In an article for ChurchLeaders.com, Dean Shriver talks about several lessons he learned about preaching from Haddon Robinson. Here is one of the most important: Without a definite purpose, no sermon is worth preaching.

“Before I preach any sermon, I should be able to answer the question, ‘Why am I preaching it?’ In other words, what do I want to see happen in the lives of my hearers? Haddon writes, ‘We do an assortment of things when we face our congregation. We explain, illustrate, exhort, exegete, and gesture to list a few; but we are to be pitied if we fail to understand this particular sermon should change lives in some specific way.’

“How, then, should we go about determining the purpose of this week’s sermon? Haddon’s answer is that we should seek the purpose behind the passage we are preaching. ‘As part of your exegesis, you should ask, “Why did the author write this? What effect did he expect it to have on his readers?”‘

“When fleshing out the purpose of a sermon, Haddon suggests the following in Biblical Preaching, ‘State in a rough way what you are asking the congregation to do as a result of what you have preached. Be as specific as possible. If someone came to you next week and said, “I have been thinking about what you preached last Sunday, but I don’t know how what you said applies to my life,” would you have an answer? Picture the truth you have preached being acted on in some specific situations.'” (Click here to read the full article.)

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