(BJS webmaster Norm Fisher serves confessional Lutheranism by adminstering this and other websites. One of those sites is pericope.org from where this article is taken. It is a great site that assists pastors with sermon preparation and for laity to understand better the craft of sermon-writing.)
According to the Word of God proclaimed by His apostle, Paul, good preaching is to be rewarded.
“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” 1 Timothy 5:17
Rewarding good preaching while marking and avoiding the opposite is perhaps the most important and effective thing the layman can do to combat false teaching and practice in their congregation and synod.
The sainted Lutheran professor, Dr. Harold Buls gleaned a list of 24 preaching proverbs during his lifetime of service to the Church.
Among them, the following struck me as having been discarded and set ABLAZE! with the rest of our grandfather’s baggage. Laymen would do well to take note of and action on them.
2. Nothing keeps people with the church as does good preaching.
[While this is absolutely true in terms of the invisible church, it no longer seems true in terms of the visible church. It seems most people are looking for everything but. I.e. the preaching and teaching is great but we are looking for a bigger youth group, more activities, livelier music, etc.]
4. Preach the Word. Keep at it whether convenient or not. 2 Timothy 4:2.
[This has become a good way for an LCMS pastor to get fired.]
7. Avoid generic sermons.
[CG, Purpose Driven, Willow Creek etc. seem to thrive on just that–even amongst “Lutherans.” We must mark and avoid them.]
11. If you can’t preach repentance, you can preach nothing.
[What’s repentance got to do with saving the lost?]
18. Fifty years ago the composer of these Notes heard the sainted Dr. Theodore Engelder preach on the theme: “We Need Repent of our Shabby Repentance.” It still lingers in the writer’s memory. Good sermons stick.
[Perhaps now we need to repent of shabby, repentance free sermons.]
20. God’s law can only curb outburst of sin, show man his sin and guide the Christian in godly living. It cannot make people better, more spiritual or more godly. Only the Gospel can and does do that.
[CG, Purpose Driven, Willow Creek etc. do just the opposite–even amongst “Lutherans.” We must mark and avoid them.]
21. Never waste peoples’ time with sermons which neither warn nor comfort.
[There is a lot of wasted time on Sundays around the LCMS. Don’t waste yours and encourage preachers who do neither.]
22. When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said: “Repent ye” He meant that the whole life of the Christian should be one of repentance. (First of the 95 Theses in 1517)
[Note that growth and success are not mentioned. Why is that? And why can’t we take the hint?]
These points were taken from Some Homiletical Maxims Collected by Prof. Harry Buls and found in his exegetical notes..