Sermons frequently have numbered points. However, when you read through the New Testament, you can’t find even one incidence of number points. So how did such an unbiblical idea become so common in church services? (Perhaps it is time to get back to the Bible and exchange the tradition of preaching points for the New Testament concept of open sharing as taught in 1 Corinthians 14:26.)
Bible schools and seminaries teach future pastors a subject called “systematic theology” which is an attempt to fit spiritual truths into a tidy, logically arranged scheme. However, when you read through the New Testament you find very little systematic theology. When Paul and the other writers wrote, they spoke from the heart and focused on needs, events, and situations. Their approach was practical. They didn’t try to explain Christianity as a comprehensive religious or intellectual system. Instead they wrote to help people personally experience and obey the risen Jesus.
A great theologian went beyond sermon points and systematic theology experiencing God. (Perhaps the 21st century church should too!)
–Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274) was probably the greatest systematic theologian in the history of Christianity. He spent most of his life studying, thinking, and writing large, systematic, detailed books about the nature of God and how God relates to Creation. Late in his life, Thomas had a supernatural experience with God that he never wrote or spoke about. He quit writing theology and devoted himself to intimacy with God. When begged to return to his theological writing, Thomas replied: “All that I have written seems like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.”
“The three point sermon can . . . transform a living, breathing community gathering into a lifeless lecture.” –Steven J. Barker
Learn more about going beyond sermon points and systematic theology in my book Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible–Ekklesia.