Preaching Experience and Suggestions
By Rex H. Henderson
(Editors note: Rex Henderson was a true man of God who preached from the heart well prepared expository sermons for over 60 years as a pastor and associational director of missions).
I. A “CALL” TO THE MINISTRY
I was converted to life in Christ Jesus at the age of nineteen. From that moment on I realized that I was not my own, for I was bought with the price of a rugged cross, and the death of the loving Savior. In my youth I was an agrarian uneducated, uncouth, and most unlikely to be a preacher, but my life and world were so changed like darkness to a glorious light. With bridges and paths back of me, my heart beating with excitement, I belonged to Christ. What would He do with me?
That question was answered as I wrestled night and day with His “Call” to be a preacher. Needless to say, the gravity of the “Call” left me sleepless, restless and with loss of weight. From the depth of my soul in deep surrender, I said, “yes” to God’s “Call” to the Ministry.
I had never had an experience like this—one “Call,” one surrender, one life devoted forever, “Called” and ordained to the gospel ministry.
II. THE PURPOSE OF PREACHING
My understanding and purpose of preaching is to win the lost to Christ, and to “Feed my sheep” as the Word proclaims.
Human beings are sinners and need to be saved by the grace of God. Not knowing the Savior, “How shall they hear without a preacher” Rom 10:14. The Apostle Paul said, “I am ordained a preacher” 1 Timothy 2:7.
“The world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” 1 Corinthians 1:21. Although there is the foolishness of reaching, God has ordained it.
To be ordained, first there is the “Calling of God, and secondly the local church should set aside these men by ordination to the Gospel Ministry.
III. RESOURCES FOR PREACHING
Ideas for sermons may come from many sources. I have found visiting in homes and becoming acquainted with the needs of the people has led to certain Bible passages.
Knowledge of the congregation and the Bible is a necessity. God has ordained and inspired His Word to meet every human need.
Calendar events often point to sources for a sermon, but the body of the sermon should always be Bible based.
The Bible is the preacher’s textbook, the greatest of all resources for preaching and witnessing.
IV. SERMON PREPARATION
Proclaiming God’s Word to the people requires superlative preparation. Revealing God’s mercy, grace and redemption to unbelievers, and to His followers calls for the highest dedication and commitment. One is not preparing to address some celebrity; he is offering eternal life to dying people who are on their way to hell. Because the stakes are high, I use the following suggestions in preparing sermons.
A. Pray until my heart and mind are tuned to the spirit of the living God.
B. With a spirit filled mind, I search for a text or passage of Scripture that answers the purpose at hand.
C. Having found the text, I pick the minds of the best authors for interpretation.
D. From the study, I form a homily or a brief and simple outline.
E. I like to use excellent illustrations for clarity and light.
F. Effort then is given to study of the outline and sub topics until they are memorized.
G. Sermon preparation for Sunday begins on Monday allowing time for the message to permeate my mind during the week.
V. SERMON DELIVERY
I must confess that I belong to the school of another generation, but I offer a few thoughts for consideration. In today’s setting the length of speaking time should be considered. So one believes he has the privilege of speaking as long as he desires, but the audience may have another opinion. They may be saying, “let’s go home while the preacher finishes his sermon. The last of the sermon is very important, but if the preacher loses his audience what has the preacher gained?
If the sermon is well prepared, it can be given within twenty-five to thirty minutes.
One can take knowledge of Jesus for he knew how to dismiss a crowd.
It is well to remember that God did not call a preacher to perform dramatic acts in the pulpit which usually detracts from the message.
Pacing the floor this way and that, to me, is unnecessary and negates interest in the message. There is another time and place for exercise.
The greatness of God calls for the highest respect, and the importance of the message surely demands our best behavior.
VI. PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES
Of all people preachers should be found honest. Integrity should be his first, middle and last name. God has little use for a dishonest preacher who misuses money, mistreats his family and is always making excuses.
Blessed is the preacher who adheres to reminders in God’s Word about having a good name. “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold” Proverbs 22:1.
The Bible admonishes all men to be humble, compassionate, kind and to have self-control. I think an example for all men is to bear the “fruit of the spirit."
“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control” Gal. 5:22.
Rex H. Henderson (c) 2005. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.
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