As we continue to move through our look at exegetical sermon preparation (and also glean bible study aids for the non-preacher as well) we are now moving away from the objective scientific aspect of preaching to the more creative artistic side of preaching. We have attained as much of the data as we can and it is time to put ourselves to work on presenting this data in sermon form. This is where to “art of preaching” comes in. We must figure out how to take our hours of study and convert it into less than an hour. And in that time we must also remember that the very souls of our listeners might very well be at stake. This makes the “art of preaching” the most sacred of all arts.
One must be careful as he seeks to perform this art. We must remember that it is God’s Word that changes people, not oratory genius. Thus the “art of preaching” is not the art of oratory, but rather the art of explaining and applying God’s Word to your listeners. Paul spoke to this in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25:
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
With this in mind we must make sure that our preaching outline, which will determine the direction of our sermon, is derived from the text. This means that, as in our example case of James 5:12, we want to preach what James would have preached on this text if he had elobrated on it. Based on all the work that we have done thus far here is the homiletical (preaching) outline that I came up with from James 5:12:
I. Christian, do not swear.
- a. Above all
- b. Under no circumstance
II. Christian, tell the truth
- a. Let your yes be yes and your no be no
- b. So that you will not fall under judgment
*Now that we have our outline we can begin the work of filling this outline in with a sermon.*