Fifteen Pointers for Preachers
1. Preach sound doctrine. Don’t reserve Bible doctrines such as justification and sanctification for your Sunday school. Preach these doctrines during your worship service.
2. Preach with discrimination. Address both believers and unbelievers in your preaching. Don’t assume that everyone in your congregation is saved, but neither assume that no one is saved.
3. Preach with an application. Apply your text to your listeners. With the use of practical illustrations, help them apply your message to their daily lives. A sermon without an application is like a lecture. You are preaching, not lecturing.
4. Preach clearly. Organize your thoughts. Avoid difficult words. Consider the children in your congregation. If you have to employ a big word (e.g., justification), explain it using simple words.
5. Preach the gospel. Yes, preach against sin, but don’t stop there. Preach about salvation, too. If you preach the law without the gospel, you will make your congregation despair. Further, don’t think that the gospel is only for unbelievers. Believers need it for their sanctification as well.
6. Preach with power. Preach with the unction of the Holy Spirit, as the apostle Paul did: “My speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4-5).
7. Preach prayerfully. Pray before, during, and after you preach. Humbly acknowledge that without God’s help, you can do nothing. Realize that God alone can change the hearts of your listeners.
8. Preach with expectations. Remember that nothing is impossible with God. Expect greatly that He will do wondrous things—saving sinners and sanctifying saints. Be confident that His Word will not return to Him void. He can even use your worst sermon to accomplish His wonderful plan.
9. Preach persuasively. Show that what you proclaim is God’s Word. Announce, “Thus says the Lord.” Also, don’t be afraid to declare God’s truths, even if by doing so some of your hearers might be offended. You are to please God, not people.
10. Preach passionately. Love not only preaching but also the people to whom you preach. When you love your congregation, you will feed them with spiritually nutritious food.
11. Preach faithfully. Be faithful to your announced text(s). Don’t just read your text and leave it. Use it. Expound it. Preach from it.
12. Preach seriously. The very Word that you preach is sacred. The God who has called you to preach is holy. Your message is a matter of life and death, heaven and hell. Thus, jokes have no place in the pulpit. Preachers are not called to be entertainers.
13. Preach with Christ at the center. Learn from Paul who says, “I . . . did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1-2). In the words of the Puritan preacher William Perkins (1558-1602), “Preach one Christ, by Christ, to the praise of Christ.”
14. Preach what you live. Live what you preach. Demonstrate holiness, not hypocrisy. Acknowledge withRobert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843), “My people’s greatest need is my personal holiness.”
15. Preach to the glory of God alone. Your ultimate goal in preaching is to glorify God. Never attempt to take that glory that belongs to God alone. Sing with Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915), “To God be the glory, great things He has done.”
Oh, Lord, help me to preach!
Brian G. Najapfour is currently pursuing a PhD degree at the Theological University of Apeldoorn under Dr. Herman Selderhuis. He also serves as Pastor of Congregational Life at Eastmanville United Reformed Church in Michigan. He has authored and coedited numerous books and has contributed several articles to journals, periodicals, and encyclopedia. He is founder and president of Biblical Spirituality Press and cofounder and vice president of God Is Our Help Ministry.
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Note: This article originally appeared in A Hearer of God’s Word: 10 Ways to Listen to Sermons Better, 75–78. Used by permission.