THE USE OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Illustration is a homiletical tool used to pinpoint the image of the sermon in a way that makes the sermon to be remembered or understood. It can be used at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the sermon depending on the nature, methodology, and the homiletical skills of the sermon deliverer.
Nature: The nature of the sermon describes what the sermon is. Is the sermon a topical, narrative, or expository sermon? The preacher could use or implore various analogies or illustrations in the sermon especially when the sermons are topical or expository in nature. On the other hand, a preacher would choose to leave out illustration when the sermon is a narrative sermon. This is because narrative sermon tells a story chronologically in a way that the manner the preacher narrates the event, the narrative could take up the form of the analogy to explain the sermon without adopting a crafted illustration into the sermon.
Methodology: The use of illustrations with reference to placement in the sermon is determined by the methodology the preacher has used or wants to use. The preacher could decide to deliver the sermon with illustration incorporating illustration as the sermon introduction; in this way, the illustration plays dual roles in the sermon. It can be powerful depending on the knowledge and skill of the preacher. Methodologically, the preacher could choose to implore illustration at the beginning, the middle, or at the end of the sermon. It depends on the skills of the preacher.
Skill: Sermon delivery is an act; therefore, the skills the preacher has with reference to the delivery of the sermon matters the most. The stance, the posture, the gesture, the facial expression, the tone of voice, and the methodologies implored are tied to the homiletical skills of the preacher. There is a need for the preacher to practice preaching the sermon to self before appearing on the day of delivery. There is a saying that asserts, “Practice makes perfect.”
USE OF ILLUSTRATION
As previously delineated in the introductory section, illustration pinpoints the image of the sermon; however, the ones used in the desire sermon should fit or agree with context of the biblical passage or incidence. This informs the preacher that there are many illustrations available for use; however, one has to be selective with reference to the use of illustrations. For the past 30 years of practical ministry, I have unconsciously utilized illustrations in messages preached in normal church services, revivals, evangelistic meetings, and among others. While preaching in these services for the past years, I had categorically utilized the one-paragraph story, the one-sentence analogy, and the three-example list. The pattern, weakness, and strength of these categories of illustrations vary with reference to the patterns, weaknesses, and strengths. In an effort to give the analysis of each category with relative to patterns, weaknesses, and strengths, each will be discussed taking into considerations the subheadings.
The One-Paragraph Story
The one-paragraph story gives or narrates a story that pinpoints the image of the sermon taking into consideration the biblical passage contemporary to what has happened in the passage by illustrating it. The preacher explains making connection to the real event that happened sometimes ago. The pattern of such illustration is done in the order of importance the event has unfolded or in the chronological order. The weakness of such illustration resonates when the event in the biblical passage has no connection to the illustration that has been used. It confuses the audience and makes the audience to ask questions about the message. In most instances, the audience feels boring during the delivery of the sermon. The illustration will have strengths and consequently impacts the audience if such is connected to the biblical passage pinpointing the message to the understanding of the audience.
The One-Sentence Analogy
The One-Sentence analogy takes two things to compare or to contrast. Its pattern has to do with comparing and contrasting two things to pinpoint the message. The weakness of this illustration resonates when the analogy has no connection to the event in the biblical passage that the preacher wants to explain to the audience. Its strength resonates when it has connection to the event that has happened in the biblical passage. Preachers are advised to use analogy that connects to real event in the biblical passage.
The Three-Example List
This illustration illustrates two things as does the one-sentence analogy; however, the difference between them is that the analogy compares or contrasts while the list explains. The pattern of the list is that it explains two things making connections between both. The weakness resonates when the two things explained have no connection between each other to illustrate the real event that has occurred in the biblical passage. Preachers are advised to be connective when using the three-example list analogy.
USE OF APPLICATIONS
Application is a homiletical tool used to indicate how the message preached from the biblical passage should be practiced or obeyed. It is obvious that preaching the sermon without telling the audience how the message should be lived or practiced is lacking preaching goal. What a preacher wants the audience to think about is the goal of the illustration and what he or she wants the audience to do after thinking is application; therefore, illustration and application should be connected taking the event into consideration. It has been debated in the homiletical arena that application should be left with the Holy Spirit; therefore, preachers should only preach and disregard application. I am of the opinion that the Holy Spirit convicts sinners to obey the word; however, preachers can indicate how scripture should be applied with reference to the text preached. The Holy Spirit empowers the preacher to indicate how scripture should be practiced or lived. Whether application is empowered by the Holy Spirit and the preacher is an instrument of the Holy Spirit to indicate how scripture should be practiced or lived, it depends on the motives of the preachers and the knowledge of the audience.
