WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS CHAPTER

  1. You will learn what it means to be “instant in season and out” (1 Tim 4:2).
  2. You will discover how to make sure your sermon and lesson ideas are good ones.
  3. You will be able to list the four ingredients that go together to make an effective message.
  4. You will know why the Word alone is ineffective in changing lives.

A young Bible college graduate was about to preach his first sermon before a congregation. It was his first church and he wanted to show the people that he knew the Word and was able to preach. He didn’t want to read his message or use any notes. He wanted to speak entirely from his heart. So he had no notes, no outline, no helps of any kind.

He climbed into the pulpit to begin. However, he could not remember anything he wanted to say except for the verse that was his text. He hoped that quoting the verse would help him remember the rest of what he wanted to say, so he quoted the verse from Revelations “Behold, I am coming!”

He still couldn’t remember anything more, so he decided to try saying the verse again.

“Behold, I am coming,” he shouted.

It was no use. He still couldn’t remember anything more. He decided to try saying the text one more time, hoping and praying some other thoughts would return to his memory.

“Behold, I am coming,” he repeated desperately, leaning into the pulpit for effect.

Right at that moment, the pulpit gave way and he fell into the lap of a lady sitting in the front row. He was very embarrassed.

“I am so sorry,” he said, looking up at the woman.

“That’s ok, preacher,” she said. “I should have been ready – you warned me three times you were coming!”

SATURDAY NIGHT PANIC

You know what it’s like. You’ve been busy all week counseling, working, teaching, doing all those things a minister has to do. You meant to spend more time getting ready for Sunday, but so many needs came up and you just had to meet them. Now, it’s Saturday night and you still don’t have a sermon ready for tomorrow.

You open your Bible, flip through the pages, look hopefully towards Heaven ·and pray: “Oh God, oh God! Let me hear Your voice!” However, it is almost impossible to prepare a great sermon on Saturday night or to get a lesson ready at the last minute. We have all suffered listening to preachers who obviously put their message together at the last minute. We have made people suffer listening when we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to say, when our sermon wandered from thought to thought without any purpose.

There are many activities in a preacher’s ministry, but there is no one activity people see more than his preaching. People tend to judge you as a minister by your ability to preach and teach. They expect you to deliver great messages week after week. And rightly so. The Bible exhorts us to give attention to the preaching of the Word.  (See 1 Timothy 4:13 and 2 Timothy 4:2.) It is the one thing we do that can so powerfully bring people to the Lord.