Preaching is a task of huge importance. Paul says the gospel “is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). He also says that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). God unleashes His supernatural power on mankind through the preaching of the gospel.
Such an important task requires a solid approach. There are many books written and classes offered on preaching, and you should take advantage of them if you get the chance. But don’t equate education with effectiveness. You don’t need a Bible college degree to be an effective preacher. All you need is a strategy that is based on what the Bible says about preaching. Here is a simple formula to help you write and preach life-changing sermons:
Preaching is from the Bible, about Jesus, by the Holy Spirit.
From the Bible
The Bible is inspired by God. It tells us all we need to know about Him and how to have a relationship with Him. It is our equipment for ministry and the Christian life. Paul reminds Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We have no authority in ourselves. We have no right to speak about God or tell others how to live. Our authority is delegated from the Bible, and our preaching has authority only when we accurately handle the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active…it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Prepare to preach by carefully studying what the Bible says. Such study considers the historical background, literary context, original languages, and theological implications of any given passage. Helpful resources include a Bible handbook, study Bible, Bible dictionary, and concordance.
Sermons in the New Testament focus on Jesus’ death, resurrection, and return. The apostles explain how He fulfills the Old Testament and saves us from sin. They also show what this means for us practically as Christians. The point of preaching is to bring fame, glory, and honor to Jesus. We must resist any trend or temptation that takes the focus off Him and puts it on us. Paul declares, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
You may ask, “But what if I’m preaching from the Old Testament?” It is still possible and preferable to preach about Jesus! He and the apostles constantly interpret the Old Testament in light of Himself. It has lasting value for the people of God and must be preached from a Christian perspective. Luke reports, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).
By the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit convicts sinners and brings them to repentance. He creates the saints anew in Jesus’ likeness and cultivates godly living. At times, He confirms the gospel with miraculous signs. The power of preaching does not come from our stage presence or persuasiveness; it comes from the Holy Spirit’s ability to change lives. Effective preaching is marked by a total reliance on His power.
Paul admits, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). He also says, “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
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