Writing Ready to Preach Topical Sermons
What is a Topical Sermon
A topical sermon is a type of sermon in which the main focus is a specific topic or theme, rather than a specific passage of scripture. In the last article on what Baptists believe, I outlined doctrinal positions they believe. Topical sermons are based sound doctrinal positions. Regardless of denomination, however, a preacher must preach what the Bible says.
The pastor or speaker will choose a topic and use various Bible verses to support their message. The topic could be anything from forgiveness, to love, to money management. The goal is to provide practical application of the Christian faith to the everyday life of the listeners.
Sermons can have a significant impact on the lives of Christians by providing guidance, inspiration, and a sense of community. They can help individuals to better understand and apply the teachings of the Bible, deepen their faith, and find comfort and support in times of need. Additionally, sermons can help to reinforce the values and beliefs of the Christian community, and can serve as a source of accountability and encouragement for individuals as they strive to live out their faith in their daily lives.
Topical sermons are sometimes called "expository sermons" as well. The origins of this type of preaching can be traced back to the early Christian church, where preachers would often use a specific topic or theme to help explain and apply the teachings of the Bible to their congregations. This approach to preaching has been used throughout the history of Christianity, and is still widely used today in many different denominations and traditions.
The idea of using a topic as a way to structure a sermon has been used for many centuries, but it become more popular in the 1800s in the United States. This is where many preachers began to focus on the topic rather than the passage.
7 Types of Topical Sermons
There are many different types of topical sermons, but some common categories include:
1. Doctrinal sermons: These sermons focus on a specific doctrine or teaching of the Christian faith, such as the nature of God or the atonement. 2. Ethical sermons: These sermons focus on a specific ethical or moral issue, such as honesty or forgiveness. 3. Historical sermons: These sermons focus on a specific event or person from the Bible or Christian history, such as the life of Jesus or the Reformation. 4. Homiletical sermons: These sermons focus on the craft of preaching itself, such as the use of language or structure in a sermon. 5. Biographical sermons: These sermons focus on the life of a specific individual, such as a biblical character or a historical figure. 6. Cultural sermons: These sermons focus on current issues and how they relate to Christianity and the Bible. 7. Prophetic sermons: These sermons focus on applying biblical principles to current events and issues in society.
It's worth noting that these categories may overlap, and a single sermon may cover multiple topics. However, keep it as simple as possible. Coming from a Pastor who made this mistake: “preaching” and “scholastic study” are not the same thing. You are preaching to God’s Sheep – not trying to impress a graduate professor with your knowledge.
Differences Between Topical and Textual Sermons
Topical Sunday messages are sermons that are based on a specific topic or theme, rather than a specific passage of scripture as pointed out previously. The preacher chooses a subject or an idea, such as love, forgiveness, or faith, and then uses the Bible and other materials to support the main points of the sermon. These sermons are often used to address a specific need or challenge within the congregation or to provide guidance on a certain topic.
Textual sermons, on the other hand, are sermons that are based on a specific passage of scripture. The preacher chooses a passage, such as a chapter or a verse, and uses it as the foundation for the sermon. The preacher will then exegete the text, interpreting it in its context and then apply it to the audience. These sermons are often used to provide a deeper understanding of the Bible and to help the congregation see how the scripture applies to their daily lives.
Both types of sermons can be effective in different ways, and they can be used together, to complement each other. The choice of which one to use depends on the preacher's style, the purpose of the sermon and the audience.
What is an Example of Topical Sermons
Here are ten (10) examples of topical sermon examples which should get you started on sermon research and preparation:
1. The love of God (1 John 4:8) - A sermon on the depth and breadth of God's love for humanity, as revealed in scripture. 2. The importance of prayer (Philippians 4:6-7) - A sermon on the power and benefits of prayer, and how it can deepen our relationship with God. 3. The nature of forgiveness (Colossians 3:13) - A sermon on the biblical principles of forgiveness, and how it is essential for our spiritual growth and well-being. 4. The role of faith in daily life (Hebrews 11:1) - A sermon on how faith can guide and inform our daily actions and decisions and bring purpose and meaning to our lives. 5. The power of gratitude (Psalm 100:4) - A sermon on the importance of gratitude in our spiritual lives, and how it can help us to appreciate God's blessings and provision. 6. The call to serve others (Mark 10:45) - A sermon on how Christians are called to serve and love others, as modeled by Jesus Christ. 7. The value of humility (James 4:6) - A sermon on the importance of humility in our spiritual lives, and how it can help us to grow closer to God. 8. The challenge of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) - A sermon on the biblical principles of resisting temptation, and how we can overcome it through faith and trust in God. 9. The importance of forgiveness in relationships (Ephesians 4:32) - A sermon on the power of forgiveness in restoring and strengthening relationships, both with others and with God. 10. The role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life (John 14:26) - A sermon on the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, and how we can rely on the Spirit to grow in our faith and understanding of God.
