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What do you like in a sermon? What makes a sermon great in your mind? Do others in the audience have the same standards for a good sermon as you do?

Some in the audience like to laugh with (and sometimes at) the preacher. A good joke livens up the sermon, holds the attention for a time and lightens the mood.

Some preachers are praised for delivering sermons that are filled with amusing anecdotes, Reader’s Digest stories, and/or stories that bring tears to the eyes of the worshippers.

Others like a sermon that is “hell-fire and brimstone,” from beginning to end. It makes them think about what is most important, and even scares som.

There are in the audience who do not want to be made to feel guilty about their life. They may fidget or play with children or keep watch out the window for meteors or people walking on the sidewalk. These would rather prefer a weekly diet of an all feel good sermons of milk.

Then there are those who do not feel that the preacher has preached a real sermon at all if they have not, in some way, been made to feel guilty.

Different members of the congregation will have different ideas about what makes a good sermon. But, be honest, should the personal taste of individual members of the church be the true standard of what determines whether or not a sermon is great?

Think about Noah. He preached to the people of his day. But, apparently, none of the people thought much of his oratory skills. They certainly did not flock to his pulpit and passed strict attention or obey his call to repentance.

What about Jonah? He preached to Nineveh saying, “Yet 40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown! (Jonah 3:4). What an inspiring sermon that must have been, coming from a preacher who, in his heart, did not want the city to repent and avoid being destroyed (Jonah 4:1) but the entire city, including the king, repented of their sin. Was that a great sermon?

The Sermon on the Mount is considered by many to be the greatest sermon ever preached. The sermon contains hope for the downtrodden and the down hearted. It has rebuke for sinners, it has correction and instruction to live righteously.  In this sermon Jesus called some “hypocrites” and “fools.” Others were called “wise” and “Blessed.”  It was truly a masterful sermon from the Master himself.

A great sermon is one that teaches God’s word “in season and out of season.” Paul said, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:1-2

A great sermon is one that corrects sinners and warns of the dangers of hell. A great sermon also tells of the glory of heaven and the salvation in Jesus Christ. A great sermon will inspire and challenge the listeners to grow in their spirit and in their service in the kingdom. (All these things do not necessarily have to be in the same sermon for it to be considered great).

The number one question that needs to be asked is, “What does God consider to be a great sermon?” When considering whether or not a sermon is great a wise Christian will apply God’s standard of greatness and not his own. What standard do you use?

The above article was written by Steve Vice November 11, 2012. Forest Park GA.

I have this article on my desk, and read it as a reminder of what I need to be doing as I preach. I will be honest (and most of you know this anyway) I am not the best of speakers, but I do want, more than anything, for all of us to go to heaven, and for all of us to do the best we can to help others go to heaven as well. Eternal souls hang in the balance of what is said, and the failings and shortcoming of men sometimes does not help.

Pray for me! Pray that I might be a better preacher.



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