Polishing the pulpit  For building sermons today 


So you want to know more
about building sermon 
outlines eh?

by Ed Thomason

What a joy it is when a sermon finally begins to take shape and come together. But building a good sermon is not as difficult as it might appear once you know the basic components. This is an outline model. It is not perfect but it will do to help explain how an expository sermon is built.
Click Notes below for additional comments and sermon building "tips."  Have fun. -- Ed.

Click Note Fto learn more about filing data and documentation 

Source: written by Edward E.Thomason – Preach today.com
Date preached:  9-24-00am place: Church of Christ
Objective: Evangelistic

Sermon Plan Theme: Our Young people

Click Note  F to learn more about building a "bridge" to your audience

[We appreciate your presence this morning. We appreciate every member, visitor, man; woman, boy and girl that have chosen to assemble with us today. What a joy it is to worship God and study from his Word.]

Click Note  F to learn more about the sermon "title"

“Here’s Your Sign!”

Click Note  Fto learn more about the sermon "text"

  Text: Matthew 25:1-13 

Click Note   F to learn more about "illustrations"

Grab your audience's attention with an illustration

1.   It has been said that some people ought to carry a sign around with them (like a warning label) that tells others that your stupid.    Someone walks up while your changing a flat tire and asks: “Got a flat?” No, I just like taking the tires off my car.... (Well here’s your sign)

2.  The truth be known, we all do and say foolish things from time to time...

3.   Even Jesus recognized this trait among some people.  To emphasize how foolish people can be about the important things of life he shared a parable. In Matthew 25:1-13 we read about 5 wise and 5 foolish young girls. I want you to pay special attention to what Jesus says in verse 3... [Read text.] 

Click Note Fto learn more about using "alliteration" in main points: 

Note this sermon uses the following alliteration:
 "problem, purpose, pertinence."
Note: Most sermons will allow the development of 3 "main points" before the audience begins to lose interest.

Click Note Fto learn more about "structuring the sermon outline:" 


1.  Now in all fairness... a careful look at the text seems to indicate that the foolish girls took oil in their lamps but did not bring any extra oil. The wise girls are the ones who brought extra oil in jars or vessels with them. So, it is not exactly like taking a flashlight on a camping trip without batteries... Or like going bow hunting without any arrows... it’s more like not carrying any extra batteries... you see their foolishness was in not being prepared. 

2.   Every now and then people will stop by the church building to ask for gas money and travel expenses. I suppose they started out with a full tank of gas, but they did not take enough money with them to buy gas for the whole trip. It makes me want to say, “Here’s your sign.” 

3.   The foolish of this world only seem to live for the moment without any thought of tomorrow.  Yes, Jesus taught us not to be worried and anxious about tomorrow. If God cares for the sparrow, he will surely care about you. (Matt 10:31) In that passage he is not teaching to never be cautious or prepared for the unexpected... his lesson there is to not be fearful. James reminded us that we should recognize our dependence upon God when it comes to making plans for tomorrow. (James 4:14-15 “If the Lord wills...”) Again, Jesus taught us that it is the fool who tore down his barns in preparing for his physical future but foolishly made no preparation for eternity while storing up provisions for his own ease in this life.  (Luke 12:18) 

4.  There may be a slight distinction between a fool and foolish behavior.  A fool says there is no God but a foolish person may believe in God but live as if there was no God. In the end, there may be little difference in consequences between the two.  A fool may deliberately choose to ignore the obvious but a foolish person fails to take notice. So, in the end again the result is the same.

5.   As I said before, we ALL have probably been guilty of being foolish about some things. Can’t we all look back and see how we wasted an opportunity or squandered some of our time? We can look back and remember how we said things that we should not have said or did things we knew better than to do. But it is the fool who never seems to learn from foolish mistakes. 


