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How to preach a good sermon

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Part 11: Ministering spirit and life

(Content of this section: Recognise the possibility of your sermon ministering spirit and light)


We’ve talked about ministering the Word of God as light to the hearers - the congregation - now let’s look at the sermon ministering the Word of God as spirit and life to them.

Is this an expectation we can have? Can we expect a good sermon to minister God’s Word as spirit and life to the hearers? We can because Jesus declared to His disciples,

“The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

John 6:63 - NKJV

(Content of this section: The importance to our lives of receiving God's spirit and life)


I want God’s spirit and life in my life. I want my congregation to receive God’s spirit and life in their lives. There is a fundamental need in our lives for God’s spirit and life. We can’t truly live without it. It is only through receiving His spirit and life that we can have “life and have it more abundantly” as Jesus declared He’d come to give us. Joh.10:10.

We need to recognise, though, that the Word of God per se, that is, by itself or as an object on its own, is not spirit and life. It is the Word that Jesus speaks to us that is spirit and life. This gives a special responsibility to us the sermon preachers. We must deliver the Word of God in our sermons so that the congregation hears Jesus speaking that scripture or passage it's contained in. We must see to it that Jesus can, in our sermon, speak His Word to the hearts of the hearers.

(Content of this section: How should a preacher approach ministering a sermon)


An intellectual, academic-style approach to ministering a sermon isn’t an easy one for creating an opening for Jesus to speak His Word to hearts. What is needed is an “in the Spirit” approach to ministering the sermon. Listen to the apostle Paul’s testimony of how he approached ministry to the church,

I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:3 - 5 - NKJV

(Content of this section: The example of Paul ministering in the Spirit)


To use the words of Kenneth Wuest’s translation of that testimony, Paul’s message and his preaching were “dependent for their efficacy upon a demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” In other words, there was a work of the Holy Spirit going on in Paul’s delivery of his message, his sermon.

The apostle Paul was letting the Holy Spirit direct the flow of his ministry. He was letting the Holy Spirit give him appropriate words at appropriate moments to speak to the church. He was ministering in the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit was like Jesus speaking to the congregation words that were for them spirit and life. Today, you as a preacher can do this and get the same result.

(Content of this section: Ministering your sermon in the anointing)


You, as the preacher today, can minister your sermon in the Spirit just as Paul did, for you can minister in God’s anointing. The apostle John declares to people of God,

You have an anointing from the Holy One.

1 John 2:20 - NKJV


John adds to this,

The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

1 John 2:27 - NKJV

(Content of this section: An explanation of what the anointing is)


What is this anointing? It is the anointing from the Holy One who is Jesus the Lord. His anointing during His ministry on Earth was from God the Father. It was an anointing with the Holy Spirit and with power. This is the anointing in which you, the preacher today, are to preach. You are to preach in the anointing of the Holy Spirit and with power. Acts 10:38.

To sum up then, a good sermon is preached by a preacher who is preaching in the Spirit. Such a preacher is preaching in the anointing from the Holy One.

(Content of this section: How does preaching in the anointing operate at a practical level)


How does this operate at a practical level? What is the outworking of this during the sermon? What form does the experience of this take? It means you attend to the still, small voice of God within. While respecting the direction, outline and goal God has given in your preparation beforehand, attend to voice of the Holy Spirit giving you words and promptings in your heart as you preach.

Preach your sermon in this way and Jesus will speak His words to the hearts of your hearers. Your congregation will experience the Word of God as spirit and life to them.

Preview of content in next part:

  • We need to preach to the whole of man
  • Preach keeping in mind the thought life of the people
  • Preach with passion about the Good News in Jesus Christ
  • Look to have your sermon stir hearts
  • Speak to the imagination by your choice of words in your sermon
  • The Holy Spirit uses word pictures to paint of a scene of God's glory in the heart of man
  • An example of seeing the word pictures in scripture
  • Receiving word pictures from the Holy Spirit for your sermon

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