In the book Truth and Power J.I Packer says that preaching is

“An applicatory declaration in which the word of God delivers through the preacher a message about God, grace, the Gospel and Godliness.”

I think this is a great quote about  what preaching is but it is also a useful definition of what a good sermon is. So I am going to use this definition to define what good preaching is.

Firstly, preaching is applicatory. That is there are specific points of application to the lives of believers.  This is what separates a sermon from a mere lecture. A Lecture has a lot of content but a sermon has content and application. It follows then that a good sermon will be chock full of life application.

Second, a sermon is a declaration. The main way you communicate during a sermon is using words. Also a declaration is not a discussion, as it implies that one person is speaking.

Thirdly, preaching is about the word of God. The main content of the sermon is meant to be the Bible not stories, not thoughts from the preacher or anecdotes. Now stories, thoughts and anecdotes all have thier place in a good sermon but the meat of the sermon is the word of God with stories, anecdotes and the like being the side salad to the steak of the word.

Lastly the sermon is about God, grace, the Gospel and Godliness. The sermon has a “Godward” focus.  That the main hero of the story is God, what he has done and the subsequent change in our lives that he has wrought. That means our sermons aren’t meant to focus on me and my felt needs (even though the gospel does in fact meet my felt needs). A good sermon directs my eyes heavenward to God and helps me reflect on what he has done in the gospel and how I am called to live in response.

What do you think?

Have I missed anything?

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