Summary: This is a study to help preachers with their preaching skills involving both homiletics and hermeneutics.
THE VALUE OF PREACHING
The world may not recognize the value of the preacher and his preaching, yet God’s Word says in Romans 10:15, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" What a privilege and honor it is to preach the glad tidings of good things, regardless of the notion of some.
The man that has that heavenly, holy, and high calling would almost rather preach than eat. Yet the desire, the joy, and the call alone is not enough; there must be the prepared heart! Having some neatly prepared homiletic gem does not in itself constitute the vehicle for true preaching power. The preacher may have the ability to sermonize, putting his thoughts down neatly on paper; yet he may not be able to forcefully and powerfully deliver them to the listener’s heart. The whole man must preach under the anointing of the Holy Spirit for the sermon to live.
When a sermon really lives, the listening audience will crave for more of the same. The answer to many of the problems concerning empty church buildings could be conquered in the pulpit, even before the preacher enters it to preach. For this to happen, the preacher must take preaching seriously. He should be serious enough to be willing to prepare himself.
I have offered several steps that have been helpful to me in sermon preparation through the years. Certainly, a more experienced and wiser preacher will find many additions that could be made to this very brief presentation (and much that could possibly be left out). Borrow from it if you can; add to it if you need; but let it be a help to you as you "Preach the Word!"
Building a sermon requires as much preparation as building a literal structure. It would be foolish to begin building a large office complex without first having carefully laid plans. Yet many times a sermon is put together without any forethought or preparation. Often this is attributed to laziness. Laziness is not synonymous with being "instant in season." This study will provide a simple homiletic sequence for sermon preparation. The preacher will find this study to be more practical than technical.
Each sermon should originate in the fertile heart of the preacher. If the preacher’s heart is empty, his sermons will be empty; if the preacher’s heart is full, his sermons will be full. Therefore, the preacher should keep his heart pure, and he should be filled with God’s Word (Romans 12:1-2). The Word clearly declares that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh."
Before the sermon is prepared, the preacher must be prepared, the preacher should first be prepared in his soul. One could not honestly preach if he were not saved. He would have no message from God. Occasionally one hears of the conversion of a preacher who has preached for many years. This is, indeed, difficult to comprehend.
In addition to the preacher being prepared in his soul, he must be prepared in his mind. God uses all kinds of men to preach to all kinds of people. Yet God never places a premium on ignorance. Regardless of his intellect, the preacher should have a craving for knowledge. He should have a desire to know, coupled with a careful discernment for truth. In addition to spending much time in the Scriptures, the preacher needs to have a system for developing his general knowledge.
A preacher also needs to be prepared in his body. Care should be taken that the preacher does not abuse or neglect his body. It is not smart to say, "I’d rather burn out than rust out." Why do either? Jesus demonstrated the importance of taking care of the body when He told the disciples to come aside and rest awhile. The body should not be pampered, but it should be cared for. Just as one would prepare himself mentally and spiritually, he should also prepare himself physically for the rigors of study and preaching. The story was told of one preacher who would never think of preparing a sermon without wearing his plow shoes. He wanted to always be mindful of the hard work of sermon preparation. May we, as preachers, be truly prepared.
One meaning of the word assimilation is to make similar or to take in and to appropriate. When preparing a sermon, the preacher must have an objective, a goal, a theme, a burden, etc. This part of the sermon comes as a result of the minister’s pastoral contact with his people and his walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. He then chooses his topic and proceeds to bring in all the related Scriptures that might be profitable. In the case of expository preaching, the Lord will often impress upon the preacher’s heart a particular theme after many hours of study.