[special]Note: The following is an excerpt from Biblical Preaching, a free resource from Coram Deo Church (Acts 29) in Omaha, Nebraska. You can find the entire resource and more print resources from Coram Deo Church here. Used with permission.[/special]
#1. IDENTIFY THE BIG IDEA from Haddon Robinson
All sermons must have ONE idea. Preachers may say many things, but the sermon must communicate one thing. Every text when studied, therefore, must be reduced to one pregnant statement composed of a subject and a complement. The Big Idea consists of these two components. The subject answers the question: What am I talking about? The complement answers: What am I saying about what I am talking about?
#2. DISCERN THE FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS from Bryan Chapell
Identifying a Fallen Condition Focus (FCF) ensures that sermons are redemptive. The FCF is the mutual human condition that contemporary listeners share with those to whom or about whom the text was written. A clear Fallen Condition Focus provides a sermon with a distinct claim about our need for redemption, so that the preacher can organize an entire message to address how Christ has met that need.
#3. SEEK TO CHANGE PEOPLE ON THE SPOT from Tim Keller
There is one key to change—preaching Christ. Keller contends that true preaching is not merely to talk about Christ but to “show” him, to “demonstrate” his greatness, and reveal that Jesus alone is worthy of praise and adoration. Thus, listeners experience with awe and wonder the greatness of Christ and are “changed on the spot.” Preaching should aim to make an impression on the listener. It must capture the listeners’ interests and imaginations; it must be compelling and penetrate their hearts. Whatever captures the heart’s trust and love also controls a person’s feelings and behavior.
#4. BUILD BRIDGES from John Stott
The central task of the preacher is Bridge Building. A bridge is a means of communication between two places, which would otherwise be cut off from one another. So the preacher must bridge between the biblical world and the postmodern world. Preaching is not exposition only but also communication, not just exegesis of a text only but also conveying a God-given message to living people that need to hear it. There is a gulf between the Bible and our current cultural context, and the preacher must span it.
#5. REMEMBER BIBLICAL THEOLOGY from Graeme Goldsworthy
Goldsworthy reminds preachers that the Kingdom of God is the unifying theme of Scripture. He describes the Kingdom through the schema of God-People-Place: (1) God as Lord, (2) his People present before him as willing and loving subjects, (3) living in the Place he created for them. Gospel preachers, therefore, must always exposit their text in light of the overarching biblical story.
#6. PREACH WITH LIGHT AND HEAT from the Puritans
According to historian Bruce Bickel, the Puritan preacher’s main concern was light and heat. Light from the pure Word of God to penetrate the darkness of the heart and soul of the hearer, and heat from the pathos and conviction of the heart and soul of the preacher to bring about conviction. John Owen once wrote, “The Word is like the sun…but the preaching of the Word is as the motion and beams of the sun, which actually and effectually communicate that light and heat unto all creatures.”
#7. PREACH WHAT IS REAL from Zach Eswine
Good sermons facilitate true contact with reality. Zach Eswine insists upon the humanness of the preacher and the ministry. He knows well the temptation of many preachers to disconnect from the real, the tangible, and the mundane aspects of life. But God is not silent on these matters. His truth speaks to the everyday struggles of the people of God. When truth meets struggle, the result is substantial healing, and substantial healing is the business of preaching.