- 1 What makes a Good Sermon? What is an Inspiring Sermon?
- 1.1 What is a good sermon?
- 1.2 1. Is God’s Word the most important part of this sermon?
- 1.3 2. Do you leave understanding the main point of the text?
- 1.4 3. Did the preacher preach Jesus?
- 1.5 4. Did the preacher make application to my life?
- 1.6 5. Did he speak as one who knows God or one who knows about God?
What makes a Good Sermon? What is an Inspiring Sermon?
By Pastor David Cox
What makes a Good Sermon? We review the 5 observations of Josh Vincent at 9Marks. Scripture-based, key point explained, preach Jesus, etc.
This article, What makes a Good Sermon?, is a reaction and commentary to Josh Vincent’s article by the same name on www.9marks.org. https://www.9marks.org/article/what-makes-a-good-sermon-five-questions-to-ask/
What is a good sermon?
Sermons have a divine purpose, and that divine purpose completely excludes entertainment. God does not want us to laugh about what we hear from the pulpit. The solemn desk that preachers stand behind every Sunday is not made for that purpose. The purpose that God has decided for sermons is to communicate the message of God to man. This message specifically has to do with sin and righteousness, what man does do (wrong) and what he doesn’t do and should be doing.
1. Is God’s Word the most important part of this sermon?
Many times preachers are very skillful at public speaking and can make a very moving sermon. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is good. It can showcase the speaker’s ability but that is not the point of a sermon. The point of a sermon is to inform the audience from the Word of God, and then move them to make the application of God’s Word in their lives.
When we analyze a sermon, we look at what parts are the most moving parts of the talk? What was the clear teaching of the sermon? What were the theme and the point? How did the listener arrive at any conclusions involved? A good illustration can move people but the illustrations outside of Scripture don’t have the authority of Scripture.
What men say is useless, and only what God says really can change lives and eternities for people. So out of the sermon, how much was solidly, clearly, and without confusion or doubt from God’s Word?
2. Do you leave understanding the main point of the text?
Here we would assume the sermons Vincent is referring to are sermons that are taken from a primary text.
You cannot base conclusions and make applications if the people do not clearly understand the meaning of the text. Although it is correct to use verses from all over the Bible, each verse needs to be clear, and if the relationship between the verse and your sermon is not absolutely clear, then you need to explain what the other verse means, and how it relates to your sermon.
We would conclude that a sermon is very bad when it has a “laundry list” of verses. For example, you state, “Jesus is God”, and then you just give verses which don’t say Jesus is God, but indicate the deity of Christ in some other way. Worse is a sermon where the preacher lists 2+ verses without even reading them or explaining them at all.
3. Did the preacher preach Jesus?
“Preach Jesus” is a strange phrase. Jesus is the focal point of Christianity. But some sermons are moralizing talks. They don’t base what they say on Scripture (point #1 above) and they don’t revolve around Jesus. You could take that moralizing talk to a Jewish Synagogue or preach it unaltered at a cultic church like the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, and it would fine.
4. Did the preacher make application to my life?
The issue of spiritual application is so often missing in what are really good sermons otherwise. I have some dear preacher friends that preach up a storm and make no spiritual application of what they teach and preach. This is so disheartening. The people are left to flounder about trying to make some kind of application, but in reality, most just skip the application, they are changed nothing after the sermon except that they are reinforcing their own spiritual pride that they know a lot about the Bible.
5. Did he speak as one who knows God or one who knows about God?
There is Grand Canyon wide difference between knowing things about God and personally knowing God. Again we see people who are experts about God, but morally they don’t use that knowledge in a living relationship with God. There is a great problem. They are not even saved but are just talking like second-hand information about God.
More Posts on Improving Preaching Issues
- Sermons: Moving people from where they are to where you want them
- 7 Deadly sins of speaking
- Improving your Preaching: Detecting poor preaching and mediocrity
- What should we Preach?
- Qualities of Good Preaching
- What makes a Good Sermon? What is an Inspiring Sermon?
- Why I give a written sermon outline to my people
- Seven Marks of a Good Sermon
Pastor David Cox is a missionary. See my ministry updates here.