Lesson 4（第四课） The structure of the Sermon alt Structure is needed to bind the sermon together. The basic outline is the skeleton of the sermon. Such as: “God’s Strategy for Israel’s Warfare” I. He arms them with a promise. II.He directs them with his Word. III.He assures them with his love. Structure helps us to proclaim the Word more clearly:
- Structure helps the preacher be clear to himself and his hearers. If we cannot be clear, we will not communicate to our people.
- Structure helps you chose what you want to say. In our text studies and thinking about our sermon text we noted many points. All of the points may not be suitable for our sermon. Our structure will allow us to decide which points we need to use and which points are to be set aside this time.
- Structure will remind us that we need to speak about each part. We may be tempted to deal with only the part(s) we like best. Structure reminds us that there are other parts to talk about so that we are communicating the whole text to our people.
- Since structure guides where we are going, the preacher’s outline guides him so that he completes the work.
- A good structure will help us memorize the sermon easier. Structure for the sake of the hearer: There are times when God’s word is a mysterious. When finished, our sermons are to be clear not mysterious.
- Good structure encourages good listening.
- Structure helps maintain interest. If a listener cannot tell where we are going, they will get bored.
- A structured sermon allows the listener to listen more easily. An unstructured sermon is confusing and hard to listen to.
- Good structure helps the listener remember what the Word is all about. Preparations to choose a theme: a. Because you have studied the text you know what this text is saying. b. Because you have studied the text you have listed the preaching values that the text suggests and contains. c. Because you have studied the text you can now divide the text into its major parts and have placed the subordinate parts under each major part. d. With those things in mind write a propositional statement which summarizes the meaning of the text and presents the application(s) which arise from the text. Plan 1 for choosing the theme: a. With your propositional statement in mind write a theme for the sermon you wish to present to the people of God. b. With the theme in mind state the parts which you wish to speak to God’s people. c. Look over the whole of your theme and parts and reword to make it as clear as possible. alt Plan 2 for choosing a theme:
Write a brief description of the parts of the text.
Examine the content of the parts and write a theme that summarizes the parts.
Re-examine the theme and parts and rewrite as best.
The Theme: is a brief and clear statement of the main idea of the sermon.
- The theme should never be a mere topic or subject. A theme should present a point to consider. a. “Riches” is a topic. b. “The Character of Jesus Christ” is a subject. c. “The Spirit of Thanksgiving” is a subject. d. “God’s kingdom grows” is a theme e. Using a question as a theme is not recommended.
- The theme should be textual, have to do with the Bible text you are presenting. It is best if the theme is unique to the text you are working on. A good theme expresses the unity of the sermon and governs each part. Such as: “God’s Strategy for Israel’s Warfare” a. He arms them with a promise. b. He directs them with his Word. c. He assures them with his love.
- Good themes are practical themes. This theme suggests an application. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 Theme: The Gospel of Jesus Reconciles People to the LORD. a. Given by God to us. b. Communicated by God through us.
Reconciliation is the practical application for this text.
Romans 4:1-5,13-17 a. The Cross made Grace Possible b. “Grace” is the practical application of this text. 5. Luke 12:29-32 a. The Faith that Conquers Fear b. The practical aspect is that faith affects our fear in life. 6. A good theme indicates scope as well as direction. Poorer themes promise more than they can do. a. “Our Sin” would be too broad because “sin” is a huge part of scripture. It would be better to be more specific. b. This theme is not very good (The Sins against the 5th Commandment), but is better in scope the “Our Sin” 7. A good theme is a short theme. Some say that a theme should only be nine words or less. A theme that is too short will not be clear. a. We try to write memorable themes, but try not to be “cute.” b. “Let the Greatness of Jesus Show You Why Faith and Unbelief are So Decisive” This theme is too long and wordy. 8. A very good theme will be one that sounds good when you speak it. a. “The Marks of Maturity in Christians” is a good theme. A better wording might be b. “The Marks of a Mature Christian.” 9. A theme is not place for undignified words. Always speak in a noble way. a. “A Hullabaloo About Pigs” is not a good thing. The “hullabaloo” is not a bad word, but it is not a sophisticated term either. b. Never use words that will turn people’s minds from the Lord to sinful thoughts, such as with “The Sex Life of Samson” 10. A good theme is capable of being divided. Such as: Jesus Nurtures Weak Faith a. He tests it in a storm. b. He strengthens it with a miracle. Or A Revelation in a Storm at Sea. c. Of the disciples’ weak faith. d. Of the Lord’s Saving power. 11. A theme should contain only one proposition, never more. A sermon that leaves itself open to two points will confuse the people. We can never deal with everything in a text. There will be other times to speak God’s Word. a. “The Effectiveness and Necessity of Prayer” b. “The Causes and Cure of Gossip.” c. Neither of the above is a good theme for each of them state the parts of the sermon, rather than the theme. If possible, reflect the uniqueness of the text in the theme. There are many texts that speak about justification. Each of those texts is the same for they speak about being declared innocent of sin. Each of the texts is unique for the context and the presentation is different. As we develop our theme, try to incorporate the uniqueness of the text into the theme. In some literature this is expressed as “incorporating text color.” The Parts The theme inform the listener what you intend to preach about. The major divisions of the theme indicate how you intend to cover the subject. The major divisions are the parts.
Good parts express the related thoughts of the text.
Parts should be brief and clear.
The Compassionate Christ – Concerned a. About the fallen. b. About the faithful.
Parts must actually divide the theme. – 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 a. God Directs Christian Lives · Our competence comes from God. · This competence makes us capable gospel ministers.
The parts should allow or imply applications that we can make to our lives. a. Joshua 1:1-9 God’s Plan for Israel’s Warfare · He strengthens them with His Promise · He directs them with His Word.
The parts should relate to each other (be logical). The parts should encourage the listeners to want to listen. Avoid these a. Parts that repeat the theme. b. Parts that are questions. c. A first part that is positive and then a 2nd that is negative.
Many people do not Understand the Scriptures. a. Not because they are not clear (the negative proposition) b. But because they let preconceived ideas hinder them (the positive proposition). c. Do not have a first part that is the explanation of the text and a second part that is all application.
God Saves for a Purpose a. The Lord has saved you for service. b. Serve the Lord with a single mind. c. To have a first part that is declaratory and a second part that is imperative. Assignment once we have gone over this lesson –
Look over the 1-8 of theme development. Which of those have you found to be easier to pursue? Which have you found more challenging?
Have you noted anything in Chinese preaching that should be brought out in the development of a theme?
Love over the 1-6 developing the parts. Which of those have you found to be easier to pursue? Which have you found more challenging?
Have you noted anything in Chinese preaching that should be brought out in the development of the parts for your sermons? alt
Since preaching in China is over a longer time (one to two hours), how does the longer time frame affect the development of sermon themes and parts?
Study Luke 7:36-50 and develop a theme and parts for this text.
Select a text of your choosing – such as one that you might be preaching on three weeks from now – and develop a theme and parts so that we can discuss it before the time when you will preach it.