Primary reading assignment:
1 Corinthians 1:17-25
1 Corinthians 2:1-7, 13
2 Corinthians 4:1-2
1. From the beginning of the preparation of a sermon to the end of the preached sermon, all you do must be saturated with serious prayer.
2. You must be aware that preaching a sermon is a very serious task. It is not entertainment.
3. You must be trying to live for God every day. You must be a good example.
4. You must be a student of the Bible. This does not mean that you must know all that is in the Bible, but that you are always studying it to learn all you can. (This does not mean that you
must have formal training in Bible school or seminary.)
5. You must be a student of human behavior.
6. You must recognize the source of your knowledge and strength. It is the Holy Spirit who guides and empowers. 1 John 2:27
TIME TO PREPARE
Know who the target is. As much as possible know who you are going to preach to.
There are two broad categories, the unsaved and the saved.
If the target is unsaved people, the message will need to be evangelistic. It should tell people why they need to be saved and how they can be saved. The Bible is filled with passages that apply to the unsaved. Some of these are: Acts 16; Acts 2; Romans 3-5,10; John 1,3,5; Ephesians 2; Galatians 2; Mark 8,10.
This target is those who have been born again. Usually in the regular worship service, most of those who attend have been born again. But within this target there are many needs to be met
which will demand different kinds of sermons.
This means that the more you know about the spiritual condition of the people, the better you can prepare a sermon that will meet those needs. You need to try to be sensitive to the greatest needs of the group. (Do not determine the greatest need of one person and preach to that person.)
Among the believers you may see certain needs that should be met. Some of these needs may be:
ENCOURAGEMENT to remain faithful.
The Bible is full of passages for this kind of sermon. Some good examples are: Hebrews 11,12; Galatians 5; Colossians 3; Philippians 3; Joshua 1; Jonah 1-4.
REDEDICATION for those who have grown cold spiritually. (Encouragement to repent and return.)
Some examples of good passages to use are: Psalm 51; Luke 15; Romans 12; Psalms 32,139.
COMFORT in times of sorrow.
Passages which may meet such needs are: Psalm 23; John 14; John 10; 2 Corinthians 4.
INDOCTRINATION. People are always in need of a greater knowledge of the great teachings of the Bible. These teachings are called doctrines and can be found in nearly every chapter in
the Bible. Some great doctrinal passages are:
Love - 1 Corinthians 13; Sin - Romans 3,6,7; Death - 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Corinthians 4,5; Second Coming of Christ - 1Thessalonians 4, Acts 1; Baptism - Acts 8, Matthew 3; Cross of
Christ - Luke 23, 1 Corinthians 2; Security of the believer - Romans 8.
INSPIRATION. People are always in need of inspiration for living the Christian life. Philippians 1-4; 1Thessalonians 5; Romans 5; Acts 2,3,4; Nehemiah 6; Joshua 24; Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 5-7.
Through fellowship with the people, you can know some of the greatest needs of the group. From this knowledge of where the people are in their spiritual pilgrimage, you can ask God for the message that best meets the needs of the group. The greater your Bible knowledge and prayer, the more likely you will find the Bible message for the hour.
In review we see that:
1. You must be personally prepared to preach. This means personal commitment to Christ, a clean life, being a student of the Bible, and being a man of prayer.
2. You must recognize the target (those who will be hearing).
3. You must zero in on the target, determining specific needs which should be met through the preaching of the message.
4. You must prayerfully seek God's message from the Bible which will meet the needs of the hearers.
HOW TO PREPARE THE MESSAGE
Much of the preparation has been done when the first four steps have been taken. But there is more to be done.
The passage of Scripture must be found in which God speaks to the needs of people. A Bible concordance can be very helpful in finding the Scripture. (Reading the Bible daily is a must for a preacher. You can read the entire Bible in a year by reading three chapters a day. Prayerfully reading the entire Bible at least once every year will do more for a preacher than any kind of special training. When you know the Bible you will know where to look for Scriptures to meet needs.)
Once you have found the Scripture you will use as a basis (text) for the sermon, you will want to read and reread it. Analyze it word by word and verse by verse. Take notes. Find key words. Try to outline the passage. Find the major truths in the text. Find passages in other parts of the Bible that teach the same lesson and use some of those verses in your sermon. Use stories in the Bible to illustrate the great truths you have found in the text. When possible use personal stories as illustrations.
Prayerfully study the passage, always asking God for wisdom and power. Then when the hour comes for you to preach, your heart will be bubbling over with excitement about God's message which you must deliver to the people.
There are fine points about preaching that you will want to study, but when the above things are done, you can preach a very powerful and relevant sermon. Lives will be changed when
God's Word is preached. Remember the key to success is a committed preacher under the rule of the Holy Spirit preaching God's Word.