How does God convince sinners that they need a Saviour?
God makes Himself known through the preaching of His Gospel.
The apostle Paul asked some relevant questions: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14
Must preaching the Word of God take priority?
God has many channels by which He communicates the Gospel to needy people. The spoken Word is His primary method.
Preaching can be short and simple and preaching can be lengthy and complex.
Paul summarises the Gospel in eight words: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Timothy 1:15
That is the core message of the Bible. Preaching that message is vital for the human race. Every one of us needs God to make us into new people by the Holy Spirit working in us through the Lord Jesus Christ. To hear “the Word preached” is essential. Hebrews 4:2.
Where does praying come in?
Is prayer less important than preaching? Is it equally important with preaching?
Neither. It is much more important than preaching. Much more.
In the early church, the preaching of the Gospel had an amazing effect on its hearers. God saved thousands through the apostles’ preaching.
What preceded that powerful preaching recorded in the early chapters of Acts?
Prayer. Prayer. And more prayer.
When a practical matter threatened to claim their attention, the apostles insisted that they must give themselves, “Continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.” Acts 6:4. Giving priority to prayer gained power in their preaching.
Must praying always take precedence over preaching?
Absolutely. Preaching without praying is preaching without power.
Every preacher needs an infusion of the power of the Holy Spirit if he is to preach effectively. Only in close communion with God can he receive that potential. Without it, his preaching will be both weak and useless.
After the American athlete Billy Sunday was converted in 1886, he became an evangelist. He said, “If you are strangers to prayer you are strangers to power.”
Why was the Lord Jesus Christ effective in His earthly ministry?
Prayer. Constant communion with His Father.
“In the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35
What did He do before He appointed His twelve apostles?
“It came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles.” Luke 6: 12,13.
What did He do the night before He rescued the disciples on the stormy lake? “He departed to the mountain to pray.” Mark 6:46.
What did Jesus do before He set out on that great final journey to Jerusalem?
“He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered.” Luke 9:28,29.
Powerful praying is crucial for powerful preaching.
Disregard that fact and our declaration of the Gospel is a waste of time.
How many of our churches invest heavily in technology and techniques?
Do we similarly invest heavily in praying?
Are we absolutely convinced that the best of human ingenuity is no replacement for prayer?
Gene Jackson, a former Assemblies of God minister in the USA, wrote, “The Book never changes. God never moves. He stays eternally the same. The address where we meet Him will be forever unchanged. It is an altar of prayer! If we don’t pray until we get right with God, forget the re-organization.”
The apostles gave themselves, “Continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.” Acts 6:4
If we don’t have time to pray, we don’t have time to preach.
“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1
We are continuing on this series of How to Prepare a Sermon. I’ve already given you the Ten Steps to Sermon Preparation to lead off the series. Then step one, “How to Pray about your Sermon“, and step two, “Select your text and topic“. So today let’s talk about studying the passage.
Studying the passage on which you want to preach is key. Listen, you can’t have quality preaching without putting in the time to study. It doesn’t matter how much you think you may know about the topic or text, there is always more to learn. Shallow study makes for shallow preaching. so put in the time and do it right. But how do you study the passage?
Number one rule, don’t run to the commentaries first! Study the passage on your own, and let God speak to you through it; then later on you can apply the commentaries to get the historical, grammatical, cultural facts you would not otherwise know.
So, what are the steps to studying a passage of Scripture in preparation for preaching a sermon on it?
- Read the passage multiple times.
- Read the passage in a few different translations.
- Read the entire book.
- Read it in Greek or Hebrew, if you are familiar with the original languages.
- Identify the key verbs.
- Identify key themes.
- Look for repeated words, comparisons, contrasts, conclusions, assumptions.
- Look for historical references to previous Biblical history and locations.
- If necessary, diagram the passage.
- Outline the passage.
To begin to make sense of all this Biblical data, you can ask and answer three questions:
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What does this passage mean to me?
Once you have organized the sermon by answering the above three questions, you are ready to move on to Step Four of sermon preparation.
Yours for great preaching,
Dr. Bill Miller
Just came across an article in Christianity Today online about using FaceBook to help with your sermon prep.
Here is the link.
He makes some good points, mainly Facebook helps with:
- “Understanding the hearts of my people”
- “Understanding the hearts of the unchurched”
- “Bringing people to church”
- “Generating sermon material”
- “Extending the sermon’s impact”
What’s been your experience with Facebook? Is it a plus for sermon prep, or a distraction, or something else?
For great preaching,
Dr. Bill Miller
Stewardship is a biblical perspective that can be applied to your business. Stewardship simply means managing possessions and property that are not yours. You may say, “My business belongs to me.” According to Psalm 24:1, the earth and everything on it belong to the LORD. The world and its people belong to him (CEV). Based on this scripture, your business belongs to God; therefore, you are a steward managing his business. He has blessed you with the talents, time, and treasures that you need to properly manage that which you are responsible for.
