The advantage of using texts as the basis for our sermon work:
- A text offers a manageable part of the whole.
- A text injects discipline into the homiletical process.
- A systematic series of texts provides material for presenting more of God’s instruction and encouragement than random selection according to the preacher’s personal preferences can afford.
- A variety of texts helps to insure freshness in preaching.
We are not required to follow a particular order of texts.
The preacher “must exercise his freedom in a way that will help him carry out his responsibility to feed the flock of God.” 
- Follow an order that has been developed. We commonly use the ILCW series, a three year series. Another popular series is the Historical series, a one year series.
- Follow an order of our own choosing that focuses on the specific needs of our congregation.
- Select a text each week as we want to.
Advantages of pericopic preaching:
- The selections are of a manageable size. They generally contain a complete thought.
- You do not need to search for a text.
- The series follow the church year.
- The series uses Old Testament and New Testament readings.
- The series contains opportunities to preach on most of the Christian teachings of Scripture and the history of the Savior.
Disadvantages of pericopic preaching:
- The texts may not cover the immediate needs of the congregation.
- People do not become acquainted with one book all the way through.
- If the preacher uses all epistles or all gospels for one year, preaching may become tedious. We want to use OT, NT and epistles in our preaching.
Advantages of preaching through an entire book:
- The congregation becomes knowledgeable about that book.
- Historical context and context can be discussed more than in a pericopic text.
Disadvantages to preaching through an entire book:
- It can becomes difficult to limit texts
- Specific doctrines of the Bible may be missed.
- The church year is not being developed.
- The needs of the congregation may not be met.
- A guest will not have the benefit of what has been said on other Sundays.
A topical sermon is one in which the Pastor focuses on a text that allows him to focus on a topic. A topic would be such things as Justification, sanctification, good works, stewardship, how we use our money, the love of parents, etc. For some topics the pastor will focus Scripture on a modern concern, such as war and peace, abortion, being involved in Hmong traditions that may not be Christian, etc.
Advantages to topical preaching:
- The pastor is focusing on a need of the congregation.
- Timely sermons encourage people to listen, for it is easy for pericopic and going through an entire book to be developed historically.
Disadvantages to topical preaching:
- The pastor may be tempted not to do his Biblical, study work in preparation for the sermon.
- The preacher may be tempted not to get too deep into the text.
- The preacher may use the text just to talk about something that is bothering him. We call that a “pretext.”
- Rather than covering the church year or the full teachings of the Scripture, the pastor may cover only what interests him.
Random text selection:
- Advantage – hopefully the pastor will chose texts that help his people.
- Disadvantage – having no plan each week is a burden on time.
- Disadvantage – it becomes a great temptation to chose texts you like. Soon sermons may begin to sound alike and not be “fresh.”
General guidelines for the Choice of texts:
- Chose a text that is a complete thought. You do not need to include the prophet’s or apostle’s every inspired thought, but the text length needs to be enough to present a good thought. When we have selected a text we may end up using thoughts from the context to make the text clear.
- Each text should contain sin and grace, law and gospel.
- Do not shy away from well-known texts. Our congregation likes to hear those texts.
It is wise to plan your Advent and Lenten series well in advance. Series that others have used are available.