Titus: Ten Essentials of Preaching. Part Four.

“…and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;” (Titus 1:3 (ESV)

The following article is an excerpt from the Master’s Seminary Blog, June 23, 2020. It is entitled Ten Essentials of Preaching.

1. Preaching must be Biblically-Centered and Biblically-Grounded.

2. Preaching must be God-Exalting.

3. Preaching must be Christ-ward.

4. Preaching must be Doctrinally and Theologically Accurate.

5. Preaching must be dependent, both before and after the Preaching Event.

6. Preaching must be Well-Prepared.

7. Preaching must be Authoritative.

8. Preaching must Demand Something.

Preaching is not lecturing. While there is a didactic component to any sound preaching, preaching should go beyond teaching in calling on the listener to do so something with the content of the sermon. The preacher is free to suggest specific points of application for the church, but is not required to do so, since it ultimately is the Spirit of God who is going to convict hearts and move Spirit-indwelt individuals to act in response to the preacher’s wielding of the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17).

For believers, the Spirit will take a faithfully-prepared sermon and drive the truth of Scripture into the heart of God’s people (Heb. 4:12), convicting them of sin and fueling them to grow further in holiness and Christlikeness. For unbelievers, the Spirit will take such a sermon and convict him or her of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8), which ultimately will lead to salvation for those who are among God’s elect, or just condemnation for those who remain under God’s wrath. Either way, God’s purposes in sending out His Word through the preacher will be fulfilled (Isa. 55:11).

9. Preaching must be both Articulate and Imaginative.

The best sermons are not merely thrown together. Rather, they are carefully crafted over the course of many hours. They have ample cross-references to Scripture, and if needed, to church history. They are edited, polished, and rolled over in the preacher’s mind, so as to work out any problems with the content or delivery before the preaching event arrives. Routinely preaching “Saturday night specials” is no way to preach!

In addition, solid preaching is imaginative, meaning that, when it would be helpful, it includes illustrations, stories, and hypotheticals to draw out the meaning of the text. Since it is both “living and active” (Heb. 4:12) and “perfect” (Ps. 19:7), the Word of God ultimately needs no illustrations or similar devices to bring it life. The word of Christ itself gives life (John 6:63). However, to carry us along in our fallen condition, illustrations and stories can be helpful in illuminating the meaning of Scripture, which in turn helps us to live upright and godly lives in this age (Titus 2:12).

As with anything, illustrations and stories can be overused! If an illustration or a story showcases a preacher as a gifted illustrator or storyteller – rather than showcasing God and His glory – the preacher has not fulfilled his task.”

Take time today to pray for your pastor and other ministers who preach the Word of God. Pray they never compromise from God’s command to “Preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:1-7).

Soli deo Gloria!

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