1.  As we look at the text, again notice the purpose of the Lord’s parable is stated for us in Vs-13. Jesus concluded, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” We may have been guilty of being foolish about many things in life, but lets not be foolish where it really counts. 

2.   On Sept 3, 2000, a young man named (name omitted) of Memphis lost his life. He was gunned down. But he was not the kind of young man that you would think might get hurt on the streets of Memphis. His parents and family attend the congregation in Memphis where I grew up. He was a good young man who had just turned 19 years old and active in the teen program at church. He was an Eagle Scout and his plans were to enter the police academy in January. He was a good decent young man but he, like so many young people who grow up going to church, had waited almost until it was too late to become a Christian. Fortunately, he had been baptized into Christ only a couple of weeks before he died. 

3.   The lengths of our days are few even among the oldest of us.  And life is like “a vapor that appears briefly and then vanishes away...” For some, unfortunately, life is much briefer than we would ever imagine. 

4.   If we go thru life and pass up our opportunities to prepare for eternity – that will be the most foolish thing we ever did. We can just “take our sign” and stand over on the left “with the goats” on the Day of Judgment when the bridegroom comes. No one can share their salvation with us... we can’t get into heaven on the coat tail of our parents just because we came from a Christian home, we can’t get into heaven because our spouse or our friends were Christians. 

5.   It is up to us to be wise - right NOW! While we have opportunity to prepare.

 Third: CONSIDER THE "PERTINENCE" (relevance

1.   As we think for a moment about the pertinence of this parable, it reminds me of a story I read recently about a young couple that boarded an airplane with great anticipation. They had been married only a few hours, and were on their way to travel Europe for their honeymoon.  The promise of their young lives seemed to stretch unendingly before them.  Yet, just thirty minutes into the flight and TWA 800 fell from the sky and was lying in a tangled heap on the bottom of the ocean. Their lives along with a hundred others tragically ended in a terrifying flash of light as the great airliner exploded in an instant. There was no warning, no chance to prepare, only a sudden and unimaginable horror. 

2.   How often do we read or hear of similar tragedies. Tires come apart while a couple is traveling on vacation, one is killed, and the other left paralyzed. A neighbor goes to the doctor for a check up only to soon discover that something terrible is wrong... cancer, heart disease or some other life threatening illness. 

3.   While the popular slogan is true that says, “Life is what happens while you are making other plans...” it is also true that “Death is what happens while making other plans.” (We do not know when life may come to a sudden and abrupt end!) 

4.   As parents and grandparents of young people... our life’s experience has taught us just how quickly tragedy can come. And so with all our hearts and efforts we try to teach, train, and prepare our young people for eternity.    This is why Bible class in important... This is why Study time at home is important. As a parent or grandparent, do you work with your children to help them get their Bible class lessons and memorize the Bible?  Do you read the Bible with your children? (Make sure they learn the Bible stories and how they apply to our lives?) Do you subscribe to Christian magazines and publications so they will be laying out the coffee table for your children to read?  Do you talk with your children about God, Christ, and what the Bible says?  Or does homework, social life, TV, music, play time and sports have the priority of your child’s time at home while the Bible is shuffled aside as not very important? 

5.  Are we helping our children to be wise and be prepared where it really counts?

Click Note  F to learn more about the "conclusion"


1.   I hope that each of us including the young among us will soberly think about the fact that no one knows the day or hour when this world will end. 

2.   No one has a guarantee that something tragic will not happen to him or her. 

3.   The young man killed in Memphis could not have foreseen that he would not live to be 20 years old. 

4.   At least he was prepared... for others the bridegroom may come and they may find themselves standing on the outside of a closed door because of a simple but foolish failure to prepare for eternity.

Click Note F to learn more about the "invitation"


5.   What about you this a.m.? Why do you tarry? Why do you hesitate when it comes to obeying God? 

6.   Be wise - throw your sign away! Be obedient to the gospel now and prepare for eternity tomorrow.



©2003 Thomason Enterprises