Scripture and Sermon-Symmetry
There is a significant difference between doing book-by-book serial exposition—which dates all the way back to John Calvin and the Lectio Continua preaching tradition—and doing topical preaching. The difference is that when you do topical preaching you create some pegs on which to hang your thoughts. And these pegs are not necessarily biblical pegs. On the other hand, when you do expository preaching you get the symmetry and structure from the biblical text.
I’m much more confident taking the text (in its context), opening it up, seeing the structure of the text, and understanding the full idea of the passage as the Holy Spirit revealed it. This kind of expository preaching is much better than saying, “I’m going to preach a sermon on love and these are the five pegs I’m going to hang it on.”
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Now topical preaching is not all bad. In fact, it can be easier to remember these sermons. But topical preaching creates a synthetic outline that is only your outline. If you’re going to preach a topical sermon you should take a topical-textual approach. For example, you might take a key text on love, exposit it, and then bring in other supporting texts.
The Scriptures should give the symmetry to your sermon.