Today we look at the fifth chapter – The Arrow and the Target 🎯

  1. In light of the audience’s knowledge and experience, think through your exegetical idea and stated in the most exact, memorable sentence possible
    • The summary statement for the parable of the prodigal could be that it tells us that God wants both the ‘sinner’ and the ‘righteous’ at his banquet.
    • That statement might be enough for your audience. But, is there a way to make it more memorable?
    • What do you think of these possibilities?
      1. “Join the Feast: You’re Invited, Prodigal or Righteous”
      2. “Come to the Banquet: The Prodigal Son’s Story Awaits You”
      3. “Your Place at the Table: Embrace Redemption Today”
      4. “Lost and Found: Your Invitation to the Banquet”
      5. “Experience Forgiveness: The Prodigal’s Return Calls You”
      6. “The Father’s Table: Where You Belong, Sinner or Saint”
      7. “Celebrate Reconciliation: Your Seat is Waiting”
      8. “God’s Love Awaits: Feeding Your Soul, Prodigal or Righteous”
      9. “Grace for All: Your Place at the Prodigal Son’s Banquet”
      10. “Join Us at the Table: Embracing Sinners and Saints Today”
    • Note that they address the audience and invite a response.
  2. The power of purpose — determine the purpose for this sermon
    • All too often we are vague
      • “Sometimes our response to the question, “Why are you preaching that sermon?” is as clear as a thick fog: “I’m preaching this sermon because I want to give the people a challenge.” Such answers, usually implied rather than stated, produce sermons that resemble a dropped lemon meringue pie—they splatter over everything, but hit nothing very hard. They lack a definite purpose!”
    • The sermon is not conveying an idea, it is addressing real people with real needs. It needs a target. The arrow to be pointed at something for a purpose.
    • Ask
      • Why did the author (of the text) say/write this?
      • What impact did the author/speaker hope their words would have?
    • Imagine them being interview by you. You — “So, Jesus, when you taught the parable of the prodigal, what were you hoping would be the response of the people who heard it?”. Jesus — “Well, Malcolm, I’m glad you ask because what I was hoping was….”
    • The purpose is not the content, but the behaviour we hope will result as a result of engaging with the content.
    • In the case of the prodigal son, and depending on the context of the lesson (who will hear it), the purpose could be any of the following:
      • To convince people that God feels as passionate about saving the religious as the pagan
      • To inspire people to pray for and reach out to friends who are sinners and righteous
      • To offer hope to any who feel distant from God as a result of their sins
      • To challenge the self-righteous in the hope they will repent of pride, and embrace the same heart for the sinners as God
    • We are looking for our hearers to move once they have been moved
  3. Conclusion
    • Our arrow needs a target
    • That target will be adjusted depending on who will be hearing the sermon
    • The hearers need to know how to respond to what they hear

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Remember to keep calm, and carry on teaching.

God bless, Malcolm