Preaching as Worship

The following is taken from a book I am currently reading entitled, “He is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World” by R. Albert Mohler.

“Music is one of God’s most precious gifts to His people, and it is a language by which we may worship God in spirit and in truth. The hymns of the faith convey rich confessional and theological content, and many modern choruses recover a sense of doxology formerly lost in many evangelical churches. But music is not the central act of Christian worship – nor is evangelism, nor even the ordinances. The heart of Christian worship is the authentic preaching of the Word of God.”

“This centrality of preaching is seen in both testaments of Scripture. It was the apostle Paul, for example, who told Timothy in no uncertain terms, ‘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, Preach the Word!’ In Nehemiah 8, as we will see in more detail in the next chapter, we find a remarkable portrait of expository preaching, when the people demand that Ezra the scribe bring the book of the law to the assembly. Ezra stands on a raised platform and reads from the book of the law, ‘translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading’ (Nehemiah 8:8 NASB). When he opens the book to read, the assembly rises to its feet in honor of the Word of God, and their response to the reading is to answer, ‘Amen, Amen!'”

“This text is a sobering indictment of much contemporary Christianity. According to the text, a demand for biblical preaching erupted within the hearts of the poeple. They gathered as a congregation and summoned the preacher. This reflects an intense hunger and thirst for the preaching of the Word of God. Where is this desire evident among today’s evangelicals? Moreover, where is the faithfulness of preachers to confront their people with the preached Word of God? There seems to be a sense that people will be more affected by the gospel if it is presented in a slickly produced multimedia production, or even if we dispense with preaching altogether in favor of a purely subjective and emotional worship ‘experience.’ Yet what was it that brought the Israelites to their God-honoring response of ‘Amen, Amen!’? It was the exposition of the Word. Ezra did not stage an event or orchestrate a spectacle. He simply and carefully proclaimed the Word of God.”

“In far too many churches, the Bible is nearly silent. The public reading of Scripture has been dropped from many services, and the sermon has been sidelined, reduced to a brief devotional appended to the music. Many preachers accept this as a necessary concession to the age of entertainment, and are thus left with the modest hope of including a brief message of encouragement or exhortation before the conclusion of the service.”

“Michael Green pointedly put the problem like this: ‘This is the age of the sermonette, and sermonettes make Christianettes.’ The anemia of evangelical worship – all the music and energy aside – is directly attributable to the absence of genuine expository preaching. If we as pastors are truly serious about giving our people a true vision of God, showing them their own sinfulness, proclaiming to them the gospel of Jesus Christ, and encouraging them to obedient service in response to that gospel, then we will devote our lives to preaching the Word. That is our task and our calling – to confront our congregations with nothing less than the living and active Word of God, and to pray that the Holy Spirit will thereby open eyes, convict consciences, and apply that Word to human hearts.”

pp. 36-38.

So…what do you say, Pastor? Are you up to the task?

I pray to God that He will give me the strength to preach the Word and nothing else.

Mike. Out.

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