How to Preach Real, Relevant, Relational and Revolutionary Sermons
How many points should a sermon have?
The short answer? At least one.
In the olden days the standard was three. The three point sermon. I don’t know why. It was before my time. I think it was based on the same formula that Mrs. Patuzak told us was the way to write a term paper in high school. In the introduction, establish the thesis. In the body develop three points that support the thesis. In the conclusion reintegrate the three points and there direct proof of your thesis.
With a sermon, the same structure would be used with the addition of another old saw. A joke, a quote, an illustration and a prayer. The prayer serves as an additional conclusion, in which the preacher again summarizes the main points and the thesis under the guise of an address to God.
The problem with the formula is that it is a formula. The problem with a formula is familiarity. Familiar is good if the desired effect is to make the people feel comfortable. Making the people feel comfortable is not a sermon. A sermon can comfort people, but should never make them feel comfortable. This is an important difference.
There are places where people should feel comfortable, maybe even during a worship service but during the sermon is not one of them.
A sermon should not have four points that all begin with the same letter. No matter how many points there are, they should never all begin with the same letter. The points should never begin with words whose first letters spell a word. This is just wrong in so many ways.
A sermon should have at least one point. It may not be limited to one point but should include one point. And that point should be pointed in the right direction. A sermon must always point to Jesus. The point has less to do with the words but with the direction. A sermon never points to the preacher or the people or the other people or the culture—a sermon points to Jesus or it is not a sermon. It is another thing. And the other thing is not helpful for people to hear God’s ever giving grace.