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View How to Prepare a Sermon

How to Prepare a Sermon

by Alex Rahill

KEY QUESTIONS THAT MUST BE ANSWERED BEFORE WRITING ANY PART OF THE SERMON.
IN IT’S MOST BASIC FORM A SERMON IS AN ANSWER TO A QUESTION.
It is a Subject and a Complement, a question and an answer.
•  Subject (S): what am I talking about. It is always in the form of a question to be answered
•  Complement(C): what am I saying about what I am talking about. It is always the specific answer to the question
  o   (C=)
•  S+C=Big Idea (BI) : the combination of the subject and complement in as memorable a form as possible. It is the think you want people to KNOW the thing you want them to leave with.

FOR EXAMPLE
•  Subject: What do couples who have strong marriages do to keep their marriages strong?
•  Complement: they pursue one another with their words and actions
•  BI—Strong married couples pursue one another
  o   (In this example I want people to leave with the key word Pursue/pursuit)

THIS WHOLE PROCESS OF WRITING A SERMON IS ALWAYS BASED UPON SOLID EXEGESIS (INTERPRETATION) OF THE PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE. I WILL GIVE OUT A DIFFERENT SHEET ON THAT PROCESS.
4 KEY QUESTIONS—
•  What do I want them to KNOW (This is the BI)? Strong Married Couples PURSUE one another.
•  WHY do I want them to know it? Because couples who do not pursue one another and invest in their marriage will have unhealthy and unhappy marriages.
•  What do I want them to DO? Develop 2 ways that they will pursue their spouse in the next week.
•  WHY do I want them to do it? If they don’t they will have an unhealthy and unhappy marriage.

ONCE WE HAVE THIS WE CAN BEGIN.
Remember a sermon is a JOURNEY. You are taking them from POINT A (where they are) to POINT B (knowing and applying the big idea). IT IS ALWAYS A BIBLICAL DESTINATION.
HERE IS A SAMPLE OUTLINE (I use 2 different styles of outline. You will see both in the sample below. This one here is an adaptation of Andy Stanley’s outline.)
•  ME—build rapport with audience. Capture attention. I often use a intro from my own life that relates to the big idea, or ask a question that everyone wants to see answered (see below). You are the bus driver and you are trying to get them to ride with you for 30 minutes or so.
•  WE—GET THEM ON THE BUS by helping them see WHY this matters to them. Picture everyone with (SO WHAT written on their forehead—this is the WHY KNOW part of the message). The goal of this phase is to get them on the bus with you. if don’t—everything else is a waste.
•  GOD—fortunately b/c god knows us and loves us we have a clear picture of this in His word. He knew we would face this challenge, in fact he answers/give us a picture of it in His word. (this is the KNOW part of the message)
•  YOU—application—how do I apply this to my life (THIS IS THE WHAT DO/WHY DO part of the message)
•  WE—this is inspiration and a picture of a preferred future if not only i do it but we do it. How could god be glorified and world reached.

ONE OTHER IMPORTANT POINT—
When you make a point in your message you can only do 3 (maybe 4) things after that.
  o   Repeat it
  o   explain it
  o   illustrate it/support it
  o   apply it

•  ALSO—every point must be run through the grid—is this point supporting/proving/explaining/illustrating the BIG IDEA—or is it tangential. Another way to say it is am I answering the question set out in the subject. Am I preaching the big idea or multiple big ideas?
•  Remember when you get to the point of cutting—it is just like a sculpture. Marble is marble. If you are sculpting David (famous sculpture)—you have to cut away good marble to make the sculpture the best it can be. In a sermon—You are going to have to cut GOOD MATERIAL in order to give a true picture of the BEST MATERIAL.

Sample sermon outline illustrating principles we have talked about

Scripture:    Song of Songs 6:1-13; 7:10-13
Title:    The Missing Ingredient in Most Marriages
Big Idea:    Strong married couples pursue one another
Principles   see below for layout of message

Sermon

1.  Intro (ME)
  a.  Capture Attention—-Story of pursuing Marcie
      i.  Have you ever made a fool of yourself for love?
  b.  (WE) Raising Need—How does that get lost? How do we keep from losing it?
  c.  Orient to BI—The missing ingredient in most marriages is PURSUIT!
  d.  Compelling reason to listen—Couples who do not pursue one another and invest in their marriage will have unhealthy and unhappy marriages.
  e.  Illustration—Kids given 1st half of proverb, “grass is greener”…need 2nd half—time to water your lawn.
  f.  (GOD) Transition—We have all seen the tragedy of bad marriages and bitter divorces. How do we pursue one another and grow a strong marriage? Fortunately in the SOS we have a clear picture of how to do this.

