I love to preach and teach God’s Word.  Developing a message based on Scripture and communicating it to others is a great privilege and joy.  I’ve done a lot of studying about what makes a good sermon.  I’ve also learned what makes a bad sermon, one that doesn’t convey God’s truth as it could have or should have.  I’d like to share some things to NOT do when preparing and presenting a message.

One of the easiest ways to ruin a sermon is to focus on yourself instead of Jesus.  Talk about yourself, build up the good you have done, use yourself as a godly example and don’t say much about Jesus and you will destroy what could have been a good message.

Jesus must be the hero of your sermon, the one who gets the glory, the one people remember after the sermon is over.  The whole Bible focuses on Jesus, and our messages must as well.  Only Jesus changes lives, not me or you.  Leave yourself out of the message and focus only and totally on Jesus (2 Timothy 2:8).

Another way to ruin a good message is to tell stories but not relate them to Scripture.  Stories that illustrate or explain Scripture are wonderful, but ones told just to entertain people or brag about yourself do not help people grow.  Focus on the Word of God, not on stories or tales to make your message interesting.  Our purpose is to teach the Word (2 Timothy 4:1-2), not entertain.  We want our listeners impressed with the greatness of God, not with our speaking ability.

When a speaker preaches his opinion instead of God’s truth, people are not being fed. My opinion does not matter, neither does yours.  Only God’s opinion is worth sharing, so make sure you thoroughly study His Word and proclaim it and nothing else (2 Timothy 2:15).  You’ll destroy a good lesson if it focuses on what you think instead of what God says.

Always give hope and encouragement, not guilt and condemnation (Romans 8:1). If you don’t, your message will fall short no matter how good it may be.   When you speak to people, remember they are hurting.  They have come for hope, assurance God cares, encouragement to keep moving on and strength to remain faithful.  People are thirsty for God’s love and care, and if we don’t give it to them, they will leave empty and weak.

A final danger to mention here is when we leave out the gospel.  Every sermon and Bible study must include the plan of salvation so anyone who hasn’t come to Jesus can do so (1 Corinthians 2:2). Speak to the believers who are listening, but have something for unbelievers as well.

It is a great responsibility to speak for God and proclaim His truths to others.  His Word is true and pure and its communication must be true and pure as well.  Keep the focus on Jesus and the Word.  The simple truth of the Bible is what people need.  We don’t need to add to it, fancy it up or do anything to make it more interesting.  God’s Holy Spirit will apply it to the hearts that are open.  Like a quarterback throwing a good pass, we do our best to accurately communicate God’s Word.  We say the words, then it’s up to God to apply and use them as He chooses.  Don’t do anything to mess up His message.

2 Timothy 4:1-2  In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

Is your preaching based solely on the Word of God, or do you mix in your opinions and ideas from time to time?

Are you tempted to preach in such a way that people are impressed with you?

Do you include the gospel for unbelievers every time you speak?

Do those who listen to you peak who have pain, discouragement and difficulties leave with new hope and assurance from God’s Word?



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