The Growth of a Sermon July 24, 2023


A preacher’s sermon should simply be an organized expression of a biblical message. The right kind of preaching will not be rooted in a man’s idea but in God’s Word. The “life” of any sermon is not personality, oratory, humor, gestures, or the antics of the one delivering it. True life comes from the life-giving Word and the Spirit who uses it.

It has often been said that every sermon must have two births – it must live in the heart of the preacher in his study, and it must live again as the preacher delivers it to the people. Using the analogy of a living organism, let’s follow the growth of a sermon.

    1. The sermon is born as the minister walks with God in His Word. Any message that is greatly used of God grows out of the secret place of prayer and the daily practice of truth in the preacher’s life. The Holy Spirit births a seed of truth in the heart of His servant and causes it to live first in that man.
    2. The sermon is given bones as the minister begins to study and meditate on the passage of Scripture. Bones provide order and structure to living things. A minister’s outline is not the main thing – it is simply the structure that helps him to express the emphasis of the Word. The form for each message will grow out of the text itself as God shapes our thinking to His truth. We do not really create the “bones” of the text; we discover the logical progression of truth that is already there. Sermon outlines can take on many shapes but they should not be the focal point of preaching. As one old minister used to say, “If you want the message to live do not rattle the bones unduly!”
    3. The sermon takes on a body as the preacher digs deeply into the Scripture. Interpretation, illustration, and application are fleshed out as the meat of the passage is studied. Just because a man has an outline does not mean that he has a message. Skeletons give no life. Outlines, like bones, can be dead by themselves.
    4. The sermon is given breath as the preacher depends on the enabling of the Holy Spirit to present the truth. He is the very breath of God and without Him, there is no life. The Spirit is indispensable if the sermon, the preacher, and the hearers are to live.

Sermons should grow out of the heart of a preacher who is himself growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ. If we concentrate on the growth of our own souls, we can be confident that God will also help us see the growth of true Bible sermons. 

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  1. Gary Warren on July 24, 2023 at 9:06 PM

    Vance Havner said:
    Illustrations in a sermon are like windows, but a sermon should not be all windows. A good story helps, but I have heard sermons that were built several stories too high!

  2. R Paul Johnson on July 25, 2023 at 5:16 PM

    Excellent truth and applicable to various truths in every Christian’s life.

    God bless you Bro Pauley.

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