Practical or Doctrinal Sermons?

Theory and practice words written on the chalkboard

The Biblical Preaching Blog has a post up that decries how some seek to break the practical from the theological in sermons.

He tells the story of a preacher who said:

I am going to leave the theological instruction to your faculty here, but today I just want to be practical!

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Closing The Sermon With Power: Reduce Complexity

Illustration depicting a roadsign with a complicated or simple concept. Blurred dusk sky background.

Closing The Sermon With Power

Chapter 6: Reduce Complexity

OK, you have become the actor in the sermon. What else can you do to help your delivery of your sermonic. close? The next important thing you should do is Reduce complexity.

Do not engage in caveats or explanations of your points in the celebration. You have already done all that in the sermon. If you have put your sermont together properly then you can
eliminate your caveats and explanations.

What am I talking about?
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Ending With the Cross?

The rugged cross

One of the most common questions I receive on any subject is “Should you always close your sermon with the cross?” This is a good question that requires some explanation in the answer. Let me first say, yes every sermon should have in its celebration a connection of the major thought in your sermon to the redemptive power of God. But, this must be a tailor made celebration. It is made for this occasion and should not be a simple regurgitation of the same ending in all of your sermons. And when you connect the redemptive power of God to your point, one must take care and make sure to make the connection clear. You can do that by following these two suggestions
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Posted in 11Instruction, blog, Preaching

Preachers are at War

Tank attack captured area

Every time you step into the pulpit, you are in a battle. You have to understand that. You have an enemy who is as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8).

Your enemy, because he has studied you and your congregation, knows what your people need to hear. The enemy knows what you will preach for he has looked over your shoulder as you put the sermon together.

The enemy knows the distractions to put in your life and in your congregation’s life to mute, obliterate, or just modify the message as you preach it. Preacher, you are at war. It is time to acknowledge that.
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Closing The Sermon With Power: What Do You Do?

Dark-skinned athlete running up a flight of stairs with speed

Closing The Sermon With Power

Chapter 5: Become The Actor

Ok, we know what we are trying to do, what are the tools to actually do it? How can we actually turn the raw materials into a celebration? In this chapter, we will provide some explicit tools that you can use for promoting celebration in the close.

Become the Actor

The first tool to construct a sermonic close is for you, the preacher, to become the actor in the sermon. I mean you are the one who acts. You are the one who is doing what the sermon calls you to do.

This can be helpful when you have a controlling metaphor for your whole sermon. These sermons, that you can become the actor in, should ask the people to do something or promote something.

The preacher becomes the chief “obey-er” of the message. I have a couple of examples here:
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Closing The Sermon With Power: Assumptions For A Powerful Close.

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Closing The Sermon With Power

Chapter 4: My Assumptions for a Powerful Close

So now you have the ingredients. There are a few things that we will repeat that you must have for a powerful celebration. Some of these are repeated in what we have seen before. Here are the things I assume you will to ensure a powerful close.

I Assume, You Address the Emotive Dimension of Humanity is the Emphasis

Remember when you put together your sermon conclusion that you are attempting to address the emotive primarily and
not the intellectual. This is not to ignore the intellectual, just that the close is not about that, it is about an emotive celebration. Read more ›

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Closing The Sermon With Power: Ingredients

composition with different spices and herbs

Closing The Sermon With Power

Chapter 3: The Ingredients

When you bake a cake, you have to have the right ingredients. Well, when you are putting together a sermon close, you need the right ingredients as well.

Now, what can we use when we put together a sermon close? What is the material that we can use in constructing these celebrative moves at the end of our sermon? What is celebrative material?

Well, celebrative material is material that can help you and your people to emotionally experience the truth of the message. What are some of these raw materials that we can combine and mix to create a powerful close?

That is what this chapter is about. I am going to give you a number of resources, in no particular order, that you should intentionally examine and explore when putting together your sermon closes.


When you are putting together your sermon especially your sermon close, attemp to find hymns that are related to your points. Grab a hymnal and look up your text in the textual reference.
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Closing The Sermon With Power: The Key

christian music concert with raised hand

Closing The Sermon With Power

Chapter 2: The Key to the Close

So what is the key to having a solid ending? I think it is one simple word, Celebration. Let me say that again, “Celebration is the key to closing your sermon with power. Now in later chapters, I will write about how to do that, but if there is only one thing you get from the book, it is you need to celebrate the gospel message that you presented in your sermon to have a powerful close.

What is celebration? Here is one definition of celebration within the context of preaching,

Celebration is holding up the intellectual truth of the message for a response from the emotional and spiritual dimensions of humanity.

Look closely at that statement. First you must have presented “intellectual truth” to have celebration. People are not celebrating or yelling about nothing. No, they are celebrating the truth.

christian music concert with raised handAnother point is that the celebration is related to the truth OF the message. In other words it is truth that you presented in the message. I am not talking about you bringing in something to shout about at the end of the message that is not related to the message at all.

To be blunt, I am not talking about shouting “EEEAAARRRLLLYYY Sunday morning” at the end of a sermon just to get a shout when it isn’t related to the truth of the message.
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Closing The Sermon With Power: Prerequisites

Priest reading from the holy bible, close up

Closing The Sermon With Power

Chapter 1: Prerequisites to a Powerful Close

How do you end a sermon with power? You are asking this because innately you understand that no matter how well you preach the sermon, ending well is very important.

But before you end a sermon powerfully, you must have a few pre-requisites. So what are these?

Solid Exegesis

One of these things you must have to end a sermon well is to engage in Solid Exegesis. There are a number of ways to exegete the text, and you can even read my white paper “Four waves of exegesis” for my approach to this.

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Where does a Preacher Keep The Notes?

Libro vuoto

OK, if you are using limited notes, where do you keep them?

1. In the Pulpit

Here the preacher places the limited notes on the pulpit. When done well, the audience may not even recognize or remember that the notes are up there. However it can be a disaster when done poorly. The other day I saw a preacher who would look at his notes, leave the pulpit say a few words, walk back look at his notes, leave again. It became completely obvious that the preacher either didn’t know his manuscript or he does not have the gift to preach with limited notes. Wherever you keep your notes, you must know them well.

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Posted in blog, Without Notes
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