There are five principles of biblical stewardship: persistence, planning, proportionate, pleasantness, and purpose. Let’s see how we can apply them to your (God’s) business.
Persistence: Scripture teaches us that faithfulness is a necessary quality to possess as a steward. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (I Corinthians 4:2 KJV). Being persistent and dependable is viewed as being faithful. If you have any doubts, you can’t move forward in your business. You have to believe it to achieve it. You have faith that you can be a successful entrepreneur and small business owner; therefore, you are persistent in making it happen.
Another symbol of your faith is your dependability. Your business is not fly-by-night; you are in it for the long haul. Your clients can depend on you being there and not skipping town. Also, they can depend on you to be faithful in completing their projects and tasks.
Planning: God wants everything to be done peacefully and in order (I Corinthians 14:33 CEV). Planning goes without saying in any size or type of business. It is highly advisable to have a business plan as entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as a marketing plan. A plan will keep you focused and on track; therefore, your business plans will be accomplished peacefully and in order.
Proportionate: If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better (I Corinthians 16:2 CEV). The proportion of talents, time, and treasures God blesses you with will determine what services and/or products you will offer to your target market. Remember, He gives you what you need to be good stewards. At the same time, you are serving God by providing your clients with excellent service and/or products, which come from your proportion of talents, time and treasures that He has given you.
Pleasantness: Each of you must make up your own mind about how much to give. But don’t feel sorry that you must give and don’t feel that you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give (II Corinthians 9:7 CEV). Be pleasant in your business dealings, especially with your clients. It’s what’s known as providing excellent customer service. Don’t force it, give your pleasantness freely. Your clients would much rather conduct business with someone who is pleasant rather than with someone who is rude. Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31 NIV). When completing their projects and tasks, do it cheerfully. God sent you that client as a way of providing you with treasures.
Purposeful: When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God (I Corinthians 10:31 CEV). As a steward over God’s business, it’s important to honor Him by operating it with honesty and integrity. I remember reading in “The Prayer of Jabez,” written by Bruce Wilkinson where Bruce was having a conversation with some business executives. One of the executives asked Bruce, “Is it right to ask God for more business?” Bruce responded, “Absolutely! If you’re doing your business God’s way, it’s not only right to ask for more, but He is waiting for you to ask.”
Conclusion: Biblical stewardship deals with use of your money; however, it is a perspective that covers your entire life, including your business. As I have pointed out, the five principles of biblical stewardship can be applied to your business. This should be our business plan as entrepreneurs and small business owners. From time to time, we need to refer back to our plans to ensure we are on the right track. God has entrusted his business to you by appointing you as steward to manage it. The more God bless your (His) business, the more He wants you to bless individuals, the community and the world at large. This style of stewardship will bring honor and glory to His name. It is also a manner of serving God.
Original article here.
We are working on our ten-part series on How to Prepare a Sermon. We’ve already given you all ten steps of sermon preparation, and Part 1, Praying about your Sermon; Part 2,Textual vs. Topical; Part 3,Study the Passage; Part 4, Read the Commentaries; Part 5, Arrive at the Proposition; Part 6, Develop the Mains; Part 7, Provide Supporting Material, and Part 8, Write the Conclusion. Today: How To Prepare A Sermon: Part 9, Write The Introduction.
Yes, the introduction often comes right at the end, after you have written the Conclusion. The main goal here is to get their attention and to introduce the topic, thus “introduction”. Once you know the main thrust of the sermon and the main points, it is much easier to write the introduction.
Consider the Goal
The Introduction must fit strategically with the rest of your sermon. Too many pastors think that ‘attention-getting’ is the only goal, and thus try to do something lame like just share some cutesy humor or joke which they discovered on the internet. But once you have written the Conclusion, then the Introduction is the most natural next step. This is because, having written the Conclusion, you know where the sermon will end up, and so you begin with the end in mind. If your Introduction and Conclusion have a similar theme, then your sermon has parallelism; there is a natural matching between the two. People’s minds will come back to what you began with and begin drawing conclusions, which is what you want to happen. This is why in our SermonBase Message Planning Software, it is possible to view the Conclusion and the Introduction on the same screen so that you can view the connections and similarities between these two parts of your sermon.
Connect with the Listeners
During the Introduction, you must identify with the listeners. If you can make an emotional connection with the listeners in the Introduction, then they will be prepared to receive what you have to say in the rest of the sermon. If you are going to say something challenging in the sermon, then it is all the more important to relate to the audience so that they can connect and identify with you as a person.
