Stott on Preparing Sermons
NOTE: This outline is condensed from John R. W. Stott, Between Two Worlds (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1982), pp. 211-216.
It is best to rely on expository book studies for the steady diet
of your people.
Special calendar occasions: Christmas, Easter, etc.
|Special external circumstances which are in the public mind.||Special needs discerned by the preacher or others.||Truths which have specially inspired the preacher.
C. Keep a notebook to scribble down ideas for sermons, insights, burdens, illustrations, etc. Record them immediately wherever they come to mind, because you will usually forget them later.
A. Whenever possible, plan out texts weeks or months in advance.
This gives the benefit of "subconscious incubation".
Read, re-read & re-read the text.
|Be sure you understand what it means. Do
your own interpretive work. Never use commentaries until you have
formulated specific interpretive questions which you have been unable
to answer, or until you have completed your interpretive work.||Brood longer over how it applies
to your people, to the culture, to you, etc.||All the while, pray for God to illuminate the text, especially
its application.||All the while, scribble down notes of thoughts, ideas, etc.||Solicit the insights of others through tapes, talking with
other preachers, etc.
Your sermon should convey only one major
message. All of the details of your sermon should be marshaled to
help your people grasp that message and feel
Chisel and shape your material. Ruthlessly discard all material
which is irrelevant to the dominant thought. Subordinate the
remaining material to the dominant thought by using that material to illuminate
and reinforce the dominant thought.
The introduction should not be elaborate, but enough to arouse
their curiosity, whet their appetites and introduce the dominant
thought. This can be done by a variety of means: explaining the
setting of the passage, story, current event or issue, etc.
Argument: anticipate objections and refute them
|Admonition: warn of the consequences of disobedience||Indirect Conviction: arouse moral indignation and then turn it
on them (Nathan with David)||Pleading: apply the gentle pressure of God's love, concern for
their well-being, and the needs of others||Vision: paint a picture of what is possible through obedience
God in this area
Writing out your sermon forces you to think straight and
sufficiently. It exposes lazy thinking and cures it. After you are
thoroughly familiar with your outline, reduce it to small notes.