In part 1, I defined and described topical preaching. Now we turn our attention to exegetical preaching. With a topical message, a preacher chooses a topic, and then he goes to the Bible to see what it teaches. He will use passages from various books to teach on the breadth of Scripture. In contrast, exegetical preaching chooses a passage and studies the meaning from it. A preacher will ask the question, “What is the author communicating?” The goal is to communicate to the audience the original intent of the message.
When I choose a passage for evangelism, I focus on Scripture which will explain about God, man, Christ, and the call to respond. Notice that this corresponds with the topical format that I gave in the previous blog. Stay away from secondary issues. Please do not preach on head coverings from 1 Corinthians 11. Do not preach on the correct church polity as elder led from 1 Timothy 3. These are important matters for our churches to consider, but they will become barriers when we hit the street. Remember that our goal is to preach the Gospel.
Here is my first example for doing an outline from Psalm 24. This outline style will work best with poetry and the epistles. If you are preaching from a narrative, there is a better approach to use which I will show you in a moment.
Big Idea: Why Should We Worship God?
1. We should worship God because He is the Creator. (Psalm 24:1-2)
A. Exposition: Explain why the Creator should be worshiped.
B. Illustration: Only a painter has authority to change his painting.
C. Application: 1. You own nothing. You do not deserve to be worshiped.
2. Worship God since He created everything.
2. We should worship God because He is Holy. (Psalm 24:3-6)
A. Exposition: 1. Explain why God is Holy.
2. Show why no man is holy enough to dwell with God.
B. Illustration: Use the Law to show that a person is not Holy.
C. Application: 1. Proclaim that no man can dwell with God on their own merit.
2. Call sinners to trust in Christ to be saved.
3. We should worship God because He is King. (Psalm 24:7-10)
A. Exposition: Explain how Psalm is seen as foreshadowing the ascension of Christ.
B. Illustration: Christ is like the President being received at the State of the Union.
C. Application: 1. Jesus Christ is King. Are you submitting yourself to His rule?
2. Failure to worship the King will lead to Hell.
With this outline structure, you have parallelism and consistency. The preacher makes the point. Then, he explains the point. He helps us to understand it through an illustration. Then, he applies it to our hearts. The preacher moves on to point number two and repeats. This gives your message clarity and movement. For some open-air preachers, they do not have a clearly defined idea. They will say wonderful truth about our Lord Jesus Christ, but it is not organized. This causes the preacher to stumble around and usually go longer than is necessary.
The beauty of this outline is that you do not need to take it with you when you preach. If you have your Bible open to Psalm 24, then you have the outline before you. You will need to remember your illustrations. However, if you studied the text, then you should be able to give brief remarks before your illustration. Then, the application naturally leads you to begging for sinners to worship the King of Glory!
Here is my second example from Luke 6:46-49. This is an outline that you can use for narrative sermon.
Big Idea: How do you know that you are a good listener?
1. Explain that Jesus asks this question to the multitude.
2. The good listener hears the Word of God and does it.
i. Explain the illustration of building a house on a rock.
ii. This brings security and safety.
3. The bad listener hears the Word of God and does not do it.
i. Explain the illustration of building a house on the sand.
ii. This brings ruin and destruction.
1. The good listener responds by doing the Word of God.
A. Illustration: Charles Spurgeon hears Gospel and believes.
B. Application: 1. Are you listening to the Words of Jesus?
2. He calls sinners to repent and believe.
3. Is Jesus your rock? Is he your foundation? Then, it is shown through obeying Jesus commands.
4. Is your foundation money, sex, prestige, power, possessions, yourself?
2. The bad listener hears the Word of God and does not do it.
A. Illustration: Child hears warning to get out of road, but she laughs before getting hit by a car.
B. Application: 1. Are you listening to your friends, Oprah, Muhammad, your feelings, or the devil?
2. If you reject Christ, then your foundation is sand.
3. Christ is the only one you can trust in for salvation.
4. Any other foundation will lead you to Hell.
In the second example, the same principles are used, but they are arranged differently. First, you tell the parable about two people building homes. Then, you give two lessons from the story. State the lesson and illustrate it. Follow up by applying it to the people. The whole time keep bringing up listening. Since people are walking by who did not hear your sermon introduction, then keep repeating the big idea.
I chose this passage since it creates images in a people’s minds. Most people will immediately have their minds go to a construction site. They will see the foundation being dug on the rock versus on the sand. God can use it to have these images flash back into their minds days later. Develop the details as you preach and keep connecting back to listening.
Most importantly, the passage reveals that false professors think that they are listening to the Lord, but their actions show that they are not following Him. False profession is rampant in our society. The Lord can use this passage to reveal to professing Christians that they are Christians in name but not in deed.
May the Lord bless you brothers as you apply these principles to preach the Gospel. Lord willing, I will explain the third arrangement next week.
Pastor Brandon was born and raised near Springfield, IL. He graduated from Illinois College in 2007 with a B.A. in History, from Moody Theological Seminary in 2010 with a Master of Divinity, and a PhD in Historical Theology in 2021 from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. He is also an ACBC certified Biblical counselor. He is married to Karise with whom they raise Ian, Elizabeth, and Patrick. He is interested in history, especially Charles Spurgeon, and has a heart for street preaching and evangelism.