Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

What makes a good sermon?

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

20th November 2011

Most preachers will want to preach good sermons and most congregations want to hear good sermons but what makes a sermon good?

This is the $64,000 question isn’t it?

Everybody will have their opinion and probably have two or three opinions.

Here is just my tuppence worth.

First a sermon must be communicated effectively.

This means:

  • A good sermon is a sermon I can follow;
  • The main point of the sermon is clear;
  • The sermon is well-organized;
  • The preacher doesn’t speak over my head;
  • The preacher doesn’t repeat the same point over and over again;
  • The preacher doesn’t repeat the same point over and over again [sorry ;-)]
  • The preacher uses images, stories and ways of speaking that keep me listening and move me.

In other words sermons need to be carefully prepared and designed if they are to be effective.

But that in itself is insufficient, after all a talk on cookery can be all of those things.

So a good sermon must also be faithful to the Biblical text.

This means:

  • A good sermon is rooted in and teaches me something from the Bible;
  • It is not the opinion of the preacher; it’s a Word from God that has authority because it’s from the Word of God.

Preachers and churches run into trouble when they forget that preaching is first and foremost a proclamation of Scripture.

Congregations must clearly expect their pastor’s sermons to set forth the Scriptures, and pastors dare not speak, except to proclaim a Word far greater than their own words.

But again, this is insufficient.

A good sermon must have transformational power.

This means:

  • A good sermon changes me;
  • It challenges me to a deeper faith and obedience;
  • It stretches me;
  • It brings me closer to God;
  • It makes us a better church;
  • It makes me a better Christian.

Actually, preaching that doesn’t call for and lead to transformation is only a hot air.

Fred Craddock once said,

“There are two kinds of preaching that are difficult to hear: poor preaching and good preaching.”

Good sermons call us to the cross and invite us into a new life in Christ.

But let’s remember preaching doesn’t change people. God changes people through preaching.

Preachers and worshipers must approach the sermon filled with awe, humility, and expectancy that the Holy Spirit will do a great work through the sermon.

This involves prayer and spiritual preparation on the part of preacher and worshiper without which transformational power is sure to elude everyone.

As preachers and congregations let’s do everything we can to make the preaching event meaningful and life changing.

Have a good week being active participants in the proclamation of God’s Word, urgently seeking out what word God has for us at our next church service.

Pastor Barry

Back to top