“It is not enough just to draw a general principle out of a passage (‘you should be holy’). The general principle must be pointed to specific, concrete, everyday situations by asking ‘How? Where? When?'” (David Murray, How Sermons Work, 115).
“While focused on that particular preaching passage, preachers must also ensure that their application is consistent with the rest of Scripture” (David Murray, How Sermons Work, 110).
“The faithful preacher bases his application not on anecdotes or inspiring stories, but on God’s Word, and on that particular preaching passage” (David Murray, How Sermons Work, 109).
“‘Application is the … process by which preachers make scriptural truths so pertinent to members of their congregations that they not only understand how these truths should effect changes in their lives but also feel obligated and perhaps even eager to implement those changes'” (David Murray quoting Jay Adams in How Sermons Work, 107).
“Sermon material should be organized throughout with a spiritual intent — with the aim of doing spiritual good” (David Murray, How Sermons Work, 92).
“Whether the theme and points are stated at the beginning of a sermon or not, the theme and points should be crystal clear in the preacher’s mind. It is especially important to work on a clear, comprehensive, concise sentence that presents the sermon theme” (David Murray, How Sermons Work, 89).
“Sermon structures ought to be as simple as possible, with as few divisions as possible…. While arguing for striking and memorable structure, we must still remember that the purpose of any skeleton is to support the body, and keep itself largely out of view” (David Murray, How Sermons Work, 87, 89).
“In sermon preparation, the preacher should be constantly seeking a structure” (David Murray, How Sermons Work, 86).
“Just as a tree has roots to place and secure the tree in the ground, so a sermon must have an introduction to place and secure it in the minds of the congregation” (David Murray, How Sermons Work, 83).
“‘What is the best way’, asked a young preacher of an older one, ‘to get the attention of the congregation?’ ‘Give ’em something to attend to,’ was the gruff reply” (David Murray, How Sermons Work, 77).
The best way, indeed.