Welcome to episode #53 of PROCLAIM! — the podcast that teaches every Bible-believing Christian how to preach the Gospel by any means necessary in many different settings, including using the internet and the new “podcast pulpit”.
Our Scripture Verse on preaching is Exodus 4:10-12 which reads: “And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.”
Our quote on preaching today is from Charles Spurgeon. He said, “I always say to young fellows who consult me about the ministry, “Don’t be a minister if you can help it,” because if the man can help it, God never called him. But if he cannot help it, and he must preach or die, then he is the man.”
In this podcast, we are using as our texts, the following three books: “Lectures to My Students” by Charles H. Spurgeon; “The Preacher and his Preaching” by Alfred P. Gibbs; and “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon W. Robinson.
Today, our topic is titled “The Road from Text to Sermon, Part 4” from “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon W. Robinson.
Stage 4 Submit your exegetical idea to three developmental questions.
The exegetical idea can lie in our notes like a bowl of soggy cereal. Having stated it, we may wonder if we have anything to preach. How can we bring snap, crackle, and pop to the exegetical idea so that it develops into a sermon that is vital and alive? To answer that practical question, we must be aware of how thought develops.
When we make any declarative statement, we can do only four things with it: we can restate it, explain it, prove it, or apply it. Nothing else. To recognize this simple fact opens the way to understanding the dynamic of thought.
By the use of restatement an author or speaker merely states an idea “in other words” to clarify it or to impress it on the reader or hearer. Restatement is used in every kind of discourse, but it occupies a major place in the parallelism of Hebrew poetry. “I will sing unto Yahweh as long as I live,” the psalmist informs us in Psalm 104:33: “I will sing praise to my God while I have any being”. He has stated, then restated his idea in different words. The apostle Paul, infuriated by false teachers who substitute legalism for evangelism, uses restatement to emphasize their condemnation. “Though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be damned!” But he restates it: “As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preaches unto you any gospel other than that which you received, let him be damned” (Gal. 1:8–9).
Jeremiah hammers home his denunciation of Babylon by restating the same thought in at least six different particulars:
“A sword against the Babylonians!”
declares the LORD—
“against those who live in Babylon
and against her officials and wise men!
A sword against her false prophets!
They will become fools.
A sword against her warriors!
They will be filled with terror.
A sword against her horses and chariots
and all the foreigners in her ranks!
They will become weaklings.
A sword against their treasures!
They will be plundered.
A drought on her waters!
They will dry up.
For it is a land of idols,
idols that will go mad with terror.”
— Jeremiah 50:35–38 NIV
The restatement emphasizes that the Babylonians are in deep trouble!
Restatement takes up a great deal of space in written and especially oral communication, but restatement does not develop thought. It simply says the same thing in other words. To develop a thought, however, we must do one or more of three things. We must explain it, prove it, or apply it. To do this, we can use three developmental questions.