USES OF APPLICATIONS
It has been debated in the homiletical scene that application should be left with Holy Spirit; therefore, some scholars have said that preachers should disregard application and leave it with the Holy Spirit. I believe that the Holy Spirit convicts and empowers sinners to obey the scripture. I also believe that the Holy Spirit indwells the preacher. If the Holy Spirit indwells the preacher and he is speaking through the preacher how scripture should be applied, there should be no contention concerning who should tell the audience to apply scriptures. Preaching is a spiritual service; therefore, no preacher can perform well and make impart if the preacher refuses to recognize the Holy Spirit as the empowered and the manifested individual of God’s ability in the preaching ministry. There are numerous ways that a preacher could use how scripture should be applied. In previous years of the preaching ministry, I had used questions to admonish my congregations how scriptures should be applied than listing itemized imperative command how the congregations should apply scriptures. Question type application puts the congregations in the position to ask themselves, analyze themselves, evaluate themselves, and make a decision with reference to whether such scripture that has pointed out their Fallen Condition Focus should be obeyed or not. I term such episode as a spiritual crisis that the Holy Spirit should intervene to bring the sinners to a place of practical application of the sermon. In this junction according to Apostle Paul as recorded in Galatians 5:16 that Christians are to walk in the Spirit to enable them apply scriptures in the daily walk with Christ.
The weakness of the question type application resonates when the preacher who asks the questions does not live what he or she preaches especially when the audience knows the individual’s lifestyle in the community of domicile. In most cases, the question to apply scriptures will have no convicting force behind it because the individual is not living what he or she preaches. This kind of preaching is boring to the hearing of the congregation and therefore becomes hypocritical preaching that is not empowered by the Holy Spirit. The preacher’s reservoir is dry; as the result, the preaching also creates drought conditions for the congregations. This kind of preacher will preach from weeks to weeks without making an impact because sin is in the camp. The spiritual life characterized by obedience, prayer, fast, and the study of God’s word must go together to make the preacher efficient in the preaching ministry. When the preacher aligns himself or herself with the Holy Spirit; then, will he or she be efficient in the preaching ministry to make impart. It is advisable that the preacher should have intentionally pre-programmed mindset to lift Jesus by motive generated while asking these questions. What is my Holy Spirit led goal in preaching this sermon? What should the Holy Spirit make the congregation to think when I preach the Holy Spirit led sermon? How will the congregation apply the Holy Spirit led sermon should they allow the Holy Spirit led application? If these questions are consistent in theory and practice intentionally motivated and willed based on the preacher’s agenda, everything will fall into place leading to the harvest of the souls. The preaching ministry overall agenda should be to harvest souls from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. This can be done provided the preacher is intentionally planned to do so by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through him or her.
The Holy Spirit Led Goal
It takes sensitivity, spirituality, maturity, and humility for a preacher to set Holy Spirit led goal when it comes to preaching a sermon because biblical exegesis and sermon delivery crucially becomes self-centered instead of Christo-centric or Christ-centered. The preacher’s humanness can sometimes dominate or interfere with the Holy Spirit’s ability to work. Preacher should be advised in this matter in the preaching ministry. The preacher’s level of education theologically can have the adverse effect on how the preacher relates to the Holy Spirit’s ability to use him or her during biblical exegesis and the delivery of sermon. Preachers are to die to self-centeredness in order for the Holy Spirit to have his will accomplished in them. The Holy Spirit is the person; therefore, he cannot be controlled neither can he be contravened on by the preacher’s will. The Holy Spirit will move in the service based on his willingness to do so. He does not work or perform miracles based on the dictates of the preacher neither does he move based on church’s rituals or religious crafted services or the emotion of the preacher with reference to sensationalism during stage preaching. The secret to souls harvest during evangelism, revivals, or Sunday divine worship is allowing the Holy to set the preaching goal and allowing him to work through you.
