Preparing a sermon is more than merely writing good spiritual thoughts down on paper and presenting them. Good biblical preaching comes from a man who has been changed and transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ; someone who has had a life changing encounter with God.
Taking God’s life changing message through His Word and writing great sermons are two different things. Preparing to preach can be very difficult even when you know the message you want to communicate!
To improve your sermon prep, I have compiled some insights from some of my favorite preachers of past and present about how they write a sermon.
How does John Piper Prepare to Preach?
Timothy Keller on Sermon Preparation
Tim Keller’s Basic Sermon Outline for a Gospel-Centered Message:
The following may actually be four points in a presentation, or they may be treated very quickly as the last point of a sermon. But more generally, this is a foundational outline for the basic moral reasoning and argument that lies at the heart of the application.
The Plot winds up: WHAT YOU MUST DO.
“This is what you have to do! Here is what the text/narrative tells us that we must do or what we must be.”
The Plot thickens: WHY YOU CAN’T DO IT.
“But you can’t do it! Here are all the reasons that you will never become like this just by trying very hard.”
The Plot resolves: HOW HE DID IT.
“But there’s One who did. Perfectly. Wholly. Jesus the—. He has done this for us, in our place.”
The Plot winds down: HOW, THROUGH HIM, YOU CAN DO IT.
“Our failure to do it is due to our functional rejection of what he did. Remembering him frees our heart so we can change like this…” (Source)
Transformational Expository Preaching by Colin Smith (@PastorColinS)
Workshop at The Gospel Coalition 2011 National Conference (Download Audio Here)
Alistar Begg on the sermon preparation process:
Charles Spurgeon on preaching:
“The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.” sermon #2899
“The Spirit of God bears no witness to Christless sermons. Leave Jesus out of your preaching, and the Holy Spirit will never come upon you. Why should he? Has he not come on purpose that he may testify of Christ? Did not Jesus say, ‘He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you’? Yes, the subject was Christ, and nothing but Christ, and such is the teaching which the Spirit of God will own. Be it ours never to wander from this central point: may we determine to know nothing among men but Christ and his cross.” sermon #1540
How important is it to know people you are speaking to when preaching?
Matt Chandler’s Advice to Preachers:
Dr. Tony Evans on Expository Preaching
- Leadership Resources Fuse Line monthly eNewsletter with preaching resources, helpful articles, and stories of God’s work around the world.
- Preachers: Do You Love Books More Than People?
- A Simple Guide to See How the Old Testament Points to Jesus Christ
- How to Listen to a Sermon: 15 Practical Tips for Receiving the Word
- The Secrets of Charles Spurgeon’s Preaching
- David Murray on How to Preach a ‘Viral’ Sermon