Are we tempted to think that the preaching in a worship gathering is of equal importance to or even less importance than music or other creative elements because for too long we have fed our churches a steady stream of good advice?
Everything in the worship service should be centered around the sermon. Nothing should be more important than the sermon. The sermon is where the Holy Spirit convicts, challenges, and changes the hearts of the listeners through God’s inspired Word.
In Gospel Wakefulness, Jared Wilson shares four reasons why preaching is the most important part of our worship services:
1. Preaching has ancient precedent.
From the days of Moses delivering the Law through the prophetic era to the days of Jesus Christ and the apostles, the mode of bringing the Gospel to the gathering has been proclamational preaching. This is a direct approach, a reverent monologue, and it has been the way God’s message has been delivered to believers and non believers alike since the beginning of God’s community.
2. God’s Word is weightier than our words. This is why expository preaching is necessary in the church today. I think topical preaching has its place in the church, but expository preaching allows the Scripture to speak and drive the sermon rather than the preacher doing so. God’s Word is sufficient and has enough authority for the preacher to simply explain and share the text for God to work. Yes we need to use illustrations and applications, but God’s Word is powerful! In his book, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church, Mark Dever explains that the number one mark of a healthy church is expository preaching. If you go to my preaching page here on my blog you will see I do preach topical sermons sometimes, but I preach expository sermons the majority of the time. When we give more importance to music and creative elements in the church service than we do to preaching we show that we believe that stuff is more important than God’s Word.
3. Preaching is the designated means of Gospel communication. I firmly believe every Christian should share the Gospel verbally in their day-to-day life, but the Gospel is primarily shared through proclamation of God’s Word . That is why the Gospel should be in every sermon a preacher preaches. Romans 10:14 says:
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
4. Sermon-Centric worship best reflects God-centeredness. When we come to worship God we offer Him our work, our voices, and our efforts. When we hear preaching from God’s Word we hear God speaking to us. We give God ourselves for His glory and He reveals Himself to us through preaching of the Word for His own glory as well.
I fear that many churches are putting more emphasis on other parts, and may I say good parts, of the worship service other than preaching. God has given me a huge desire to preach and I believe preaching is something we need to restore in many of our churches. Matt Chandler once said, “The pulpit drives the church.” I fear that many churches are being driven by emotion, creative worship services, music, and so much more other than preaching. This starts with the pastors. I urge you pastors, spend most of your time in the week studying God’s Word and preparing the message God has given you. Lead the way pastors, preach God’s Word faithfully and keep it central in your worship services.
I would highly recommend Jared Wilson’s book Gospel Wakefulness. It’s a book that will reignite a passion in your for the Gospel and will help you understand what it means to be fully awakened to the Gospel. Jared Wilson is a pastor and is known for his passion for Gospel-centered writing. Click here to buy a copy from Amazon for a great price!