Solving Real Problems in Sermons

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Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote an article for Harper’s Magazine entitled What’s the Matter with Preaching?. In the article Fosdick, former pastor of the famed Riverside Church in New York, gives his principle for strong sermons. He states:

Any preacher who even with moderate skill is thus helping folks to solve their real problems is functioning. He never will lack an audience..

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Celebration: Can We Overdo It?

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To begin with, I want to assert that celebration is a good thing, but can too much of a good thing become a bad thing? I answer emphatically, yes!!! Celebration is the portion of the sermon in which the preacher engages the congregation in an internalization and experience with the gospel as presented in the sermon. Celebration is necessary because it conveys that there must be singing when we experience the timeless truth of God’s way. In addition, it appeals to what homiliticians call the intuitive domain of consciousness, which is where our core beliefs are stored. Celebration can transpire in a multitude of ways but it often occurs as a whoop.
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Closing The Sermon With Power: Reduce Vocabulary

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Closing The Sermon With Power

Chapter 7: Reduce Vocabulary

When closing your sermon you should reduce complexity as noted before. Included in this is to limit the extent of your vocabulary. What am I talking about? Well, in your sermon you may have two, three, or even five words to mean the same thing. You may even use a thesaurus to look at a concept to find the exact word that includes all the shades of meaning you want to convey.
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Practical or Doctrinal Sermons?

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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

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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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Preachers are at War

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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?

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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

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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.

Hymns

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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