What is the similitude of sermons? We all know preaches who stand in the pulpit and preach topical sermons, textual sermons, expository sermons, and sermons that do not follow a specific form or method.
The congregation is waiting to hear a word from the Lord that they can internalize until the next worship service. The Almighty God has inspired His word to be spoken through the personality of the preacher.
The preacher stands to deliver the word of God; the people incline their ear to hear. So, what is similitude of preaching, what is preaching really like?
Is it like wisdom principles or poetry, it is like music or some rhythmic beat, is it like some dramatic scene from a play? Preaching a good sermon has the ability to grab and hold the heart of the hearer.
A sermon is like a story. It contains all or some of the elements above. If you stop and think about how people respond to stories, it's almost like we are addicted to all kinds--- long or short, dramatic or explosive, stories that make us laugh and stories that make us cry. To learn how we do this click here.
If you are wondering why a sermon should be like a story, the answer is because most people in the world live in an oral reality.
Although in contemporary times, oral communication is becoming more and more powerful through the addition of visual technology.
Many years ago, I had the privilege of hearing the late Dr. Samuel D Proctor speak at an N.A.A.C.P. banquet in Hampton, Virginia. Dr. Proctor told a story that began in his childhood and moved beyond his college and seminary years.
It was his story about how God walked with him and his family throughout those years of his life. It was one of the most captivating sermons I've been privileged to hear. Even now I marvel at how God moved through his life and the promise of what that still means for me today.
Sermons preached in a story style can last for generations in the hearts of the hearers.
Sermons are like Stories
The Bible makes it clear that Jesus spoke in parables, and without a parable he did not speak. Ever wonder why this was the case?
In the days of Jesus it has been estimated that among those living in Palestine the literacy rate was between 3-15%. These were primarily males and those among the religious leaders and Pharisees.
There is little doubt that Jesus deliberately chose to communicate in largely oral communicators’ preferred style--- culturally appropriate stories and Proverbs.
In chapter 4 of Mark’s Gospel there is clear evidence of Jesus’ strategy: “he taught them many things by parables…” (v.3) and “with many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.
Jesus did not say anything to them without using a parable…” (Vs. 33-34) There was a gap of some 30 years after Jesus returned to heaven before the writing of the first Gospel account.
How was the story of Jesus communicated in those years? You'll see it in Peter’s chronological story, Steven’s chronological story, and several of Paul’s chronological stories. Peter then reminds us:” We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ…” (2 Pe 1:16) Learn more about sermon illustrations.
There was a gap of at least 400 years between Abraham and Moses. Where did Moses get the stories of Abraham and his grandsons? These were stories accurately handed down from generation to generation.
While Moses was commanded to write these stories down, he also reminded the people the word must be in their hearts so they could obey (Deu 30:14).
The danger of forgetting the stories is mentioned during the days of the judges: “… another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel” (Jdg 2:10). The psalmist reminds: “O my people… listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from of old--- things we have heard and known, things our fathers told us... we will tell the next generation…” (ps78:1-4).