Qualities of Good Preaching
By Pastor David Cox
Qualities of Good Preaching is a discourse on the indispensable qualities of a good sermon, veracity, clarity, authority, and authenticity.
In this article, I am giving my reactions to a post on Qualities of Good Preaching by Kevin DeYong. He outlines four thoughts on what makes a sermon “Good Preaching”: Veracity, Clarity, Authority, Authenticity.
I would agree with Kevin that these are key elements in any good sermon. I would also note that these qualities go to the root of the message of the sermon really being the message from God and not some invention of man.
By veracity, he means being faithful and true to the Word of God. So many preachers mishandle the Word of God getting conclusions and commands that really are not in the texts they are using to support their sermon. Likewise, interpretation of the Bible means that the interpreter (and a preacher is exactly that, an interpreter) must grab and hold the entirety of Scripture in his mind and view of the whole of the Bible and each part at the same time.
What you say when dealing with salvation must “jive” or be in harmony with what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, and the doctrine of Eschatology etc.
By clarity, we mean that people can easily understand what you are saying. So many preachers go off to seminary and come back with the head loaded up with theological concepts that nobody in their congregation really understands. They use this “jargon” to impress people, but it doesn’t edify spiritually the brethren, and poor new converts are totally lost, and the unsaved present are turned off.
Clarity means we pay attention to the structure, the flow, the pace, and the length of our sermons. Clarity doesn’t mean the congregation must remember your three points, but they should know what the text was about and what you were trying to say.
The delivery of the sermon greatly determines if the sermon is good or not. You cannot rely only on content for making a sermon good and edifying to people. You must be enthusiastic and have and show great passion when preaching.
Matt 7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: Matt 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Some sermons that I have heard left me with more doubts afterward than what I had going into the thing. This is poor. When a preacher stands before a congregation, it is to announce what God has given him to speak. God is not confused. And God doesn’t communicate confusing things. It is the man, the preacher, who confuses if something is confusing.
Good preaching sounds forth with certainty, not because the preacher is infallible, but because God speaks through him, making claims on people’s lives, declaring the truth with boldness, taking courageous stands where others cower in fear.
Kevin develops the idea of authenticity based on the preacher’s personality. We do not want preachers that just download a sermon by somebody else from the Internet and preaches that word-for-word. That is no good. There is a rapport that needs to be built up between the preacher and the congregation and it is hard to describe.
This rapport is the preacher watching the people as he speaks and then reacting to their reactions of his words. At times, there needs to be a pause in the sermon. At times, people don’t understand what was just said, and the preacher needs to leave his notes for a minute and explain something that he thought was clear but isn’t.
Moreover, the preacher needs to drill the application and purpose of the sermon down into the hearts of the people hearing it. He needs to be very personal, passionate, and exhort his people to come to a point of action in their hearts. I would contrast this with many a preacher that think coming down the aisle to kneel and pray is the same thing. It is not. A decision or a reinforcement is necessary for every sermon. A decision if they were not of that sermon’s doctrinal position or belief before, and reinforcement if they were already doing it, and the sermon reinforces that point.