Do you feel the call of God to preach the good news of the gospel?
Would you just like to know what creating a sermon is all about?
Here are step-by-step instructions to guide you in this process.
Carefully review the lesson below. It is a condensed version of graduate level studies to make it easy to learn the basics of sermon writing.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me using the form at the bottom of this page. I will answer you as soon as I can.
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The method of preaching I enjoy is called the dialectic method. It keeps a sermon short, focused, and on point, so the listeners can enjoy, learn, and grow from the message you preach!
The Dialectic Method of Preaching
The first thing you should do is pray and ask God for guidance as you search the scriptures for a message to deliver. If you think you're not receiving a message, remember that the bible is the message, and any scripture you choose to preach about will do.
Always consider who you'll be preaching to (youth, adults, etc.) and what is
the purpose for the service, such as: a youth service, a pastor, choir, or church
anniversary, a holiday, or a general service. Once you find out the purpose for the service, it will be easier to choose an appropriate topic to preach about.
Always prepare in advance and practice delivering your message. Don't try to throw together a sermon the night before you preach. God is worth more than that. So are the people you will be speaking to. Remember, this is a basic guideline. You will have to study to properly teach and preach any message, especially the message of the Holy Scriptures.
To quote a professor at Virginia Union University School of Theology: "Never be only one chapter ahead of the people you teach. If they ask a question, you won't be able to answer because you haven't read that far, thus, you are unqualified to teach! Never forget, preaching is teaching."
1. Dialectic: to establish truths on both sides of a subject rather than disprove one side.
For example, it's true that smoking may cause cancer and it's also true that smokers who quit decrease their chances of developing cancer. Therefore, I advise you not to smoke. This is better than saying "You're a smoker and that's bad."
Note: People normally know what they are doing wrong. They don't like to be attacked, dumped on, or accused. They get enough of that in the world. They look to the church for guidance and help to overcome their wrong. Therefore, it's the preacher's job to help them overcome by teaching with a loving message. We should not oppress people in the church, we must liberate them to the freedom of living a joyful Christian life!
2. Homiletics: the art of writing and preaching sermons
3. Pericope: (per-rih-co-pee): bible scripture and any passage of a book
4. Thesis: the topic or proposition (idea) you wish to present
5. Antithesis: the opposite or contradiction of your thesis
6. Synthesis: combining different ideas, influences, or objects to make a new whole, in this case, it is the body (teaching) of your sermon
A Dialectic Sermon Consists of 7 Parts:
1.Text: start by reading only the scripture (pericope) you will be preaching about. This may include 1 to 4 verses. In many cases, more than 4 verses cover more than 1 topic. A good rule to remember is "read no more than 4." This does not apply to every topic, however, only read more verses as needed to complete the topic you are reading about.
2. Title: announce the title “The title of my sermon is …” (a title is optional, but not needed).
3. Antithesis: present the negative side of the issue you will teach about.
Example: "There are people who steal, don’t love, pray, believe, etc. ... " or are poor, sick, etc.
4. Thesis: present the positive side of the same issues, “There are people who do pray, who don't steal, who do believe, love, etc." Note: remember that the thesis plus the antithesis should be no more than 3 minutes each or less. Feel free to give exciting and real examples of the thesis or antithesis. This will capture the attention of the congregation. Be sure not to use the people in the church as examples, that is not pleasant and may turn many people away.
5. Relevant Question: present a question that the thesis/antithesis inspires, such as: “How do we control our anger, ... pray, ... love, ... believe, ... get healed," etc.
6. Synthesis: present 1 to 3 points that answer the relevant question. Do this by
explaining the significance of the scripture you read and maybe 1or 2 other relevant scriptures if needed. All points should be equally presented and explained in detail. You can really preach here, but don't go off the topic, and, this is where proof that you have studied goes into action.
7. Conclusion: repeat the relevant question and a summary of the points, using one sentence for each point.
Below, following the "Tips" section is a sample sermon, and below that is an outline to build a sermon. Feel free to copy the outline to use in building your sermon. God Bless you!
1. Use words like "we," "us," "our," and "some people," instead of "you" and "yours." Many preachers say "you" when they preach, but they need the message too!
2. Use correlating language throughout the entire sermon and stay focused on only one topic.
3. Only use scriptures that speak directly about the sermon’s topic.
4. The congregation should not have to guess where the title came from. It should obviously relate to the scripture and the entire sermon. For example, don't use a title "God is Love" then read scriptures about Jesus making fishers of men. Instead use the title "Going Fishing." Or, if you want to use the 1st title, use 1 John 4:8 which says "God is Love." Then talk about God's love. Remember, let the language from the title and the scriptures to the sermon's end, remain consistent.
5. The title should be no more than 4 words unless it's a common phrase or cliché. For example, “Use What You Got, To Get What You Want” has 9 words, but it is easy to remember.
6. Use only one relative question per sermon (see example in the sample sermon).
7. The antithesis and thesis should only take 3 minutes each or less. They are to gain the attention of the listeners and set up what they will learn. Either one can be used first, depending on the impact you want to make.
8. Never preach about what people should or should not do without teaching them how to do or not do it. Many sermons are filled with telling people not to sin but they don't explain how not to sin or, they say people should praise God but they don't tell them how to praise Him.
9. Stay away from using common phrases that attack the listeners. For example, many preachers say things in the middle of their preaching like "you don't hear me," or, "I wish I had a praying church," or, "You are not going to like me now," and even "You don't want to hear what I'm about to say." The list goes on and on.
