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The Biblical Contents Of A Sermon

Scripture: 2 Tim. 4:1-4; Text: 2 Tim. 4:1-4

So often we are tempted to look for a catchy title, find a few scriptures to support our views and give credance to what we want to say. Then we may go on to tell a few jokes, stories and quotes from notable or important people. That is what a sermon often consists. But is that Biblical? Is that the way God wants us to preach? I am not looking to criticize anyone but myself. I am caused by virtue of these scriptures to explore the idea of preaching from a Biblical perspective. ("Preach" is KERUSSO - to cry or proclaim as a herald.)

When we preach as I described above, it may be a little more interesting to people, but does it accomplish what God intends it to. By the above we may offend fewer people, but have we offended God? So what does it take to preach a sermon the way God wants? Should it be 10% scripture and 20% humor, then 30% quotes and 40% illustrations? I have read many ideas of men about preaching and I suppose that somewhere all of them have been tried and a few more devised. Perhaps most of us preachers are not preaching the way God intends. I do know that we all need to seek God's way, for it is always superior to our ways. Isaiah 55:9. All who are in the pews are also to seek and demand preaching that is Biblical. How can we know what that is?

Well here in the word of God, a man named Paul, an apostle of our Lord and one whom we believe to be divinely inspired, told a younger preacher to "Preach the word." What do you reckon Paul had in mind? Was he encouraging Timothy to preach God's word or did he have someone else in mind? I am totally convinced that Paul was encouraging Timothy and me as well as all others who are divinely called to preach the word of God as it is revealed in the Holy Bible. Do you come to that conclusion too? If that is true, then we should fill our sermons with the word of God. We should preach God's commandments to people. We should call sin, sin. Current events and quotations of men would then be used only to focus our attention on the word of God. (The "word" is LOGOS - a word, speech, matter, reason.)

I do believe that some illustrations are acceptable. I base that assumption on the fact that Jesus often used illustrations to help explain the meaning of the word of God, but never as a substitute for it. Jesus preached about sowing the word of God and he used an illustration to explain the truth. Matthew 13:18-23. He preached about God's kingdom and told about a man distributing his talents. Matthew 25:14-30. However, the greatest sermon that has ever been preached was preached by Jesus Christ and it should serve as a model for all preachers. It is called the Sermon on the Mount and is recorded in Matthew, chapters 5, 6 &7. There He both spoke truth as He is truth. John 14:6. He also quoted scripture truths from the Old Testament. He spoke to people personally and called upon them to recognize their sins and to live in the expressed will of God.

It would certainly seem that is what Paul had under consideration when He said for Timothy to "Preach the word." If we fail to do that, all else we say is meaningless. If we leave out the word of God, all words of men are meaningless. Why must we change because men say so? If that is all preaching becomes, sermonizing the moral and social values of society; then it has lost its power. I do not need an imperfect mortal, who has repeatedly failed himself, to tell me how to live my life. That is how preaching is viewed by many, because that is all many have done. My friends, what you and I really need is for men to tell us what a perfect God, who rules and reigns on earth and in heaven, has told us to do. God does not make mistakes, therefore He knows all we should do to enrich and bless our mortal existence. Therefore preaching is to be just that, imperfect men sharing and proclaiming the perfect and holy word of God. We are to preach God's word, the Bible.

All of us must be ready always to verify our faith. 1 Peter 3:15. Ministers must be ready in an instant, to proclaim the word. The only way to do that is to study the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:15. Preaching must not be reserved for the pulpit alone, we must proclaim it in the home or hospital, or wherever God gives us the opportunity. We are to do it in season or out. I understand this to mean we are to preach whether we feel like it or not. There should be an urgency, unless we are so ill that it will jeopardize the health of God's temples, our bodies.

In doing so we will reprove, rebuke, and exhort. It is all to be done with much longsuffering and doctrine. God is longsuffering and so must we be with the children of God. 1 Peter 3:20 and Galatians 5:22. But let us think for a few minutes about the ways He gives to preach the word. (1). Reprove - seems to mean that we are to lead people to the conviction that they are doing wrong. This is to be done of course by the word of God. (2). Rebuke - is a little stronger. It seems to mean to denounce their actions and strongly discourage them continuing on that forbidden path. It causes them to understand the seriousness and feel the heaviness of their guilt. (3). Exhort - then gives them a ray of hope and encouragement. It points them in the RIGHT direction. It is a word of comfort that their situation has a remedy. God's word has the solution and they are encouraged to pursue it.


First, because it is commanded by God for us to do so. There is no question about it, if we are going to be obedient saints, we must do as He commands. All of us are to obey the teachings of the Bible. James 1:22. That most certainly applies to ministers too. God has never accepted the philosophy that some professed preachers have followed. They say "Do as I say, not as I do." That idea will not stand before God and is usually rejected by men too. At the very least a minister should TRY to live by the ideals he preaches and teaches. When Jesus began His public ministry, Mary told the servant to do as He told them. John 2:5. All who profess to be the servants of God must follow that admonition today. If ministers are obedient to His will, we will preach His word. If all who are saved will obey Him, we must live by the teaching of the Bible.

