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The Power of Sequence

Parallel Points vs. Sequential Points

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The sermon form I cut my teeth on uses parallel points. Every point in the sermon bridges out of the transition in the introduction, and so all the points are parallel.

For example, in a sermon on Luke 12:22-34, the transition sentence could be "Jesus gives us five reasons not to worry." The keyword is reasons. Every point offers a reason not to worry, and so every point is parallel in logic, bridging from the one transition. Here is a possible outline:

Jesus gives us five reasons not to worry:
  • God intends life to be much more significant than just getting food and clothing.
  • We can depend on God to provide for us better than he does for plants and animals.
  • Worry accomplishes nothing.
  • Worry makes us like those who do not know God.
  • God promises to provide for those who seek his kingdom.

This form of preaching—keyword with parallel points—has the advantage of clarity. In addition, it suits texts that have parallel ideas or lists.

But not all texts have that shape, especially narratives, psalms, and ...

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