What is the purpose of a sermon? Or a blog for that matter.
When training for ministry we definitely did an essay or some exercise on whether the sermon was dead – i.e. was it no longer relevant or effective. My position was that it isn’t dead, and I still think that’s true. Though certain styles of sermon may now be purely antique.
One comment I received the other Sunday was words to the effect “I understood that sermon – there wasn’t any science in it!” Sometimes they can get cluttered with junk that buries the message.
It is difficult to know what has occurred when you have preached, but I do think ultimately the purpose of engaging with scripture, the Holy Spirit, and the needs and expectations of God’s gathered people, is for things to occur. ‘Things’ could be understanding, challenging, repentance, revelation – a whole host of things that could come under the heading ‘edification.’ Not education, but digesting of learning that makes us fitter in Christ.
A sermon, in my book, is not necessarily one that is perfectly formed, or perfectly executed, but one that does the job. Or allows the job to be done. However, I am glad that we do have folk here who do deliver sermons that work, and to boot are also perfectly formed and executed.
‘My word does not return to me fruitless (Isaiah 55)’ says God. Not something to lazily take for granted, but something awesome to be disciplined by.