Galatians 1:6-10

 No Other Gospel

 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

       

           So I’m preaching on the above scripture from the letter of Galatians, written by the Apostle Paul.  This is a jammed packed section of scripture, and it actually allows for a lot of ways to go about looking at the passage, and allows that it be used in a number of ways in a sermon. But you may be asking “So how does one come up with a sermon text?”

Well that’s a good question really. The avenues to select what a person is preaching on are endless. There’s about as many ways to pick a sermon topic or sermon text, as there is sermons that have been preached.  Above all, I won’t be able to go over every way that you can be used to come up with a sermon text. With that thought in mind, here is just a small selection of ways to go about it. (I apologize in advance to any Bible College student who is pulling out their Homiletical Textbooks if they are reading this.)

Pick A Topic

 You can pick a topic (the sermon I preached a few weeks ago was a topic sermon). By this, a preacher will select or theme or idea, and select texts that go with that issue.  For instance, you could pick the biggies- love, grace, sacrifice, the crucifixion, etc., and select Biblical verses that coincide with those topics.

                Another form of a topic sermon is to have a number of different points, and then select verses that coincide with that point.

First instance in the last sermon I preached, I had a variety of short, small topics that would all come together to form one full message. So instead of having one big message on “love” with 4 or 5 points about it, I rather had 4 or 5 different points that while different, expressed one idea.

The Expository Sermon

Another form of sermon is the “Expository Sermon”. In this form of sermon, you select a text, and attempt to preach based upon the words and message of that text.  So, for the sermon that I’m preaching on the 27th, my sermon text will be Galatians 1:6-10, and I’ll be attempting, as best as I can, to tease out what the verse is talking about.

HOW the verse is selected is up to the speaker. Some sections of scripture have a well-known overarching theme, and a preacher can selection that particular section of scripture if based upon the theme he wants to talk about.

Another form of this type of preaching consists of preaching through a Book of the Bible. This is basically what I’m attempting to do with the Book of Galatians. While not hitting every verse, it allows a preacher a frame work to be able to connect a number of sermons together, and allows the listener to be able to follow along, and how the general areas of the Bible the sermon will be coming from next.

The Lectionary

Many churches, but definitely not all, follow what is called the lectionary. Those of you coming from the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Orthodox, or Methodist Churches will be familiar with this in one form or antother. The lectionary is a liturgical calendar, that selections section of scripture to correspond with the particularly season, and circles through the various Biblical texts in a three year cycle.  This is particularly helpful in and around the holy weeks of the faith. More so, it sets a logical lead up to those holidays. I personally consult the lectionary quite often around Easter and Christmas when I’m called on to preach.

A link to the lectionary, so you can get your head around if you’re not familiar is here.

http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/

The Listener

What do you think the listener needs to hear? Typically, when this point is brought up, many immediately go to “what sin needs to be confronted”. The topic of sin in Christianity is a major point, and should not be shyed away from- but I’ll be the FIRST to admit that it can be taxing to do- since one may feel as if they are coming down to hard on the listener, or the very fact that the preacher is also as sinful as the listener.

Yet the “good news” is that the scriptures never allow us to merely point fingers and say “sinner!”. That is NOT preaching and that is NOT the good news. The scripture admonish us to speak Truth- which includes the amazing message of salvation, the mind blowing possibility of life becoming as Christ, and the energizing mission to make whatever we’re doing at this moment a reflection of the truth of God. The “good news” that God wants YOU to be involved to bring goodness and new life to the world around you. The “good news” that the first step towards salvation is NOT you taking a step towards God, but the step the Church makes towards you (For God first stepped towards us)- and consequently, every step you make, will step in time with you towards becoming like God- and never going along that Way alone.

But often times, there are more pressing issues to touch.

Often times, a person who is called on to preach, particularly if you’re a fill in, will be preaching to a congregation that is going through a time of change, transition, or pain. In the past year, for instance, I have preached in congregation that had fired their previous minister, and to a congregation who had lost its Church building my means of arson, and were making plans to rebuild. In situations like this, I believe a minister has a RESPONSIBILITY to deliver not mere words, but words of comfort and guidance- which will also, be words of truth.

                By this, the text selected speaks to the situation by showing love and concern, and by showing solidarity, any by showing connection to Biblical passages.

God

The final point is of MOST important- and is one that most preachers and ministers, including myself,  fail to full connect with- and is the point that seems most obvious- where is God leading the writing of the sermon. The New Testament teaches the often elusive Holy Spirit guides and helps us in understanding of Truth- and consequently, in a Christians study of the Word. As Christians, we use our minds and intellect to think about and ponder the scriptures, but at the same time, we must never  forget the balance of needing have God’s guidance.

It is my prayer that this sermon is one of God’s leading and Truth…..and, might I add, I hope that it’s yours also 😉

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