How to Use a Keyword to Frame a Sermon

Create messages not only more quickly but with greater focus and clarity.

Dr. McKay Caston
2 min readFeb 12, 2024
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Before we get into “how to use a keyword to frame a sermon, I want to emphasize that every preaching tool and tip I suggest is not only intended to help you enjoy sermon prep more but is designed to help you preach the fullness of God’s grace in Jesus more effectively.

So, let’s talk about how to use a keyword to frame a sermon.

First, find the word or phrase in the text. You’re not looking for three main points or an outline.

You want to find one word from the text. Or one simple phrase in the text.

This is typically the result of several slow, devotional readings of the passage, prayerfully asking the Spirit to reveal the part of the text that will be used as the anchor of the sermon.

Once you find that word or phrase, you’re ready to frame out the sermon with four statements, which serve as headings for the entire message.

In the first heading, you’ll use the keyword to state a biblical principle or truth anchor.

In the second heading, you’ll identify — in one sentence — how the flesh tends to react to the biblical principle.

Again, you’ll use your keyword in the sentence.

After exploring the problem, you’ll pivot to show how the cross deals with the problem. You’ll use the keyword in the gospel statement, too.

Finally, the keyword will show up in a statement of how the gospel calls us to respond with grace-motivated and Spirit-empowered application.

In order to get used to crafting a message with four statements rather than three points, you can state the headings this way.

  1. The passage before us teaches…
  2. But the problem is…
  3. Thankfully, the cross tells us…
  4. This means…

You may be able to see that, when you can identify a single keyword or simple phrase in a text as your sermon focus, the entire message will develop more quickly and be more focused and clear.

When you’re ready, check out the complete PPGR Preaching System.

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Dr. McKay Caston

I create resources to help folks tether their lives to the cross of the risen and reigning Jesus |