By its engaging stories, illustrations, and explanation of the Bible, the sermon is meant to help draw the congregation to a deeper walk with God (Romans 10:17).
Let’s learn more about how sermons work.
We’ll unpack this by addressing some common questions:
- What makes a sermon a sermon?
- What are the different types of sermons?
- What are Adventist sermons about?
- Where can I listen to Adventist sermons?
By the end, you’ll get the feel for how this part of an Adventist worship service fits into the whole experience.
What makes a sermon a sermon?
A sermon is a religious speech often given during the main service of a church for the entire congregation. The sermons are usually preached by a pastor, though it’s not uncommon for them to be presented by church elders or other leaders. Sometimes members or youth even get a chance to preach for their church family.
This part of the worship service can last anywhere from 20-40 minutes, on average.
Those 40 minutes are meant to speak directly to the heart, giving us some insight that makes the words of the Bible applicable to our daily lives. The focus is not supposed to be on the speaker—but the message from God the speaker is sharing. Then the audience is encouraged to think about God’s will for them, and to study the Scripture for themselves.
How does the speaker accomplish this goal?
Rather than giving lots of information, the speaker focuses on a main point. He or she will draw a practical application from this point and, at the end, call the listeners to take action in their daily lives.
If you want an example of a sermon in the Bible, you can look at what’s called the “Sermon on the Mount,” when Jesus preached to thousands of people about how to apply God’s Word in their lives. It’s covered in Matthew chapters 5-7.
But not all sermons are exactly the same. There are different styles and types.
What are the different types of sermons?
Most sermons can be divided into three main categories: topical, exegetical, and biographical.
Topical sermons cover a topic from the Bible, bringing Scripture passages from both the Old Testament and New Testament for a comprehensive overview. They can be doctrinal (e.g. the Second Coming, salvation, heaven) or non-doctrinal (e.g. faith, prayer, knowing God’s will). Sometimes, the speaker may focus on the way the Bible uses a particular word or phrase. The possibilities for sermon topics are limitless.
Exegetical sermons look at a specific passage from the Bible. The purpose is to dig into it, explain it, and share contextual details. The speaker may provide the cultural and historical background to the passage or look at the underlying meanings of words. The goal is to bring out the underlying principle the text is conveying.
Exegetical sermons can be narrative or expository.
Narrative sermons focus on a story in the Bible, such as Jesus feeding the 5,000.
Expository sermons hone in on a more theological principle. An example of this would be a passage from Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, where he explains concepts about salvation instead of telling a story.
Biographical sermons go through the story of a character in the Bible, pinpointing the lessons we can learn from it. They can be either topical, involving texts from many places in the Bible, or exegetical, focusing on one key passage about that character.
What are Adventist sermons about?
Like many Christian sermons, Adventist sermons vary in topic but find their foundation in Bible study. The preachers take seriously the counsel in 2 Timothy 4:2 to “preach the Word” (ESV).
Instead of being either fire-and-brimstone messages or fluffy affirmations, Adventist sermons strive to deal with relevant and practical topics from the Bible. They might also contain a prophetic element and a sense of urgency.
These principles come from Jesus Himself.
Jesus spoke the truth to His hearers, showing how it applied in their daily lives. He often used illustrations from familiar objects or occupations to relate to the people (a candle, the lost sheep, the lost coin).
But above all, He quoted Scripture and drove it home to people’s hearts, calling them to make decisions. Prophecy and the importance of readiness underlay His messages.1
Similarly, leaders in the New Testament church preached the Word of God (Acts 4:31; 5:42; 8:4). They referred to the prophecies and stories of the Old Testament to point to Jesus (Acts 13:6–41).
Then, the Holy Spirit used the messages to convict people’s hearts and lead them to God (Acts 2:37).
Adventist sermons follow the model of Jesus and the New Testament church leaders as they empower the audience to seek God.
What makes Adventist sermons different from other sermons?
Like Christian preachers of other denominations, Adventist preachers want to help their listeners learn more about the Bible and grow closer to God. They seek to make Jesus central to their message. But Adventist sermons have some differences too, namely their approach to the Bible and their underlying themes.
Though sermons in other denominations also draw from the Bible’s teachings, Adventist preachers make it a specific goal to make sure the whole Bible shapes their messages. Instead of picking out a single verse and using it to make a point, they look at what the whole Bible says on a topic.
Second, certain themes are common for Adventist sermons that are specifically connected to their beliefs, such as:
- the various aspects of Jesus’ ministry (His life, death, resurrection, and priestly role in the heavenly sanctuary)
- the church’s (body of Christ’s) prophetic mission
- the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14
- The seventh-day Sabbath
- Jesus’ soon coming
(To learn more about these themes, read about the unique mission of the Adventist Church. )
Where can I listen to Adventist sermons?
To hear a sermon in person, visit your local Adventist Church. You can find their service times by checking out their website or Facebook page. If you’re not feeling ready to attend a service, you can catch a live streamed sermon instead.
Online church sermons are also within your reach at some key websites and YouTube accounts. Check these ones out:
Sermons drive us to a deeper relationship with God
We all have the privilege of seeking God for ourselves through prayer and Bible study. But God also uses dedicated people, such as pastors and church leaders, to help us know Him better. Their diligent Bible study and the Holy Spirit’s conviction bring us new insights, hope, and a fresh perspective of the love of God.
The sermon is the part of the church service structure that allows that to take place. Through it, we gain practical wisdom to live out God’s mission for our lives.
Excited to listen to a sermon? Find an Adventist Church near you and stop in one Sabbath. We’d love to have you!
Questions about Adventists? Ask here!
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