Remember, every way that we expand the sermon comes from the text. Even other Biblical or extra-biblical material is to be included only because of something rising from the text.
Concern for Unity of the Sermon
The theme and parts summarize and focus the direction of the sermon.
The sermon is not
• An essay;
• A devotional meditation; or
• A commentary on the verses.
“Rather it is an oral communication which develops a single thought which has been stated in the theme.” 
A theme or proposition is a summary statement of the text, of the text’s central thought. Later the preacher may bring out a different point in the text, but each time he will have a single thought.
Concern for Relevance
After you have studied the text and written down various preaching points, your list (and thoughts) will contain items that you will want to use in the sermon and items that do not fit your theme. We cannot say everything about a text in each sermon. Be willing to exclude things that do not help you develop your theme.
Purpose of Expansion
The sermon writing we do is not just to fill up time. Everything we write for the sermon is to communicate the truth of the Gospel. We do not want to say too much and so clutter the word, nor do we want to say too little so that we do not explain the Word.
Remember, the sermon parts must be logical divisions of the theme and text.
Importance of Good Mechanics
We are not writing a sermon to look good. We are writing to communicate the truth. “Remember, the sermon is intended to crush the sinner and show him the Savior, to edify the saints and motivate the sluggish, to comfort the sorrowing and persuade the reluctant.” 
Dialog with the Text
All of our study of a text and our “brain storming” on a text, and finding preaching points are a “dialog with the text.” We are letting God’s word speak to us. Generally we are asking such questions in our “dialogue” as:
- What does this text mean?
- What truths about God and Jesus are being taught?
- How does this text apply to me and my people today?
- What truths for life are being taught?
As we think about what we are going to write, we continue the dialog with questions like this, “How can I communicate these things to God’s people.”
“Through out the process he is more than a professional looking for material with which to carry out a professional assignment successfully. He is first of all God’s little child, a trusting learner. He is killed by the law, made alive by the gospel, instructed by the Word. Thus, his sermon becomes a testimony to the great things God has done for him. Meanwhile, he is confident that the Gospel not only offers the gifts of God but also works the faith to accept them.” 
Proper Use of Suitable Material
One task of preaching is to help our listeners “appropriate” what God is saying. “Appropriate” is a term to mean understand, gain knowledge about, and take that knowledge to heart. This is also called “appropriation.”
Then, we also encourage “application” of the text, the use of the text today.
In our sermon we are to use only those materials that help us communicate the text so that our listeners can appropriate what God is saying and apply what God is saying in this text. This takes into account the proper use of literal and figurative language and explanations of parables.
Material from Other Biblical Sources
Your study may have led you to other parts of the Bible that apply to this text and help with appropriation and application.
Use only what helps explain and communicate.
Materials from Extra-Biblical Sources
During study you may find materials from other books, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and others, that help with the sermon. If you have concluded that the material is Biblically accurate and trustworthy, then you may consider using it in the sermon. Again, use only what helps to communicate the text and proclaim the Word of God for appropriation and application.
Expanding the Outline More Fully
With all the points you have found in study, expand your parts.
Under each part list those points that apply to that part.
Organize all the points under the part in a way that you think will communicate the truth of the text in a logical fashion that your people will understand.
At times you will move something to another part.
At times you will discard a thought as not helping the development of the text.
At times something new will come to mind, an illustration, and application, something in the Word of God you want to check more.
When you are done this is your expanded outline.
Some pastors will write very long expanded outlines. The more inexperienced we are in writing sermons the more useful it is to more fully expand the outline.
Some pastors write very short expanded outline. [I usually have four or five points under each part of my basic theme and parts.]
When you are finished your expanded outline, start writing.
Writing your sermon out completely is a good habit. Complete writing will allow you to memorize your sermon more easily and will allow you to speak more effectively. I strongly recommend that the less experienced preacher write out his sermon fully. While it is true that we do not speak the same way that we write, writing does allow us to be more focused.
As we become more experienced we may not write our sermon out fully. Yet, also be aware that you may start saying things in similar fashions and get into bad preaching habits without writing. Each of us will find that we have certain phrases that we use regularly. Writing the sermon out fully will allow us to be aware of what we are saying. One pastor regularly used the phrase, “picture this on the screen of your mind.” He would say that about five times a sermon. His regular use of that phrase actually became quite annoying. Be aware, we all have pet phrases that we use.
Another problem that can arise if we do not write out our sermon is that we can ramble as we try to think of a good way to make a point. If we had written out our point, we would have had a chance to think through how we want to express that truth of God’s Word.
Sometimes because of the way our schedule develops we do not have time to write the sermon out completely and so must use an outline. Under those circumstances we apply what God has given us and we pray that the Lord will guide our presentation of his word, even though we may wish that we had more time to prepare.