2.  Body—The Song of Solomon is a celebration of sexual love in marriage.
  a.  Story/Illus. told using 4 pictures in a photo album.
  b.  Transition—In these pictures we see stages that many relationships we know go through. Unfortunately—few make it to Picture 5. Picture 4 leaves us in a broken state where no more depth or intimacy are pursued. In SOS 6 we see Picture 5—the difference maker—we see her pursuing him and him pursuing her.
  c.  Principles—Strong married couples pursue one another with their…
      i.  Actions—Active seeking…vv. 1-3
        1.  She pursues him physically—she is chasing after him
        2.  She pursues him physically/sexually—ch. 7:10-13
        3.  App Q—How do you pursue your spouse by what you do?
        4.  ILLUS. –Marcie—arranging the FLA getaway—this picture
      ii.  Words
        1.  He pursues her with words of Affirmation—v. 4-7
        2.  He pursues her with words of Affection—v. 9ff
        3.  He pursues her with words of Conversation—inferred
        4.  ILLUS.—ALEX—roses and NOTE—she loves when I write words of AFFECTION AND AFFIRMATION TO HER!
  d.  Illus.—Harley—His Needs Her Needs—Men’s and women’s top needs.
  e.  (YOU)—What would your marriage look like if you pursued your spouse with the energy that you first did? If you want a SOS kind of marriage—you have to live a SOS kind of life.
  f.  Application—I will do 1 pursuit related activity a day for a healthier marriage.

3.  Conclusion—$20 giveaway
  a.  Pursued the $ because it was worth it. If you pursue your marriage as God intended it will be worth it.
  b.  You and I can have the strong and passionate marriages that God created us for if we will PURSUE our spouse with our WORDS and with our ACTIONS.
  c.  (WE) If every Christian marriage lived this out what would our witness be to a hungry and hurting world?

OTHER EXAMPLES
Know—Grace makes us God’s chosen children
Why?—because knowing this assures me of god’s love and acceptance—and my worth in his eyes.
DO—Renew your mind—Read Eph 1:4-5 every day and Pray a prayer
Why?—b/c unless we renew our minds with God’s truth we will fall back into the lies the world around us tells us.


ME—The orphan train. Lee Nailing being put on train by day.  Feeling Abandoned, Unwanted, Unloved—Lee’s identity was defined by who threw him out.

WE—have you ever struggled with that?  Ever Feel Abandoned, Unwanted, Unloved?
When we feel like that it can make us question our worth…our identity.
What makes up your identity? Performance? Approval?

GOD—isn’t it good to know that God doesn’t just talk about these needs. He has a clear plan to meet them.
God’s grace gives us a new identity.
An identity not based in our wavering performance or other peoples conditional love but based in His truth

THE TRUTH: I AM WHO GOD SAYS THAT I AM
Well who does God say that I am? God says—you are my chosen child.
Grace makes us God’s chosen children
EPH 1:4-5—chosen, loved, adopted, wanted. Pleasure
Adopted chidren are chosen children

YOU—what would your life look like if we truly believed that you were God’s chosen child? Accepted, etc
•  SO HOW DO WE DO THIS?
•  NEXT STEPS—RENEW YOUR MIND—put on cupboard
•  Read every day
•  Pray every day

WE—What would our family’s look like if we truly embraced our identity as God’s children? When we realize this we realize God unconditionally loves us, unconditionally accepts us and we are of infinite worth to Him. Understanding this will help us stand vs. the feelings of rejection that makes us question our worth.

Another one—Submission is the best decision
Me—sometimes I find myself wondering how to respond to situations in my marriage.
We—I imagine you have found yourself in situations where you weren’t sure either.
GOD—The bible teaches that we are to submit to one another; put the desires and needs of our spouse ahead of our own needs and desires.
YOU—Next time you aren’t sure what to say or do, ask yourself this question, “How can I put the needs and desires of my spouse ahead of my own in this moment?
Conclusion: In a marriage, submission is generally the best decision.
WE—Imagine what would happen in our community if all of us began to model that kind of mutual submission before our friends and neighbors. (CfaC p. 121)

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