carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
The Issues and Elements of Worshipping God
Part 10 Ė The Word Proclaimed
The heart of the service of worship is when the people, having gathered, are ready to hear the Word God proclaimed. Actually, the message is just a continuation of the dialogue of the entire service between God and His people, but this is a part where the people are silent and wait to receive Godís instruction.
What an absolutely daunting task this is! Is it a high calling to proclaim Godís Word? Absolutely. But it does not make the preacher higher than anyone else. As Richard Baxter said: ďI preach as a dying man to dying men.Ē
Preaching truly done is, by definition, a supernatural act. I know that from a very personal standpoint. As an individual, my personality tends to be withdrawn Ė I do not like being in front of people if I think they are all just looking at me. But when I step up to the pulpit I have the strength of conviction to know that God has called me to deliver His message to the people. And if I do my job correctly, I personally become less and less a factor in the worship equation. Often when I step down at the end of the service and I hear impressions my words made upon others, I have a distinct sense of distance Ė I honestly cannot connect what has happened in their hearts with anything I myself have done. It truly is only of God.
Because it is such a supernatural act to preach, I feel moved and compelled to prepare myself for it as best I can. Iíve heard some preachers use the Holy Spiritís presence as an excuse not to seriously prepare. If that was true, ministers would be absolutely unnecessary to God and would be among the laziest people on earth. (Maybe thatís where the stereotype came from!) No, I may be only a tool in Godís hands but it is up to me to be best tool I can be. That involves prayerful preparation and study in both the long term as well as in the short term. I read and research in general to prepare myself overall, and wrestle with the specifics that are involved with each Lordís Day.
And when that day comes I give myself to the Lord and desire nothing but His authority through the Word and by the Spirit to speak to the blessing and edification of His people and to the convicting of souls of any and all hardened hearts.
But also, because it is a supernatural act, preaching should be received with as much effort as it is given. Are you not called to take these things as seriously as I do? These things should always be kept in your mind:
David G. Barker, 2003
|David G. Barker