A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical , theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief (from the Bible), law (e.g., a moral law from the Bible) or behavior (e.g. Holiness ) within both past and present contexts. Elements of preaching include exposition, exhortation and practical application.
In Christianity, a sermon (also known as a homily within some churches) is often delivered in a place of worship, most of which have a pulpit or ambo, an elevated architectural feature. The word "sermon" comes from a Middle English word which was derived from an Old French term, which in turn came from the Latin word sermō; ("discourse"), although links have been made between the Latin word serere, which means 'to join together', so this leaves the modern Latin definition open to interpretation. The word can mean "conversation", which could mean that early sermons were delivered in the form of question and answer, and that only later did it come to mean a monologue. In contrast to this are examples from the Bible, where sermons are speeches without interlocution: Moses' sermon in Deuteronomy 1-33 ; Jesus' sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7 ; Peter's sermon after Pentecost in Acts 2:14-40 .
In Christianity, the most famous sermon is the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus of Nazareth. This sermon was probably preached around 30 AD and is recounted in the Gospel of Matthew (5:1–7:29, including introductory and concluding material) as being delivered on a mount on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum. The Sermon on the Mount lays out many of the core principles of Christianity. Another rendition of much of the same material may be found in the "Sermon on the Plain" in the Gospel of Luke (6:17–49, including introductory material).
During the later history of Christianity, several figures became known for their sermons or a particularly significant sermon. Preachers of the early church include Peter (see especially Acts 2:14b–36), Stephen (see Acts 7:1b–53), Tertullian, John Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzus.
Many sermons have been written down, collected and published. Such sermons include John Wesley's 53 Standard Sermons, John Chrysostom's Homily on the Resurrection (preached every Easter in Orthodox churches) and Gregory Nazianzus' homily "On the Theophany, or Birthday of Christ" (preached every Christmas in Orthodox churches). Martin Luther began a tradition of publishing sermons (Hauspostille) on the Sunday lessons for the edification of readers. This tradition was continued by Chemnitz and Arndt and others into the following centuries — for example CH Spurgeon's stenographed sermons, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit.
In the Early Protestant ChurchEdit
The Reformation led to Protestant sermons, many of which defended the schism with the Roman Catholic Church and explained beliefs about scripture, theology and devotion. The distinctive doctrines of Protestantism held that salvation was by faith alone, and convincing people to believe the Gospel and place trust in God for their salvation through Jesus Christ was the decisive step in salvation. In many Protestant churches, the sermon came to replace the Eucharist as the central act of Christian worship (although some Protestants such as Lutherans give equal time to a sermon and the Eucharist in their Divine Service). The goal of many Protestant's worship, as conditioned by these beliefs, was to rouse the congregation to a deeper faith, rather than have them just partake in rituals.In the 18th and 19th centuries during the Great Awakening, major sermons were made at revivals, which were especially popular in the United States. These sermons were noted for their "fire-and-brimstone" message, typified by Jonathan Edwards's famous "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God " speech. In these sermons the wrath of God was clearly one to be afraid of, although fear was not the message Edwards was trying to convey in his sermons, he was simply trying to tell the people that they could be forgiven for their sins.
Church of God in ChristEdit
Most, if not all sermons within Christianity today are conveyed through preaching, which literally means to "to proclaim or put forth in a sermon." Preachers in the COGIC usually preach sermons ranging from a variety of Biblical topics such as:
- The life, deeds, passion, resurrection, and/or the sovereignty of Christ Jesus as the Son of God/God the Son
- The power, mercy, grace, and/or the healing power of God
- The power of the Holy Spirit
- People in different Biblical narratives.
COGIC preachers, like most Christian preachers, preach different types of sermons about the Gospel of Christ Jesus and the Word of God. The most widely used types of sermosn are:
- Expository preaching - exegesis, that is sermons that expound and explain a Biblical text to the congregation.
- Liturgical sermons - sermons that explain the liturgy, why certain things are done during a service, such as why communion is offered and what it means.
- Biographical sermons - tracing the story of a particular biblical character through a number of parts of the Bible.
- Evangelistic sermons (associated with the Greek word kerygma) - seeking to convert the congregation or bring them back to their previous faith through a recounting of the foundational story of the religion, in Christianity, the Good News.
- Hortatory sermons (associated with the Greek word didache), exhorting a return to ethically living, in Christianity a return to living on the basis of the gospel.
- Historical sermons - which seek to portray a biblical story within its non-biblical historical perspective.
- Redemptive-Historical Preaching - sermons that takes into consideration the context of any given text within the broader history of salvation as recorded in the canon of the bible.
- Topical sermons - concerned with a particular subject of current concern;
- Narrative sermons - which tell a story, often a parable, or a series of stories, to make a moral point.
Many COGIC Preachers also have different styles of preaching such as:
- Scripted preaching — preaching with a previous preparation, it can be with help of notes or a script, or rely on the memory of the preacher.
- Extemporaneous preaching — preaching without overly detailed notes and sometimes without preparation. Usually a basic outline and scriptural references are listed as notes.
- Impromptu preaching — preaching without previous preparation.
Even though COGIC preachers are typically diverse in their preaching styles, most Church of God in Christ preachers, like most African-American Pentecostal, Baptist, and Apostolic preachers, usually end their sermons by adding musical intonation to the words as they preach where it seems almost as if they are singing. Usually when COGIC preachers do this, the organist or pianist at their church (or whatever Christian facility they're in at the time they are preaching) play "preaching chords " on the church organ(which is usually a Hammond Organ) or the piano . However, COGIC preachers believe and know that this is not what preaching the Gospel is about, as Bishop G. E. Patterson said once, "Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and evangelizing the Word of God is not about hooping and hollering and yelling your message across the room while the man or the woman plays the organ or the piano behind you, but it is about letting the Spirit of God take course as you do what God has called you to do for spreading His unadulterated Gospel."