Andrew Stanley has a great article on being a “One-Point Preacher”.
I grew up preaching according to the standard 3-points formula of preaching. Later on I discovered Martyn Lloyd Jones and the Puritans and I began preaching more than 3 points per sermon with as many subpoints under each point! I distinctly remember preaching over an hour in one church and seeing the people at the back one by one stand up and leave. Then I took a class on preaching and I was surprised to hear my professor (Dr. Stephen Whatley, then of Asian Theological Seminary, Bacolod City, now of Faith Seminary, Tacoma, Washington) say that a sermon should only have one point! We invited him to our local church one Sunday and he preached under 30 minutes from the whole book of Jeremiah – and he had only one point! He began the sermon by asking, “Was Jeremiah a success?” And he ended by saying, “Yes, Jeremiah was a success because he obeyed God!” I will never forget that sermon. I regret to say that I haven’t followed my teacher’s advice. It is much more difficult to preach a sermon that has only one point than one which has 3 or more – believe it or not. But I did force myself to preach much shorter than I did before. Now, everyone in my church is happy when I ascend the pulpit. But I still have a long way to go in order to improve. And one of the things I have to do is to apply the advice of Dr. Whatley and Pastor Stanley: only have one point!