11 August 2011

Evaluating a Lutheran Sermon

I am privileged to be a part of the education of young men for admission to the pastoral office of the Lutheran Church of Haiti. I just returned from teaching a class on the first part of the Book of Concord. In the class one question repeatedly asked in various ways, I answered in this way:

God established the preaching office for not only the announcement but also the conveyance of the benefits of the Holy Gospel's proclamation of God's grace through Christ's sacrifice on the cross. In evaluating a Lutheran sermon one must ask one question for each of the fingers and the thumb of the hand. I share them with you.

1. Where is the cross, specifically?
(we preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified)

2. Where is the blood?
(without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness)

3. How does it describe sinners?
(every inclination was only evil all the time)

4. Does it clearly identify the means of grace to which the sinner is directed?
(i.e. arise and be baptized; taste and see His goodness; confess your faults that ye may be healed; the Gospel is the power unto salvation)

5. Does it point you all the way to a glorious heaven?
(if we believed in Jesus only for this world...)

A good sermon covers all five. Emphasis may be placed on any but to eliminate any one turns the sermon into a lecture.

I offer this five fingered evaluative tool.

Pasteur Georges Williams