6. A sermon is just the sum of its parts.
That is to say, a sermon consists of explanation combined with application and some illustrations. There is an element of truth here, but it would be naïve to think that it is that simple.
A. There are basic components of a biblical sermon. Essentially there are sermon components like the introduction and the conclusion. And there are ingredients that go into the body of a sermon, such as explanation, application and so-called illustration. At a certain level every sermon could be analysed and found to include these components and ingredients.
B. There are nuances that influence the effectiveness of each of those components and ingredients. For example, there is no such thing as a good illustration, there is such a thing as a good illustration of something. A good explanation for one group of people will fly completely over the heads of another crowd.
C. There are less tangible influences on the effectiveness of a sermon. We could go in many directions here, but lets think about the preacher. What influences how the preacher preaches the components and ingredients of a sermon? The preacher’s love for God and love for the listener is hard to quantify, but it surely influences the choice of sermon ingredients and their delivery. The preacher’s personal baggage is a filter through which every sermon is processed and preached. If a preacher is struggling with pride, then in some way it will show in the sermon. If a preacher is angry, then in some way it will show in the sermon.
A sermon is not just the ingredients of explanation, application and illustrations blended together with sermon components like an introduction and a conclusion. The effectiveness of a sermon goes much deeper than the quality of the elements that are blended together. There is also the moving dynamic of those listening, the occasion, as well as the preacher’s ability, style of communication and so much more. There are complex nuances influencing every aspect of a sermon. Let’s prayerfully keep learning so that we can be the best stewards of the preaching privilege that we can.