Once the meaning is expounded by clear illustrations, the audience deserves something they can take away.  The simplest way to help this process is to put each point of the sermon into a principle and then applying them in the modern world.  The best way to do this is to see the parallel between the ancient and modern situations, note the differences and concentrate on the similarities.  The common ground between the ancient author and preacher or the ancient audience and the modern readers will establish the eternal principles God has set forth for His people of all generations.

One mistake preachers frequently make is applying the text in a legalistic way.  This is partly due to misunderstanding of ancient and modern cultures.  As a result, the preacher fails to see how the text is properly applied.  People need principles instead of mere legal legislation.  They need logically sound reason for their applications.

Now that the principles are derived with the sermon taking shape, the preacher must come up with an introduction and title.  All this depends on the perception of what the preacher perceive the author to be saying.  Is the author answering a question of “what” or “how”?  The “what” serves to inform.  The “how” facilitate action.  Expositional sermons focusing on more than one MAIN question rarely succeeds in giving a clear “takeaway.”  Thus, the preacher must decide the question the biblical author is answering from the last three steps taken.  Notice also that this article is written in an expositional style.  In the methodology section, I lay out “three practical steps” to answer the question “how” in the title of the article.  Then, the rest of the article exposits each step.  The sermon can take the same simple shape.  After determining the question the sermon tries to answer, then use that question as the introductory transition to the main body of the sermon.  The form of the question can be something like, “Now we can see that the author is showing us four steps to become closer to God.  What are those steps?  The first step is.”  Then, the transition must be put between every point.  The preacher can say something like, “Now that the author has given us the first step.  The first step is …  Now let us see what the second step is.  The second step is.”

The introduction and conclusion should be the last sections written in the expositional sermon.  If the introduction and conclusion is already written, the preacher is in danger of reading his or her idea into what the text is actually saying.  The introduction must be short to introduce the topic, no more.  The introduction is not the sermon itself.  So the preacher should not give away the plot of the sermon but should only lead to the introductory question which leads into the sermon.  Conclusion must be concise as well.  It should give the audience something to take away with.  In fact, it is best that the conclusion can synthesize rather than repeat all the main points of the sermon.  If the preacher can synthesize the whole sermon into one idea, then the audience will likely remember it.  The introduction and conclusion do not have to sound expositional.  They can be small stories to get the point across as well.

Finally, after doing all of the work, it is time to come up with a sermon title that befits the content of the sermon as well as the issue the sermon is dealing with.  The sermon title is reserved to the last because of the expositional nature of the sermon.  The sermon title should be the result of careful exegesis and sermon writing.  It should not be a half-hearted effort to put into the bulletin.  Is the title necessary?  Opinions vary.

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