Genesis and continued through Revelation. “God blessed the procedure more than I could ever have hoped,” he said. “So many people began coming to God’s house that after a while they could not be packed in although the auditorium is one of the most spacious in America.” They went to two morning services. “Our people began bringing their Bibles, reading their Bibles, and studying their Bibles. They began witnessing to others as never before. More and more souls were saved. The spirit of revival and refreshment became the order in the house of the Lord.”
The material for the biblical sermon is like a deep-sea diver who brings up pearls from the bottom of the sea. Everytime he brings up a gem to the surface and exposes it to his listeners, he is reminded that there are ten thousands more lying on the floor of the ocean. That is the way it is with biblical sermons.
In the biblical sermon the Word of God must burn like a fire in the preacher’s bones. That is something that only God can do for a preacher. It is part of the miracle of the inspiration of the Scriptures. It is the living Word of God. We must cultivate the mind and care for the heart.
We must ask ourselves, “What do I preach and by what power?”
Jim Elliot, one of the five Ecuadorian martyrs, wrote in his diary: “Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of ‘other things.’ Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame. . . Make me Thy fuel, flame of God.”
LEGAL NOTICE: Used by permission.
LEGAL NOTICE: Used by permission.
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