Yesterday I suggested it is best to start with the assumption that the sermon will be shaped according to the shape of the text itself. However, there may be reasons to choose an alternate sermon shape. Why? Because there is not one factor only in this decision, but at least three. Let’s consider factor number 2:
Factor 2 – The nature of the audience. Every sermon is a unique event because while the text may remain the same (i.e. preach the same text twice), the audience changes. Different people, or the same people at a different time. Consequently, they may respond better to one sermon form over another. For example, your Psalm may be chiastic, but what if a chiastic structure is too foreign to your listeners? You can choose to educate them in Hebraic poetic form, but you can also restructure the sermon into a deductive or inductive arrangement. Or maybe the idea is threatening to your listeners, then an inductive sermon would make good sense. Since preaching is about both the text and the listeners, let both be factors in choosing your sermon form.
In my mind these two factors are critical. The shape of the text and the need of the audience. But there is a third that should be kept in mind too. You won’t be surprised by it, but it’s coming tomorrow!