Crafting A Sermon From A Single Promise In The Psalms

Psa. 50:15 is one of those great promises in the Psalms that cries out to be preached! Psalm 50 speaks of God as judge, as all-sufficient, as One who doesn't need anything, yet He is the God who rescues the righteous who call out to Him in a day of trouble.

When preaching on a promise, make sure you read the context to see if the promise is restricted or universal. Some promises are give by God to specific people in specific circumstances. We can still derive helpful principles from restricted promises, but we must be careful not to treat every promise in the Bible as universal. The promise in Psa. 50:15 is restricted to the “the godly ones” vs. 5, not the wicked who are addressed in vss. 16ff. God is speaking to Israel in general, vs. 7, and within the nation of Israel there were the wicked and righteous.

Notice what the text says:

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” (Psa. 50:15, NAS)

Here we have a perfect three-point sermon ready to be crafted and preached. First, we must come up with a sermon title that represents the verse in its context. We want to make sure the sermon title is personal not abstract, since preaching is personal. The preacher speaks to people as God’s messenger. In order to make the sermon title personal we will include either a second person "you" or "your," a command because commands imply second person, or we can put an all inclusive word in our title like everyone, all who, or whosoever. Let's try this:


I like that sermon title because it fits the main thrust of the text. The fact that the Lord will "rescue" you implies you are in a “day of trouble” and need rescued. The title gives hope and contains a second person "you" which makes the sermon personal. Sometimes I wait until after I derive an outline from the text before I write a sermon title to make sure they match.

Now for an outline that captures the text accurately. There are three basic parts of vs. 15, a command, a promise, and a response. If you wanted, you could divide the first point into two parts. The text says, “call upon me in the day of trouble.” We could address that phrase in two points “call upon me” for point one, and when to call upon the Lord, “in the day of trouble,” as a second point. But I will keep them together as the command to call upon the Lord is defined by the phrase “in the day of trouble.” I would address both parts separtly, but as two sub-points under the first point.


    "Call upon me in the day of trouble"–-For this point you would explain that when trial strikes our first response should be prayer. You can explain what prayer is, develop the doctrine of prayer giving key cross references and definitions, you would also point out that a command is being given to pray when trouble strikes so it isn’t an option, and you can develop the doctrine of praying in times of trouble with cross references, quotes, examples, and illustrations of praying in times of trouble.

This would be a perfect place to preach the gospel as well because we first need to be saved and reconciled to God before we can expect God to hear our prayers. Remember the promise is given to “the godly” not the wicked. I might say something like, “This promise isn’t for everyone but only those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Salvation is really about being rescued from the day of God’s judgment. The ultimate day of trouble is on the horizon of everyone who has not repented of their sins and placed their faith in Jesus Christ." I would make the gospel clear here and call sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. I would encourage those who are born again to make it their first response to call upon the Lord when trouble strikes.


    "I shall rescue you"--Here you could discuss that we need to have faith in the Lord who is our Rescuer and Deliverer. Share some key cross-references; give some key scriptural examples as illustrations of why we can trust God to rescue us in days of trouble. I would also go for the hard questions. I always like to address the hardest situations and explain how God rescues someone in extreme circumstances or trials that last a lifetime. When preaching the Word you need courage to ask the hard questions and seek out answers from the Scriptures. By doing this you encourage people that the promises of God can be trusted.


   "And you will honor me." -- For this point you would explain that our proper response when rescued from a trial is to praise the Lord, to give Him honor, thanks, and share with others His mighty deeds in our life so they too can praise Him. Thus our trials become a mechanism for God to be glorified when we call out to Him in the day of trouble and are rescued. Glorifying God is the reason why we exist and we can give God glory even in and through our trials.

After you craft your outline you can create a propositional statement, which is a one-sentence summary of what you are going to preach in your sermon. You usually state your proposition after giving background and context and reading your text, but before your first outline point. I like my proposition to include 1) a second person statement, a command, or an all inclusive statement, 2) a plural noun, and 3) a "so that" purpose statement. For instance:

Proposition:  “Our text this morning gives you a threefold process you can follow in a day of trouble so that God is glorified in your trials.”

Notice the two uses of “you” in the proposition. Notice the plural noun phrase “a threefold process.” Notice the “so that” purpose statement, “so that God is glorified in your trials.” A sermon proposition sums up your entire sermon and its purpose in one sentence. One of the ways to help people learn the truth is to: 1) tell them what you are going to tell them (you do this in the sermon proposition); 2) tell them (you do this in the main body of the sermon); and 3) tell them what you told them (you do this in the conclusion of the sermon).

Okay, here is what we have:


Sermon text:  Psalm 50:15

Proposition:  “Our text this morning gives you a threefold process you can follow so that God is glorified in your trials.”

Sermon Outline: 




Okay, now you’re ready to dig in, study, do word studies, read commentaries, make sure you have good transitions from one point to the next, refine, include the gospel, include application, make it clear, pray hard, and preach it as a dying man to dying men!

I usually include these parts in a sermon:

1.    Opening statement to make the hearers think about and listen carefully for the big idea of the text.

2.    Background and context to the text being preached, in this case discuss Psalm 50.

3.    Read the text, either the entire psalm or the major section in the psalm that contains your text. This helps them see the context.

4.    Pray and ask God for help.

5.    Read your proposition.

6.    Go through the main body of sermon and major outline points.

7.    Conclude the sermon, giving a clear “so what” exhortation from the text just preached, summarizing what was said in the sermon.

Pray for God to help all apply the text.