No preacher wants to lay an egg on Easter or any other unique Sunday, but we’ve all done it. These big days in church life are teeming with opportunity and filled with pressure and expectation at the same time. We get so caught up in logistics and planning that we sometimes forget to think through how to preach on these days.
When it comes to your Easter sermon, here are four things not to do.
1. Don’t Preach at ‘Chreasters’
“Chreasters” are those people who only show up at Christmas and Easter. Going on a diatribe about how they only show up twice a year is fruitless. Your sermon this year will probably not change them any more than the one they heard last year. They will be prone to think you preach the same message every week, so why go?
Instead, be welcoming and winsome and let the Word and the Spirit do the work of changing their hearts. Preach in such a way that leaves the door open for a personal conversation later. These people generally come to Christ through one-on-one contact and multiple encounters with the gospel. Remember, you were like this before Christ saved you and grew you into his likeness.
2. Don’t Give a Cute Talk—or an Apologetic Lecture
Don’t title your sermon “The Egg-stravagance of the Gospel.” And avoid titling it after a movie or song, which usually just trivializes the weight of your content.
Also avoid becoming a quasi-resurrection apologist on Easter who never actually gets to the text. You’re not clever enough to impress unbelievers with your creativity or strong enough to mentally pull them to Christ.
Rather, be clear, concise, and filled with prayer and the Spirit. This will help you focus on the main thing, and visitors will have a more realistic concept of what your church is about from week to week. Remember, a sermon focused on the gospel and empowered by the Holy Spirit is enough to arrest the attention of the most distracted person.
3. Don’t Rush Your Preparation
Preaching on big days like Easter often involves familiar texts and simple truths. You don’t need to dress up your sermon. Anchor it deep in the fabric of your passage and the life of your hearer. Give yourself time to internalize it. It’s not necessary to memorize the sermon, but spend unhurried time thinking deeply about it.
Don’t hole yourself up in your study this week trying to find a treasure no one has ever unearthed. The treasure in the field is Christ, so spend plenty of time with him in advance. And as you make him known, trust the Spirit to change hearts from stone to flesh.
4. Don’t Just Preach About the Gospel
As a believer and a preacher, you know what it means to move from death to life. So preach it.
Tell your listeners of the love of God, the sinfulness of their hearts, the grace of a crucified and resurrected Christ, and the urgency to respond in repentance and faith. And keep it simple. The point is not for them to walk out impressed with your intellect, but to walk out changed by the glorious power of the living Christ.
We’ve all walked away from a big day and felt the sting of laying an egg. We know God is working, despite our poor sermons, to bring salvation to the lost, growth to the believer, and glory to himself. But we should always be striving in humility to minister the best we can—striving to become better preachers, not just on big days, but every Sunday.
Previously in this series:
- How Do I Prepare My Heart to Preach? (Kent Hughes)
- What Should I Preach Next? (Julius Kim)
- How Do I Handle an Unbeliever’s Funeral? (Phil Newton)
- How Do I Preach Expository Sermons from Proverbs? (Dan Doriani)
- Should I Learn Hebrew and Greek or Is Bible Software Enough? (Kevin McFadden)
- How Long Should My Sermons Be? (Hershael York)
- What Do I Say at a Funeral for a Person I Didn’t Know? (Phil Newton)
- How Long Should It Take Me to Prepare a Sermon? (Dave Harvey)
- 8 Lessons Calvin Teaches Us About Preaching (Ray Van Neste)
- How Can Expository Sermons Avoid Being Wooden and Uncreative? (Colin Smith)
- How Should I Respond When I Deliver a Dud? (Hershael York)
- What Role Does the Spirit Play in My Preaching? (Dave Harvey)
- Should I Preach the Longer Ending of Mark? (Danny Akin)
- Should I Pause an Expository Series for Palm Sunday and Easter? (Phil Newton)
- Should I Always Call for Repentance and Faith? (Steven J. Lawson)
- How Should I Preach Ecclesiastes? (Zack Eswine)
- How Can I Help My Congregation Listen to Sermons in a Culture of Distraction (Sebastian Kim)
- How Do I Preach Difficult Doctrines without Splitting the Church? (Hershael York)