This should be the last advertisement for my little booklet Ten Specific Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better! (available on Amazon), but it’s not! No preacher really wants to be told that his sermons and preaching can get better. But they can. I know. I know. Your mother said you were special. But even your mother would like some of the issues we discuss in this short preaching refresher. She would.
Now that that appeal is over, we’ve been looking at one of my favorite sermon outlines. I want to briefly summarize what we have seen (with a few homiletical notes included):
Sermon titles are important. They orient the listener to the topic and may, just may, help him or her remember your message after the service! This title, of course, serves as Phil Yancey’s book title on grace.
I’m a big believer in a keyword, that is, a word that guides the preacher (and the listener) through the passage and helps deliver the specific points of the sermon. The keyword for this sermon might well be truths.
The first truth we see in this text is from verse 11 and it is that God’s Grace Is a Salvation-Bringing Grace! (I usually re-read the verse to show I’m not making up my point). God’s grace — in the Person of the Lord Jesus — has appeared — and that’s great news!
Not only is God’s grace a salvation-bringing grace (I try to repeat my points throughout my message), it is also a Teaching Grace (v. 12). Reading over verse 12 we see it divides nicely into negative and positive aspects. (Elaborate on those. Do a word study of “ungodliness,” “worldly passions,” “self-control,” “upright,” “godly” and, especially the phrase “in this present age.”)
But let’s notice also that God’s grace is not only a salvation-bringing grace and a teaching grace, it is also a Waiting Grace (v. 13). (Give an illustration showing the difference between wasted waiting and worthwhile waiting). (I will sometimes include a cartoon on waiting if I am preaching using PowerPoint or Keynote. I’m a big believer in using the eye-gate as well as the ear-gate). (Don’t forget to point out the strong evidence for the deity of the Lord Jesus in v. 13. You gotta get some theology in there!)
I would then say something like: We’ve seen that God’s grace is a salvation-bring grace, a teaching grace, and a waiting grace. Please notice the fourth truth that God’s Grace Is a Purifying Grace (v. 14). (I would read over verse 14. Notice that more could be said from that verse than just God’s purifying grace, but you don’t want to give too much material to your audience. Many preachers fail exactly here. They think that if they have a few extra minutes or so they should pile on more biblical truth. No! Illustrate your main point!).
I would summarize your previous four points and then introduce the last point which is that God’s Grace is an Encouraging Grace (v. 15). Read that verse. Talk about encouragement and how we all need it. (I’ve made reference to Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages in a previous post).
Review your five points briefly and close (perhaps) with a good illustration of grace. You do have an illustration file, don’t you? (If not, drop me a note and I’ll give you my almost 300 page Word file of illustrations). Thanks for sticking with me in this study!