According to JI Packer, Puritans pastors applied sermons in six different ways. The list may be a little obvious, but is a helpful way to think through the options for how to bridge the text from the truth drawn from scripture to its relevance in our lives – whether we should start doing something, stop doing something or change what we believe about something.
- Instruction/information: If this is true (and we’ve seen that it is in the sermon), then these things follow
- Confutation (refuted and rejected): If this is true (and we’ve seen that it is true), then we should no longer allow ourselves to believe something else is true that conflicts with it (e.g., a popular ideas)
- Exortation: If this is true (and we’ve seen that it is true), then here are some things that we ought to be doing about it
- Admonition/deportation: If this is true (and we’ve seen that it is true), then there are certain things that you are doing (or allowing) that we ought to stop
- Comfort: If this is true about God and His promises and grace (and we’ve seen that it is true), then we ought to take heart. We should be encouraged and strengthened by this truth
- Trial (self-examination): If this is true (and we’ve seen that it is true), where do we stand in relation to it?
Source: JI Packers’s The English Puritan lecture from RTS (The Christian Minister, 31st minute)