Too many sermons are intended to impress instead of revealing. The true task of a sermon is to reveal God to the hearers. We are sharing a story about what we have learned about God. And, we are inviting the hearers to learn it for themselves.
Some of the main points about effective sermons include:
- Don't preach something you don't know personally.
- Don't preach theory.
- Don't preach at people. Speak in terms of us instead of you.
- Use the power of a story. Bible stories are effective means of communicating spiritual truth. But, so are other stories.
- What is the point? Write a clear purpose statement for the sermon. Build everything around that purpose.
- Talk. Don't sermonize. Don't speech-ify. Talk. Be a story teller. Tell the people what you have learned about God so they can learn too.
Here is an example of a great sermon:
Jesus loves me, this I know. The Bible tells me He loves me, but I've learned for myself because of my relationship with Him that He truly loves me. There was a time in my life when I failed God, I failed people and I failed my wife. Everyone around me told me in word and deed that I was a failure and that they did not care to be with me. Except God!
These are such powerful words: Except God! Everybody despises me, except God! Everybody has turned away from me, except God!
In the dark hours of the night when I could not sleep and when I could not cry anymore, God was there. It was a shock. It was a surprise. And, more surprising, God was not there to judge me. He was not condemning me. God was there loving me. The only thing I felt from God was His incredible love.
God does not love like people love. Saint Paul has given us a powerful description of the love of God: "Love is patient and is kind. Love does not envy and is not boastful; Love is not arrogant or rude. Love does not demand its own way; Love is not easily irritated and keeps no scorecard of wrongs suffered. Love is not gleeful at others' failures, but delights in the true worth of a person. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. And, Love never ends." (1 Corinthians 13.4-8a)
The only way I can love myself is to meditate upon how God loves me. And, I realize that He does not turn away from me because of my sins and failures, but I have come to understand that He loves me unconditionally just because He is my Creator and He is Love.
When it seems that everyone is against you, get alone with God and hear what He has to say. Take time to understand that in Jesus you are truly loved.
This little sermon can be expanded effectively with more personal examples of how you have learned God's love for you.
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