INTRODUCTION: The Distinction Between Preparation and Delivery
I The Content and Form of the Sermon
A. General axioms applicable to all kinds of sermons
1. The proclamation, explanation, and application of scriptural truth in the power of the Holy Spirit must constitute the heart and soul of all our preaching.
a. Its basis
1) The function of scriptural truth or special inscripturated revelation in the saving purpose of God.
Gardiner Spring, The Power of the Pulpit, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1986), pp. 36-37.
a) In the begetting of divine life
1 Pet. 1:23-24
1 Cor. 4:15
Gardiner Spring, The Power of the Pulpit, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1986), pp. 44-45.
b) In the nurturing of divine life.
2 Tim. 3:16-17
1 Tim. 4:6
Gardiner Spring, The Glory of Christ, (New York: M. W. Dodd, 1852), pp.136-137.
2) The nature of the ministerial and preaching office
a) A herald
2 Tim. 1:11
2 Cor. 4:5
2 Tim. 4:2
Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 36-37
b) An ambassador
2 Cor. 5:20
c) A steward
1 Cor. 4:1,2
d) A ruler
Heb. 13:7, 17
3) The explicit command of Scripture
Num. 22:35, 38
2 Tim. 2:15
2 Tim. 3:16-17
2 Tim. 4:2-4
b. Its corollary truths
1) Sermons ought to be thoroughly exegetical in their raw materials.
2 Tim. 3:16
1 Cor. 2:13
See undocumented quotes, the second from Albert Barnes. “Exegesis is predicated on two fundamentals. First, it assures that thought can be accurately conveyed in words, each of which, at least originally, had its own shade of meaning. Second, it assumes that the content of Scripture is of such superlative importance for man as to warrant the most painstaking effort to discover exactly what God seeks to impart through his word.”
“the Bible should be explained, not under the influence of a vivid imagination, but with the influence of a heart and mind imbued with a love of truth, and by an understanding disciplined to investigate the meaning of words and phrases and capable of rendering a reason for the interpretation which is proposed.”
Benjamin B. Warfield, “The Purpose of the Seminary” in Selected Shorter Writings, vol. 1, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2001), p. 377.
Which will be in marked contrast with sermons composed of such raw materials as:
1 – The initial impression of a text or passage.
2 – The traditional use of a text or passage.
3 – The dogmatic use of a text or passage.
4 – The fanciful allegorizing or spiritualizing of a text or passage.
5 – The clever and forced accommodation of a text or a passage.
Robert L. Dabney, Sacred Rhetoric, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1979), pp. 96-98.