What's the big deal anyways?
At Stapleton Baptist we have several elements that make up our Sunday morning worship service. There's prayer, worship, giving, announcements, and on occasion baptism or the Lord's Supper. But the element that takes up the majority of the service time is the preaching. Why is it that we dedicate over half of the worship service to that one thing--preaching?
The reason is not because the pastor has such a lovely voice (because he doesn't) or that he communicates so eloquently (again, he doesn't). The reason we allow ample time for the preaching is because of the value we place on the Word of God.
The word "preaching" carries with it the idea of "proclaiming." In this case, we are proclaiming the truth of God's Word. And that's what we need more than anything in the world, as Romans 10:17 says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."
As Christians we believe God's Word is our source of truth and life. It tells us of Jesus Christ and his gospel. It tells us how to live a life holy and pleasing to God. It contains everything we need for righteous living.
Not only that though, we believe it is also God's holy, inspired, inerrant revelation. It is not merely a suggestion or advice. It is the instructions and revelation from the creator of the universe.
And from the moment the Apostle Peter preached the first sermon in Acts 2, the servants of Christ have been faithfully proclaiming His truth, and the saints of God have been gathering every Lord's Day (Sunday) to sit under the teaching of the Word. In so doing they are submitting to the authority of God's Word and demonstrating their hunger and need for it.
The preaching is a big deal because God's Word is a big deal!
Do more than listen.
The pastor isn't the only person with a job during the preaching moment. The pastor's job is to deliver the sermon, and the congregation's job is to receive the sermon. And just as a pastor can do a poor job of delivering a sermon, so can people do a poor job of receiving a sermon. How much you get out of God's Word on a Sunday morning is largely up to you. Here's a few ways you can get the most out of the Sunday morning sermon:
BEFORE: The best way to prepare to receive a sermon is to read the passage before hand. Here at Stapleton we normally preach through books of the Bible, so it's easy to know what's next. Read the passage before hand so it's fresh on your heart and mind and you come into the preaching moment already "warmed up."
DURING: Through the time of worship and into the preaching moment, ask God to illuminate your heart and mind to the truth of His Word. Take notes if it helps you remember. And most of all, submit to the authority of the Word.
AFTER: Take the necessary steps to apply God's Word. And one of the best way to make the truth you heard stick is to talk about it. Discuss the sermon passage with your family over lunch, or participate in a LIFEGroup on Sunday night for discussion. As you talk it over it will continue to take root deeper in your soul.