The Holy Spirit Led Sermon
The Holy Spirit led sermon is influenced by the Holy Spirit; unfortunately, sometimes the sermon outline or the manuscripts the preacher has created can sometimes interfere with the Holy Spirit sermon if the preacher is not sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit during sermon delivery. There is an inclined tendency that what the preacher has studied, crafted, shaped, outlined, and prepared must be followed when the Holy Spirit wants the preacher to forgo his agenda and to lay emphasis on the particular content the Holy Spirit wants in the sermon instead of going systematically according to the outline. When the preacher is not sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading during preaching, the sermon can become human led driven instead of the Holy Spirit lead driven sermon. In the nut shed, preacher should be preaching messages instead of sermon. When the sermon becomes Holy Spirit led driven sermon, it becomes a message to the contemporary audience. This kind of sermon changes lives and brings glory to God because the preacher is preaching from a rich reservoir causing spiritual erosion to take place in the lives of the congregational members.
The Holy Spirit Led Application
The Holy Spirit led application is crucial to sermon delivery. What a preacher considers and does when setting the preaching goal for the sermon and allowing the Holy Spirit to direct the sermon is the direct result of the Holy Spirit led application. If the Holy Spirit influences the goal and the sermon; then, he will eventually influence the application. If the sermon is Christ-centered, the Holy Spirit will empower the congregation to obey the sermon. Sermon application is crucial to salvation leading to the harvest of the souls. The preacher should preach the message and should allow the Holy Spirit to make the congregations do what has been preached. Policing the congregations to live the scriptures is the direct interference with the Holy Spirit when it comes to sermon applications practically.
PRIMARY LESSONS LEARNED
The primary lessons learned from the textbook and during class include the following: (1) Obedience, (2) Dedication to the study of God’s word, and (3) The practical uses of illustrations and applications in the preaching ministry.
Effectiveness in the preaching ministry must be marked by total obedience because the Holy Spirit will not use a vessel that is not prepared spiritually to be used. Preacher must live holy life; because, the spiritual life of the preacher is the number one criteria for spiritual efficiency.
Dedication to the Study of God’s Word
The preacher must study the word of God to enable him or her to interpret and to deliver the message to the contemporary audience. The preacher should exegete the biblical passage as well as the congregations to enable him or her minister to meet the goal of preaching. This involves living and studying God’s word, outlining it, writing the sermon manuscripts, vandalizing the sermon (marking the sermon), internalizing the sermon, preaching the sermon to self, praying and fasting for the Holy Spirit’s involvement, and delivering the sermon to the congregation.
The Uses of Applications and Illustrations
The practical use of illustrations and applications in the sermon preached is recommended because practice makes perfect. Every sermon preached during the weeks should have room for illustrations and applications on the sermon outline or manuscript. Having layout the lessons learned, how will I incorporate them? The lessons learned from the class as explained can be incorporated in the preaching ministry by: (1) Living the word with reference to what I have preached, (2) Dedication to the study of the biblical passage and the congregations through exegesis, (3) Inclusion of illustrations and applications on every sermon preached.
SERMON OUTLINE AND MANUSCRIPTS
|Text: Isaiah 56:1–8|
|Subject: the Benefits of Maintaining Justice and Keeping the Sabbath Holy|
|1. The Lord will give a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters (5a).|
