This morning we are continuing in our series on worship. Today we will look at the topic of preaching or teaching as it relates to the worship service. Now I will say this that every single Christian is a preacher or teacher of God words. We preach a sermon every single day of our lives by the way we live our lives and show people that Gods love is in us and that a lesson within itself. But, today I want to focus in specifically on preaching or teaching in the worship assembly. Now this lesson doesnít just apply to the preacher but to anyone who is proclaiming Gods Word. We can see that preaching is a part of public worship to God in several places in the Bible. Lets look at 2 examples.
Acts 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until .
Here we see Paul preaching the Word of God to these people at Troas and might add he† didnít have a time limit because we see him preaching until midnight and poor Eutychus fell asleep and fell to his death. This might tells us that we should be careful about falling asleep during a sermon. As you read on we learn that Paul continues preaching until day break. Apparently Paul had a lot to say. We can also see that preaching or teaching is a part of worship in 1 Cor. 14 where we see Paul explaining how worship to God should be done in orderly manner. Besides these 2 examples, common sense would tells us that proclaiming Gods should be a part of our worship service. Keeping this in mind I know what to examine the following question.
What should be preached in public worship?
The apostle Paul gives great insight to this question in many places.
ESV 2 Corinthians 4:5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.
Here Paul is teaching us what we shouldnít preach. We should not preach ourselves trying to make out like we are something special, No we are to preach Jesus and those things associated with his authority. That is why Paul says,
1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Paul already had enough problems with people trying to put him on a pedal stool and make him out to be more than he was, so he wanted to make sure that people understood that Jesus was the message and not Paul. This will include talking about Jesus deity, his work upon this earth and †his resurrection from the dead. It would also include preparing people for his return so that they go to heaven instead of hell. I would recommend that you read Paulís letters to Timothy and Titus again, because these books are rich with what should be taught in the worship service. I want to look a few of these passages.
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,† 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,† 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.† 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;† 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.† 6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.† 7 But reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.† 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.† 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.† 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.† 11 These things command and teach.
Paul† warns Timothy of those who would stray away from Godís word and he stresses the importance that Timothy teach the people the word of God. Notice how stress this again in,
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:† 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.† 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;† 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.† 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Paul states with clarity that the word God is to be preached and not something else. It should become very clear to us as Christians why it is important that the word of God be preached and not something else. The word of God is,
1. Power of God to salvation.
2. It is how we have faith in God Rom.
3. It gives us all things pertaining to life 2 Pet.1:3
4. It makes us complete and ready for every good work 2Tim. 3:16-17
Now this is just a partial list because whatever we need to know to be good and faithful servants to God or to treat our fellow man can found in the Word of God. I really wish that all those who teach or preach would use Godís Word as the primary source. But unfortunately many preachers today are moving away from the word of God and are just preaching fell good messages that are full fuzzy little stories and very little scripture. The reason why some preacher are staying away from Gods word is because they cant draw as big of a crowd if they continue to preach about sin and warn about the reality of hell. This is sad my friends because when the word of God is neglected and is not preached it will only end in destructions because Gods people will get to the point where they feel comfortable even though they are living in sin.
†When Paul was talking to the Ephesian elders and warning them to watch out for false teaches who would even come from† among themselves he says this in,
Acts "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.†
Brethren this is what needs to be taught in the worship service the complete and perfect will of God. There is message for every single person in the Bible. Sometimes there are topics that we donít want to hear about because it steps on our toes. But these are necessary for us so that we can be reminded to better than what we are or to remind us not to be involved in that sin any longer. How can we ever expect to grow in Godís grace and knowledge if all Gods truth is not being taught? When I say all of Godís word I mean both the NT and the OT. Even though we are not under the old covenant we can learn a great deal from that we can apply to our own lives as Paul states in.
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
We can also see great examples of how Peter and Paul preached the word of God in Acts 2 and 13. They would start out in the OT showing how Christ had fulfilled the prophecy of the OT and then they would preach to them Christ crucified and all things necessary for salvation. Preacher and teachers would do well to copy their example and not be ashamed of Gods word but instead proclaim without fear of men knowing that they are glorifying their God in heaven. So, preach the word and leave the fluff behind.
Who should proclaim Gods Word in worship?
James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
Now I believe this is talking about those who teach publicly and not on individual basis† because each us walking sermon for God. Now last week I already established that women are not have authority over the man in the worship service so it should be man that that is proclaiming Gods Word in a mixed assembly. But as James states it shouldnít just be anybody. Whoever proclaims Godís word need to understand that you will receive a stricter judgment because you are responsible for molding and shaping people lives with the† will of God. If you are teaching false concepts that will lead people away from† God than you are going to be judged for this. When you understand this it makes you take a very serious look at the Word of God and it will cause you study very hard so that you donít misrepresent Godís word. Now I am not saying that you have master degree in Bible but it important that you have the ability to rightly divide the word of God. Once you have grown to this level you cant help but to want to teach or preach the word of God. Jeremiah is great example of this. He was a man that proclaimed Gods message over and over again and no one would listen to him.
Jeremiah 20:7 O LORD, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me.† 8 For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, "Violence and plunder!" Because the word of the LORD was made to me A reproach and a derision daily.† 9 Then I said, "I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name." But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.
