(This is a flashback Morning Devotional for Pastor Appreciation Month)
On Sundays I like to remember the primary reason we gather together. It is to worship God in a corporate setting, drawing from the praise and passion of the redeemed. But obviously this is not an entirely vertical experience. God has encouraged us to incorporate earthly elements into our worship gathering. We are told to sing, and clap, and even dance. We are told to give and encourage one another. These are all good acts of worship and edification, and are done in various ways according to culture and preference.
But probably the most important thing done in a worship service on Sunday morning is the opening of God’s Word among the people. The reading and preaching of Scripture is one of the oldest and most profitable expressions of worship and community. There is a reason for this. God’s Word will not return void. As it goes forth it brings power and wisdom.
The preacher is primarily the one who shares truth from the Word on any given Sunday, though there are others who engage this ministry as well. From the earliest days of the Church we find the leaders devoting themselves to studying the writings of God’s prophets so they can pour that truth into those who come to worship. It is much easier to worship a God you know. Each sermon will strike each person a little differently. There is likely nothing a pastor does that is more important than preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When you go to church, do not simply see it as an opportunity to refuel or retreat, but to revive by the truth of God. The preacher, if he has done his job and drawn close to God, is prepared to speak life into you.
The apostle Paul gave these words to a young pastor named Timothy…
“I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom: Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
The preaching of the Word is the best chance of revival in every worship service. Sometimes we get caught up in the music, or the testimonies, or prayer, etc., and the preaching never happens. This is not necessarily bad. Often times it is the result of good preaching in the church. After these services you will sometimes hear people say, “The Holy Spirit came down during the worship music. It just continued, and we never even got to the preaching. That was an awesome service.” I think people mean well by that. But perhaps the statement reveals more about the value of preaching than one may see at first glance. We are impressed by a service that does not have preaching. Maybe that tells us how integral preaching is to our worship.
Most people get a feeling from the music that they don’t get from the preaching. That’s okay. It may be easier to engage in the music than it is the preaching. But I don’t know too many Christian who go to a church where there is no preaching. And I don’t know any strong Christians who do not place a hugh value on the preaching element of the worship service.
Today you will likely be refueled or restored by the preaching of the Word. But I hope you are revived, because that is the primary work of the Word of God. It is life and gives life. Moses said this to the children of Israel as they started to cross over into their inheritance. He was speaking of the Word of the Lord…
“Take to heart all these words I am giving as a warning to you today, so that you may command your children to carefully follow all the words of this law. For they are not meaningless words to you but they are your life, and by them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 32:46-47)
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
I hope you enjoy the song below performed by my friend, Steve Ladd.
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.