Forgotten Themes in Preaching

Any preacher probably has his favorite type of preaching. It’s totally legitimate to have a style of preaching that you love and do well at. But the problem comes when that becomes your only type of preaching. Sooner or later, sermons become predictable and routine. There are styles of preaching that are common to a lot of preachers–three point outlines, duty-driven sermons, or teaching on topics-only. In the process, there are many forgotten themes in preaching–themes which we would do well to remember and preach. Here are six.

  1. Expositional. Whatever style of preaching you prefer, it’s got to be 100% Bible-based. That’s the inherent power of the expositional message. Expositional preaching¬† approaches the text with one question: “What does the text say?” All too often, preachers approach the text of Scripture implicitly asking, “What can I say about this text?” Rather, preachers should strive to give people God’s Word; that’s all they need (Job 23:12; Ps. 119;18).¬† Preaching expositionally through a book of the Bible is a powerful way to truly understand God’s Word and explain it to others in a way that will benefit their spiritual walk. So, get out your commentaries and get busy…
  2. Real Character Studies. A tragedy occurs in most Bible-character sermons. Almost invariably, they end up being sermons on “Be like David.” “Be like Moses.” “Be like Daniel.” Really? Does the Bible tell us to be like so-and-so, just because they’re characters in the Bible? The Bible is fundamentally a book about God. It is God’s revelation. The Real Character behind any Bible character is actually God. When doing character studies, look to the Main Character–God. Seek to understand His character as revealed through His dealings with the human Bible character. This is a far more meaningful way to preach character studies. Not “be like Elijah,” but “Look at Elijah’s God, and how this God is worthy of our total trust and commitment.”
  3. Narrative, law, and minor prophets. There are vast portions of God’s Word which are woefully neglected. When was the last time you heard a sermon on Nahum. (Woah. Try finding that book in your Bible.) Or, when was the last time you preached a sermon from the history of Israel in 2 Kings? Or a sermon on Isaiah? Leviticus? Yep. There is a lot of your Bible that has probably gone unexplored, un-understood, and unpreached. Pretty tragic, huh? There is a reason for this. Those sections of the Bible are hard to preach. They are hard to preach, because they are hard to understand. We prefer texts that say: do this and this. Or the texts that tell us about God’s glory. In narrative and prophetic portions, the text doesn’t go like this. A short blog post isn’t the place to explain how to preach from these sections of the Bible, but find a good book on the subject and see what you can find out. We recommend¬†Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament and Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament by Walter Kaiser. We also recommend The Word Became Fresh: How to Preach from Old Testament Narrative Texts by Dale Ralph Davis.
  4. Wide-angle views. The Bible is a massive book. In fact, few Christians have actually read the Bible cover-to-cover. It’s easy to get bogged down in genealogies and Levitical commands, and totally give up–right around January 19 after starting at the beginning of the New Year. Do your people a favor and give them a broad overview of Biblical themes, books, and testaments. Inform them of the Biblical-theological theme of the entire Bible. You can do it 45-minutes. Or, preach through an entire book of the Bible–in one sermon. This kind of preaching can be refreshing and eye-opening. But it’s hard work. Here is how one pastor did it quite effectively in every book of the Bible. Mark Dever: The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made, and The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept.Be sure to consider our PowerPoint templates for the books of the New Testament.
  5. Grace-filled. Duty-driven sermons are wearying sermons. It’s easy to preach sermons like “Don’t ever view pornography again! Give your tithes more faithfully! Don’t use bad language! Clean up your thought life! Snap out of your laziness!” All of those things are true, and any true pastor must honestly tell people what God’s Word says, regardless of how hard it is to hear or do. What is often missing from sermons like that is a context - the Biblical concept of God’s grace. Grace is the very thing that saved you, when you were filthy, sinful, unlovely, and opposed to God. And grace is the thing that sanctifies you, when you still falter, fall, and sin repeatedly. God’s grace gives the ability to live a life that is pleasing to Him. It’s not about personal effort and better self-discipline. It’s about falling back on the grace of God. Preach grace.
  6. The Book of Revelation. I thought I’d end on a humdinger. The book of Revelation. Scary. The dark and foreboding pages of Revelation have scared away expositors and preachers for centuries. Even Calvin, possibly one of the greatest Christian minds of all time, wrote a commentary on every single book of the New Testament except the little books of 2 and 3 John and…you guessed it…Revelation. The book of Revelation may seem too mysterious, debated, and deep for you. I would like to encourage you with some words of the book of Revelation itself. The prologue, inspired by God, says this: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3). That’s you. That’s your people. That’s your church. Revelation provides a portrait of the majestic King Jesus, the Savior of the World returning to Conquer and Rule. He is depicted as the Lamb that was Slain. He is depicted as a mighty warrior. Revelation is the capstone of the Bible–a book of triumph, hope, joy, and majesty. It is a book every Christian should read, hear, and understand.

Sharefaith wants to help you in your joyful task of preaching. If you are looking for ways to enhance your preaching, PowerPoint sermons templates are a wonderful way to do so. Rather than provide you with sermons, they can simply provide you with the visual basis for your sermon. Each PowerPoint template contains a suggested theme and text, but you are able to customize the PowerPoint however you see fit. Check out the collection and find one that will work for you this Sunday.

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4 thoughts on “Forgotten Themes in Preaching

  1. Sobre el Sermon. Yo no puedo decir que es bueno o no. Pues el que da la inspiracion a cada pastor es el Senor y el mismo nos dice en la Biblia que hay que seguir al lider y si se equivoca el Senor esquien lo jusga. Pero lo que dice sobre hablar utilisando toda la Biblia es halgo magnifico. En verdad a mi me emosiona ver cuando veo un pasaje que dice tantas cosas y no es mencionado. O partes de la Biblia que la gente no a escuchado. El de el libro de Apocalipsis o revelacion se a hablado en mi iglesia antes y era bueno porque las personas tienen miedo hay veces del Libro de la revelacion y no llegan a entender y por el no entender temen y tratan de no leerlo o lo pueden tomar en diferente forma. Lo que pasa es que no todos los que van a la Iglesia conosen o estudian la Biblia hay veces hay personas nuevas. Lo que tambien dice que es bueno es llevar el mensaje en una forma facil de entender. Y igualmente se puede usar varios pasajes. E escuchado a varios pastores y todos siempre tienen halgo bueno en cada forma de su mensaje y tienen cada uno halgo especial que Dios nos da a cada uno. Pastores de Jovenes o de el culto.Pastores que tienen mensajes de mas de 2 horas o de 15 minutos. Pero cada mensaje tiene halgo preparado de DIos. Lo que falta es ver cada parte buena de cada pastor y ayudarse unos a otros. Si es en la forma. Pero el Mensaje siempre es preparado por el Senor.

  2. When was the last time you heard a sermon on
    “HELL”. The MOST forgotten subject of the pulpit
    Chris

    1. Sermon on Hell, why, God says it clearly, is for the Devil his angles and the non believers. All we have to worry about is to take the good news, the Gospel. God Bless.

  3. To many people have overlooked one very critical point just as Wanda has. The many who profess to believe but will be told to depart. When after the Judgement and death and Hell is cast into the lake of fire. Many of those will be “believers” as far as they knew. The reason for that is the lazy way of approaching Gods Word. If you don’t preach the Law and Hell along with Grace and Heaven there will be no power because you are not preaching the whole counsil of God.

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