As you write, develop each point so that it communicates to your people and reflects the truth of God’s Word. You may directly quote a portion of Scripture or a commentary. You may reference something that has happened in our lives. Communicate with your people about the text. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy (3:16) God’s word is good for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. Our sermons do all four of those things.
While writing, beware of communicating in abstract ways that our listeners may not understand. The more we know our people and the more they know us, the better we can communicate. Keep this in mind especially with unbelievers, for they may not understand the Biblical references that we make. To a seeker many things about the Bible and the Christian faith seem abstract. Jesus regularly taught using stories and parables because people could more easily understand those than they could the abstractions. Our writing and talking should be clear and understandable not confusing and unclear.
Remember to connect the parts of your sermon so that your listeners know where you are going.
Remember, to emphasize the law and gospel, sin and grace in all of our preaching.
A good sermon will include application of the text.
At times application may come during each part of the sermon and throughout the sermon. At times application may be a few paragraphs at the end of the entire sermon before the conclusion. The preacher needs to decide how best to present the importance of this text for his people for today.
The best applications come right from the text. An application that does not flow from the text study will sound out of place and not encourage our listeners to action. s
To decide on which application to use we might ask such questions as:
- What actions does this text encourage my listeners to do?
- What is this text pointing out about modern life?
- How does Jesus’ work in this text affect life today?
- What are the members of our congregation taking out of the doors of church that they can use in their daily life?
Sometimes a text may express a condemnation of a certain action. Such as, “You shall not murder.” Most or all of our members are not guilty of murder, so we do not want to speak as if they are. Yet, the 5th commandment also applies to hate and anger, sins our people are guilty of. When expressing a Biblical condemnation be aware how this is expressed so that we show the sins of our people accurately.
Be careful about expressing a condemnation that affects people who are not at church. We should not focus on those people in the world who are big sinners. Our focus should be to help our people to realize their sin, to repent, and to turn to Jesus and Christian life. Occasionally a member may get the idea that we in the church are better than those who are not at church. In reality we are just as sinful as everyone else, just in more subtle ways. Yet, do not be shy about discouraging a sin that is in the world, because our people will be tempted to commit the same sins.
Remember, preaching is to affect the “old man” and the “new man.” Each believer is a sinner who has been redeemed by Christ. The “old man” in every Christian needs to hear that sin is condemned. Our “new man” needs to hear the good news of Jesus and what God wants us to do.
Be careful that you do not make something a command of God that is not. The widow was commended for giving all she had (Mark 12:41-44) but we cannot apply that text to mean that we are to give all we have to the work of the kingdom.
When an application is negative do not apply it to your congregation as if they are unbelievers. If your application is for unbelievers, say so. Better is that you apply applications to Christians who are believers with sinful natures.
Many applications are based upon the law. Remember to apply gospel motivation and beware of making applications sound legalistic. Be sensitive to the possibility that Satan might encourage Christians to act like Pharisees. Be aware of this temptation an communicate so that we act with the Gospel in mind.
Do not give either of these impressions.
- Do not imply that we do good works to be saved. Good works are not necessary for salvation.
- Do not give the impression that good works are optional. Good works are necessary in life.
“Since all applications are intended to encourage the new man, it must be presented in an evangelical manner. The Christian needs help against his flesh and encouragement in the difficult battle with temptation.” As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, chapter 6, 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
“Only the gospel can renew and equip and motivate him.” 
Be cautious in the use of terms like “must” and “should” and “ought to.” When speaking about Christian actions using such phrases as “we want to…” is a much more gospel emphasis appealing to the new man. “We want to persuade but we will not confuse that with applying pressure [of the law].” 
To persuade the Christian to action cannot be best accomplished with the law. We encourage people to act because they are believers – loved by God and who love God.
“We are preaching sanctification properly when we help our hearers grieve over their sinful inclinations and their failures because they have displeased the Savior whom they love, and when we help them take delight in doing good because it pleases their Savior. We can encourage them with the promise that it is God who works in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” 
Final Checking of the Outline
Now that it is written review what you have before you. [In my preaching, I have found this to be a very important part of my sermon preparation.]
- Do all the paragraphs follow in a way that the people will understand? You may discover that you need to move or even exclude a paragraph or two.
- Have you used illustrations and words that encourage understanding?
- Does all of your writing fit under the theme and under the correct parts?
- Do you notice something that needs more explanation?
- Do you notice a part that is explained too much?
- Have you noticed a part of the sermon that does not help with understanding? Then that paragraph or section needs to be excluded.
- Does the sermon as you have developed it fit the time frame that it needs to for the service?