Finding Materials For A Sermon

As a good steward of God a minister ought to excel in finding two sorts of materials for a sermon. First and more important, from the passage in hand. If on the Sunday after Christmas the sermon deals with wise men at worship now, the Gospel record contains facts about persons of interest now. If the coming message confines itself to these biblical facts, the layman who has never heard a popular teaching sermon can follow with ease, especially if he has read the passage at home and has prayed.

“Can the minister not quote other Bible verses?” Of course, but only if each of them throws light on this passage and subject. Such a way of dealing with a Bible unit should not seem odd. In college teaching of Shakespeare the professor led in seeing one unit at a time. With this kind of pulpit teaching a layman can learn how to read and enjoy a Bible unit. After a while he may dare to read something difficult.

The resulting sermon may or may not in form be expository. In the pulpit a wise man calls no attention to himself or to how he preaches. He might do that if he used a concordance to show how wise men in all ages past worshiped God. But why call such a compilation a sermon? Why not simply explain one passage, only one?

Once at a tuberculosis camp a university student told his pastor: “I may not read, and I have few visitors. I lie here and think about your sermons on the parables in the First Gospel. I can tell the gist of each parable, and what it means today, both to me and others. At last I have learned how to read and enjoy a Bible book, and a Bible paragraph.”

A pastor also needs materials from life today. How else could he show the layman the meaning of a parable in the experience of a businessman ...

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