A. ADVANTAGES OF THE BIOGRAPHICAL SERMON
I have intimated previously that this type of sermon relates primarily to teaching from the lives and examples of Bible characters. It entails the detailed study of such characters in order to learn as much as possible from their lives.
An interesting feature of the Bible is the manner in which the men and women who form the narrative are presented just as they are. There is no attempt to cover up their weaknesses and reveal only their strengths and virtues.
Many of the great heroes of the Bible have their human flaws. We are very much aware that they are flesh and blood as we are. They faced temptations common to all men; frequently, their response was little different from that of the average Christian today.
In all the narrative of Bible history, there is only one truly perfect man -, the man Christ Jesus! Even the great heroes of faith are manifestly human. This certainly helps us identify with them.
The art of expounding truths learned from studying the lives of these men and women is an extremely valuable one. It is a style of preaching which may be used to great effect by a pastor.
- Deals With Realities Of Life
It deals with the realities of human life, with its strengths and weaknesses. We can frequently learn so much from the struggles, triumphs and failures of those who have gone before us.
- Are Examples To Learn From
They are examples for our benefit – that we might learn from them, rather than from our own painful experience.
B. HOW TO BEGIN
- Choose Characters From The Bible
You could begin this style of preaching by studying some of the greater characters of the Bible such as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Paul and Peter.
These are men whose deeds illuminate the history of God’s dealings with mankind. There is SO MUCH to learn from their lives. There are many great women in the Bible, too, whose lives have a special message to convey.
- Study Their Lives
Begin by reading the narrative which tells of the birth of the person. Find out the meaning of his or her name, for most Bible names have tremendous significance. Study the circumstances of his or her upbringing. Pay special attention to the purpose of God in his or her life.
- What did God want to accomplish through him (or her)?
- How did He make His purpose known?
- What was the reaction of the person?
- What can we learn from the dealings of God in his (or her) life?
- Are there some dangers we should be aware of?
- What was the secret of his (or her) success?
- What was the conclusion of his (or her) life?
C. EXAMPLE OF A BIOGRAPHICAL SERMON
There are so many lessons we can learn from these great characters.
- The Life Of David
Let us look briefly into the life of David to give a simple example of a biographical sermon.
TITLE: DAVID, A MAN AFTER GOD’S HEART (Acts 13:22).
His name means “Beloved of God.” He is called a man after God’s heart. Why did God call him this? What was it that appealed to God’s heart? There is obviously much we can learn from this man!
A. A MAN AFTER GOD’S HEART
- David had a special place in God’s heart.
- It is wonderful that God finds such delight in a human being.
B. WAS NOT A PERFECT MAN
- His weakness became known to all. Yet this did not alter God’s feeling about him.
- We too are far from perfect, yet God can find delight in us.
C. WAS A VERY “HUMAN” PERSON
- Typical mixture of strengths and weaknesses.
- Longed to please God, yet so often grieved Him.
- Longed for God’s rule in his life, yet did his own thing.
- Ascended to great heights… descended to sad depths.
- David was not a superman. He was truly human as we are!
D. CHOSEN FOR SPECIAL TASK
God chose him from among his older, outwardly more impressive brothers.
E. HE HAD TO BE TESTED
- Every man called of God must be tested and proven.
- Jesus was tested in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11).
- “Don’t think it strange when you are tested” (1 Pet 4:12).
- “After you have suffered a while, God will make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Pet 5:10).
F. DAVID TESTED THROUGH BATHSHEBA (2 Sam 11)
- He was spiritually “off guard”… Was now fifty years old… Had been king for 20 years. How easy to drop one’s guard!
- Was overly self-confident. Never trust the arm of flesh!
- Idle moments led to his downfall. Should have been at battle-front. Satan takes advantage of idle time.
- Material prosperity bred sensuousness. Paul disciplined his flesh to ensure he was not disapproved (1 Cor 9:27).
- Failed to overcome temptation while it was still in mind. All temptation begins in thoughts. This is the easiest place to defeat it. Cast down thoughts and imaginations (2 Cor 10:5). Failure to do so may lead to disaster.
G. HIS REPENTANCE (Ps 51:1-10)
It was David’s sincerity in repentance which endeared him to God.
- He acknowledged his transgression. Did not try to blame someone else.
- Repented thoroughly of his iniquity.
- Sincerely sought forgiveness.
- Cried out for cleansing.
- Sought a clean heart and right spirit.
H. HIS SUFFERING (Ps 32:3,4;77:2-6)
- Heavy conviction day and night.
- Tears of remorse.
- Bones waxed old.
I. WHAT GOD SOUGHT TO ACCOMPLISH (Ps 51:6, 10, 17)
- Truth in the inward parts.
- Clean heart and right spirit.
- Broken spirit and contrite heart.
J. THAT HIS SERVANT MIGHT BE:
- A meek and humble soul.
- A truly joyful person.
- Sustained by God’s free Spirit.
- A man after God’s own heart.
This is a brief and simple example of a biographical sermon. Determine to spend some time studying some of the great characters of the Bible so that you can teach important truths from their lives.