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How to preach a good sermon

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Part 10: Ministering the light of God's Word

(Content of this section: Looking to discover how scripture speaks to your congregation today)


You've sought the Lord and received from the Lord a sermon message. You’ve followed that up by diligent study of the Word of God so you’ll be presenting it well and rightly in your sermon . The next stage of your study of the scriptures in your sermon is what Leander E. Keck describes as "the discovery of its pertinence."

The discovery of its pertinence means you discover what a scripture or scripture passage is saying to your congregation today. The words of scripture were originally written to people of another culture, in another place and a long time ago. How are those words to be brought from the then to the now? How are they to speak importantly into lives today with the same kind of importance as they did when they were first given?

(Content of this section: God's Word is recorded in written form so it can continue to speak to us)


We should not be in any doubt that the Bible presents us with the Word of God and that the Word of God has pertinence to us now. The Word of God was recorded and preserved faithfully in written form so that it could continue speaking to people of all generations.

he apostle Peter refers to the Word of God as the "prophetic word". By it he is speaking of the word that holy men were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak and which we count as Scripture. Peter exhorts a continuing attendance to that word because of its continuing importance and relevance. He writes,

We have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

2 Peter 1:19 - NKJV

(Content of this section: Bridging the gap between the ancient text and your contemporary hearers)


The Word of God has light for those who are willing to receive it. It is the preacher’s responsibility to deliver the Word of God to the hearers as light. Light enlightens. It makes the way visible. It makes God’s Path of Life visible to people on the journey of life and encourages them to take it.

How do we go about delivering the Word of God as light? By unveiling its pertinence to the hearers. We bring them to the scripture and demonstrate how it speaks into their lives today. In order to do this we have to bridge the gap between the promise, encouragement or exhortation in the ancient scripture and the contemporary lives of our hearers today.

People are prone to hear the scripture as "for those people back there." We have to expound it as "for these people right here." What have we at our disposal to accomplish this? What can we offer them to bridge the gap? We can do this by showing the hearers that they are united with original recipients of the scripture by the commonality of one faithful God and as being one covenant people.

It is Sidney Greidanus in his book "The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text" who points out this marvellous bridge. The bridge is built on, firstly, that our God is their God also. And secondly, that we are God’s covenant people today as they were God’s covenant people back then. As you ponder scripture with this in mind then it’s points of pertinence will open up to you. What you discover in this way you can then communicate in your sermon.

(Content of this section: Show the congregation scripture has counsel, comfort and guidance for them)


In your sermon show the congregation the scripture is from their God to them as His covenant people. Show them it has relevant counsel, comfort, instruction, guidance and exhortation for them at this time.

The apostle Paul exhorts Timothy in this by writing,

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16 - 17 - NKJV

(Content of this section: An example of recognising the pertinence of a scripture for today)


The following is an example of a scripture’s pertinence today being recognised. In the Book of Exodus, by the mouth of Moses, God declares to the Children of Israel,

"If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you."

Exodus 15:26 - NKJV


In this word, God reveals Himself to them as "the Lord who heals them." The word is to them but its pertinence is for all God’s people of all generations. This is because it is from our One Faithful God to His one covenant people.

You can, as a result, bring this to the congregation as a word for today both for their comfort and for the encouragement of their faith. You might also want to present the progressive revelation of this Truth by presenting similar scriptures that are found right through the Old Testament and into the New.

Preview of content in next part:

  • Recognise the possibility of your sermon ministering spirit and light
  • The importance to our lives of receiving God's spirit and life
  • How should a preacher approach ministering a sermon
  • The example of Paul ministering in the Spirit
  • Ministering your sermon in the anointing
  • An explanation of what the anointing is
  • How does preaching in the anointing operate at a practical level

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