“We often evaluate the quality of sermons based on all the wrong things: I wasn’t offended, I agree with what the pastor said, it kept me interested, or any number of shallow observations. There is nothing wrong with being interested in a sermon, but that is not the touchstone. A lot of things are interesting, but that doesn’t necessarily make them good.
“This is the hallmark of a good sermon: does it preach Jesus Christ crucified for you, a sinner? If it doesn’t, no matter how good it may be in other respects, it is not a good sermon. St. Paul himself said, ‘For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (1 Cor. 2:2). Jesus requires this of his preachers. He charges His Church with the task of preaching repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His Name to all nations (Luke 24:47).
“In a good sermon, we should actually lose track of how often Jesus is mentioned. And when He is mentioned, He should be the subject of the verbs, the one doing the actions. And then pay attention: what are those verbs? Do they make Jesus sound like a coach, a therapist, an advisor—or your Savior? Listen for the verbs that Scripture gives to Jesus—the Jesus who lives for you, suffers for you, dies for you, bleeds for you, gives His life for you, is your substitute, and rises again for you. These are the verbs you ought to be hearing if in fact your pastor preaches Christ crucified.”