Excellent questions from Joe Thorn…
So, I am working on Philippians 2:6-11 for our upcoming worship gathering. In my sermon prep throughout the week, and again after the studying is complete, I typically ask myself a number of questions. These questions help to clarify and correct my preaching even before I stand up on Sunday.
1. Does this message exalt the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Will people walk away from this gathering encouraged to trust in law or grace? Can a person hear this message and know our only hope of redemption?
2. Will people know what to do after hearing the message?
I never want my preaching to merely grant knowledge. Good theology always impacts the will. Does a man know what he should do in response to the truths unpacked in the message beyond the general call to repent, and believe? What will repentance and faith look like for my audience?
3. Am I saying anything that will distract from the point I am trying to make?
Here I am thinking less of content and more of expression. Might the language I use, or the illustrations I choose, become the focus rather than the message I am trying to communicate?
4. Do I, at any point, make much of myself in this sermon?
I have heard a number of people express frustration with how some preachers make much of themselves in their preaching and teaching. It is as if some men are ever the example of how to do things well. This will either lead men to think “That pastor is awesome!” or “That pastor sure thinks a lot of himself.” Either way I am getting in Jesus’ way during the sermon if I make much of myself.
5. Would I like this to be the last sermon I ever preach?
It’s a good question to ask, because it just might be the case. Believing that this may be my last opportunity to preach Christ will clarify what really needs to be said. Am I okay with this message being the last thing my family and church hears from my lips? And more importantly, am I okay with this message potentially being the last thing a man, woman or child will hear about the gospel before they die? This too just might be the case.
When asked, these questions bring a sense of sobriety and urgency to my preaching. Do you ask yourself any questions like these before preaching/teaching? What else might we ask ourselves?