I recently apologized to the church I am currently serving as an interim preacher. You might be wondering what my offense. Did I use some politically incorrect language? Did I misquote a familiar Scripture? Did I preach too long? “What did he do,” you ask yourself.
No, my wrongdoing was much more egregious than that.
I came to realize that on a semi-regular basis I would begin my preaching by commending the worship time through music. I would say something like, “Wasn’t that a great time of worship this morning?” And what would be so inappropriate of making a comment like that?
It dawned on me that an expression assumed something. It assumed that, as I mounted the platform to begin an exposition of God’s Word, worship had come to an end. I spoke of it in the past tense. I was convicted in my heart that those words betrayed a failure to be consciously aware of the goal of every sermon: to lift up Christ so that every one present would adore and worship Him.
How dare I insinuate that worship had concluded once the last note of music had been played? How dull and slow of heart could I be to not be aware that the word of God always points us to Jesus Christ and seeks to bring “faith sight” to us? And how could I prepare to preach without preparing to lead the people of God to see the glory of Christ and find themselves “lost in wonder, love, and praise”?
I’m looking at preaching in a different way these days. I am seeking to exegete passages of Scripture in a way that proclaims Christ so that those who hear my words as well as myself are captivated with His beauty to the point where our hearts melt. And all of this without even a single note of music being played in the room…
So here’s a challenge. I dare you to ask someone who listens to you preach on a regular basis if they ever enter into worship during one of your sermons. Don’t ask them if they ever learn anything or get inspired. Ask them if they worship while listening to you preach.