Church is an interesting place. People gather on a Sunday morning to hear God’s Word read, to listen to a sermon, to sing songs of praise, to pray to the Lord and to fellowship with His people. But there are many different ‘styles’ of churches. The two biggest areas that can differ stylistically in a church are 1) the singing, and 2) the sermon.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about preaching. I am a person who strongly believes that the church should be built up through expositional preaching. Preaching that is based on God’s Word and finds its aim and structure from the passage. In expositional preaching the preacher expounds the Word of God, speaks on the meaning of the passage within its context of the chapter, the book and of the whole Bible.
It’s nothing new, it’s nothing flashy, it is expounding the Word of God and diving into the depths of truth that He has revealed to us and learning from it so that we can praise Him more and live lives that glorify Him. This is important because as many people have said before “What you win them by is what you win them to”.
There is a trend in some churches to have the singing perfect, loud, focused on the individual, emotional and to have a top notch light show. None of these things are wrong in their right place, but they shouldn’t become the focus. Some preachers use comedy, lots of stories, personal stories, emotional language, emotional applications and focus on stage presence. Again, these are not wrong in their right place, but they shouldn’t be the focus. Our focus in preaching should always be to see God glorified, to see people convicted and comforted at the same time and to see people transformed through the work of the Holy Spirit. Preaching with that in mind will take the focus off the preacher and keep it on God.
Hence, expositional preaching.
If you want Christians to be built up in their faith and live out their dedicated devotion to God then His Word will bring about that change, not flashy lights.
If you want Christians to understand the wonderful truths about the character of God take them to His Word and blow their minds with who He is, a comical story won’t work.
If you want Christians to see the church as the pillar and buttress of truth (1 Tim. 3:15) then you need to teach them from all of God’s Word, not just the bits that we like and find east.
When we preach the Bible, in expositional preaching, we are letting God lead His Church through His Word. People shouldn’t be going to church to get a ‘boost’ for the week ahead or to be ‘uplifted’ and walk away happy. People shouldn’t be going to church so that they can be entertained for an hour and a half. People should be going to church to speak to God, to sing His praises and to hear His voice from His Word that is why the Scripture reading is the pinnacle of every church service.
Churches, Pastors and preachers please do not ‘win people’ to the wrong things, but lift their eyes to God and let them be ‘won’ by Him and His Glory.
Our priority should be seeing God glorified and that means that no church or Pastor or preacher is building their own kingdom, but we are all working for one Kingdom and for one King Jesus Christ. Therefore, He should get all the glory, He should be the focus, He should be the One we want to hear from and He is the One that we should be living to please.
So if you’re a preacher and your doing the final touches to your sermon today ask yourself these questions:
- Does this sermon and service glorify God and build His Kingdom?
- Does this sermon focus people’s eyes on me or on God?
- Is this sermon faithful to how God has revealed Himself in His Word and in this passage?
- Is this a sermon that people will be convicted and comforted by?
And if you’re a congregation member, pray for the preacher today. In the run up to Sunday morning he will be struggling, Satan will be prowling around trying to distract and destroy, family arguments might break out and he will be feeling completely inadequate for the task at hand. Pray for him! Sit in the sermon and soak in God’s Word then thank the preacher for his time as he has poured over God’s Word and invested in the sermon and give God all the glory.
If we want to see people built up in their faith, convicted of their sin and comforted in their weaknesses we need to present them the Word of the Lord and let His Spirit do the transformational work in their lives.