There are lots of ways to preach a sermon. Sometimes it can be difficult putting one together. Here’s an interesting article on shaping sermons which I found helpful:
Below are my notes for my Easter morning’s message. This is a simple message for “un-churched” Cambodians, but I think a lot of “churched” westerners could benefit from messages like these. I like to keep the notes simple and just use them as a guideline for what I teach. This allows me to flow freely, and allows the Holy Spirit to take control.
Happy Easter everyone!
Easter Sunday Sermon Notes
* Everyone in the world is seeking how to do two general things:
1) How to be good
2) How to be free
* 1) We all want to be good…
* Everyone knows that there is something wrong with the world and themselves…
* We all know something is wrong, and we all want to be good and surrounded by good people, so that we don’t have to deal with the problems above.
* But we are not good and we know it. We feel guilty, and we want to fix that–we want our guilt to go away.
* 2) We all want to be free…
* We don’t want to be told what to do. We don’t want a set of rules placed over our lives. We don’t want to be controlled. We want to be free to do what we want to do.
* But the problem is that when we do what we want, we end up doing bad things. And when we do bad things, we feel guilty. And so we want the guilt to go away, and stay away, so we place rules on ourselves to force us to be good:
You can do this, but not that.
You can say this, but not that.
You can eat this, but not that.
Etc etc etc……
* If you follow all the rules, then maybe you’ll be good. But you will not be free.
* We call this “Man-Made Religion”
* There is no freedom in a man-made religion, nor is there any salvation. It is an endless cycle of violating your goodness to be free, and violating your freedom to be good–but you never do achieve true goodness or freedom, and so you are under a constant fear of punishment, and a constant feeling of shame and guilt.
* Christianity is not a man-made religion. It comes straight from God Himself.
* False religion tells you that you have to constantly try harder to be good and free.
* Christianity teaches that you cannot do anything to make yourself good or free.
* God has to change you. God has to give you a new life, a new heart, a new spirit.
* The “old” you has to die, and a “new” you has to be born. We call this being born again.
* False religion try’s to fix the old. Christianity does away with the old so that something new can be born.
* A second birth–the first time you were born you were born to sinful parents (of the first Adam), but the second time you are born you are born of Christ (the second Adam).
* This is the picture we see in baptism–when you are lowered into the water we see your “old” man dying, and when you come back out of the water we see a new creation being born again.
* When you have been born again you are perfectly good before God–not because of anything you did, but because of what Christ did on your behalf on the cross.
* When you are born again you are free–free to do anything you want. Yes, free to do anything you want.
* Some people think, “Oh good! I can do anything I want and God will forgive me now! I can do all sorts of bad things and not be punished for it!”
* No–if you say you are born again, but you still love to go and do bad/sinful things it shows that you are not born again.
* When you are born again you will want the same things that God wants. You will love what God loves. You will hate what God hates. You will think like God–because you are a new creation born of God. Your old sin loving self is dead.
* When you think, love, and hate like God you will be truly free.
* When I am born again I want to love the people around me.
Is this a sin? No.
When I am born again I want to worship God alone.
Is this a sin? No.
When I am born again I want to make disciples for Christ.
Is this a sin? No.
* When you are born again you are free to anything you want because you will want to do what God wants to do.
* And when you do sin, the quickest way to get right again is to go straight to God and tell Him what you did, say you are sorry, and let Him change you through your future obedience.
* Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for you, and demanding justice for you. This means that when you sin God can not punish you because Jesus has already been punished, but it also means that Jesus is demanding God’s grace and favor to be upon your life because you are a born again son of God.
* Imagine you are pulled over by the police because you were speeding. The officer says the fine for speeding is $500. You plead with him to forgive you. He agrees and doesn’t charge you with speeding. We call this mercy. But then imagine the officer pulling $500 out of his own pocket and giving it to you as a free gift. We call this grace.
* So you get God’s mercy for when you do sin, but what’s even better is that you get God’s grace so that you are free not to sin in the first place.
* If you are born again it is a wonderful thing to receive the power to not sin at all.
* This is why God gives us His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit changes us from the inside out, empowering us to live lives which are pleasing to God.
* God loved us so much that He sent His son Jesus to die and be risen again on our behalf so that we could die to sin and be born again as new creations, full of the Holy Spirit, fully able to live lives pleasing to God. Fully able to be good and free.
* Let’s read the text.
* Because Jesus died and rose again you can consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:1-14 (ESV)