Preaching is powerful but after preaching with all of those accusations, is it any wonder that people don't want to listen to the word of God? If faith comes by hearing, then people are building faith in the accusations thrown at them from the pulpit! If your message is filled with good teaching you won't need to use phrases like this at all. Basically, they are just a bunch of wasted fillers in a message. If anyone feels the need to use a filler, say things like, "You're gonna love what I'm about to say now!" That has a bigger impact, especially if what you say after that is a hard lesson. Some people may laugh and, most listeners will accept it easier!
In the sample sermon below, notice how the language about truth is congruent through-out the entire sermon including the scripture, title, antithesis, thesis, relevant question, synthesis, and conclusion. The congregation will easily remember what the sermon was about and how to do what they learned.
Also, don't waste time telling stories about yourself or anything else that does not have to do with the sermon. After giving brief accolades to whom it may concern and saying a prayer to begin if you choose, get right into the sermon.
The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth
1. Text: John 4:23-24 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
2. Title: The title of my sermon is "The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth."
3. Antithesis: Some people have been in church a long time, yet have not changed. Some act like true Christians in church, but act like the devil when they leave. Some are easily troubled, others give in to temptations. Some leave the church altogether. They don't worship God in truth.
4. Thesis: The scripture says true worshipers will worship the Father in truth and there are many who do just that. They act like Christians in church and out of church. They live peacefully, are not easily troubled, and practice turning away from temptations. They are dedicated members of the church and they worship God in truth! God wants the same for all of us, to worship Him in truth.
5. Relevant Question: How do we worship God in truth?
Point 1: To worship God in truth, we must first understand what truth is. Truth is reality. God wants us to face the truth about ourselves, that is, what's real about ourselves.
Reality TV is the hottest thing right now! Turn on the channel in our own lives and let us not overlook our short comings, but work to make things right. Let us not smile at folks in church and gossip about them behind their back. Let us not settle for un-fulfilling jobs or family life; don't complain, change! Work on really improving our lives, and act like Christians not only in church, but at home, on the job, with our friends, and everywhere we go, no matter who we are with!
We should not hang with Christians in church and sinners outside of church. Let's work on our attitudes, social skills, and our outlook on life. Let's examine ourselves and not make excuses for our mistakes and wrong doing. Suggestions for help in this is to seek counseling, pray and ask God for direction, discuss issues with family and other spiritual advisors. Let's do what we have to, so we can become better Christians. Now, that’s true worship to God!
Point 2: Learn the truth, it's in the bible. John 8:32 says "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free!" Read the bible, attend bible study, ask questions and seek answers from the clergy. Discuss the scriptures with other Christians to learn the truth. The bible teaches us how to worship God. The more we learn, the more we'll know how to deal with stress, temptation, and living a Christian life in general.
Knowledge is power and power is freedom to live the way God wants us to live. The more truth we know, the more we will be able to worship God in truth, according to His word! Therefore, we must learn the truth! With biblical knowledge about what God expects of us and how we are supposed to act and react, we can really work on ourselves as I previously pointed out.
Point 3: John chapter 4 verse 23 tells us that God is looking for true worshipers to worship Him. He obviously doesn't appreciate fake worship. God is all powerful and can tell who is worshiping Him in truth, that means, worshiping Him for real!
For example, when we sing praise songs to God, we should sing from our heart and mean what we are singing about. We should be sincere in whatever we do to worship God. This again includes living right in church and out of church. We should not praise God to impress others or gain attention. Remember, God is looking for true worshipers and He is the main one we want to show how true our worship is.
This includes being active in our churches by paying tithes, lending a helping hand, and showing support for what the pastor asks of us and for what others are doing in the church. And, when we leave church, really do in our lives the things we promise God we will do while we are in church! Now that's true worship! Since the bible tells us that God is looking for true worshipers, I encourage all of us here to be the true worshipers God is looking for!
6. Conclusion: Our question is, "How do we worship God in truth? Remember ...
1. Truth is reality – really work on ourselves to fix our lives, to live the way God wants us to.
2. Learn the truth, it's in the bible. Learn what it says so we can worship God in truth.
3. Be sincere when worshiping God in singing, praising, and other activities. Be the true worshiper God is looking for and let us start by accepting Him into our lives today!
Now is the time (with permission from the pastor) to lead the congregation in a prayer for salvation! Or, turn the service into the hands of other clergy.
Critical Thinking Exercise: It is possible to gain more than 1 message from a particular scripture. Read John 4: 23-24 again to see if you can detect at least 2 other messages that can be derived from it. Suggestions are listed below the sermon building outline.
Sermon Building Outline
1. Text: _____________________________________________________
2. Title: _____________________________________________________
3. Thesis or Antithesis: _____________________________________________________
4. Thesis or Antithesis: _____________________________________________________
5. Relevant Question: _____________________________________________________
6. Synthesis: (points to teach and answer the question)
Point 1: _____________________________________________________
Point 2: _____________________________________________________
Point 3: _____________________________________________________
Conclusion: In conclusion, (repeat the relevant question)
Remember to: (repeat the points using a one sentence synopsis for each point)
Critical Thinking Exercise Answer: One message that can be derived from John 4: 23-24 deals with worshiping God in spirit!
Another message can focus on the fact that God wants us to worship Him.
The 2 key words are " spirit" and " worship." See if you can build 2 sermons based on these words.
Feel free to send me your questions, thoughts or comments.
Just use the form, below.
Thank you, and God Bless you!