REFLECTION PAPER ON SERMON CONSTRUCTION AND PRESENTATION
Preaching Confidence – My name is Ebenezer Osafo Aikins. I am a student of Christian Leaders Institute from Ghana. It has always been my dream to study at a Christian Seminary in order to prepare myself for the greater works God has called me to do. When I enrolled at Christian Leaders Institute in March 2013, little did I know that I will get to one of the challenging courses of study as Sermon Construction and Presentation? But I thank God for seeing me through all the time even to this point. My preaching confidence has increased!
I also want to take this opportunity to thank the leadership of Christian Leaders Institute for making it possible for me to take this course. I will forever be indebted to you for the wealth of knowledge and preaching confidence you have imparted to me through this course.
When I started this course, I didn’t know what I was actually going to learn. I thought about the title of the course “Sermon Construction and Presentation” and concluded I may to be given a formula or just some tips in preparing an effective sermon. But I was surprised the more when the first slide, “Introduction to Sermon Construction and Presentation” stated it as one of the things I will never get out of this course. I therefore opened myself to receive everything the course has for me. In doing so, I have come to learn a lot of things from the very beginning of the course even up to today.
First of all, in Dr. John Piper’s article, ‘What I mean by preaching is expository exultation’, I came across some things which are still guiding me in ministry. In the course of explaining why preaching is expository, he says, “The preacher’s job is to minimize his own opinions and deliver the truth of God. Every sermon should explain the Bible and then apply it to people’s lives. The preacher should do that in a way that enables you to see that the points he is making actually come from the Bible. If you can’t see that they come from the Bible, your faith will end up resting on a man and not on God’s word.” I have come to realize that the preacher should not only preach the message but should also make the people get the understanding of it. If after preaching for a long time nobody really seems to understand what I was saying, then it comes to mean I have been speaking to myself all this while. This can be made possible when I do not emphasize my opinion but allow the pure Word to speak. I believe by relying on the Holy Spirit, I can be able to bring out the message to God’s people as clearly as He would want me to.
He also highlights the point that preaching is not the totality of the church. And if all you have is preaching, you don’t have the church. A church is a body of people who minister to each other. I have across services where all the singing will be done but when it is time for the sermon, an announcement will be made that we have now reached the most important aspect of the service. Everything that happens from the start of the service to the end of it should be taken on the same serious note. I have a charge to keep. I am ministering to people with eternal souls and should therefore take time to be with the source of the Word in order to hear from Him. This will help me speak from the heart of God to His people knowing that I will give an account of whatever I did in my capacity as a preacher one day. I know a day is coming when people will not accept sound teaching and may even leave the church and go find teachers who scratch where they itch. And eventually they will wander off into myths. But I should not let this deter me. It is not a sign of my failure. Therefore I will not quit.
In the beginning of a sermon, Professor Henry Reyenga helped me to understand that the seed of a sermon is the Word of God which comes out of the truth of my own walk. I therefore have to maintain a life that is consistent with the doctrine I preach. My lifestyle should not contradict what I preach. There will also be different soils and different receptivity to the sermon I preach. Not all are the same in the hearing of the sermon. The only factor to make a sermon effective is the Holy Spirit. I can’t make it happen through any other means. This is where preaching confidence comes from!
There are other things I have learned in Sermon Preparation some of which I want to outline here. The first thing I have to keep in mind is my audience. I have to know the people I am going to speak to in terms of their ages, interests and needs. Another thing to think about is the occasion and the place where the sermon will be presented. I also have to conduct extensive research from which I will gather materials which includes but not limited to Bible verses, materials from books, articles, and notes from other peoples sermons, speeches, reports, conversations. After all these have been done I will commit myself to studying the materials I have gathered before the presentation of the sermon.
In walking with God, George Whitefield explained what the term “walking with God” actually implies. First of all, he says that walking with God implies that the prevailing power of the enmity of a person’s heart be taken away by the blessed Spirit of God. This enmity he speaks of as an enmity of man’s desperately wicked and deceitful heart and that before a person can be said to walk with God, the prevailing power of this heart-enmity must be destroyed: for persons do not use to walk and keep company together, who entertain an irreconcilable enmity and hatred against one another.
Preaching Confidence – Bring People to God
He also says that walking with God not only implies, that the prevailing power of the enmity of a man’s heart be taken away; a person is actually reconciled to God the Father, in and through the all-sufficient righteousness and atonement of his dear Son. This is the same as what is recorded in Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Therefore in order to walk with God, I have to yield myself to the Holy Spirit and the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have to maintain a constant abiding position in the Word of God and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit so that whatever is in me that does not agree with the Word of God can be dealt with. I should maintain a holy walk with God in all of my ways. The desires of God should be my desires. I have to walk in-step with Him. This means I do not go ahead of Him or stay behind. I have to be at His side at all times. It is only when I abide in Him that I will be fruitful.
These are some of the things I have learned in Sermon Construction and Presentation. I would not have learned these at any other place. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone here for helping to make this dream of mine a reality and increasing my preaching confidence.
God bless you all.