Jesus has set in His Church the sacred pulpit as the primary means by which we fivefold ministers touch the lives of those
we serve. For it is through the pulpit the powerful Word of God flows into the hearts of His saints and delivers to them His
will and plan. It goes without saying that to fill the pulpit is a sacred act deserving of our highest dedication to Jesus Christ.
Not long ago I was chatting with a pastor and the topic of conversation turned to sermon preparation. It is always
fascinating to me to find out how Jesus works with His servants to give them what they are to give to His people. The
reason for my fascination in this regard is that with each of us He works so differently. No doubt this is because each of us
is unique and must be dealt with according to our personality, doctrinal mindset, traditions, and surroundings. The end-
result should always be the same, and that is to receive and to deliver the good Word of God to the Church.
As my fellow minister and I were discussing this, he related to me how he writes and re-writes his sermon and practices its
delivery over and again until he feels he has it right. He was a gasp when I told him that the way God dealt with me was to
simply reveal to me the overall track of the message with its starting point and its ultimate goal. We mused over the fact
that neither of us could use the other’s method. Which is right? The right way is the way God has for each of us. The error
is when we attempt to use someone else’s methods.
One important instruction I give to our MIT’s [Ministers In Training] when they are being taught on the subject of “The Art
of Proclamation” is to reinforce to them the need to understand clearly the purpose God has for that particular service. If
this is unclear, the minister may take the service in a direction not consistent with the plan of God. For example: if the
divine reason for the service is to introduce people to Jesus Christ and reveal His love to them, to focus on such things as
spiritual gifts, eschatology, unity, deliverance, etc. may hinder what God had planned. One of the most basic questions to
ask of God is this: Is this service primarily for seekers or for saints? This knowledge will set you on the proper course.
An equally important thing to ask God is: What is the ultimate goal of this message? Is it to win the lost? Is it to edify the
church? Is it to call the saints to repentance? Is it to encourage or motivate the saints to live a holy life? Is it to instruct on
a particular doctrinal truth? Each of these goals will produce a totally different flavor or service. When you know where
you are going, you will know when you have arrived when you get there. In other words, because you know the goal the
Lord has set for the service, you know not to close the service until that goal is reached.
When you reach the goal, stop. Oftentimes we attempt
to put some kind of final word on things and end up diluting or even
undermining what the Holy Spirit did in the service.
I have found that in sermon preparation the most important aspect of preparation is preparing the messenger not the
message. When the messenger is pure before God, when he has immersed himself in the Spirit by spending time praying
in the Holy Spirit, and when he has sufficiently set aside the cares and concerns of life, then, and only then, is he really
ready to receive the Word from the Lord. Once this is done, the vessel is holy enough for the Spirit of God to fill it with
holy revelation. So, take the time to prepare yourself, then, set about the task of preparing the message.
Let’s talk more about filling the sacred vessel with the anointed Word that is to be delivered to the Church. There is an
error that comes from pulpits in this regard that I want to warn you about. This is the error of not adequately researching
the Scriptures on the subject you are preaching on. It is too easy to take a particular passage and develop a sermon or
teaching on just that passage. Expository ministry is valid and effective; however, we should fully search the Word of God
on our topic at hand before we arrive at our conclusions and thereby establish doctrine from our text passage. For
instance, what conclusion would we arrive at if we were teaching from Matthew 6:25-34 on the subject of God’s divine
provisions and fail to balance it with Luke 6:38 that declares we must first give if we are to receive from God? Can you see
that bad doctrine and confusion would be the result? Careful and thorough study can avoid such errors from the pulpit.
If you have been to Bible College or seminary and have taken a hermeneutics course, that is good. This helps you
understand how to use the Bible to develop truth. But if you have not had the opportunity to do this, there are good
instruction books available to you that will greatly enhance your ability to interpret the Holy Scriptures properly. I might
recommend to you the book HOW TO READ THE BIBLE FOR ALL ITS WORTH by Gee and Stuart.
Be blessed as you deliver the good Word of God!