Polishing the pulpit  For building sermons today 


I've got my main points 
now what do I do?

by Ed Thomason

"Someone" a long time ago, I don't remember who, shared this basic sermon structure for expository sermons with me. I have used it often with good success in my sermon building techniques. I humbly pass it on to you with the hope that it will be graciously accepted. 

Assuming that you have established your "main points" (which of course are based upon the text itself), one of the simplest way to structure your sub points is as follows:

A. Explanation of the text
(This, of course, does just what it suggests. Spend a few moments explaining the text under each main point.)  
B. Illustration:
(Illustrate the point using true life or extra biblical materials, the Bible itself, or something the author has written or did himself.)
C. Supporting arguments for your point:
When I first learned this technique - this was called the "Argument." I prefer to call it "supporting arguments" because that seems to be what it is.  
(Look for other passages of scripture that support or help explain your main point. While it is not necessary, it is easier on an audience with open Bibles when you can go to the same chapter, book or at least the same author for such support.)
Note: Sometimes  the " Explanation" and "Supporting Argument" will be two sub points together. In fact, They were listed as points A and B when I first learned this technique. But I prefer to separate these two points with an illustration. To each his own of course.
D. Application:
(This is where you try to bring the lesson point home to your audience. Make it purposeful to real life situations.)

In simple terms, you make your point, explain the text, illustrate the point for clarification, support your argument or main point, and then make it applicable to your listeners. Sometimes the order of the first three sub points may vary but the application always comes at the end. 

In the Model Sermon outline called "Here's your sign" here is the order of the sub points: (Note how I put the illus after the explanation of the text.)

I. Main point 1
   1. Explanation of text  
2. Illustration of point  
3. Supporting texts or arguments   
4. Application. 

While you may not use this "formula" every time (some of us like to color outside the lines occasionally), it is a pretty neat way of doing it and best of all - it brings a sense of balance and orderliness to your sermons. All I suggest is that you just try it a few times. Send me a note and let me know how it is working for you. -- Ed


2003 Thomason Enterprises