You see this is what happens to a† Christian† today. The more you study Gods word and understand it the more you will desire to proclaim it even if people are mocking you and they donít want to listen to you will proclaim it even more. You see a person must have the right attitude to proclaim and the right motivation to proclaim Godís Word. Notice what† Paul says about this.†
1 Corinthians † For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!
You see Paul had the right mentality he was not preaching Gods word for fame or to get rich he was doing it because loved God and he wants Gods people to hear Gods message. This is the attitude and motivation that should behind everyone who proclaims Gods Word.
Now I can tell you some people especial preachers get into this job for wrong reasons and I believe they shouldnít be in the pulpit. Some men get into preaching just so they can have a job so they can have money coming in. This is what I like to call career preachers. Folks I do not think these men should be in the pulpit because they have the wrong attitude and the wrong motivation. When a person preaches just for the money they are not going to be a very effective preacher and they certainly will not be pleasing to God.†
Paul taught this concept to Timothy in,
1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,† 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,† 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.† 6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.† 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.† 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.† 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.† 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.† 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. †
You see a person that is motivated by money or popularity will most like compromise the truth or will preach the whole will of God because they want to further their career they want to make more money. But Paul clearly stated withdraw yourself from such people. As Paul said we should be content with what we have and God should be our priority and not ourselves.
Another thing for preachers or teachers to understand is that they need to preach a message that can be understood by all. Some people like to use words that most people donít understand. Its like they want to try to impress people on just how smart they are. But when you talk over people heads you message will not come through so the message should be simple so that everyone can understand it. This means that the teacher is going to have to put some thought it what their going to say and how they are going to say it. I just recently went to seminar on preaching and I want to share with a true story that they shared with me. They said there were some preacher who we constantly sharing their outlines but this one preacher never wrote any outlines he just relied upon these other preachers for their outlines. He was very gifted speaker and he could take one of the outlines without ever looking over it much and stand in the pulpit and deliver a message. Well these other preacher figured out what he was doing so that they decided to pull a fast one on him. They created an outline where the scriptures being used did to match the points whatsoever. So you could imagine what this preacher sounded like as he tried to preach from this outline from the pulpit that day. So teachers and preachers alike should put† some† thought and effort to what they are going to say and not try to speak off the cuff at the last min.†
†I †can promise your there isnít a better job than to proclaim the life saving message of† Gods word but those who proclaim it must have the right attitude and† the right motivation and they should not compromise Gods truth for a personal gain. Now the last question I want to look at this morning is.
Why should we listen careful to what is being taught?
Once again Paul gives us some great insight on this question in,
Romans 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?† 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!"† 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?"† 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Paul is telling us that when we hear the word† of God it give us faith and when we listen to what being proclaimed it will cause us to grow in our faith and make us stronger Christians. Now I want you to notice what the book of Proverbs says about listening.
Proverbs 8:6 Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things;† 7 For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.† 8 All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.† 9 They are all plain to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge.† 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold;† 11 For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
You see when someone is proclaiming Godís word you should listen very carefully because they can teach you something that will make you a better or Christian or they may challenge you to think about Gods Word in a different way. You see no matter how boring a sermon may be to you if you listen carefully you should be able to learn something or get something out the lesson that you can apply to your own life. So when you come to worship service you should come prepared† to listen. The sermon is not the time you pull out a newspaper to catch up on the latest news and it not the time to be reading the church Bulliten or caring on a conversation with someone. No we should be listing carefully as the word of God is being proclaimed.
If we donít do this than how are we going to know if the truth is being proclaimed or if false doctrine is being proclaimed. We would do well to follow the Bereans example,
the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to
Notice the people open minded but they did not believe everything the heard. So after they listened very carefully they would then carefully examine the scriptures to see if what was being taught was true and we need to do this as well. I can tell there is not a perfect teacher or preacher out their and they can make mistakes. As a listener you should you pay very close attention and back up what is taught from the bible. If you see the teacher is in error than you should talk with them and show them what the scripture say so they donít repeat that mistake again. Jesus also taught us about the importance of listening in Mark 4. Jesus tells his disciples the parable of the 4 soils and after explains this parable notice what he says in,
Mark "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."† 24 Then He said to them, "Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.
So take heed to what you hear.
Once last reason we should listen carefully is found in,
Acts 16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went out
of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat
down and spoke to the women who met there.† 14 Now a certain woman named
Here Paul proclaiming Gods word and because
I want to finish up this last point by looking at example found in,
Nehemiah 8:1 Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel.† 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.† 3 Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until , before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.† 4 So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah (mat-eye-thigh-ya), Shema, Anaiah (an-a-eye-ya) Urijah, Hilkiah (hil-ki'-a), and Maaseiah <ma-a-se'-ya>; and at his left hand Pedaiah <pee-da'-ya>, Mishael <mish'-a-l>, Malchijah <mal-ki'-ja>† , Hashum <ha'-shum>, Hashbadana <hash-ba-da'-na>, Zechariah, and Meshulla ,<me-shull'-am>† 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.† 6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. Then all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
So let us never forget the importance of listening to God word as it is being proclaimed.
I hope from this lesson you have learned that preaching is part our worship service and those who preach should boldly proclaim the whole council of God. Those who do this should be motivated by pleasing and God and not themselves and finally we need to be sure and listen carefully as the word of God is being proclaimed so our hearts can be opened and so we can grow in the knowledge and grace of our lord.