In an article on “How to Preach a Good Sermon,” Kent Anderson describes four elements that should be part of any sermon:
“Tell a Story: Every text in Scripture has a story because it is always written in the context of real people and real situations. Preachers need to help their listeners connect with the humanity in the Bible in order to see the relevance of what God wants to say. Good preaching, then, places the sermon in the context of real human experience. It tells the stories of actual people in real time so that contemporary listeners can locate their own life in the context of the sermon.
“Make an Argument: The Bible is also about ideas. Good preachers will teach the listener the truths that can help them live in accordance with God’s will. God challenges people with an alternative approach to understanding and living life. People will grow in their faith if they are led to understand the propositions of God’s Word. Preachers need to work to help listeners appreciate the reasons for their faith.
“Solve a Mystery: Preaching needs to respond to the deep-seated questions people have for God. We can’t accept that just because listeners understand what we are saying that they are prepared to give their lives for them. While we might not always like the things we hear, preachers need to help their listeners struggle with the mysteries.
“Paint a Picture: Sermons ought to offer listeners a compelling vision of the future. Preachers need to show listeners how their encounter with God’s Word can change their lives forever. What will it actually look like in our lives because we have heard from God and responded to Him in faith? Can we motivate listeners to a faithful response to the things we have heard from God?
“Preaching that integrates these four features will offer the authority of God’s Word while respecting the dignity of the human listener.” (Click here to read the full article.)