Preaching Doctrine with Flavor
- Tuesday, January 01, 2008
I. The Pre-existent Christ
II. The Creator Christ
III. The Incarnate Christ
or with these points:
1. Before the world was formed, the Father and the Son walked the halls of heaven.
2.When God formed the world, He spoke it into being through the Word.
3.When the world was ready for its Savior, the Son of God became the Son of Man.
Many pastors want their people to be able to follow the sermon with a “fill in the blank” outline. Unfortunately their idea of visuals is limited to a text-only PowerPoint slide show. You can offer an outline during the sermon or have summaries of the sermon available after the service, but avoid turning the sermon into a doctrinal lecture.
Use pictures (even cartoons) with your PowerPoint outline to help people connect with the ideas. Images do not have to be pictures of the point, but should help the people understand abstract ideas. A picture of a father holding his newborn baby helps people relate to the point from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son …” A background image of the Milky Way galaxy could be superimposed by the words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The doctrine: God is the Creator. A photo of the congregation itself could be used to illustrate the doctrine of the church, using the point, “The church is a specific group of believers” from a text such as Colossians 1:2.
You can even incorporate drama into a doctrinal sermon. Find a script based on a modern prodigal son to illustrate eternal security — “He may be a prodigal, but he’s still my son.” Several scenes from the drama could be woven into the sermon, much like you would use illustrations following each point.
Use metaphors and word pictures to help people understand the abstract. McDill points out that, “Concrete language brings ideas and principles down to earth for clarity and understanding. Concrete means those things which can be perceived by the senses as actual and particular. The opposite is abstract, which means conceptual, transcendent.” 10
Add a generous helping of practical application and people-oriented illustration.
Jay Adams was wrong in attacking expository preaching because it, in his view, lacked application. Bad expository preaching might do that, but good exposition is accompanied by relevant application.
Ask, "How does this doctrine affect my life?" If you can’t answer honestly, don’t preach the sermon. It is one thing to preach that the Holy Spirit has certain characteristics and functions. It is quite another to see how the Holy Spirit works in your own life. If you can understand the actual application of the doctrine for your life, you can explain to others how this truth affects them.
Bryan Chapell argued that all doctrine is applicable doctrine: “Paul expects Titus’ doctrine (Titus 2:2-5) to give the people of his congregation specific guidance for their everyday lives. Such instruction does not merely characterize this one passage; it reflects the patterns of Paul’s epistles. The apostle typically begins each letter with a greeting, moves to doctrinal instruction, and then applies the doctrine to a variety of circumstances. Paul refuses to leave biblical truth in the stratosphere of theological abstraction. He earths his message in the concerns of the people he addresses.”11
Populate the word. Don’t use a lot of personal illustrations, but put people into the passage. You can do this in two ways: First, take your personal example and universalize it. You don't have to say “me,” but you can see how this truth is universal in human experience and say “we.” Put the experience into an everyday situation that the average person can understand and say, “Yes, that’s me!”
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