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Preaching the Holy Word of God

As we come to the Word of God, we believe, most importantly, that it comes to us from the Father, through the Son, and by the Holy Spirit and is therefore completely without error, is breathed out by God, is trustworthy in every way, and tells us everything we need to know for salvation and living in a manner pleasing to God. We find then that the Word instructs us in our worship as well, which must be done in a manner acceptable to God who gave us His word and who is worthy of our worship. Further, it also instructs us in one of the main elements of our worship, the preaching of the Word of God.


In Romans 10:14-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:20 we have two passages with very important implications for the preaching of the Word of God. Let us take the first passage, from Romans 10. There we find Paul addressing the gathered congregation of believers in the capital of the Roman empire. After quoting from Joel 2:32, “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved,” he asks, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Now to understand the significance of this for preaching we must follow Paul’s logic here. Those who place all their hope and trust in Jesus have the promise of salvation. They do this by faith in Jesus. They can have faith in Jesus only if they hear Jesus. And they hear Jesus when they hear a preacher. That is an amazing thought! When we sit in church on Sunday and listen to the sermon, Paul tells us that we are hearing more than just a man, we are hearing Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:20 teaches this concept as well. There Paul writes, “we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” As the apostles proclaimed the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the Christ throughout the world, it was not just a group of men preaching. It was God speaking along with these preachers as they proclaimed the gospel. The churches that they planted continue to bear the obligation of the Great Commission so that, as their pastors preach the gospel, we can be assured by the Word that God continues to make His appeal through them. In the preaching of the Word, we hear Jesus Christ, by faith and the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, speaking to His local, gathered churches.


When we understand preaching in this way it affects our anticipation of and approach to worship on the Lord’s Day. We are not simply gathering to hear a man talk to us about good things, or to merely to have encouraging conversations with one another. Rather, we are being called into the presence of God to hear His words to us on His holy day. He washes us, He feeds us and gives us drink; He speaks to us, and leads us in our worship.

The Baptist Catechism (#94) puts it this way, “The Spirit of God makes the Reading, but especially the Preaching of the Word, an effectual Means of convincing and converting Sinners; and of building them up in Holiness and Comfort through Faith unto Salvation.” What is the primary way that God has determined to work normally for the saving of His chosen people and for building them up together into the house of God and the full maturity of Christ? It is through the preaching of the Word.

From the sermon then, flows all the rest of the Christian’s life and walk: the pursuit of holiness, thinking carefully and clearly about the Word, regular and frequent prayer, and loving God and loving those whom He has providentially placed in our lives: spouses, children, neighbors, and co-workers. Even our private reading and prayer should flow from Sunday worship rather than taking precedence over the preaching.


As we come together on Sunday, we gather as the people of God to hear our God speak. We gather to hear of the saving work of Jesus Christ and to respond in worship and rejoicing. To the world this is a silly thing to do. To give up a whole day that the rest of the world uses for self-improvement and self-pleasure seems ridiculous if not absurd. But this is exactly what our world needs as it flounders in a glut of information and the constant demand for self-adulation. When we turn from the wisdom of the world to the foolishness of God, we will find the blessing of God.