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5 Questions Every Sermon MUST Answer

3. What’s the solution?

Now that you’ve addressed the problem, people want to know that you are able to articulate an answer in crisp, concise language.

Can you? Can you state the main point of your passage in a clear, memorable way?

I like to bring out my main point somewhere in the middle of the sermon—it builds tension in the first half, and gives everyone a hook on which to hang the rest of the message in the second half—it helps them understand what I’m doing next, which is answering the question:

4. Can you prove it?

Hopefully in question #2, you’ll have already addressed the fact that the religious and secular crowds have a problem. Now, you need to prove that the Bible’s answer is more reasonable. 

You can have any number of points here, depending on the passage and how it argues. If it’s a narrative, it could be three “acts”; if it’s air-tight logic, it could be a series of points. Now that the congregation knows the problem and your proposed solution, they’re ready to hear how what you’ve found in your study sheds light on the passage’s main point.

5. How can I participate?

Finally, you need to show people what this solution looks like in everyday life. Obviously, the primary answer to the question will always be: “Believe the gospel—if you really believed, you would do X, Y and Z.”

But make X, Y and Z clear—give real examples of how the solution of the passage could be applied to reality. Leave out this portion, and people will either come away very happy (oh good, I thought he was going to get PERSONAL with me), or dismayed (well, that’s fine in theory, but how does it look in MY life?).

We don’t want either—we want godly sorrow, leading to repentance and rejoicing in Christ.  

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nicholasmcdonald@churchleaders.com'
Nicholas McDonald is husband to lovely Brenna, father to Owen and Caleb, M.Div student at Gordon Conwell Theological seminary and youth/assistant teaching pastor at Carlisle Congregational Church. He graduated with his Bachelors in Communication from Olivet Nazarene University, studied literature and creative writing at Oxford University, and has spoken internationally at camps, youth retreats, graduations, etc. He blogs about writing, preaching and the arts at www.Scribblepreach.com, which has been featured on The Gospel Coalition, Knowlovelive.org and Challies.com. He currently resides in South Hamilton, MA.