Preaching Doctrine with Flavor
- Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Personalize the word. Often the problem is that we preach with lofty ideas unrelated to the average person. How many people will bless God as you expound on superlapsarianism? Chappell argues, “Biblical preaching moves from doctrinal exposition to life instruction. Such preaching exhorts as well as expounds because it recognizes that Scripture’s own goal is not merely to share information about God, but to conform his people to the likeness of Jesus Christ. Preaching without application may serve the mind, but preaching with application requires service to Christ.”12
Bake the mixture in your heart until you develop a conclusion that moves people to the objective.
Don’t just stop the sermon abruptly with a prayer. The conclusion aligns the primary doctrinal ideas with the objective for this sermon. Keep your eye on the goal of the sermon throughout its development. Why are you preaching this particular message? Do you want people simply to know, understand and accept this doctrine? Or, do you want people to live in accordance with the biblical (doctrinal) truth of the passage?
Vines and Shaddix understand the need to connect the biblical doctrine with daily life. They wrote, “As you expound the theological truths in your text, allow them to address subjects that portray God and mankind’s relation to Him. Talk about the meaning of the cares and sufferings that people know.”13
You can summarize the points of the sermon, tell a story that embodies the doctrinal truth, or restate the basic proposition. Whatever method you use should help the people connect emotionally, not merely intellectually, with the central idea of the text. Stuart Briscoe agrees that we not only preach to the mind, but also to the will and emotions.14 If you would move people’s will, you must convince them of the truth (intellectually) and also help them feel the need to apply this truth in their lives (emotionally).
When you transition to the invitation, be sure the invitation is faithful to the sermon as well as to the doctrine. For example, you can preach the doctrine of Christ’s Lordship in the context of the marriage relationship using texts such as Eph. 5:18-33 and Psa. 127:1. You want people to know that Christ is Lord and that His Lordship affects their homes. More than that, you want people to submit to the Lordship of Christ (doctrinal invitation) and to experience His Lordship to their relationships (sermonic invitation).
Knowing where you want the sermon to end up, you can now develop an introduction that relates to people’s daily lives. It should make them want to know what is coming and how it applies to their lives.
Serve piping hot and fresh.
Deliver the sermon with power, passion and conviction, which can only happen if you preach personally. Experience the sermon’s truths as you prepare the message and, again, as you preach. The height of hypocrisy is to preach a doctrinal message that is entirely cerebral. Yes, you need to be correct in the doctrine you believe, but correct belief is impotent if not actualized in your own life.
Perhaps many doctrinal sermons are dry and uninteresting because the preacher has an intellectual understanding of the truth, but has not fully connected belief with his own life. If I am merely passing on facts I have learned, I will not preach with experiential power, regardless of how firmly I believe the doctrinal truth.
What kind of relationship do you have with the triune God? Translate the transcendence, awe, love, gratitude, and security you have because God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Don’t you want your people to have that same kind of relationship with God? Let your heart be filled with love for your people and love for the Lord and it cannot but overflow with enthusiasm in the pulpit.
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