I am not trying to patronize you Preacher! However, and I cannot emphasize this enough, your goal is to “plant seeds” and not define how they grow. I am not going to explain what that means but most will understand. Let those who have an ear hear what the Spirit says.
Writing an Effective Sermon
Writing a sermon is a challenging task that requires a deep understanding of the Bible, as well as the ability to clearly communicate complex ideas and concepts to a diverse audience. It is important to begin by selecting a specific topic or theme that is relevant to the audience and that can be supported by scriptural passages.
Once the topic is selected, it is important to conduct thorough research on the relevant Bible passages and other materials that will be used to support the main points of the sermon. When crafting the sermon, it is important to structure it in a clear and logical way, with an introduction, main body, and conclusion. The introduction should capture the audience's attention and provide an overview of the main points that will be covered in the sermon.
The main body of the sermon should be divided into several sections, each focusing on a specific point or aspect of the topic. The conclusion should summarize the main points of the sermon and should provide a call to action or a challenge for the audience to apply the teachings of the sermon in their lives.
Here are seven (7) strategies for increasing sermon effectiveness:
1. Start with prayer: Before beginning to write a sermon, it is important to pray for guidance and inspiration from God. This will help to ensure that the message of the sermon is in line with God's will and will be received by the audience in a meaningful way. 2. Know your audience: It's important to understand the demographics, needs, and expectations of your audience before you start writing your sermon. This will help you to tailor the message of your sermon to the specific needs of your congregation, making it more relatable and impactful. 3. Use a clear structure: A clear and logical structure will help to make your sermon easy to follow and understand. It should include an introduction, main body and conclusion. 4. Use storytelling: Using storytelling can be a powerful tool to make your message more relatable and memorable. People tend to remember stories more than facts or statistics. 5. Use visual aids: Visual aids like images, videos, and charts can help to make your message more engaging and memorable. 6. Practice your delivery: Practice your delivery, but do not become so rigid the Holy Spirit cannot use you naturally. This will also help you to become more comfortable with the material and help to build your confidence when delivering the sermon. 7. Revise and Edit: Always revise and edit your sermon multiple times before delivering it. This will help you to refine your message and catch any errors or awkward phrasing.
These are mere suggestions. What is important is that you remain inside of the gifting Jesus has given you. For instance, although storytelling “can be” crucial, it is more important to lean on gifts you have. I am not a great “parable” teller, and a friend of mine is. However, I am much more effective at illustrative sermon points than is he.
Delivering a Well-Researched Sermon
Preaching a sermon is a challenging task that requires a deep understanding of the Bible, as well as the ability to clearly communicate complex ideas and concepts to a diverse audience. The key to preaching a successful sermon is to be well-prepared, both in terms of the content of the sermon and the delivery.
When preparing to preach a sermon, it is important to start by selecting a specific topic or theme that is relevant to the audience and that can be supported by scriptural passages. Conduct thorough research on the relevant Bible passages and other materials that will be used to support the main points of the sermon.
Once the research is done, it is important to structure the sermon in a clear and logical way, with an introduction, main body, and conclusion. The introduction should capture the audience's attention and provide an overview of the main points that will be covered in the sermon.
When delivering the sermon, it is important to speak clearly and use appropriate body language and tone of voice to convey the message effectively. Speak to your audience and not to the papers or the screen. Try to make the message relatable and use simple language that everyone can understand. It's also important to be authentic and sincere in your delivery, as this will help to build trust and credibility with the audience.
Remember to pause and take a breath when necessary and don't try to rush through the sermon. It is also important to:
1. Be well-prepared: Take the time to research and prepare your sermon thoroughly. This will help you to feel more confident and in control when delivering the sermon. 2. Speak clearly: Speak clearly and at a moderate pace, making sure to enunciate your words and project your voice so that everyone in the audience can hear you. 3. Use body language: Use appropriate body language and facial expressions to convey your message and help to keep the audience engaged. 4. Engage the audience: Try to engage the audience by asking questions, using humor, or encouraging participation. This will help to keep the audience interested and involved in the sermon. 5. Be authentic: Be genuine and authentic in your delivery, letting your personality shine through. This will help to build trust and credibility with the audience.
Most importantly, do not forget this is about preaching the Kingdom of God. As I close this article, a few take-aways. First, stay within who you are and do not attempt to model the preaching style of someone else. Second, there are topics the Holy Spirit desires you present and others not so much (in this season). Remain within His guidance. Third, stand on the truth and allow God to sort the rest out. Do not compromise, ever. God will judge you harshly for cowardice.
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