This may seem like a silly question, but I would like for us to think about the question “Where does a sermon come from?” To me this is one of the single most important questions that we as preachers have to deal with. A few weeks ago I was sitting with a young man who was asking me some questions about preaching and specifically about a post that I wrote about in December entitled “How to plan your preaching for 2013.” He shared with me the frustration he had been having about deciding what to preach on a weekly basis and wanted to know more about how to preach through a book of the Bible. That conversation lead us to a deeper discussion about where the sermon comes from in the first place.
It is easy to say that the sermon must come from God, but I think we have to go a little bit further and say that the message of the sermon comes to us through the Bible. As my preaching professor said, “The point of the sermon must be the point of the text, otherwise we are not preaching the Bible.” Going even further, I would submit that we should allow the text to determine the mood and structure of the sermon as well. My goal as a preacher is never to come to the text with a preconceived idea of what it says, but rather to hear clearly what God is saying in the context of the passage. That means that I must seek as much as possible to discover what the text meant to it’s original audience and then how to apply it to the needs of the modern listener.