Second, because it will glorify God. The word of God declares the truth with regard to the identity of God our Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We desperately need to understand all we can about the person and work of God. He is eternal in being and gracious in His workings. Deuteronomy 33:27 and John 1:16. Jesus Christ His Son is the absolute and only Saviour of sinners. Acts 4:12 and John 8:36. The Holy Spirit has both quickened us and indwells us to lead and guide us. John 3:8 and Romans 8:16.

As we come to learn more about God, we are also blessed to know more about what He has done for us. When we see the truth of His word, we understand that without God we are undone and hopelessly lost. Of course I cannot tell you all that He has done, especially in a single sermon, but the whole of the Bible can. As you study it you will likely feel the need to give Him glory. We need to glorify God for all His gracious deeds. Psalms 29:2. The angels of glory certainly did. Luke 2:14.

It will also glorify God with revelations of history in the making and future events. God has perfect knowledge, we do not. We cannot see the future, He know all the future right now. The verses of scripture just past our text, tells of things that would come to pass. People will come to dispise God's word and shall look to the minds of mortal men for directions. Verse 3. He also warns us that difficult times are ahead of us. Things are more likely to get worse before they get better. 2 Timothy 3:13. We should glorify Him because He has forewarned us of these times, that we may mentally and spiritually be prepared for them. But things will ultimately get better. You see, Jesus is coming again. He will return and we shall be resurrected. The saved shall ultimately be gathered home to heaven, where we shall be beyond the reach of satan and all those who hate His word. Acts. 1:11 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. All glory and praise be to the God of all grace.

Third, because it will edify the children of God. Those who are truly saved by His grace, will be built up and made stronger by the word of God. You see, it tells us how to live in a way that pleases God. We live in a world of many diversions and perversions. People have perverted the ways of God in every way imaginable. Sin is rampant all around us. If left to ourselves, which path would we follow? How could we possible know which way is right. Just because a person dresses in a suit and tie, does not mean that he is leading you in the right way. On the other hand just because he refuses to take a bath or cut his hair, does not mean that he is right either. There is a broad way of diverse ideas and philosophies of men, but they lead people down a path of destruction. Matthew 7:13. Many, many lives have been destroyed by the false leaders of this world. Proverbs 14:12.

However, there is a way that has blessed and enriched the lives of millions. The strait (restricted) and narrow way of truth and righteousness has brought peace and prosperity to more than can be numbered. Matthew 7:14. Think about all who have taken the Bible literally and have built their lives on the love, kindness and forgiveness that is taught in the Bible. Think about the good marriages that have existed because men and women have taken God's word as their guide and have filled their roles faithfully. Ephesians 5:22&25.

When we sin, we are taught to repent. That means we are to turn from the sinful action and to those good works ordained by God in His word. Mark 1:15. When we live and behave as God requires, then we will usually do well. His teachings are not designed to make us miserable and unhappy. Instead, they were and are given to bring happiness and thus they are good for us. Deuteronomy 10:13. These holy ways are paths of righteousness and when we walk and live in them, they will glorify and honor His name. Psalm 23:2. Let us be faithful in obeying the teachings of God's word, then we will be built up or edified in the most holy faith. Lives will be changed by the millions and the world will be a better place in which to live.

For these and many other important reasons too numerous for me to mention in this sermon, we are to "Preach the word." Can you see how important it is? I have heard people say, my pastor does not preach the Bible. I think that is heartbreaking. I think they should say, tell me what God says, not what you think. Most of us can THINK for ourselves, what we really need are things we can KNOW. If the word of God is preached, we can know the truth and the truth sets us free. John 8:32. I certainly am not trying to tell any man HOW to preach, but this scripture tells all of us WHAT to preach - preach the word. Expect the word to be preached at church and pray for those of us who are endeavoring to do so. We need your prayers because we need God's blessing. But you need God's blessing too. When you pray for me to preach the word, then you are blessed to receive something far more valuable than my ideas and thoughts. You receive the word of God, inspired by the great God of the universe. 2 Timothy 3:16. I can give you no greater gift each Sunday than to share with you the teachings of the Bible as I endeavor to preach the word.

Now what will you do with them? Some refuse them and refute them. Some deny them and denounce them. Others backbite and blaspheme. What will you do with them. If I preach the word, you need to hear the word, believe the word and obey the word. If you don't, it will do virtually no good. Some people go to church as though it has magic. Go and life will get good. When it does not, they become disillusioned and disappointed. What has happened was not my fault and certainly not God's fault. God inspired the word and I preached it, the problem was they did not heed it. Like many people, they rejected it or at the least forgot it. If they had begun to mold their behaviour by the word of God, had changed the way they lived and the ways they thought and spoke, if they had changed from their stubborn ways to the blessed ways of God, they would have gradually seen a change for the better. When we are changed by God's grace in our nature, then we can change our behaviour by His word; then our lives will also change. But you must hear God's word and obey it. Why not begin that process today? Ask God to help you understand His will and to give you grace to help through the process of conversion. You stand to gain a lot, but if you refuse you stand to loose a great deal more than you can imagine.

I preach the word to God to you. Please don't turn your ears away from the truth or you will likely be turned to fables that will have not lasting benefit in your life. God gave it, I have tried to preach it, it is now up to you. I pray for your willingness to take it as the Word of God.

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014