Form a Natural Transition
The Introduction must lend itself naturally to the topic of the sermon. There must be an easy and logical flow from the topic of the Introduction to the topic of the sermon. It must make sense. Don’t give the listeners whiplash where you are talking about one thing over in this direction, and then suddenly we are facing the other way and talking about spiritual things with no warning. For example, a personal story about a recent sports injury may lend itself naturally to talking about physical and then spiritual health.
Introduce the Text
The purpose of the Introduction is to move people’s minds from the everyday mundane to the sacred Scriptures. So the topic must lead to the Scripture text upon which you intend to teach. Now it is important to note that in the Introduction you introduce text, you do not explain the text. That comes later during the Main Points of your sermon. Just introduce the text at hand, and explain why it relates to what you are going to discuss for the day. Then move quickly from the Text to the Proposition to the Main Points.
Don’t go too long
Some preachers spend way too much time on the Introduction. Use it as a tool to get you to where you need to go, which is the Proposition. Then launch into your sermon. Preachers make the mistake of going to long when they lose sight of the purpose of the Introduction, which is “introduce”, not “explain”.
If you have already followed through on the other eight parts of the sermon preparation process, then the Introduction portion should come pretty easy. For by this time, you have a clear sense of purpose; you have the Proposition, the Main Points, the supporting material, and the Conclusion. The Introduction will then almost jump out at you as to how you might begin the sermon.
The final article in this series relates to the Title, which can trip you up if you don’t know its true purpose.
God’s best to you as you prepare to share God’s Word with His people!
Dr. Bill Miller
One of the most widely participatory faith practices among Christians is “tithing,” and yet, it might be one of the least understood. There is certainly nearly unanimous agreement that this ordinance was commanded by God to the ancient Israelites and believers are taught that it is a requirement for us today; but what do the Scriptures say on this matter? A common reasoning is found in the Old Testament book of Malachi 3: 8, which states, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed Thee?’ In tithes and offerings. This pronouncement had to do with the decline and neglect of the temple services and offerings by the post exilic Jews who had returned to Palestine after a long period of foreign captivity.
There are at least two passages in the gospels of the New Testament book of Matthew, 5: 17-20, where verse 20 is used more convincingly to administer the ‘tithe’ among Christians because Jesus told His disciples, “”For I say unto you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Also in Matthew 23: 1-3, 23, Jesus wasn’t so much as teaching about tithing or even giving, but rather He was teaching against hypocrisy. If Jesus gave any favorable impression with the principle of tithing or giving, it is to be one borne of true faith and sacrifice as evidenced in Mark 12: 41-43, where He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury.” In practical matters because of the social, cultural, and market economy in which we live today, it would be almost an impossibility to exceed the scribes and Pharisees in their tithing practices anyway. So let’s see how the practice of taking up an offering really got started among the First Century believers.
Acts 11: 1, 27-30
“Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there certainly would be a great famine all over the world [land]. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Jerusalem. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders (Cp. 12: 25).”
The following New Testament Scriptures [Paul’s letters] deal with this event over a period of several years which forms the historical background and theological basis for this practice today (Cp. Gal 2: 10??; I Corinthians 16: 1-4; II Corinthians 1: 15-16; 8: 1 – 9: 15). Even in Acts 15: 13-14, 19-20, 28-29; 21: 18, 25, the Mother Church in Jerusalem decreed that the Gentile believers observe certain essentials of the faith and at no time was tithing mentioned.
The one thing that must be mentioned is the collection for the saints [in Judea] was never a command but voluntary (II Corinthians 8: 7-8; 10) and the only requirement then as well as today is found in II Corinthians 8: 12; 9: 7-8, which reads, “For if the readiness [of mind] is present, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart [so let him give]; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything; you may have abundance for every good deed.
So, what does the New Testament teach regarding supporting the Gospel or those who minister in the Word of God?
I Corinthians 9: 7-15a, 17a-18
Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink the milk of the flock? Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the Law say the same also? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while it treads out the grain (Cp. Deuteronomy 25: 4).” Is it oxen that God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so for me. For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
II Corinthians 11: 7-9
Did I commit sin humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one; for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.
NOTE: This is a far cry from those members of the clergy and Church leadership today who use the Scriptures to psychologically coerce the believers into ‘tithing’ or put a “guilt trip” and fear of condemnation on the flock if they do not participate in this offering. Are they like those in Micah 3: 11a, which reads, Her priests teach for pay and her prophets’ divine for money?
