Where’s The Good News In Your Sermons?

In my sermon consulting work, sometimes individuals indicate difficulty finding something to “celebrate.” As you know, celebration is the time in the sermon where we intellectually experience the truth of the message. However, sometimes individuals look long and hard for something to celebrate and can’t find it either in the text or in their sermons.

Is There Good News?

First, look for the good news. If you have no good news then I am sure you will not have any celebratory components. Certainly there are times when celebration is not warranted, but in most cases, our sermons should have good news. So what do you celebrate? The truth of the good news in your text. I would definitely encourage you to check out Frank Thomas’ book They Like To Never Quit Praisin God for a method that centers around finding that Good News in the text.

Ultimately, if you have difficulty finding a celebration, then I would encourage you to attempt to find the Good News first. Then, more than likely, the celebration will jump out at you.

Where Is God’s Activity?

Second, look for God’s activity rather than ours. A sermon full of prescriptions will make it difficult to find something to celebrate. Certainly there are times when a “celebrative challenge” might be helpful, but sometimes we find it difficult to find the close in our sermon because we overemphasize our responsibility or activity over God’s activity for humanity.

Some of these sermons end up having the pastor either castigate the people for not doing “this or that” or they end up being prescriptions for the people to do “this or that.” This is not a conservative versus liberal thing. Liberals have their “this or that” moments just as conservatives. So sometimes we castigate the people for not being loving or making the newcomer more welcome. Sometimes we castigate the people for not following the commands of God. Sometimes we castigate the people for looking at the wrong television programs or wearing their “pants too low or skirts too high.” Sometimes we castigate the people for sexual promiscuity and other areas of sexuality.

Certainly there is a place for correction, but if that is all your sermon all the time, then it will be difficult to find the celebration. I would encourage you to think about and preach about what God does for humanity in addition to the ethical demands of living in line with God. Then you will find it easier to get that close.

Who Empowers The People

Finally, if you must emphasize our activity, emphasize God’s making our activity possible. Ok, there are times when we need to do a challenge. There are times when you must emphasize human activity. I would encourage you to spend a little time discussing how God makes that activity possible. God empowers our living. God makes godly living possible. God enlightens our mind to what we should do. So even though the brunt of your sermon may be about human activity, that does not mean that you don’t make room for God.

In short, if God is not in your sermon, then it is not a sermon, it is a “suggestion.” Whether you have a celebrative close or not, I would encourage you to make sure that what you say that your “Good News” should be plain in the sermon. In addition, who God is and what God does for and in humanity should be just as prominent as your prescriptions for Christian living.

Comments

comments

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Posted in Preaching Methods
10 comments on “Where’s The Good News In Your Sermons?
  1. WysWoods says:

    Today as I read this preaching lesson, I am remembering the FB post I did after being in a Rev.Dr Marvin Sapp concert. It is “I am praising God in advance because I am better, stronger, wiser because He saw the best in me.” The Good news that we have for others is the testimony after the test.Good points in this session!

  2. Rev T. Shelton says:

    Many of our people get beat up enough on a daily basis by just living; they don’t need or want to sit in our congregations for a continuation. They (we) need some good new to carry us through the hell we will face in the coming days. You brought out some good points.

  3. Preach Preacher Preach says:

    as a Pastor who gave up a church for health reason. GOD should be the center of all sermons. The congregation sees the GOD in me. The sermon should alway be about GOD to be celebrate about.` GOD is good and should be praise all the time.

  4. Ptr Rizal Asuncion says:

    I agree with Rev. Cox that a sermon where God is not the focus is not a sermon. While God is the focus, His principles and standards must be related to the condition of humanity, that human problems are caused by disobedience to God and resolutions to problems is turning to God in obedience.

  5. this is good stuff. no rocket science or any thing just openinng you thinking to help you enjoy writing your sermons as well as preaching them. when you prepare a good sermon you should feel it and receive alevel of excitement when you review it. keep preparing it
    through prayer and God will be praised and thats more than enough reason to celebrate. Keep up the good work Pastor Cox

  6. Pastor Frederick D. Harris says:

    As a Pastor, know matter what the intent of message, in the Lord it is always my attempt to close the message in celebration of God’s glory, in Jesus’ name. Good topic Rev. Cox.

  7. Wyswood, that was awesome. If God woke us up, we definitely have something to celebrate. Jesus should be the motivating factor when we preach/teach.

  8. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    Ultimately…there are times when there is nothing to celebrate. I understand that. I will probably put a post up on it soon. However, if you never can find something to celebrate, I wonder if you are preaching the good news…

  9. Rev.Daniel Thompson says:

    (Ecclesiastes 3:1) says; To every thing is a season, and a time to every purpose under the Heaven. Everyday is not going to be sunshine, but joy does come in the morning. But if we can’t find any reason to celebrate, then maybe it is something that we are or are not doing. (2nd Timothy 2:11-12) says; For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny Him, he also will deny us. So if we are being denied the satisfaction of receiving the promise of peace, then maybe in some form and/or fashion we are denying God. Sometime, us as Preachers should not always preach the sermon of good news. We should first preach against sin, that way the promise of good news can be obtained through obedience.

  10. Bulti Bishawu says:

    Every thing is given for the People of God free with out of any payment, then we must teach our People to bring them in the KINGDOM of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

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Revised Common Lectionary
Proper 14 (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Psalm: Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b
  • Epistle: Romans 10:5-15
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Af Am Heritage Lectionary
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