Preaching Articles

Many great sermons are recorded in the New Testament, such as the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7), Stephen's history of the Jewish nation (Acts 7), Paul's address on Mars' Hill (Acts 17), and Peter's first sermon under the new covenant (Acts 2). Men today have very little respect for preaching—maybe it's because they don't know the purpose of preaching. Why do we preach?

1. To Explain the Scriptures

This sounds so simple, yet it is often forgotten by men today. In Acts 7, one-third of Stephen's sermon was from the Old Testament. His audience knew what the verses said, but he had to explain what they meant and how it applied to them.

When Philip preached in Acts 8, he explained Isaiah 53. The eunuch wanted to know "of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" (Acts 8:34)

After Artaxerxes released the Israelites, Ezra, a scribe and priest of God, read the "Book of the Law of Moses" to the people. With aid from the Levites, Ezra "helped the people to understand the law." (Neh. 8:7) "So they read distinctly from the book, in the law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading." (Neh. 9:8) Does your preaching explain the scriptures?

2. Hold Up the Scriptures as Light

In Apostolic sermons, no appeal was ever made to modern theological thought. Men of God simply proclaimed God's word. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)

The Apostles never claimed an emotional experience as the basis for salvation. They presented God as having revealed His will to man (1 Corinthians 2:6–13). This revealed will was placed into written form, "by which, when you read, you may understand." (Ephesians 3:4) Do you consider the scriptures sufficient to light men's lives?

3. Disturb People in Error

Peter did not soft-pedal the truth in Acts 2. He accused his audience of killing the Son of God. As a result, these people were "cut to the heart." (Acts 2:37) Cutting a man to the heart is not a task to be relished—it is the end result of freedom, joy and salvation for which we seek.

The way some men preach today, a lost man might never know his condition. Sinners will never cry out, "What must I do to be saved?" while listening to the preaching done by some today: what about your messages?

4. Present Christ as the Only Hope of the World

The first thing Paul did in every city he visited was to lift up Christ and set Him before men as their only hope. Paul told the Corinthians he "determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2). Salvation does not come by the preaching of politics or moral platitudes—our hope is in heaven, not in earthly capitals.

5. Tell About the Church

Some advise, "Preach the Man, not the plan." But we cannot preach the King without His kingdom, nor the Groom without His bride. When the gospel was preached in Acts 2, men were added to the church (Acts 2:47). This is the church Jesus promised to build (Matt. 16:18), and the only one which He will save (Eph. 5:23).

Let us not put our trust in institutions built by men, for they will be uprooted (Matt. 15:13). "The kingdoms of earth pass away one by one, but the kingdom of heaven remains."

This checklist can help determine whether your messages place the focus on the King and His kingdom: what are your purposes for preaching?

David Padfield is the local evangelist for the Church of Christ in Zion, Illinois. He was born in Kokomo, Indiana and began preaching while he was still in high school. He and his wife, Sharon, were married in 1978 and they have three children.

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Chet Gladkowski

commented on May 21, 2014

While these are great reasons, mine are a bit different; 1. This is my purpose, the way God made me, 2. He has called me to people without church background, who I love so very much, 3. Preparation is a joy and not a burden, I eagerly look forward to the "work" involved in preparation 4. I feel His presence and power when preparing and sharing the message, and 5. Watching God work in the lives of people as He uses me is so humbling.

Michelle Blair

commented on May 22, 2014

Thanks, I am so blessed by this.

Matt Geier

commented on May 21, 2014

I agree that all of these mentioned by both David and Chet are Material for sermons, however I stand with Rick Warren that the only PURPOSE of preaching is to change lives.

Keith B

commented on May 21, 2014

Got a verse for that? We can change lives by teaching Zen Buddhism.....but it does nothing for their eternal soul.

Dav Ross

commented on May 21, 2014

Zen Buddhism doesn't change lives, it changes behaviour.

Cris Texon

commented on May 21, 2014

the word "only" is too blanketed, preaching reaches out to man's soul in so many ways I believe, which is outlined in article above. But I believe that God is glorified when the content of preaching ministers to people to repent, and lead them to worship the living God even more...

Keith B

commented on May 21, 2014

Good article. Not sure why the above poster thinks his reasons are different....they are just worded differently.

Jeff Strite

commented on May 21, 2014

Good stuff David

Daniel Bentley

commented on May 21, 2014

Amen, amen, amen! (and that's not vain repetition! PTL \o/

Suresh Manoharan

commented on May 21, 2014

The core principles that undergird Preaching ought to be a) Glorifying the Lord and b) Being a facilitator in strenthening the Body of Christ in a Pastoral function. In an evangelistic function , it ought to be a) bringing glory to the Lord b) being a facilitator in winning new souls for the Lord.

Greg Addison

commented on May 21, 2014

I do not usually comment, but his was a good article. I do not want to write over nuances. Those can be called WHY I preach or the subject of preaching - they are all good descriptions. Any discussion of WHY must include the fact that I am called to preach and the failure to do so would be a rejection of God's plan. Simply put, I would be disobedient.

Debo Adebayo

commented on May 22, 2014

Many thanks for the above article, Modern day Pastors needs to read this.

Tim Thompson

commented on May 29, 2014

David, Thank you! Just the right words at just the right time.

Minister Sanders

commented on May 29, 2014

Great article! To many preachers are focused on the world and not on Christ! We are to be preaching and teaching God's Word not always teaching about business and politics! It is time for God's people to get back on focused on God and the kingdom of heaven that is at hand!!!!

Stephen Belokur

commented on Jan 15, 2016

Excellent! PTL!!

Bill Boldt

commented on Jan 15, 2016

Great reminder to begin the year with. Copied it and posted it on my wall to keep me focused on Him and His Word. Thanks David

Bright Eromhonsele

commented on Jan 15, 2016

Thank you so much for this, and i will like you to advise me on an issue concerning point no 3. By the grace of God, i preach a topic concerning unity in the body of Christ, and so many errors were discovered in the church and solutions were proffered with the help of the HolySpirit. but just today, some committee members in my church summonsed me and told me, i offended them with the message and that the bible said; we should not rebuke an elder. Now am confused, should i see the truth and by-pass it, so that i wont offend them?

Harry Love

commented on Jan 16, 2016

To share Christ and Him crucified is a good "north star" when it comes to keeping why I preach in harmony with God's will.

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