There is one other reference in the New Testament on this matter of financial support, and that pertains to the office of a “special” class of Elder, as in I Timothy 5: 17-18, which says: Let the Elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor [just what is this?], especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain Cp. Deuteronomy 25: 4,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
NOTE: Curiously, that last part which was added on is found in Luke 10: 7b, which reads: For the laborer is worthy of his wages. A similar account, though not as literally, word for word as Luke account is found in Matthew 10: 10b, which says, For a worker is worthy of his food. So, just as those who preach the gospel of God have the right to be supported, the Elder who among his other responsibilities (Cp. I Timothy 3: 1-7; Titus 1: 5-9), both proclaims the Gospel and teaches [instructs in doctrine] is to receive the material things they need just as the Apostles, other ministers, evangelists, and missionaries who spread the “Good News.”
Original article here.
There are three types of Expository sermons: Book Exposition, Biographical Exposition, Topical Exposition.
I know that there are various definitions of ‘expository preaching’, so just to clarify, when I say ‘exposition’ I am referring to a verse-by-verse study of a particular passage of Scripture. You work your way through a single passage of the Bible; you don’t jump around all over the place; you teach the Word of God where it stands, letting the text before you form your major points and even form the structure of your sermon. That is expository preaching. Having said that, even with that definition, there are three different ways you can do this style of preaching.
Let’s look at each of these:
This is the one which most people are familiar with. You take a book of the Bible and work through it from the first verse to the final. In some cases, you may take key passages which communicate the main message of the book. This is sometimes helpful for larger books when you don’t have time in your church calendar schedule to work through every single verse. For example, years ago I worked through the Book of Joshua. The book has 24 chapters, but I took a 9-week expositional walk-through of the book by hitting the 9 Key Faith Themes from Joshua. It was called “Living on the Edge of Faith” and was very good. You can get that series, by the way, at my HighPowerResources.com site.
So that is Book Exposition; well-known and well-loved.
This is a bit more tricky and requires some advance prep work before you get into the series, because you have to find all the relevant places in the Scripture where the person is referred. It could be all over the Old and New Testament, so you will want to find your key themes first, then prep your major points, as your create the Series. For example, think of how Daniel is referenced in various places in both the OT and the NT. Then, once that prep work is ready you can do an exposition of that person’s life by taking each of the key passages about him or her, and doing a complete exposition on each passage.
Does that sound like a contradiction to you? How can it be both topical and expository? Well it can, but you have to be careful on how you handle it. Sometimes this third version is called “textual topical” just to emphasize that in expository topical preaching the Text is still primary. You see, in much topical preaching, the teacher simply pulls out a concordance, and locates all key passages where that topic is used and then in the course of one sermon, takes you on a hunt throughout the Bible. While that is always a lot of fun, it is not expository topical preaching; that is just plain ‘topical’. In ‘expository topical preaching’ you stay with one passage, which is focused on a key topic. For example, think of Paul’s argument about the power of Sin in Romans 7. That would make a good passage for an exposition of the topic of Sin.
Topical Exposition has its own dangers, so we will address those in a future blog. For now, give some thought to each of the three types of Expository Preaching, and give them a try if you’d like.
Yours for great preaching!
Dr. Bill Miller
by Thomas Garrity
What it means to be a preacher or preach: Of uncertain affinity; to herald (as a public crier), especially divine truth (the gospel): – preach (-er), proclaim, publish.
2Ti 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Finally we get to the preacher. Just about the rest of this scripture is in concern with the preacher. He is to instruct for righteousness becoming perfect in God and furnished (equip) for duty or work.God has called certain men in becoming the messenger for him self.This doctrine is not mans and even Jesus said that is was not His doctrine it was the lords: John 7:16 “Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me(GODS).” Even like Jesus!
God uses man kind to deliver His message.How many times have you sat through a church service and felt as if the preacher was speaking directly at you? The truth is that GOD was trying to reproof and correct you for instruction in righteousness. He was communicating directly to you.Yet people will say they felt as if the pastor was judging them. This is not Truth, preachers are simply messengers of GOD.
Preachers have GREAT responsibility in being a messenger for GOD. With no surprise, people look back at the preacher after their own conviction to judge the pastor rather then looking to God for an explanation of the conviction they just received. That is just like the mail man handing you your mail and because their is a bill he handed you, that you have been fighting a company on you then turn on the mail man and sick your dog on him. This is wrong. We must remember a preacher is called from GOD. There are times as expressed in the earlier lesson about false teachers that we must be aware of, yet the most important way is to seek the Lord in study thyself, prayer and fasting. If you combat in any other way you will make things worse for your self and others. Seek ye first the kingdom of GOD and His righteousness and all these other thing will come.
To conclude: The Power of a positive preacher 2Ti 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.”Isa 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (specific duties given by GOD not man). 2Ti 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2Ti 3:17 “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
If we would simple trust God by obeying His word, His inspiration and become doers not hears only, weather a preacher or teacher we will be part of The power of the positive preacher. Which is GOD.