How to write a 3 point sermon: Just about everyone has heard of the 3 point sermon. Yes, there are several ways to write a sermon. However, the 3 point sermon seems to be the most favored among preachers and audiences.
The key to writing any sermon is the structure. You need to grasp how the sermon is structured and this is what I will look at in this article, the structure of the 3 point sermon. I will examine the three parts of the sermon and the three parts of the sermon outline, which is the body of the sermon.
How To Write a 3 Point Sermon
The 3 point sermon does not exclude study and thought. If you are going to preach the Word of God, then you will need to spent time studying the Scriptures and developing your thoughts. Therefore, the 3 point sermon is simply a structure that allows the preacher to frame his study and thoughts in order to communicate the Word of God to the people of God.
I will look at a 3 point sermon outline from Hebrews 4:14-16. I have studied the text and formulated my thoughts in a rough 3 point sermon outline. However, before I take this rough outline and develop it into a preaching outline, I want to look at the different parts of the 3 point sermon and how they help you in writing sermons.
1. The Sermon
The 3 point sermon has three parts – the introduction, the body of sermon (this is the sermon outline) and conclusion.
The introduction introduces the subject of the sermon outline. The body of the sermon, which is the sermon outline, expands and explains the subject of sermon outline. The conclusion concludes the sermon with application and action.
The bulk of the sermon is the sermon outline, which is the body of the sermon. I often say that a sermon is like a plane flight. The take-off is the introduction. The flight is the sermon and the landing is the conclusion.
When you write a 3 point sermon, you start with the sermon outline.
2. The Sermon Outline
Now the sermon outline also has three parts – the main preaching points, sub-points and incidental points and the key word or hinge word. The example of a 3 point sermon from Hebrew 4:14-16 is below. I will explain the structure of the 3 point sermon from this example.
There are three REASONS why we can come to Jesus for counsel. They are:
- He is our great high-priest (4:14)
- He purged our sins (1:3)
- He is the exalted one (4:14a)
- He is our perfect mediator (4:14b)
- He is the object of our confession (4:14c)
- He endure many trials and testings (4:15a)
- He triumphantly endured these trials and testings (4:15b)
- we can come to Jesus with confidence (4:16a)
- We can come to Jesus for help in all situations (4:16b)
A. The Main Preaching Point
A sermon outline must have a subject, topic or main preaching point. The main preaching point from Hebrews 4:14-16 is “Coming to Jesus For Counsel.”
Once I developed the main preaching point, then I ask the how, why, when or where questions of the main preaching point. In this case, the why question suits best. Why should we come to Jesus for counsel?
Asking the why question of the main preaching point allows the preacher to look at the subject of the sermon from an angle or perspective that explains the text that you are preaching.
Why do we need to come to Jesus for Counsel? The rest of the 3 point sermon outline should explain why.
B. The Sub-points and incidental points
Once you know your main preaching point, you need to construct the 3 points or sub-points. The sub-points simply expand and explain the main preaching point.
Why do we need to come to Jesus for counsel? Well, he is our great high-priest, he is our sympathetic high-priest and he is our merciful and gracious high-priest.
The incidental points expand and explain the sub-points (see the 3 point sermon outline above). With sub-point three, I developed two incidental points. The result of Jesus being our merciful and gracious high-priest is that we can come to Jesus with confidence and we can come to Jesus with all our problems.
Sub-points and incidental points should be parallel in thought and structure. He is our great high-priest. He is our sympathetic high-priest and he is our merciful and gracious high-priest. We come to Jesus with confidence. We come to Jesus for help in all situations.
C. The Key Word or Hinge Word
The key word or hinge word swings all the sub-points from the main preaching points. It must be a plural noun. There are three REASONS why we need to come to Jesus for counsel. The first reason is because he is our great high-priest. The second reason is because he is our sympathetic high-priest and the third reason is because he is our merciful and gracious high-priest.
The key word or hinge word is also the transitional sentence to move from point to point. When I finish preaching the first sub-point, I move to the next point by simply saying: “The second reason why we can come to Jesus for counsel is because he is our sympathetic high-priest.”
I find people enjoy this structure of the 3 point sermon because the sermon has a natural flow and it is easy to follow. In other words, the 3 point sermon outline has cohesion, sequence and progression.
Once you have worked this structure out, the main preaching point, sub-points and incidental points and key word or hinge word, you will find it much easier to write weekly sermons for your congregation. This is how to write a 3 point sermon.
3. The Sermon Complete
The 3 point sermon outline is the skeleton for the sermon. All you need to do now is write sermon content to each sub-point and incidental point and add appropriate illustrations where applicable.
Resources For How To Write a 3 Point Sermon
Biblical Preaching by Haddon Robinson
Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell
How To Preach Without Notes by Charles Koller
How To Prepare Bible Messages by James Braga
The Homiletical Plot by Eugene Lowry
Understanding and Applying the Bible by McQuilkin Robertson