Over the past year God has been given me a greater desire to preach His Word. I posted a blog called “A Heart and Gift to Preach” about all the stuff God has done in my life in the past year to give me a greater desire to preach. Also, I have been given many opportunities to preach God’s word this fall as part of my pastoral internship. You can see all the opportunities here. I have been learning that preaching God’s Word is too important to not be done with excellence. I have learned that there are three things we MUST do well when it comes to preaching:
Prepare Well. A good sermon starts with good preparation. Many preachers do not preach good sermons because they don’t spend the necessary time to prepare. Everyone prepares differently, but we all must prepare well if we are going to preach well. For me, preparation looks like this: pray about what to preach, read the passage multiple times, read commentaries as well as notes in study Bibles to help me understand that passage, develop the main points from the passage, type the sermon out in manuscript form, and the practice it multiple times before preaching it. I am sure that my preparation will change as I grow as a preacher, but for now that’s the basic way I prepare my sermons. Two things I want to hit when it comes to preparing well. First, let Scripture drive your preparation. Do not force the Scriptures to “fit” what you want to preach. Let the Scriptures develop and drive what you are going to preach. This is why expository preaching needs to be your main style of preaching. It is the best way to keep God’s Word at the center and not preach your thoughts, but preach God’s thoughts as revealed in His Word. Second, use good resources when you prepare. There are so many good resources available to preachers today it is foolish not to use them. My favorite sources to use are: Logos Bible Software, Bible Knowledge Commentary Set, Wiersbe Bible Commentary, and the ESV Study Bible. Those are the sources I tend to use the most, but there are endless resources out there to help you prepare well to preach.
Pray Well. Jerry Falwell, founder of Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University once said, “Nothing of eternal significance is ever accomplished apart from prayer.” If you have not spent time praying for your preaching than you might as well not preach. It’s in prayer that God gives us passion, strength, direction, wisdom, and boldness for our preaching. This past Saturday night before preaching on Sunday, I spent much time alone and prayed. I’ll be the first to admit that this is one area where I struggle not doing well when it comes to preaching, but every time I preach I must make myself spend much time praying before hand. I believe many men stand up to preach great sermons, but those sermons lack God’s power and God’s Spirit because they have not spend time praying over that sermon. Charles Spurgeon once said, “I would rather teach one man to pray then ten men to preach.”
Preach Well. What I mean by this is lay it all on the line when you preach. Put your whole heart into preaching your sermon well. If you have spent much time preparing and praying then God will give you the boldness and confidence to preach that sermon well! This past Sunday I preached with the most passion and boldness that I think I have ever preached. I really believe I was able to do this because God empowered me because I spent much time preparing, praying, and then preaching as well as I could. Charles Swindoll says, “When you are filled with the Spirit and empowered to speak for Christ, there is an accompanying sense of invincibility. There is no fear for what people might say or do.” The church of Jesus Christ needs bold preachers!
James MacDonald shared his thoughts on preaching in a recent blog. If you have a few minutes, it’s worth reading! You can see that blog post here.