LECTURE 7 ON SERMON PREPARATION Classification of Sermons

The topical sermon in which the divisions are derived from the topic itself including a personality, an event, an attribute of God, or a virtue or a vice is OK but the drawback is that the preacher concentrates on what is important to him and that may narrow the perspective of the congregation. Textual-topical sermons draw their divisions from both the text and the topic. In other words, the text is chosen because it deals with a particular topic. Expository sermons get their divisions exclusively from the text, but, the most important thing in expository sermons is the unity of the theme. Many so-called expository sermons are nothing more than a Sunday School lesson, or a compilation of comments gleaned from commentaries. This is not preaching. There are doctrinal and ethical sermons that may be useful in a variety of circumstances as for example when someone says they would like to learn more about the Holy Spirit. My choice in those circumstances is usually the textual-topical approach. Sermons that relate to a church program such as a building campaign or a Scripture reading program, or even a holiday can be textual as well as topical. Broadus classification of patterns is interesting, but most of them are just common logic, such as question and answer, contrast, analogy, diagnosis and remedy, rebuttal etc.

Chapell deals with three specific types of sermons that a Pastor is required to deliver, weddings, funerals and evangelism.  He gives a lot of good practical advice. Here is mine. At a wedding keep it brief unless you want somebody to pass out.I am brief and I have still had people pass out at weddings. Fortunately it was neither the bride or the groom. At a Funeral do not refer in a derogatory way to the deceased. Be sensitive to the feelings of the survivors. You will be called upon to do funerals for people you do not know and people who probably have never darkened the door of a church. Focus on the Gospel. Preach the truth of Jesus victory over sin and death and let the Holy Spirit use it as he chooses. I think every sermon we preach should be evangelistic in the sense that our need for Christ and His provision are taught. But if, on a particular occasion, you are called to preach in an evangelistic setting, be brief, Biblical, clear and urgent, looking for a specific response. I have been in so many services where the preacher says little or nothing about salvation, but they have an invitation or altar call at the end as a matter of custom. The result is that an uninformed listener would not know why he needs to be saved, or how he can be saved, except for some little formula that is tacked on to the end of the sermon. And, by the way, there is a difference in an invitation and an altar call. An invitation is an opportunity to meet and talk while an altar call may eliminate that opportunity. It would seem that it is always better to have people reach a decision with understanding, and to be assured that they know that Jesus is Lord as well as Savior.