Part 3 shared the story of six renowned Adventist preachers and many others who were only mentioned by name, some now passed away, some still living, but upon whom all God laid His mantle. Part 4 explains the types of sermons the preacher can choose from, plus how to organize them and record them for use, all important steps for building confidence in the pulpit.
TYPES OF SERMONS
In order to deal properly with sermon material, it’s important to know and understand the various types of sermons a good preacher should deal with. There are five types of sermons.
• Topical: This deals with a specific subject. For example—Why a good God allows bad things to happen. What is the unpardonable sin? What happened to the Law of God at the cross? The Sabbath versus Sunday. How should a Christian dress? In this type of sermon, the preacher must bring out all the important points in the topic, but there should be a central objective.
• Expository: This type of sermon covers a broader theme than that of a topical sermon. It usually gives a wide spectrum of the case, but always, as should every sermon, holds a specific message for the listeners. For example— Joseph: A Humble Man For A Heavenly Mission (Matt. 1:18- 25, a Christmas sermon); “This Little Light Of Mine” (Matt. 5:14-16); The Path To True Righteousness (Matt. 5:17-20); Praying Without Pretense (Matt. 6:5-8); The Pattern For Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).
• Textual: This type explains all the possible meanings of one verse or verses located in either the OT or NT. For example—John 3:16 (How much God loves us); Exodus 20:15 (“Thou shall not kill”). Other verses may be used to support each idea proposed in the central verse.
• Biographical: This tells the story of one person, male or female, with the purpose of showing how their experience can impact us either negatively or positively. For example— Saul, who, through sliding into disobedience little by little, grieved away the Holy Spirit, ended up taking his own life, and thus lost eternal life; Peter, who through many errors, finally repented, and was used mightily of God; David, who, through two grievous sins with Bathsheba and Uriah, was punished by God, but later repented, and was ultimately called a Type of Christ. • First Person: The preacher acts out the drama of his/ her topic. For example—the story of Ruth; the story of the thief on the cross.
All sermons should be Christ centered—which means that in one way or another, the members can see the love of Christ for sinners at the heart of the sermon.
Every sermon should be properly organized in order to create a natural flow of the topic so that the congregation can easily understand your ultimate point and appeal. The recommended sequence is the following:
• Title of Sermon: The title generally states the topic.
Parable of the Hidden Treasure.
Voices of the Holy Spirit.
Everything We Ought to Know About the Bible.
The Transformation of Peter.
Don’t make your title too long or clumsy. Keep it succinct so you can easily remember it.
• Text: It should be the principal text on which all the sermon material hangs (sometimes this may be a combination of texts, as in the Voices of the Holy Spirit below). You can use other supportive texts in your sermon, but this one is the most important. Examples: Parable of the Hidden Treasure: Matthew 13:44 (This will probably be the only text as it is a textual sermon). Voices of the Holy Spirit: John 16:5—14. Everything We Ought to Know About the Bible: 2 Peter 1:21. This is the closest verse to the topic, and this topic may not need a Bible verse. The Transformation of a sinner: Romans 12:1, 2.
• Aim: The aim tells you what you want to accomplish in the sermon in the lives of the listeners.
Parable of the Hidden Treasure: To teach the value of the Word of God.
Voices of the Holy Spirit: How the Holy Spirit changes us from sinners to saints.
Everything We Ought to Know About the Bible: To deepen our confidence in the Bible.
Five Reasons Why I’m So Serious About Attending Church Regularly: To help the members be more consistent in church attendance.
The Transformation of a sinner: To show that we as sinners can believe and accept that we can be changed.
• Introduction: Use some type of illustration that gets the attention of the congregation. Don’t use illustrations just because you think they’re really great; in other words, don’t bend an illustration to force it to make your point, so that the congregation has difficulty in getting your point. Each illustration must have a direct relationship to the subject and be clearly understood.
• Body: This is the part where the sermon, or topic, is explained. The development of the topic should be sequentially progressive, with a natural and logical flow of ideas point by point, with one idea building on the former idea. Further illustrations can be used, but not too many or too long or your whole sermon will be just one big illustration. Don’t use too many Bible texts, and don’t use too many references to Ellen White, or from any single other source. A good preacher will use Ellen White quotes when appropriate, and shouldn’t be timid about it; but too many quotes may bring some of your listeners to believe that you are looking to her more than to the Bible.
• Appeal: This is the moment when you ask people to act upon the point of the sermon. For example, Give your heart to Jesus, rededicate your life to Jesus, start a regular prayer experience in your life, learn to ask forgiveness of others, accept and start keeping the Sabbath, make a decision for baptism. It is sometimes appropriate to have a final illustration that is connected to and will make your appeal more powerful.
Below is a good format for your sermon outline:
• Title: The Pearl of Great Price.
• Text: Matthew 13:45, 46.
• Aim: To show that the pearl is the Gospel and Jesus.
He is who saves us.
I. Beginning of main point of your sermon.
II. Illustration (Optional)
(It is easier for you to follow if you use numbers. Dots are harder to remember).
V. Illustration (Often useful).
• Manuscript form. Everything is written out, word for word. There are two methods for using it:
a. Reading eloquently and with meaning—not in a monotonous voice and not with your eyes glued to the paper. To do this, you will need to read over it several times.
• Manuscript Outline form. The manuscript is turned into an outline through highlighting.
• Extemporaneous. You know your material so well you can preach it without notes or manuscript.
(To be continued).
Lamar Phillips is a retired minister and church administrator who served for 39 years in six world divisions.