The following are the classical groupings that are involved in an average sermon:
This is the kind of preaching in which the text suggests a doctrine. Remember that doctrinal sermon means teachings of the Bible. Therefore, doctrinal sermon
Include among others: repentance, atonement, Deity of Christ, Justification by faith etc. Doctrinal sermon is expected to be biblical.
- ETHICAL SERMON:
This is preaching on main ethics, especially Christian ethics, this is necessary because Christianity has to be moral if it must exist.
Christians are expected to lead the world in correct and holy living. In this contemporary time many preachers are not balancing their preaching, hence Ethical sermons are scarcely preached from their pulpits, and this has given rise to antinomianism, (which is, “it doesn’t matter how you dress or live provided you have believed in Christ, for the just shall live by faith)".
Ethical sermons are those sermons that emphasizes on good works as the fruit of Salvation by faith. Modesty in appearance, respect for leaders and authorities. Messages that condemns cheating, stealing gamble and immorality etc.
- DEVOTIONAL SERMON:
This deals with sanctification, consecration, worship and total commitment to God and the seeking of his Kingdom and righteousness. Under this sermon, the preachers is aiming at bringing the people of God to learn how to subdue the flesh, how to quicken the desire to pray, how to deal with oneself in dry period, how to forgive those who offended us, and how to live in the world and yet detached from it, how to receive holy communion and how to worship God in the spirit and truth.
- SOCIAL SERMON:
A lot of preachers and Christians do not like social preaching because it has little or nothing to contribute to the church.
However, we will not out rightly condemn or remove it from the classification of sermons.
Social preaching covers two areas in preaching:
Fighting of social evil and moral degradation of men and women in the society e.g. The campaign against female genital mutilation, gambling, and pornographic films, abortions etc
Out working of the bible doctrine of society in the community (that is what the bible says or teaches on how community should live and interact among themselves in order to attract the blessings of the Lord).
PHILOSOPHIC AND APOLOGETIC SERMONS:
Philosophic sermon is best used where people do not believe in the existence of God, or accept the bible as the word of God. Paul, the apostle used philosophic sermon when he was confronted by the Greeks philosophers in Anthems on the Mars’ Hill. ( let us read Acts 17:22-34)
Wherever, you meet people who doesn’t believe in God, miracle or bible to be the word of God; the only answer to such situation, is not taking them to the bible and show them what God or the bible says about a given matter, rather you should start from where they are and then lead them to where you want them to go, let us use Paul again to site example. “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ Hill, and said,
Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are very religious (Superstitious) for as I passed by and beheld your devotions I found an alter with this inscription, To the Unknown God, whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you”.
By this he was dragging them through his preaching from where they were to where he wants them to go. This is the work of philosophical preaching.
Now the Apologetic preaching is the preaching that is aimed at defending what we believed, that is now coming under serious attack through false teachings etc. most of the apostles preaching’s and letters to the early churches were apologetic in nature. The book of
1 Corinthians 15 was devoted to attack those who don’t believe in resurrection of the dead. The book of Colossians was written to attack Gnosticism. And 2 Peter chapters 3, was written to attack mockers who do not believe that Jesus will come again.
- CORRECTIVE SERMON:
This is the sermon that is about to correct an error. There are three fundamental principles that must be taken into consideration when preparing and delivering such sermon.
Know the error you are about to correct.
Know the cause of the error.
Learn how to correct it.
It is wrong to start preaching on an error which you don’t know very well or the cause of it, because you may not offer the real solution to it. Example of such sermon is found in the book of Galatians where Paul was correcting the Galatians Christians who were drifting from faith to believing that through their good works they can earn salvation.
- DENUNCIATION PREACHING:
This is the sermon that speaks publicly against an error. This sermon has never corrected anything. It hardly changes anybody. Rather it makes people feel angry and defensive. This happens because the preacher in his effort to denounce the error denounces the person as well.
In your preaching avoid denouncing the person about what he did, don’t mix up the personality and action.
Seek for the cause and cure. For in stance, you see a person worshiping idol, you star to condemn him without first finding out why he is doing so, as a preacher stop condemning people anyhow, find out why people decide to worship idol and tell them the cure for that problem. Why do men and woman become alcoholic? Live close to your people’s need; preach with compassion to the sinning.
- EVANGELISTIC SERMON:
Evangelistic sermon combine denunciation and corrective together. It admits that there is an error that needs correction. It give help to the down cast and dejected multitude. This sermon is always personal and leads sinners to repentance.
These are seven classic of sermonic classification, which will help you to know what you are preaching, because some times the average pastor wakes up to pick any topic he likes and start to preach on it without knowing the meaning and what that sermon is standing for.
The knowledge of all these different headings will serve as a guide when choosing a topic and the question you will ask your self, is this Evangelistic or philosophical?