Homiletics – Class 1.3 KEYS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS Gage Coldwater
ORGANIZATION Effective sermon delivery requires excellent sermon structure. The extent of the text or topic of your sermon will determine to a large degree your sermon structure. There are possible approaches such as problem solution, cause and effect, or historical sequence. These things help both the preacher and the audience to comprehend and retain the message. ILLUSTRATIONS Illustrations are to a sermon what a window is to a room; they let light in. Your best and the greatest source of illustrations ever found are in the Old Testament. These illustrations are both informative and illustrative. As a matter of fact, in the New Testament, the sermons we read usually use these OT events as their illustrations!!! For example, the book of Hebrews employs many Old Testament people and events to illustrate truths. Jesus, in his parabolic teaching, often used common everyday things of life to teach great truth. He would say, “the kingdom of Heaven is like unto…” In addition to similes, he often employed metaphors. “You are the light of the world…” When the truth of a scripture is effectively illustrated, the sermon comes alive. Here are a few examples of excellent illustrations:
Seeing John Wesley coming along the street one day, a man straddled the pavement and said to him: 'I never get out of my way for a fool.' But I always do,' replied Wesley, as he stepped aside into the gutter. A fine illustration of fulfilling the injunction, “Answer a fool according to his folly.” (Prov. 26. 5) You can use a poem like this one about fools: Two fools had cars they thought perfection; They met one day at an intersection, Tooted their horns and made a connection. A police car came and made an inspection; An ambulance came and made a collection. All that is left is a recollection And two less votes in the next election. And we might add that there were two graves more in a cemetery section.
Homiletics – Class 1.3
Here is an illustration for gambling using statistics:
In 2007: Americans spend $92.3 billion on legalized gambling Source: Christiansen Capital Advisors; Americans put $57.4 billion in savings Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Here is a list of a few places to find excellent illustrations:
www.sermonillustrations.com www.sermoncentral.com www.moreillustrations.com
APPLICATION The audience must see how the truth of the scripture applies to life in the home, business, factory, refinery, classroom, office, and in recreation. The preacher should not imagine and expect that the audience will immediately make an application of the scripture. It is not a reflection on the audience’s intellect for the preacher to show the practical nature of the truth. It is an indication of serious study that the preacher has done that he encourages the audiences to make specific application of the scripture to life. ENTHUSIASM If the preacher is excited about God’s word that is being proclaimed, then the audience will tend to share the same excitement. However, a dry, dull, presentation will tend to put an audience to sleep both physically and mentally. There are several key elements of enthusiasm in sermon presentation: one, the spiritual strength of the preacher. The very word enthusiasm has in it the Greek word for God, theos. So enthusiasm is “God in us.” Two, the fulfilling of the perceived needs of the audience. If a preacher truly feels that his message is meeting the needs in the audience generally, he will be more excited about the potential of the sermon. COMPASSION There must be genuine sincere interest on the part of the preacher for the audience to whom he is preaching! Compassion is not a violation of courage; it is a leavening influence that keeps courage from becoming harshness. Jesus, whose steps we follow, was a man of compassion. This word expresses a deep and strong emotion and sometimes even expresses “a feeling of distress through the ills of others.” When the Savior saw men “distress and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd,” he was moved with compassion for them. (Mt. 9:36)
Homiletics – Class 1.3 Paul, whose courage was extra-ordinary, demanded the withdrawal of fellowship from an ungodly brother (1 Cor. 5), then very gently and tenderly urged them to receive him back after his repentance (2 Cor. 2). He was to the Thessalonians as “a father with his own children.” (1 Thess. 2:7; 11) He urged Timothy to do the same thing in 2 Timothy 2:24 and 25. Remember always, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.