As You Prepare Your Easter Sermon
Easter Sunday will be here in a few days. For those who preach each week, the opportunity to proclaim the gospel on Easter is one of the great joys in life. Some churches will hold services for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Some churches will have family-focused events on Saturday. Worship leaders, musicians, deacons, Bible study teachers, church staff, and leaders of every level will prepare for the highest attended day of the year.
But, for the preacher, much of the week’s emphasis will be on the sermon.
Among the ranks of pastors, some knew months ago what passage they’d use and the sermon is almost finished. Others have identified the passage and will prepare the message in the next few days. We will all pray, read, study, and pray some more as the week speeds by. The following are eight thoughts about preparing for an Easter sermon.
1. Prepare yourself before you prepare an outline. Preaching is delivering the truth that has already set you ablaze. Seek personal transformation for yourself before pleading for it in others. The more you allow the Spirit to work in you, the more likely He will work through you.
2. Set the Easter message as your standard and not your exception. Holiday messages can be treated as times to ratchet out our best preaching. This week, make it your aim to set the standard by which you will always preach.
3. Speak the truth in love. The gospel is offensive to the lost because it reminds them that they are lost. We must give that truth in the spirit of love that God gave it to us. Persuade in love rather than cajole with shame.
4. Make the service about Jesus and not the programs of the church. As a leader, you love your church and what is being accomplished through it. But we should avoid bragging more about the programs of the church than you do about Jesus. Don’t let the announcements of “What’s Happening” overrun the message of Jesus.
5. Talk about sin. A temptation will plague you to avoid anything that feels negative. After all, you want new people to come back. The devastating consequence of sin, however, is a subject that people need to hear. To share the gospel, we must share the necessity of it.
6. Remind Christians of the great price. As you speak about Jesus, let the truth sink back in with believers. A great deal of what the preacher does is simply the work of remembrance. With Easter, we are celebrating the victory while reminding one another of the cost that Jesus paid for it.
7. Lead them to a decision. Many in attendance don’t know how to respond to the gospel. As you plead with people to trust Jesus for their salvation, let them know how they can respond to that plea. Give them the opportunity to submit to Jesus as Lord and Savior in a way that is personal and meaningful. It is good to tell them that they should do it. It is right to tell them how to do it. So whatever is the manner by which people can respond to the gospel in the details of your service planning, make it plain and immediate to the moment.
8. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not fill programs and marketing tools. He fills believers. And this is what the church needs. Christians filled with the Holy Spirit. Leaders filled with the Holy Spirit. Preachers filled with the Holy Spirit. When that happens, then we may just witness the revival we desperately long for and need.