Each preacher must develop their own way to prepare a sermon so that it fits their unique personality. Learning to do so is usually done by the comparative method. Here I will give you the way that I prepared an Easter Sermon. You should be able to extrapolate something from my method that can help you.
Prayer is essential before ever writing a sermon. Even if you have an incredible idea for a sermon, and have extreme clarity for what God is moving you to say, you must pray. You do not want to say what is on your heart. You want to say what is on God’s heart for His people.
Pray to have God guide your thoughts, attitude, mind and hands so that you can convey His message in a way that is pleasing and honoring to Him.
You must be able to visualize what it is God wants you to say. Here you will get an idea of what direction the message will pursue. Then you can get the stepping stones that will help you arrive at the goal pursued.
For example: If God wants you to convey the message of resurrection, you may use stepping stones like, Death, Burial, Seen by others, Resurrection. The death, burial and witnesses are stepping stones that lead you to the envisioned message—resurrection.
You must have Scripture reference for the message God wants you to convey. He will not go outside of His word to give His message, neither will He twist His word to give one. If there is no Scripture that conveys the message, then you can be assured it is not a message the Lord wants given. Likewise, if there is no Scripture to support each point, then that point should not be used, no matter how good it may seem. For example:
Burial — John 19:15-17… 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
Burial — John 19:40-42… 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Witnesses — John 20:19… 19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
Resurrection — John 11:25… 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
There are times when you get a verse of Scripture and you envision a sermon from there. It is okay to have a vision based on a Scripture that you have read. But still, you must put prayer and supporting Scripture to lead you to the correct message God wants conveyed.
Sermons are basically lecturing if they are not illustrated properly. There are many books for speakers that contain illustrations that will help you think of an illustration.
At times illustrations can come from your own life. They can come from history, children, nature, the Bible, and many other sources. A timely and appropriate illustration will be remembered.
Still today I remember illustrations of sermons while having a hard time telling what the sermon is all about. I remember a church in Delaware where the speaker had different Mr. Potato head dolls dressed differently. They each had names: Irritator, Instigator, Aggravator, etc. The sermon was on how to live a better Christian life and “Don’t be a ‘tater’”.
Every sermon must have a conclusion. You must be able to bring it to a logical conclusion. The structure for writing anything should be:
- This is what I am going to say.
- This is what I am saying.
- This is what I said.
Obviously, the conclusion of a sermon comes under the heading of— “This is what I said.” It should be a SHORT synopsis of the message.
For example: Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He couldn’t resurrect if He was not buried. He couldn’t be buried unless he died. It would be to no avail if there were not witnesses. Therefore, it is about the death, burial, resurrection of Christ with many witnesses.