The Importance of Preaching in Worship

Dear BPCWAians, Every week, after the reading of Scripture and praising God, we have the preaching of God’s Word on the pulpit during the sermon. What should our attitude and response be during this part of the Worship Service?

A growing de-emphasis on Preaching. To some worshippers, preaching is just a small part of a train of activities in worship. The increasing focus on the various aspects of worship has shifted towards music. Churches boast about their music and musicians while de-emphasizing preaching. It is no surprise to see some churches tout that their attractive point is that they are focused on the music experience they provide. The growing trend is to increase the time spent on singing and dancing or drama and to cut down on preaching, or “better still”, to not have any preaching at all.

Why should we have a sermon during the Worship Service? 1) This was the example in the New Testament church, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7). All of Worship must be regulated by the Word. The major part of the Lord’s Day gathering was focused on the preaching of the Word. It is the high and focal point of worship. We should follow the example. “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1Sam 15:22). Good intentions and doing what pleases man do not make our worship acceptable to God. Anything offered to God in worship must be based on His precepts, His way, and we learn it through His Word. 2) The Word is God’s revelation of Himself. Preaching tells us more about Who we worship. In Greek, the word proskuneo is often used for worship. This has the idea of bowing down or being prostrate to a Being of superior rank. God reveals Himself, His greatness, through His word. Preaching from the Bible reveals in greater depth the majesty of the Creator. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Jn 1:1) A low view of the preaching of the Word of God is a reflection of a low view of God, and is not Biblical worship. 3) God speaks to us through Scripture. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2Ti 3:16). A subject bowing before a King comes to hear what orders the king has for him, what mission the king wants to send him on. When the worshipper wants only to speak or sing or do something and not want to listen to the orders and commands of the One who is worshipped, we are actually worshipping ourselves and the experience we seek, not God. Through preaching, we know what we, as a church, ought to do in subjection to our Almighty King. We take orders from our LORD God. 4) God ordained there to be preaching in the assembly of His people. Christ had to be about His Father’s business, and everywhere He went, He preached to the people. Among many others, we have a record of Christ’s preaching in the chapters of the Sermon on the Mount. He sent the 12 Apostles out to preach (Mk 3:14). Christ “commanded us to preach unto the people” (Acts 10:42). Today, ministers are charged before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and will be judged one day on this basis of their faithfulness to this – whether they have preached the Word; been instant in season, out of season; reproved, rebuked, exhorted with all longsuffering and doctrine (2Tim 4:2).

The importance of preaching in Worship. Preaching is the means whereby we become more Christlike. Christians are to be a “holy priesthood” (1 Pet 2:5), and the Bible tells us what is God’s standard of holiness. As we go through book by book, chapter by chapter of expository preaching, we learn how to be in subjection to those that God has put as authority over us. We are taught how to abstain from fleshly lusts. We are provoked to love and good works. Preaching is the public, open proclamation of God’s truth. It is different from a private admonition, censure or counselling which is one to one. Collectively, as a church, we come to hear God’s message for us that day. In worship, we pay God obeisance by paying attention to His Word preached. When we hear Him speak to us through His Word, we commit ourselves as subjects to obey what our Sovereign King orders us to do. In an age where emotions take centrestage, many today look for a worship experience that will tug at their heartstrings or cause them to break down in tears. What is lacking in preaching is sought to be made up with emotional highs through music. We want something that motivates us, inspires us. But we reject what offends us when our sins are pointed out. In response to today’s age, worldly techniques or polished man-pleasing showmanship are often employed to evoke these emotions. But dear BPCWAians, I pray that you will be discerning worshipers. Do not seek the emotional high experiences. Look instead for faithful preaching. Seek preaching that is faithful to the Biblical truths.

1Cor 2:4 “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

Yours in our Lord’s service