Sinclair Ferguson, in his chapter “I Shall Not Want” in the Richard Allen Bodey ed. If I Had Only One Sermon to Preach, set out four principles that he believes should govern a “last sermon.” I suppose it would be right to say to these principle should be the guiding principles for any sermon that we preach. Ferguson’ four points are as follows:
1. It should point the hearers specifically to Christ, express His office as Savior, and set forth His grace and graciousness.
2. It should be rooted in the exposition of Scripture.
3. It should seek to provide nourishment for all one’s hearers, including oneself (perhaps oneself most of all).
4. A final, perhaps idiosyncratic consideration would be that if I knew this to be my final sermon, it would be of some importance to me that the message should be relatively simple and easy to preach, and what the old Divines used to call “sweet” and “Christful.” As preachers know that is not always the case with our preaching.
If you are wondering, in 1994 (when the book was first published) Psalm 23 was the text that Sinclair said he would preach if he only had one sermon to preach.
Incidentally, Sinclair has preached Psalm 23 numerous times during his ministry. In 2006 he preached it as “Five Questions I Want To Ask God: Can I Fully Trust You?;” and, in 2012, as “The Gospel of God in the Psalms of David: The Chief Shepherd and Deacon.”