How Do You Listen To A Sermon? | Finding God in the Bible
Is the sermon all that important? Wouldn’t church go more quickly without it? Perhaps the service would be more interesting and appealing to the unbeliever if we removed this “lecture.” Have you ever been tempted to think like this? You are not alone. This is a growing movement in the mainline churches.
John R.W. Stott observed that Luke, in this section of his Macedonian report, emphasizes how different groups of people received the preaching of the gospel through the ministry of the Apostle Paul. Preaching plays important role in our faith. The practice of expounding the Word of God to worshippers is not just a New Testament practice. It was the function of the priests and the primary function of the prophets of the Old Testament. The reading and teaching of the Holy Scriptures was the center-piece of synagogue worship as well, which was most likely started by Ezra himself, who the Bible says was a profound scholar and teacher of the Scriptures.
In the mainline churches of our day preaching has fallen on hard times but conservative Evangelical and Reformed churches continue to elevate the exposition of the Scripture to its more proper place within the covenant community of the church. Where Evangelicals and reformed congregations stumble is at the sufficiency of the Scriptures to guide our beliefs, churches, and lives. We continue to affirm the inspiration of the Scriptures as a point of orthodoxy but fail to give the Bible the authority of God in our lives, as His Word. Preaching plays a profound role in this process of sanctification and proclamation of the gospel to believers and unbelievers.
Churches must rediscover the majesty of God’s Word delivered to us through the flawed humble servant of Christ. This is why expository preaching is vital to the covenant community. Christ’s sheep must feed on His Word, not the word of the minister or his stories. It is the Word, James says, that brings the new birth, and it is the Word of God that brings the church into being. It is the Word of God that sanctifies us according to the prayer of our Savior in John 17.
With this in mind, let us follow Luke’s lead today and learn from how these people to whom Paul preached in this second missionary tour responded to the preached Word.
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