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There are certain elements that must be included in every single sermon that we ever preach. They are non-negotiable. To put it another way, every sermon you preach has three key components…

The God Component

The “God component” is what sets preaching apart from other kinds of public speaking. We are God’s spokespeople. We preach His word, not ours. And as we consider the role of God in the sermon, we have to ask some pretty pertinent questions:

  • Have I recognized that God is the ultimate authority on the meaning of His word?
  • Have I consulted with the Author of the word in prayer?
  • Have I trusted the results of my preaching to the Spirit who moves among his people?
  • Have I made Jesus the central character of the sermon?

The Communicator Component

The component has to do with me, the preacher. I need to ask certain important questions about my own role in the preaching experience:

  • Have I live and embodied the word in my life? That is to say, have I been the incarnation of the message I hope to convey on Sunday morning?
  • Can I honestly say I’ve spent adequate time in preparation, so that my mind, heart, and soul are all immersed in the text and it’s meaning?
  • Am I humbled by the weight of the responsibility of being God’s spokesperson to people whose lives and eternities hang in the balance?
  • Have I been the same person at home and in my private life and in my various relationships that I plan on being in the pulpit when I am teaching on Sunday?
  • Am I prayed up?
  • Am I fired up?

The Audience Component

The final component has to do with the people to whom I am preaching. My audience matters.

It sounds good, and makes a great soapbox issue to proclaim that preaching ought to be God-centered not man-centered. The fact is, Jesus himself would not be welcomed or accepted by some today in the world of preaching because he wouldn’t be considered scriptural enough. Jesus preached to the needs and the hearts of human beings with problems.

We have had plenty of arguments around the subject of whether or not we should preach to the felt needs of society. The problem with these arguments is often there is a failure to understand that felt needs are real needs that are felt. And Jesus spoke to those needs.

My audience matters so much to the heart of God, that He sent His only son Jesus to die on the cross for their redemption. I need to consider their needs if I hope to please the Author of the word. His intention for his message is that it convinces, converts, and changes the lives of its hearers.

I need to be asking questions about my audience as I am preparing the message:

  • Have I spent time with people, getting to know their hurts, habits, and hang-ups? Do I know what it is like to be human, to err, and to have messed up before a holy God?
  • Every text has not only a primary principle, but an implication for the everyday lives of human beings. Have I dug into the text deep enough, not only to discover what it says about God, but also it’s practical implications for the lives of people?
  • Have I prepared not only an explanation of the meaning of the text, but also at least one, if not several calls to action?
  • Am I willing and ready to ask people to change their lives entirely on the basis of what I am going to say? And will I do this with the authority that God has granted to me, and the humility that is calling should create in me?

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Jeff Glenn

commented on Nov 12, 2012

Great article. Many insightful questions to consider before I preach each week.

Derrick Tuper

commented on Nov 12, 2012

I like your components. I agree we should be solid and centered on the word of God when we preach. We also need to be God's representitives before and after, not just when we enter the pulpit. And knowing your audience is key as well. We preach to where they are and according to what they need to hear. Many of my sermons are prompoted by the expressed needs and struggles spoken by people in the congregation. God definately has the authoritative voice regarding what we preach on but oftentimes He tells us what to preach on through our congregation.

Enas Hawkins

commented on Nov 12, 2012

Very enlightening article, going forward I will be sure to ask myself these questions before I prepare to teach.

Jerry Dodson

commented on Nov 13, 2012

The "audience component" section was dreadful. Purpose driven drivel.

R.l. Wilson

commented on Nov 14, 2012

Man! It has to be hard to have an article on SC that everyone likes. I think sometimes we ministers are more critical on each other than we should be. No, I'm not saying agree with everybody who claims to be a preacher but if they are preaching the Word of God and not feel good sermons, preaching Jesus and Him crucified and not about themselves then we can take something from the message. Yes, there are a lot of big name, politically correct preachers out there that are trying to appease everyone at the expense of the gospel. Having your cake now messages. This may draw the crowds in by the bus loads but these messages don't transform and renew minds.

Victor Burks

commented on Nov 14, 2012

I agree with all the points of the article with one caveat. We as preachers of the Gospel are to deliver ALL the Word of God, not some. While preaching to the needs of the congregation is necessary, there is also a need and responsibility to rebuke, reprove, and exalt the people according to the word. That is done primarily through sermons that we preach. By not preaching ALL the Word we are not only doing the congregation a disservice but we are being disobedient to God!

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