A good sermon is no unlike any other good teaching or training. There are some basic principle that each should always contain.
- Some sort of personal connection or attention getter
- A few main points that are outlined, explained and reviewed
- Some citations or sources to reference
But there is one thing that is really required to make a good sermon, great; an application and call to action. We’ve all left a sermon with the thought of, that was really good teaching, but I am not sure how that impacts my daily life. But I’m sure we’ve all also left a sermon that contained that call to action. When a pastor ends his sermon with a very specific call to action, it can be inspiring, a real connection to text that is thousands of years old and how it still contains excellent instruction for us today.
Jesus of course had calls to action throughout His teachings. However if you summarize His entire 3 year ministry as one big sermon, He finished His time with one last final call to action, commonly called The Great Commission.
Mark 16:15-16 states “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Three words sum up what Jesus calls us to do, “proclaim the gospel”.
The ‘gospel’ is Christ’s message of hope, grace and salvation. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”, (John 3:17). All to often we Christians will error on the side of condemning people for not grasping the very message we are to “proclaim”. Our condemnation of them can easily push them even further away from the message of salvation. The message has never changed from what Christ showed us, but we often mess it up.
Proclaiming is the act of making something known publicly. Jesus did not tell us to ‘preach’ He told us to ‘proclaim’. Perhaps this is a uniquely American thing, perhaps not… but we often assume that it’s our WORDS that proclaim. In truth, our ACTIONS speak louder than our WORDS. So if we really want to “proclaim” the good news of the gospel, then we should simply live it out. Be an example, get people to ask WHY you’re different. Then when they ask, you can gladly share the good news of the gospel.
How do we live it out?
- Have grace towards others
- Have faith of God’s provision in hard times
- Turn to prayer FIRST instead of as a last resort
- Be the good neighbor and the Good Samaritan
These are not super powers, they are simple things to do with the strength of Christ. These are rare enough that when others see you living these four rules out, you will stand out. They will see a difference and want to know what is the route of that difference. After you have “proclaimed” with your actions, you will be given the chance to “proclaim” with your words.
In His Service…