2. The Lord will give an everlasting name (5b).
3. The Lord will bring to them to this holy mountain and give them joy (7a).
4. The Lord will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices on his altar (7b).
5. The Lord will gather them (exiles) (8b).
| SCRIPTURAL READING: |
This is what the Lord says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. 2 Blessed is the one who does this—the person who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps their hands from doing any evil.” 3 Let no foreigner who is bound to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.” And let no eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.” 4 For this is what the Lord says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant—5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever. 6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” 8 The Sovereign Lord declares—he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”
Aspects Of Preaching Ministry
Expository sermon requires a thorough study of the biblical text taking into consideration exegesis; therefore, it requires time, effort, and determination to get into the core of what the text is declaring exegetically in order to cross the principalizing bridge taking the message from the ancient audience to the modern audience. The genre of scriptures addressed to the ancient ears based on situational analysis with respect to historical-cultural context is quite different from the modern audience; however, there is a parallel principle communicated through the mouth of the writer or the prophet that is applicable to the modern audience homiletically. Despite of the exegetical approach that the preacher might follow in preparing and delivering the sermon to his or her modern audience, the spiritual life of the preacher must be in line with biblical principle that is pleasing to God; therefore, will he be effective and efficient in delivering biblical messages that are sound and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The spiritual life of the preacher depends on the preacher’s daily walk with God, his prayer life directed by the Holy Spirit, and study break. With respect to preacher’s daily walk with God, the preacher should be obedient to God in everything when it comes to Christian living. The Holy Spirit cannot use a vessel that is living in sin; therefore, the preacher must be set apart and be cognizant that holiness is the requirement for him or her to be used by God. The preacher must be a prayerful person to be empowered from above. Prayer is the source of spiritual empowerment. For the message to go through with conviction to the audience, the preacher might have prayed enough before mounting the pulpit. Lack of prayer lifestyle is equivalent to lack of spiritual power to communicate biblical truth. The preacher should go away in solitary places to pray, to study, and to listen to God. This is known as study break. These elements are necessary for the pastor or preacher spiritual life for effectiveness and efficiency in the Christian ministry. Not only should the preacher be spiritual to preach, but also the preacher should be able to give analysis of the scriptural text. This analysis is tied to the preacher discovering the genre of the bible he or she intends to preach from, doing thorough exegesis of the text, discovering the exegetical idea of the text, and outlining the text accordingly. Not only should the preacher be able to give analysis of the text, but the preacher should also be able to create the sermon taking into account the homiletical idea, the illustrations, application, introduction, and conclusion. Not only should the preacher be able to create the sermon, but also the preacher should be able to communicate it. For the preacher to communicate the sermon successfully, the preacher should understand the culture, be creative, knows variety, and the method of sermon delivery applicable to the contemporary audience; therefore, the preacher should exegete the congregation he or she is preaching to. Among the elements discussed above under sermon creation, the one I desire to strengthen is illustration.
Classroom Lesson Experienced
The study of biblical texts can be overwhelming especially when one is reading through a passage that contains minor different subjects organized not in chronological order; instead, they are placed in different parts of the passage not ideologically coherent. This presents ambiguity and confuses the reader to understand what the biblical writer is driving at in the biblical passage. The methodology adopted of reading through the passage to find the allover subject of the passage based on the complement, the exegetical idea, and the homiletical idea has been the primary lesson reinforced during the residency. Below are the specific ways I intend to incorporate this lesson into the ministry: (1) I will read through the entire passage I intend to preach from; (2) I will determine the subject and the complement of the passage; (3) I will develop the exegetical idea based on the subject and the complement; (4) I will develop also the homiletical idea for the contemporary audience; and (5) I will develop the outline from the elements of the complement; even though, there may be variations in the outline that may not be consistent with the complement (s).
Plan Descriptions Of Sermon Evaluation
Sermon delivery is an activity that requires creativity and consistent practices or an activity that calls for on task scheduled placing demand on the preacher or the pastor to deliver biblical messages to the contemporary audience with the goal of effecting spiritual nurturing thereby leading to spiritual growth and maturity in both the knowledge of the word of God and character formation of the congregants. Preacher may do thorough exegesis of the scriptural passage in finding the subject, the complement, the exegetical idea, the homiletical idea, outline it, and write the sermon manuscript; however, if he or she cannot communicate what has been written through the medium of delivery, it produces no fruit. The area of communication of the biblical message is paramount to homiletics; therefore, it is necessary for evaluation to enable the preacher sees where he or she needs to work on. In evaluating sermon to enable me see what I need to improve on; I will utilize audio, video, peer evaluation, mentor evaluation, and self-evaluation. These methodologies of evaluations will be adopted in the future preaching ministry.
Sample Sermon Preparation Weekly Schedule
|Prayer||No Time Limit||NTL||NTL||NTL||NTL||NTL||NTL|
|Study of God’s Word (Exegesis)||9 PM–2 AM||9 PM–2 AM|
|Outlining and Manuscript||10 PM–2 AM||11 PM –12 PM|
|Internalizing the Word (Preaching to myself)||11 PM–1 AM|
|Rehearsal of God’s Word||11 PM–1 AM|
|Sunday’s Preaching||12 PM–1:15 PM|
Vaughan, Curtis and Corley, Bruce, Romans: A Study Guide Commentary (Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation), 45, 1976.
Bernadette J Brooten, Love between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press), 105, 1996.