Preaching, as a Pastor, is hard. It’s not hard to get up and say something inspirational. It is hard to get up and rightly divide God’s Word, build a bridge from an ancient culture to our own, and then to call people to an appropriate response to God’s revealed truth consistently week after week.
Preaching is a sacred task. We who shepherd congregations are entrusted with the assignment of opening God’s very own words to his people, week after week, and translating ancient truth to today’s people. We are to preach so as to build up (edify), to hold up (encourage), and to fire up (exhort).
This past Sunday, I introduced a new message series from the book of Daniel called Thriving in Babylon. And in the first message, I scratched the surface of the question, how can I live for Jesus while living in a world that feels more like ancient Babylon than the promised land? Watch above, and here’s a bit of a synopsis.
Paul addressed the issue of sincerity in preaching on several occasions throughout the New Testament. One such instance is 2 Corinthians 2:17, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” As I have reflected on this verse, it’s given me some comfort to know that the issues that plague modern Christianity also faced the apostles. I’ve also found an important value in preaching – sincerity.
Easter offers us hope for the forgiveness of sin and for eternal life. But there is more! God offers us some huge reasons to have hope every single day! In part two of Why We Hope, coming up this Sunday at Grace Hills, we’ll look at the three big gifts Jesus gives today to help us live with hope every day no matter what:
Adrian Rogers outlined sermons using four phrases:
- Hey You! (Get the audience’s attention)
- Look! (Examine the Scriptures)
- See! (Explain the passage)
- Do! (Make application)
Andy Stanley is famous for one-point preaching, but really breaks his messages into five movements:
The biblical text should be the grand centerpiece of every sermon. But we often take what should be the centerpiece, and move it to the front of what we have to say. In most cases, reading the text should come first in importance, but not first in the order of a message. Whether you’re looking back at Plato or Jesus, virtually every culture has had great communicators who realized the power of attention-grabbing hooks.
Let me focus in for a moment on Simon Peter, one of the key disciples surrounding Jesus. You may know the story by heart in which Peter asserted that He would never dessert the Lord Jesus, to which Jesus replied, “Before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” Sure enough, Peter forsook his allegiance to the Lord Jesus and denied Him, even cursing, to distance Himself from the cross.
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I’m not in a pulpit this year, but if I were, I’d most likely be preaching a 4-part series of messages surrounding the story of the nativity. This is a time of year when Jesus still gets a bit more attention than usual, even if some of that attention is seemingly shallow. Instead of arguing over whether department store clerks should say “Merry Christmas” or not, let’s seize this season as a positive opportunity to share the good news!