Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Preaching the Text

It may be insultingly self-evident that one of the keys to Biblical preaching is to preach the text.

Most preachers claims to preach the Bible. What that normally means is that some Bible verses are sprinkled throughout the sermon. It may mean that a central text is chosen and printed in the bulletin that Sunday.

Preaching the text means letting the text of the Bible drive the sermon. I know of no better way to do that than to let the text dictate the STRUCTURE of the message.

I heard a very good message this weekend that did exactly that. The text was Ephesians 5:15-18 Be very careful, then, how you live-- not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

The speaker's outline was:
  1. Examine how you live. v. 15
  2. Make the most of your time. v.16
  3. Know God's will. v.17
  4. Rely on God's Spirit. v.18

Because his outline mirrored the text so closely he was free to spend the bulk of the sermon on application, not on explanation. The sermon clearly reflected the weight of the text and relevant for life. Better yet, it was evident to everyone who listened that he was "not making this up."


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