SERMONS, OUTLINES, ILLUSTRATIONS, AND PREACHING IDEAS

SermonSearch Article Archive

4 Tips for Understanding Any Passage of the Bible
by Brandon D. Smith

If you open up a dictionary or encyclopedia to any random page, you’ll have no trouble understanding the entry you stumble across. These books are designed to give you snapshots of information, and not much more. We all know, however, that the Bible doesn’t quite work that way. We’ve all opened our Bibles to a particular passage or book and felt immediately lost. Questions immediately abound. What does the author mean by this? How did we get from marriage to slaves in just a few verses? How does this apply to me? What does Lamentations have to do with Philippians? ...


Theology & Preaching in the 90’s: An Interview with R. C. Sproul
by Michael Duduit

R. C. Sproul has built an international ministry of writing and teaching through Ligonier Ministries, based in Orlando, Florida. A graduate of Westminster College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and the Free University of Amsterdam, Sproul also serves as professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Reformed Theological Seminary’s Orlando campus. Author of many books and a frequent preacher in pulpits across America, Sproul recently visited with Preaching editor Michael Duduit. Preaching: One of your most recent books is entitled Doubt and Assuran...


Why Observe Lent?
by Dave Gustavsen

If you told me ten years ago that I’d be leading my church in the observance of Lent, I would have laughed. We come from a church tradition that associates Lent with stuffy, liturgical churches—and since many of the people in our church came here to escape that kind of atmosphere, Lent was off the table. We’ll just keep preaching through books of the Bible, pause briefly for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter, and then get on with the expository preaching. But I think we’ve been missing something. This year, although we’re not going “all in&rdqu...


What’s in a Name: Creating Compelling Sermon Titles
by Landon Reynolds

Introduction Calvin Miller likens the naming of a sermon to the naming of a baby. In an article devoted to sermon titles, he writes: In times past, I have fallen in love with next Sunday’s sermon as early as Monday. My enthusiasm for the coming homily was rampant. I sensed the Spirit moving all through my study. My preparation seemed imaginative and Spirit-driven. But on Friday, by the time the bulletin went to press, Monday’s infernal brainchild still did not have a name. Secretaries and office associates gathered around and badgered me to name ...


Preaching Points: The Pull of the Punch Line
by Hershael York

Johnny Carson hosted the “Tonight Show” for 30 years from 1962 to 1992. Known for his droll wit, urbane manner and his impeccably timed delivery of a punch line, Carson still holds a major influence on comedians and certainly every late-night talk show host. Carson knew how to tell a joke. Preachers, however, are no Carson and should not tell jokes in a sermon. My objection is not theological. I do not believe every joke dishonors God or compromises the gravity of the preaching event. The Lord Himself interjected comedy into the narratives of Scripture, so I neve...


How to Know If God Is Leading You Elsewhere
by Patrick Edwards

One of the most common questions I’ve heard my fellow pastors ask, my staff ask, and I myself have asked is “How do I know if God is leading me elsewhere?” One of the clearest ways to know is if God speaks to you in an audible voice in the form of a burning bush, but let’s say you don’t get that, then how do you know? Well in my experience I’ve often tried to employ a number of different criteria and steps and have generally found this method to be helpful. With that said, you notice I subtitle this article as “One Perspective.” I don’t ...


Flexing the Right Preaching Muscle
by Robert Dawson

Preaching is a calling.  It is a skill.  In many ways, it is an art.  Pick up a book on preaching, and you will find a definition of preaching.  John Broadus says in his book On the Preparation of and Delivery of Sermons, “Preaching is the proclamation of God’s message by a chosen personality to meet the needs of humanity.”  Each part of that definition is significant and deserves consideration, as evidenced by the treatment given to each in Broadus’ classic work. In thinking about that definition on preaching, the one i...


Has Ministry Lost Its Joy?
by Jeff Schreve

Pastor, author and Christian leader, Lloyd Ogilvie, shared about a time in his life when he was working so hard for the Lord.  He was preaching, teaching, serving, writing, and ministering in Jesus’ name.  But there was a big problem.  In all his working for the Lord, he had lost his joy, his peace, his love, his passion, and his power.  Ministry had become an empty chore.  As he stopped to reflect on where he was spiritually, it dawned on him.  He had missed the secret!  He was living and serving without the secret. What is the secret? ...


The Seven Axioms Of Sermon Delivery
by Calvin Miller

Axiom #1: “The speech before the speech” is step one in audience bonding. The narrative exposition more than any other expository form relies on bonding with the audience. This may be one of the very few preaching texts you will read that will talk about this strategic first step in pulpit communication. Bonding with an audience is both verbal and nonverbal. The nonverbal elements of bonding have to do with deportment, propriety, and an open demeanor. During those first critical moments when the audience to be addressed first catches...


Preaching through the Advent Season
by J. Timothy Allen

You stare at your planning calendar for fall and winter. Suddenly it dawns on you that the Advent season is just around the corner. “Let’s see, there are four Sundays until Christmas, then there is the special Christmas Eve Service, the ecumenical service with the neighborhood congregations you have been invited to preach for, and …” It’s no wonder preachers become anxious during the Advent season. You might have to preach over 25 sermons in a one month span from a seemingly limited menu. Suddenly your mind plays tricks on you. You reach into the file ...