Why Do We Do What We Do in Worship? # 9 - The Sermon
Why Do We Do What We Do In Worship?
#9 — The Sermon
Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
The gospel shapes not only the individual life of a believer but also the corporate life of the church. In particular, the gospel should provide the structure for the corporate worship of the church. In view of the gospel being a message that calls for a response, the order of worship here at Grace and Peace can be understood as a dialogue. Put simply, during a worship service God speaks, and His people listen and respond. God’s people speak, and God listens and responds. And in this most important “conversation” of the week, God speaks through the reading and especially through the preaching of His Word.
Preaching is the authoritative proclamation of God’s Word. In both the Old and New Testaments, God has given special importance to the regular and faithful exposition (that being the exposure) of His Word to His people (Nehemiah 8:1-8, Romans 10:14-15, 2 Tim 4:1-4). The proclamation of God’s Word is the primary means employed by the Holy Spirit to create new spiritual life and bring about growth (1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Peter 1:3, 23-2:3).
Here at Grace and Peace the sermon will be a Christ-centered and gospel-focused exposition (through explanation, illustration, and application) of a Biblical text. Expect it to last around thirty minutes (longer than some contemporary “messages”, but far shorter than most sermons in church history) and be a part of the systematic and consecutive study of a Biblical book where God “holds the microphone”, so to speak, in order to tell us what He wants us to know about who He is and what He has done for us in Jesus Christ as well as who and what He calls His people to be and do. This model reinforces the church’s need for the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and not just a weekly diet consisting of the pastor’s (or the congregation’s) favorite texts or topics.
The Westminster Larger Catechism Q & A 159
Q: How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
A: They that are called to labor in the ministry of the Word, are to preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly, not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; faithfully, making known the whole counsel of God; wisely, applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers; zealously, with fervent love to God and the souls of his people; sincerely, aiming at his glory, and their conversion, edification and salvation.
Westminster Larger Catechism Q & A # 160
Q: What is required of those that hear the Word preached?
A: It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.