Summary: Learn to to preach an exciting African-American style one-point sermon

Lesson Goal

Learn how to preach a one point sermon.

Lesson Intro

The African-American church has had a unique and interesting development in the history of American Christianity. A unique style of one-point sermon developed which can have great impact in any culture. The jewel sermon is one single idea with many facets. Unlike a normal multi-point sermon, each of the facets of the jewel sermon keeps returning to the one subject.

Lesson Plan

We are going to discuss how to prepare a jewel sermon.

Lesson Body

A jewel sermon repeats the theme over and over for each facet of discussion as a form of emphasis. It can be abused. Lenin, Goebbels, Stalin and Hitler are reputed to have followed the philosophy that if you repeat a lie loud enough and often enough it becomes the truth. This is another logical fallacy, the argument from repetition (ad nauseam), the deceitfulness that prolonged repetition somehow proves a point. We don't need that kind of dishonesty in the pulpit. But this technique can also be used for good, for emphasis of a point. It is used several times in the scriptures.

Examples in the Bible

1. The Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13)

Notice how the love chapter keeps repeating the subject. The Corinthians had been engaged in something that is familiar to us today, the belief that having a spiritual gift makes you spiritually superior. Paul corrects this misconception, by pointing out the most important thing of all, love. He says, love is patient, love is kind... all in all, Paul describes about 15 facets to this jewel we call love. This builds to a crescendo, helping the topic make a greater impression.

2. Psalm 136

For those who don't like some of the repetitive Christian music these days, we look at heaven where the angels repeat "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty...", or we could take a look at the Hallelujah Chorus, or we could go back even further in time to Psalm 136, a song of thanksgiving. The line "his mercy endures forever" is repeated 26 times. Granted, some modern choruses do repeat a rather meaningless or trite line ad nauseam.

3. The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12)

Jesus probably shocked everyone by not making the first list of his public teaching the Ten Commandments or some other part of law, but rather a list of attitudes which produce abundant happiness. Each of these attributes is introduces as a facet of a jewel called "blessed" or "supremely happy."


Notice that such repetition is not repeated in every Psalm or every chapter in the Bible. So, it is important to realize that using this technique ought to be a special treat, not overdone week in and week out. Perhaps that could apply to repetitive music as well.

1. Choose Carefully

Choose a theme that with repetition does not become hypnotic, deceptive or vain repetition. Choose a topic that is already proven and widely accepted as true and your repetition will only be encouragement to actually go out and do the right thing. An example might be encouragement to do good works, stay sexually pure, or pray daily. These are things that everyone already knows are right.

2. Discover as Many Facets as Possible

This can involve a topical search through the Bible, an internet search, and other research. Compile a list of these facets and begin to place them in some kind of logical order. If you have too many, some could be combined or eliminated as needed.

3. Delivery

It is important in the delivery of this sermon to emphasize the repeated word or phrase appropriately. The church needs to understand that this is your emphasis, and that you are sincere about its importance. Some example of proper emphasis might be to shout the phrase or word, or stop and pause before saying the word or phrase in a whisper, or say the word or phrase in a long drawn out manner, or even vary how it is said; making sure that each time it is given some kind of majestic emphasis. I cannot overemphasize sincerity. This must not come across as fake theatrics.

Example Sermon

Title: "The Poorest of All"


To encourage the visiting of the needy.


When was the last time we thought about the poor? When was the last time we did something kind to the poor?


Today will look at many different facets of dealing with the poor as an overview of God's expectations of you and me. [Note: Don't quote each chapter and verse, just mention the principle and expound it.]


Do not show favoritism to the poor or the rich (Exodus 23:3; Leviticus 19:15). The press often prejudges the rich and favors the poor. That is not right.

Do not deny justice to the poor (Exodus 23:6). How many employers pay only the bare minimum?

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